Nebraska Pond Management - Second Edition

Access digital copies of guides and regulations publications from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Issue link: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/605475

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Page 39 of 95

38 • Nebraska Game and Parks Commission T he natural foods of fish are either produced in the pond, washed in by rain, or fall into the pond. Food produced in the pond has its origins in the nutrients found in the pond. A variety of plants, from microscopic algae to rooted plants, use these nutrients to grow. In turn, the plant material can be eaten by microscopic zooplankton or aquatic insects. These organisms are then eaten by bluegills and young bass. Bigger bass may then eat these smaller fish. Bass will also eat other items, such as crayfish and frogs, which also rely on plant material and insects in the pond for food. A pond has a series of food chains, or more accurately a food web, that starts with nutrients in the watershed and ultimately ends with big fish. Small fish concentrate the energy taken from the food they eat and, in return, become a high-energy food for larger fish. A pond will support 5 to 10 times as many pounds of bluegills as it does bass because bluegills are lower on the food chain. Much like a pasture can only support so many cattle, or a garden can only grow so many vegetables, a pond can only support a certain biomass, or weight, of fish. A pond will achieve its maximum carrying capacity about 3 to 4 years after it is initially stocked. Without supplemental feeding, an average pond in Nebraska supports about 250 pounds of fish per acre: about 190 pounds of bluegill, 35 pounds of bass, and 25 pounds of catfish and/ or other species. Once the carrying capacity is reached, fish growth rates decline. Individual populations can be ENVIRONMENTAL MODIFICATIONS The total weight of fish that a pond can support is called the carrying capacity. AQUATIC FOOD CHAIN AQUATIC FOOD CHAIN 1,000 pounds microscopic animals 10,000 pounds microscopic plants one pound largemouth 10 pounds - bluegill 100 pounds small fish food items

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