Adding Catfish to Our New Pond
We recently added a new pond where our old spring fed creek use to be. Now since it is spring time we want to add fish to the pond, more specifically we are adding channel catfish. We purchased our fish from a reputable hatchery, Tyler Fish Farms Tyler Fish Farms | Tyler, TX Lake Stocking | Fish Hatchery with Texas in Mind | Bass, Catfish, Bluegill, Sunfish, Shad, Minnows. We wanted to add catfish to our pond for recreational fishing and to provide farm raised contaminant free fish to our supper table.
The size of the pond determines how many fish can be accommodated. Overstocking a pond can cause problems with not having enough food available for them to eat as well as having an accumulation of waste. Keep in mind that fish will reproduce and grow quickly. We purchased 100 catfish that were 6-8 inches long. We also purchased minnows to add to the pond for the catfish to eat.
Handling and transporting pond fish can be very stressful for them, so treat them with care. Getting the new fish to the pond is essential in order to produce a healthy fish population. Once you pick up the catfish get them to the pond as quickly as possible because each minute wasted means less oxygen in the water that they are being transported in as well as the temperature of the water being raised. Once at the pond we added our own pond water to the hauling container which help the fish acclimate to the pond water and prevent them from dying from shock. After about 3 minutes we poured the fish out into the pond. We did the same procedure to add the minnows to the pond.
|This is how we bought the fish home from the fish farm: 1 bag of minnows and 2 bags of catfish.|
|The catfish are 6-8 inches long.|
|Adding Catfish to the Pond|
|Adding Catfish to the Pond|
|Adding the Minnows to the Pond|
Catfish will eat both plants and smaller animals. At the beginning the catfish will need to be fed daily, but only as much as they can consume in about 15 minutes. Never overfeed the fish because too much food can deplete the pond water of oxygen and pollute the water. We will feed the catfish a commercial floating pelleted feed daily until the pond becomes more established. When there is a good balance of plants, wildlife and fish there will be plenty of natural foods.
For the catfish to survive, they will also need good quality water. The water we have in our pond is underground spring fed. The spring runs through our farm on its way to a larger river than on to a local lake, which is good because the water in the pond does not become stagnate. We also have a culvert pipe because the pond is filled and keeps receiving fresh water daily and the water travels through the culvert on its way to the river. To keep the catfish from leaving the pond we covered the opening of the culvert with fish netting which allows for the water to flow through but keeps the fish in the pond. We also have an emergency spillway in case of a watershed from a heavy rain. The emergency spillway also leads to the creek.
|The spillway is to the left of the culvert covered with fish netting.|
Most East Texas soils are acidic which causes the pond water to be acidic which can stress out the fish. It is a good idea to have your pond water tested for acidity. If too much acidity is found in your pond water you can always apply agriculture lime over the pond surface which will help to neutralize the pond water. Contact your local cooperative extension agency about how to get your pond water tested.
Ponds need to have phytoplankton, microscopic algae, to support fish. These green algae indicate good pond productivity. Phytoplankton produces oxygen in the water and is also eaten by other animals and insects which in turn feed the catfish.
|The Green Algae or Phytoplankton|
Catfish spawn in dark cave-like holes. That is why many farmers add small cut trees to their ponds so as to provide a structure to aid in catfish spawning.
|A cut tree added to pond to provide covering for fish.|
We are keeping our fingers crossed in hopes of having a good catfish population for fishing and to add to our supper table!