EXTENSION CONNECTION: Fish ponds management made simple

Published: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 03:31 PM.

Since I have an animal science degree, I like to think the pond is the pasture and fish are the livestock.

That is, the pond must grow enough forage/food for the fish. The more fish you harvest from the pond, the more forages the pond must grow.

Just like in a pasture situation, there are good forages and there are weeds (plants we don’t want in the pond).

There are plenty of good pond plants that fish use for food and shelter. There also are a few invasive plants, so learning how to identify those "weeds" is important.

After properly identifying the weed, learn how to treat it. In many cases, herbicides are unnecessary. Very often, grass carp or simply adding a pond dye will take care of minor issues.

Fish, like livestock, produce fertilizer for plants in the pond. If you have a light harvest of fish from the pond, you probably don’t need to fertilize the pond. If you plan to harvest fish regularly, you may decide to fertilize the pond.

If you decide to fertilize this year, continue fertilizing it in the future as the fish population will come to depend on regular fertilization. Don't fertilize ponds if commercial fish feed is used, in muddy or weedy ponds, or in ponds where fish populations are out of balance.

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