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Mussels in the Pond

06/16/2012 11:44 AM

I have a small pond on my property that due to the heavy rains in Florida seems to always be somewhat muddy looking.

A friend of mine who claims to know this and that about this and that, suggested I add mussels to help clear it up.

Since I live 1/2 mile from Florida's largest river, I grabbed a couple dozen of them yesterday and threw them in.

Anyone have any experience here?

Have I screwed the pooch or helped the pond?

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#1

Re: Mussels in the pond

06/16/2012 11:53 AM

From:

January 2007 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Management Leaflet Number 46

"As natural filter feeders, freshwater mussels strain

out suspended particles and pollutants from the water

column and help improve water quality. Some mussels

can filter up to 10 gallons of water per day, which

helps to improve water quality for other animals, including

humans."

My initial reaction was, I wouldn't do it. I guess other animals eat them, too, so maybe it's a good thing.

Do you have any fish in it?

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#2

Re: Mussels in the pond

06/16/2012 12:27 PM

Ahh reminds me of the good old days, when the three-ridge pigtoe's ran free....

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#16
In reply to #2

Re: Mussels in the pond

06/17/2012 3:07 PM

As a boy growing up here in Florida I used to hike and fish the countryside...I can tell you it has changed a bit...From what I can remember crawfish are usually found in ponds with muddy banks, and rare... All ponds have fish....Never seen clams or mussels in a pond...Some ponds that are kept and maintained on peoples property are stocked with goldfish(cheap), coy(expensive) or mudfish(cheap), these are both mouth breathers I think and require no aeration of the water, but they must be fed...I have seen these fish get to close to a couple of feet in length even in a tiny pond....Lily pads are excellent for pollution control, have beautiful flowers, but must be harvested often....

http://www.asilakemanagement.com/services/electrofishing-fish-stocking

Gambusia...

http://pureflorida.blogspot.com/2008/05/pond-rescue.html

http://www.fish-journal.com/2011/08/goldfish.html

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Mussels in the pond

06/17/2012 9:55 PM

Nice website for aquaculture enthusists.

Your mudfish is a Bowfin or Choupique in Cajun Culture. The females have eggs that can and are used for caviar. YUK!

The fish itself grows to 20 lbs plus and is a bodacious fighter on a fishing pole. The meat is used to make Choupique Fish Patties.YUM!

Koi are expensive fish to purchase, but they are of the carp family and are very hardy. They can live in water with little oxygen.

Back in the Day when i was working with a Japanese net company, I heard of a matching pair of Tosai Koi ( late 1990's) that went for $75,000 per fish and were show cased with a guard and insured by Loyds of London. ..............go figure...today those fish would be 3/4 Mil $$$.

Florida is a very beautiful state with lots of wonderful wildlife. My favorite is still the Cave crawfish that live in the St. John Aquifer. they are reported to live over 100 years old due to their extra sloooow metabolism. One of the "holes" that you have to access the aquifer is on state property and is fenced in. It is no more than a crack in the earth a few feet wide, covered in grass and weeds. You have to lower your scuba gear down first and then go in after....very tight. I hope no one ever buys the dang property and accidently bull dozes the entrance.

Same type situation out in New Mexico....way out in the desert.They have very rare cave fish. Imagine, ice cold and oxygenated water running under all of that blistering hot and dry desert.

...or so I've been told.

Nice pictures.

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#3

Re: Mussels in the pond

06/16/2012 12:41 PM

They like cool, clear, flowing water high in oxygen and minerals. The survival of the ones in your pond will most likely depend on how different the pond is from the river from which they were taken. Do you know what species of mussel you put in the pond?

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Mussels in the pond

06/16/2012 2:24 PM

I harvested them from the St John's river. It has an elevation change of 1/4" per mile...so it barely flows. The water is the color of North Carolina tea.

My pond has minnows in it and they seem to thrive. Wood Storks are constant attendees as well (probably eating frogs (and now mussels) and such).

