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I am starting a recirculating system and will be feed training redear sunfish. My goal is to see how different factors effect redear learning to eat pellets.

My design includes 3 90 gallon tanks for the fish, one 400 gallon as a partial filter, and a yet to be completed stacked tower filter with bio barrels that breakdowns harmful chemicals that are produced by the fish waste.

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That's extremely interesting. Am I correct in saying that redear sunfish are more difficult to feed train than standard bluegill? I think it's safe to say that you could grow some huge redear sunfish in small ponds if you could get them to take pelleted feed. Thanks for starting this discussion Csteel!
The best thing is that I will have a pond for them to go into some time this year. I will be able to see how they do by themselves. I may use HSB to control reproduction.
Redears can grow to huge proportions. I think that your research is going to be very valuable to people who love really big redears. It would be interesting to feed train some redears and raise them side by side with feed trained bluegill and see which one performs the best. I'll bet that's never been done.
That would be a interesting experiment. I could get an average length for the redear and then buy some bluegill that are of similar size.

I could also brake down the fish into length classes and then buy bluegill accordingly. I that would be a better idea.
I would love to see the progress you make on this. Especially if you let me go fishing in your pond lol. I think its great what you are doing, if I had the space, Lord knows I have the time for something like this. Please keep us updated!
I will keep it updated. I met the guy that takes care of the aquariums at a state park just outside of town and he said he want's some. It will be interesting to see how big they get.
Hello CSteel , and everybody else around here :-)

This post is how I found this spot, so might as well post to it.
I was looking for growth rates for bluegill,redear,longear,,,. I was planning to use them in a Aquaponics setup growing salad greens. Might be something to look at CSteel. for more info http://www.northernaquafarms.com/knowledgelibrary/index.html
I will keep checking back on your progress , where bouts you located in this big ole world ?
Welcome Terry. Tomorrow I will check one of my books to see some typical growth rates for those species.

I am in Central Arkansas.
Here you go Terry.

This info is from the "Fishes of Missouri" book. Since you are in Texas I would expect at least an additional 1/2-1 inch of growth per year.

Bluegill
Age 1 Size 2.2 in.
Age 2 Size 4.6 in.
Age 3 Size 5.7 in.
Age 4 Size 6.2 in.
Age 5 Size 6.4 in.

The sizes are from fish collected in ponds.

Redear Sunfish
Age 1 Size NA
Age 2 Size 4.3 in.
Age 3 Size 6 in.
Age 4 Size 6.9 in.
Age 5 Size 7.5 in.
Age 6 Size 8.1 in.

The sizes are from fish collected in Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee.

Longear Sunfish
Age 1 Size 1.3 in.
Age 2 Size 2.5 in.
Age 3 Size 3.6 in.
Age 4 Size 4.3 in.
Age 5 Size 4.8 in.
Age 6 Size 5 in.

The sizes are from fish collected in Missouri streams.
Hey thanks alot, that gives me some figures to work with. My thinking is that growing in controlled conditions with regular feed, it should be possible to get some good growth rates.
I'm on your side of Texas by the way, maybe 2 hours or so south west of Texarkana.
I forgot about the aquaponics setup. I bet that the first year or two you could get close to double the growth rates in your system compared to a regular pond.

If you know of a source for Longear let me know. I would like to try them in my pond.

My property is Northeast of Paris,Tx.
About the Aquaponics, after looking at your photos, the round tank on the bottom looks alot like the plant tanks I seen in this file, you should give it a look.

www.vsb.cape.com/~nature/greencenter/pdf/zweig.pdf

I know from trial and error with my koi pond, that plants growing in the water can make a Big difference on water quality. About a week after I put some foot tall elephant ears in my sediment filter my pond water went from 2-3 inch visible to all the way to the bottom of 3 ft.. I am planning on getting some pictures and putting some info together on the filter system I have put together. Best of all, its put together with stuff you can get at the dollor store. If you meant Bio-balls, when talking about your filter, a very cheap alternative is the cap off bottled water, or other drink bottles, I use the cap and the plastic ring that holds it on. They work great for bacteria media.

I don't know of any hatcheries that sell longears, but I think every cow pond around here has some in it. The way I am planning on stocking my system the first round will be "bream" I can catch with a baittrap like the one I discribed in another post here about "Catching prespawning bluegills". Don't know about the "Bait trapping laws" in your area, but it could be an option, if you know of a place you can catch them.

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