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How Do I Balance My Fish Population? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

How Do I Balance My Fish Population?

How Do I Balance My Fish Population?

Diana – Aurora, OR

A balanced fish population is key for creating a healthy, thriving ecosystem. Getting a handle on your current pond inhabitants is a great 1st step to achieving balance.

Start by sampling the current fish population using a fish live trap or fishing pole to catch and record the number, size & species of fish in your pond. You may notice, for example, that you are catching a large number of small predator fish like bass but very few prey fish like bluegill, perch or sunfish. This could signal an unbalanced ratio of predator fish to prey fish.

After analyzing your catch, determine the types of fish that are needed to rebalance the population. The ideal stocking ratio is 3 prey fish to each predator. If you are experiencing an abundance of small predators then stock up on prey fish or vice versa if you are catching an excessive amount of small prey fish. As your pond begins to balance you should notice an overall increase in the size and health of your fish along with an even yield of both predators & prey when trapping or fishing.

It is important to provide adequate habitat for young fish to develop and grow before being consumed by larger established fish populations. Fish Attractor Spheres are an ideal addition to any pond with fish. Smaller fish can hide in the narrower spaces closer to the sphere, large fish can navigate only the outermost regions of the attractor and minnows can hide within the open holes at the end of each pvc “arm”.

When adding your new fish to the pond, try to introduce feeder minnows at one side to preoccupy predator fish while your new fish are being added at the other end of the pond. This will give them more time to acclimate to the pond and find a place to hide. Feeder minnows can be added each season as they reproduce quickly and provide a naturally replenishing food source for your large fish.

Tomahawk Live Traps

7 Responses

  1. OK but there’s nowhere close to buy fish. Other than Imlay City, is there a fish farm?

    • Hi Jim,

      Actually we have a “Fish Day” coming up May 5th where you can purchase gamefish. Click HERE for more details!

  2. When I was getting my catfish growing I would throw in a few bowls of cheap dogfood. They figured out where I’d throw it and come up and eat. I don’t do it anymore. There’s plenty for them to eat now that they’re established.

  3. I have a large number of bullhead….had them for over five years and they seem to find enough in algae….I sometimes throw in corn or bread….any suggestions for feeding?

  4. Hi…I’ve had my koi pond for 12 years. In all that time, there was only one summer when the koi reproduced. SInce then, a heron has depleted my fish population to 4 koi. How can I re balance the ecosystem for the ki to reproduce again????
    Thnak you.

    Elena Healey

    • Good question Elena! First you have to make sure you have both male and female koi in the pond. We touched base on telling your koi apart in an earlier blog: http://wp.me/pgZB4-z9. 3 males to every female is a fair ratio. Your pond water should be balanced and healthy so proper filtration, aeration and maintenance is imperative. Feed your koi a quality fish food to encourage health and activity. Koi will begin breeding when your water temps are 68 degrees or above so if you live in a cooler climate you may want to consider using a pond heater. The female fish will need a place for her eggs to attach for males to properly fertilize them. Fish spawning incubators are available for this purpose. Once the females release their eggs and the males fertilize them you will want to move the parents or isolate them so they do not eat them. It takes a few days for these eggs to hatch. After a few days you will need to begin feeding your new babies as they will have depleted their yolk sacks. Once they are large enough to avoid being eaten you can place them with your other koi.

  5. My experience tells me that people worry too much about managing their pond. If it’s a nice, spring fed pond of good size it will manage itself. Put some catfish in and some bream. Don’t worry about bluegills or bream taking over your pond. Turtles will show up and take care of that. I have three different kinds of turtles in my pond and they just showed up on their own. I have a couple of snapping turtles as big as a garbage can lid. Guaranteed one is 60 years old. Bullfrogs and others will show up as well. The only thing I use is PondClear; and I use it regularly. It is a good product and one of the best on the market.

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