Don't know what species they are. They're small and black.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Mussels in the pond

06/16/2012 3:29 PM

Since they are stationary they need a little current to deliver their meals. Being small they might make it though.

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#7
In reply to #4

Re: Mussels in the pond

06/16/2012 8:44 PM
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#9
In reply to #4

Re: Mussels in the pond

06/16/2012 9:40 PM

How big is this pond? LXWXD

Do you want to raise some fish in it or just keep it pretty looking?

By 'tea' colored is that with cream and sugar or just 'black'? No joke, there is a reason behind this......

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#6

Re: Mussels in the Pond

06/16/2012 5:41 PM

A saltwater Rangia Clam put into an aquarium will filter about 30 gallons per day through its system.

A big ol' oyster ( pre-BP) will filter about 50 gallons a day.

I have used and have seen certain aquaculture opertions ( as well as large aquariums) use mussels to clean the water.

With that said, a turbid pond with less than 6-8 inches of visibility may be dirty for another reason.

Crawfish ( there are about 150-200 species just in N.A) will make your pond extremely muddy and no amount of filtration will settle it. Florida has numerous species including one species of extra rare Troglodytes that lives in aquifer caves and is stone white.

Clams clean up small bits of organic matter ( detritus). NOT MUD. They will have little effect on your clarity. IN fact, if your pond is muddy from run off or other critters, the extra mud will KILL the clams and you'll have other issues to deal with. If your pond has crawfish they will continue to disturb sediment until later fall or winter.

One the other side, if your pond gets muddy after a rain you just have run-off and sediment. Except for some expensive landscaping, this will always happen as it is just physics.... sediment floats off with rain water.

Putting clams in your pond , especially clams that you did not purge with some type of copper based medications, will more than likely put your pond in danger of all sorts of nasty critters that live on their shells. the worst one I can think of is the Hook worm. If you have fish in the pond, take note of reddish circles located on their bodies....dime size or smaller. At the center will be a Hook Worm.

There are others ( nematodes and trematodes) that come from sea gulls, pelicans and other critters that eat fish and poop out the eggs and larvae.

The clams will more than likely die off if the water gets stagnant and does not move at all. IF you have procambarus clarkii ( red swamp crawfish) or the bigger Zoonangulus crawdads... they may take care of your snails for you.

One option is an small aeration system referred to as a Diffuser aerator. It is like an oversized aquarium pump. It has a small motor/ compressor on the bank and an air line that runs into the pond at its deepest part. Air bubbles come up from the diffuser part ( weighted ceramic or pvc block) and makes a steady stream of bubbles. The bubbles expand twice their size every 10 feet of water or so. As they come up they make a donut shaped current , sucking water from all around the edges of your pond and bringing this water to the middle. The system will aerate a 1/2 acre pond in about a week or so. some amount of clarity and really good 0xygen levels will make your fish eat and grow extra fast.

water clears somewhat , as sediment is forced to move and fall back to the pond bed. the air bubbles JUST pull water...not the mud. the false current just moves the sediment that is free floating around. Like using Shock and Drop Out to Flock a swimming pool.

Skip the pretty Blow the water in air/fountain look. It takes more electricty to blow water into the air than it does to subtly move it by bubbles. IN my meager and uneducated career, diffusers won out over fountain blowers in every non commercial pond we worked with. ** The huge catfish ponds of the Delta used Tractor PTO's and paddle wheels** You just do not want to go there**

Anyway, i am NOT an expert on anything...I've just been around a lot of water and fish. I am NOT a biologist.

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: Mussels in the Pond

06/16/2012 8:56 PM

Don't sell yourself short.

Your post sounds authoritative to me.

Nobody could make that up!

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: Mussels in the Pond

06/16/2012 9:57 PM

Agreed. Boy am I glad you showed up netmaker, exactly what I was "fishing" for.

Not trying to have fish, they arrived unannounced.

Just a little shoreline to relax beside under an old oak tree in the evening.

I don't put any chemicals on my property, so runoff (which is the pond water supply) is clean.

