Pond & Lake Q & A
Q: I’m thinking of stocking my farm pond with fish. What’s the best ratio of predator to prey fish to keep the population growth steady? – Hoyt in Florida
A: When stocking your farm pond with fish, it’s always a good idea to keep in mind the ratio of predator to prey fish. If you’re an angler, you want those trophy fish to grow healthy and strong, and the only way to do that is to provide prey fish, like perch, hybrid bluegill or sunfish, for food.
The rule of thumb that we recommend is 3 prey fish to every 1 predator fish. So for instance, if you toss in 10 large-mouth bass or walleye, you’ll want to include at least 30 perch or bluegill to keep the predator fish healthy and their bellies full. When you first stock your farm pond, however, we recommend you add some fathead minnows to feed the predator fish while the prey fish get established. You may also want to feed the fish with a pellet food, like Pond Logic® Game Fish Food, and use an automated feeder, like Aqua Pro®’s 40-Gallon Ground Level Directional Feeder, to make feeding easy.
To keep the population of both predator and prey fish healthy, make sure your water is well aerated, too. If you don’t already have an air diffuser or aeration system set up in your pond, now is a good time to add one. When you introduce new fish to a pond or lake, they’ll be adding waste – something that can cause an algae bloom or pH shift and possible a fish kill. An aeration system will decrease toxic gases, increase the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, and prevent harmful stratification from occurring.
Once your population is established, you can enjoy the many reasons why you wanted to stock your pond in the first place – like fishing! A pond stocked with bass and walleye also keeps the frog and leech populations under control, too.
POND TALK: When you first stocked your farm pond, what ratio of predator to prey fish did you use?