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Raising Black Crappie in an Above Ground Tank


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#1 centrarchid

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 02:50 PM

I just stocked a roughly 1,200-gallon tank with 100 age-0 Black Crappie that averaged about 1" total length. Four hours later 29 dead and about half that many appear moribund showing signs of "vigor rigor". The tank has a robust bloom of water fleas that will be supplementally fed with alfalfa meal to push for more water flea production. No feeding activity observed among survivors yet. Once crappie come back on feed I will be watching the plankton bloom closely. As bloom crashes feed training will be started using ground freeze-dried krill. For fun, a light will be placed just above surface to concentrate zooplankton and attract night flying insects. Krill will be replaced with a trout feed once crappie start concentrating near light. Will be trying to see how many and how large the Black Crappie will be my end of growing season.

 

Most mortalities appear to be related to a combination of handling and change in water quality from source pond to tank. Extra fish not stocked into tank surviving much better, but still showing some stress. By Friday we will have 100 fish likely to survive as have several thousand in ponds to pull from.

 

We will be feeding training a couple thousand crappie starting in the next couple weeks. They will be larger by time handling starts and ponds will be cooled a few degrees before handling commences.


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#2 centrarchid

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Posted 28 May 2020 - 08:21 AM

Nine additional morts overnight, all replaced shortly after sun up. Remaining fish appear to have been eating well. Crappie swim very little when compared to Bluegill and Largemouth Bass of the same size.


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#3 centrarchid

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Posted 28 May 2020 - 04:02 PM

What is becoming increasingly evident is the crappie are not obviously social under the conditions provided. Cover is limited and forage is super abundant. The fish appear to be randomly distributed and oriented randomly throughout the tank. No sign of schooling or shoal has be observed. I have not been able to discern any distancing behaviors. The fish must be visible to each other at least a couple feet away. I can clearly see them from at least 8 feet looking through water.

 

They appear able to maintain trim in water with very little movement of any fins. At this stage, they appear all about energy conservation. Bluegill or bass under similar conditions would move around much more and obviously interact with each other.


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#4 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 30 May 2020 - 07:27 AM

Is food fish production the ultimate goal here? I look forward to updates.


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#5 centrarchid

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Posted 30 May 2020 - 11:26 AM

Urban style food-fish production. Will be trying to simulate what you do in the big city where getting feeds can be problematic.


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#6 centrarchid

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Posted 31 May 2020 - 07:33 AM

Mortalities still underway. Fish taking on a tannish color are actively feeding and putting on weight. Darker and lighter shades of gray indicate fish not doing well. Moving such small fish did not work well. I wish live BS were offered to get them back on feed quicker, but that not practical for most people.


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#7 centrarchid

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Posted 05 June 2020 - 10:52 AM

Black Crappie now starting to school up. 


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#8 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 05 June 2020 - 01:07 PM

I would like to see some photos of this system if you have the time.


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#9 centrarchid

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 03:43 PM

IMG_2020-06-08_12-48-13.jpeg

 

 

IMG_2020-06-08_12-47-20.jpeg


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#10 centrarchid

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 09:35 AM

Waterfleas totally crashed over last two days. I think they went to producing the larger eggs that sit on bottom for a while. The BC's as of this morning have become more mobile and moving about at a group. They appear to have little or no interest in watermites. There are lots of midge larvae, especially blood worms, although I yet to see the BC's pick those off tank walls. The added BG (n=8) appear to be doing quit well as the readily eat items of the bottom. BG were tank spawned and raised indoors for the last 45 days. The biggest of those are 1.5 inches long so growing on upper end of what BG likely capable of. The BG represent my cultigen / BlueTiger strain so should grow fast. Over next couple days the light will be set up to attract night flying insects.


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#11 centrarchid

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 07:12 AM

Crappie stacking up under a floating mass of filamentous algae. They are eating something small but showing little in the way of gut fill. Bluegill exhibiting strong pecking order with home ranges associated with tank perimeter. Started providing feed by hand about dawn. Even Bluegill not eating it.


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#12 centrarchid

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Posted 22 June 2020 - 07:51 PM

Bluegill doing the vent-present display. At least one of the Bluegill going intermittent brat. The crappie do not appear to have any sort of pecking order or obvious home range, Tank may be too small for that.


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#13 centrarchid

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Posted 23 June 2020 - 07:24 AM

Crappie shifting to feeding off bottom like the Bluegill. Bluegill pulling ahead in terms of growth. Bloodworms represent the bulk of what is consumed. Bloodworm abundance is decreasing. The Bluegill follow me around the tank. Crappie no longer avoiding me. Water continuing to support more phytoplankton. Both water fleas and bloodworms consumed lots of phytoplankton


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#14 centrarchid

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Posted 23 June 2020 - 07:28 AM

Forage abundance is needs to drop further so the BC will develop interest in supplementation. So far, neither species going after insects on surface during the day. I am not seeing dragonfly nymphs either. 


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#15 centrarchid

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 06:51 AM

Crappies now starting to follow me around tank even when not eating pellets that I can see. Turbidity to point I can not see tank bottom. Elevated nest placed for Bluegill in hopes of getting a spawn off.


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#16 UncleWillie

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 07:19 AM

This have been interesting to read, but like many others I have nothing of value to contribute.  Thanks for creating this journal of sorts! So are you anticipating the ~60 day old YOY bluegill to spawn already?  What size are they?


Willie P
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#17 centrarchid

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 08:50 AM

They were 90 day old and considerably larger than fish I had breed at 110 days. The are either not using nest sites I provided or have not begun spawning. Based on prior experience, all should be good to get spawning underway.

 

Crappie now feeding at surface and striking sinking feed. They are growing fast although feed responsible for very little of that growth. The crappie appear to be consuming mostly in-falling insects.


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