Want to learn more about safe steps for summer stocking? As many of you know, peak summer months are the least desirable time to stock ponds. If circumstances leave no options, please consider these steps below.
Hatcheries fill delivery trucks with well water averaging 70-degrees. This time of year, lake temperatures in our region are approaching 90. While on a project last week, we recorded a reading of 93, 1-foot deep. Carefully equalizing truck and pond temps is critical to fish survival. This process is called tempering. Truck and pond temps MUST be within 5-degrees so fragile fish have a safe, healthy transition to their new environment.
Biologists complete tempering by gradually draining truck tanks and replacing it with pond water. After a brief period, they measure tank water temperature and repeat as often as necessary to achieve required levels. There is zero tolerance in this procedure. Failure to comply can shock fish and have fatal consequences.
If you purchase fish from a farm and ranch store source, you MUST follow the same process. There are no shortcuts! The dealer will deliver fish in an oxygen-filled bag. Be sure to transport them in a container that will prevent damaging the bag. Transportation is stressful for small fish. Don’t delay reaching the pond. On arrival, place the bag in your pond for approximately 20-minutes while water temps equalize. Gather the kids around, pop the rubber band, let pond water flow into the bag, and allow fish to gently swim out.
Next, we promote feeding fish for accelerated growth and optimum health. Start with Purina AquaMax 500. Its small morsels are for young sizes. After a few months, switch to Purina AquaMax MVP. It contains multiple size pellets for varying size fish, even sinking tidbits for newly-hatched classes not large enough to compete with bigger ones chasing floating food. Fish will tell you how much to feed. Initially, with an automatic feeder, dispense for 1 or 2-seconds. If tossing by hand, use an 18 oz. cup. Increase times and amounts as they grow and appetites increase. Ensure there are no pellets on the surface when they get full and stop eating. If you see leftovers, slightly reduce the amount until determining the proper balance.
As water temps cool December 1 to March 15, fish metabolism and feeding drops. Unless your goal is big bluegill, stop feeding then and resume mid-March. If growing trophy bluegill, set the timer to spin 1-second around 3 p.m. when water temps will be warmest. Return to 5+ seconds in the spring.
We hope these safe steps for summer stocking are helpful! Give us a call with any questions.