Date: June 15th, 2011
How can I control aquatic weeds in my pond?
There are four main methods of aquatic weed control:
- Preventive - Includes proper pond construction and maintaining algal blooms to reduce sunlight penetration
- Mechanical - Includes machines designed to cut and/or harvest weeds
- Biological - Involves triploid grass carp that eat vegetation
- Chemical - Includes herbicides that kill the vegetation outright
Extreme care must be taken when using chemicals in farm ponds, as specific herbicides work on specific species of weeds and if too many weeds are killed at once, the debris from the dead weeds can cause severe oxygen problems that can then kill fish in the ponds.
Do I need to aerate my pond?
Oxygen in ponds can come from several sources; the two most common are algae and diffusion from the air. Typical pond oxygen concentrations are highest in the afternoon, lowest in the dawn hours and are dependent upon temperature, atmospheric pressure and salinity.
Warmer water holds less oxygen than colder water. Supplemental aeration depends upon stocking density of the pond, aquatic weeds, feeding rate and several other factors. Farm ponds typically don't require additional aeration if stocking and feeding rate guidelines are followed.
What species of fish should I have in my pond?
Largemouth bass, channel catfish, hybrid bluegills, coppernose bluegill, redears and fathead minnow are some of the more popular farm pond species which tend to co-inhabit ponds fairly well. These species are hardy, eat prepared commercial feeds well and are fun to catch on hook and line.
How do I safely transfer fish to my ponds?
You can transport them in something as simple as a large cooler all the way to sophisticated hauling boxes with supplemental oxygen. Generally speaking, you should not try to transfer fish over long distances if you are exceeding one-quarter pound of fish per gallon of water.
When transferring the fish into your pond, make sure the water temperature is within 5° F. If it is not within this range, slowly add water from your pond to the hauling container, not exceeding 2° per hour F.
What are some problems that can contribute to reduced water quality in my pond?
Farm ponds are typically small with little water exchange. In this scenario, care must be taken not to overfeed, which can then cause water quality problems. Algal blooms are a double edged sword:
- Positive - They maintain dissolved oxygen levels and reduce the amount of light hitting the bottom of the pond, limiting aquatic weed growth
- Negative - They can cause dissolved oxygen problems if and when the bloom crashes, which can
cause massive mortality due to oxygen stress.
The best strategy is to monitor feeding closely so as not to introduce excessive nutrients into the system and try to prevent excessive aquatic weed growth.
What are some of the aquatic weeds I might encounter in my farm pond?
There are four groups of aquatic plants: algae, floating weeds, emergent weeds and submerged weeds. Each can provide cover for small gamefish to grow or provide shade from intense sunlight for other species but can become a problem for the pond if not correctly controlled.
Where can I find additional information?
There is a tremendous amount of government supported research that everyone can access. Publications are available from your state Agricultural Extension Service, either online or though the mail.
The internet is a valuable tool in getting information for pond stocking and maintenance. Government agencies also have web sites that can be helpful.