I dug it out with my tractor (it's a John Deere so it dug real good) last year so it wouldn't run dry in the winter. It's a little muddy cloudy, but seems to be "healthy. It clears some when the t-storms subside somewhat.

I just thought the Mussels might help me focus.

Thanks for your comments !!

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Mussels in the Pond

06/16/2012 11:08 PM

Your fish come in with the storks and any herons ( big ol' blue birds) as well as Snowy egrets ( white and plummy).

My guess; Fathead minnows and Gambusia ( mosquito fish)...Good mix.

Bull Frogs are probably what you see in the small sizes. they attract the birds as well as water snakes ( diamond back water snakes).

You will probably see some masses of tiny black fish in the Spring....Bullheads. They can cause a lot of sediment to stir up but will deal with your crawfish population. they turn yellow black and eat ANYTHING that moves!

Black, tea looking water is from the leaves on the Oak. They do not rot under water for years but they do leach tanic acid which make for low oxygen and the black clear look you probably get once in awhile. Sediment run off is just a natural cycle....no worries on water clarity.

As for chemicals, if you have lawn/yard run off from any neighborhood yards, you'll have amonia, nitrates and nitrites anyway. That can fertilize algae.

Caution should be the word IF your pond should ever have a Blue-Green algae bloom. while not overly dangerous to humans, the B-G algae does produce toxins that can kill a dog or cat that drinks from the water. Scientists still debate how toxic, but my limited experience with such things is that it will seriously harm small animals. Just FYI.... not a scare tactic.

A couple of big ol' lily pads will enhance the look and keep the sunlight from growing any underwater uglies like "Coon tail and Hydrillia". It'll give the frogs a place to sing and the little fish a place to hide from the birds.

** St. John River location......keep your grass cut very close. You all have the beginnings of an Exotic snake infestation like in the Glades. Not real bad yet but they are in the delta of that system. Any loose Anacondas will find your pond just as attractive as you do, especially if your pond is the only one around.....they don't like chemicals either and will by-pass your 40K gallon swimming pool for a Mother Nature pond like yours.

Just FYI............

enjoy your pond . Whatever grows there will be natural and if that is what you like, just let it do what it will do. I'm just playing devil's advocate. ha ha ha

Any serious things happen, PM me and I'll hook you up with some folks who know a Poop- pile more than I do.

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Mussels in the Pond

06/17/2012 9:52 AM

Thanks for that info. netmaker.

I shouldn't have any algae blooms from lawn chemicals. I don't put any on my lawn, and it's a pretty good tractor ride to the closest neighbor.

The pond gets limited sunlight, as it winds through some large trees. Maybe full sunlight for 2 hours per day, followed by total shade after noon.

I'll keep a eye out for those encroaching exotic snakes. I have plenty of 00 buckshot for them. The ultimate in fun on a Sunday afternoon.

I bush-hog my property every week, no place for critters to hide.

Again, thanks for your help !

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: Mussels in the Pond

06/17/2012 12:30 PM

No problems ol' buddy. Enjoy the peace and Quiet.

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#12
In reply to #6

Re: Mussels in the Pond

06/16/2012 11:22 PM

netmaker,

You're going to have to work harder proving you're "NOT an expert"! Thanks for sharing the knowledge.

I learn something today that relates to your signature line "There is no recall from extinction." The variety of species of mussels around Kentucky and Tennessee has decreased from 130 to 29. Whether it is over-fishing, pollution, erosion or dams, we are obviously screwing up these fragile creatures habitat.

I also learned that they have a complex reproductive cycle that involves a temporary parasitic stage where they attach to a fish's gills.

Best of all I found the informative story 'Russell the Mussel' to share with the kids!

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: Mussels in the Pond

06/17/2012 12:29 PM

I've got some gear leaving out of here next week for the KDFW up in Frankfort. They are studying crappie YOY ( young of the year) in your many beautiful lakes.

Yep, polution , even a little bit, has helped kill off lots of species of critters.

Take care.

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