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The following blog will document the introduction of a new pelleted feed for a specific group of bluegill. Eventually the brand and formulation will be revealed.

Food "A" has been in use for a group of bluegill for 1 year. These bluegill are currently age-1 and age-2. The fish grow well on food "A", and seem to eat vigorously.

Food "B" is the feed that we wish to convert to.

Food "B" was delivered to my house at 1:30 p.m. today. The feed was then brought to the farm.

Examination of Food "B" reveals that it is darker in color, and has a "richer" smell for lack of a better term. I brought the feed to the pond with the bluegill. The first toss of food was at 3:00 p.m., which is a normal feeding time for these fish. Some minor feeding activity took place, but it was clear that the fish were unaccustomed to the particular feed. The hits were more tentative. I would rate the overall feeding event at 25% of normal.

This was not unexpected, as bluegill do become used to their particular feed, and typically require an adaptation period. Quite honestly I was impressed that they took as much as they did, given the fact that the fish are being fed to satiation every day. The most recent feeding was today at 8 a.m., so these fish clearly aren't hungry.

Current water temperature was 75 F., pH was 7.9, and dissolved oxygen was 8 ppm. Secchi reading was 22 inches.

More information as it becomes available.

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Comment by Bruce Condello on September 30, 2008 at 8:58pm
Water temps have crept up almost to 70 in the last few days, and finally, FINALLY the bluegill are starting to hit "Food B" more consistently. They took a full handful today.

Just for the heck of it, I took a pellet imitation fly and threw it into the feeding.

To my shock, what nails it???

Yep, it was a shellcracker, of all things!

Nearly swallowed it. I think this is a good sign. After watching for a while I'm convinced that there were almost as many redear sunfish as bluegill in this particular feeding. Very fun.
Comment by Bruce Condello on September 28, 2008 at 7:26am
Absolutley no doubt about it.

Bluegill love Food "B" if it's smashed into a million pieces. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the size is much more appropriate for fish in the 4-5 inch range.

Yes, some of them can handle the bigger pellet, but it must be a little uncomfortable for them, because the smashed pellets are taken agressively.

I've been taking an old tube sock, putting the pellets in the sock and having at it with a hammer. Then I run the pellets througha seive, and what makes it through goes to the little guys.

Hopefully they'll grow a lot in the next month so I don't have to go through this process.
Comment by Bruce Condello on September 24, 2008 at 10:01pm
Well, some of the smaller fish have been brought indoors for feed training, and it's been going very slowly. Food "B" is generally rejected by the fish, while Food "A" is accepted readily. I did however notice an amazing exception. If I take Food "B" and hit it a few times with a hammer, the fish suddenly become very interested in it. I'm not sure if it's due to the fact that some of the flavor is now released? Maybe? There's also a chance that the outside of the pellet is coated with something the fish are having a hard time getting used to. A third possibility would be that the fish simply want a smaller size pellet. I will have to research this much further. The water temps were in the 62-64 degree F. range.
Comment by Bruce Condello on September 12, 2008 at 5:21am
No, it's a .15 acre pond, but it's so heavily aerated that cold nights equals cold water. i've thought about going to all evening feedings for now to take advantage of the warmer temps.
Comment by Theo Gallus on September 11, 2008 at 7:11pm
Is this the new, small mini-pond?
Comment by Bruce Condello on September 11, 2008 at 10:59am
Yes, Bill. I'm using Food A in all of the ponds, and the overall feeding enthusiasm has definitely dropped. I'm hoping that's all it is.

Theo my water temps are lower, and overall more erratic in my the experimental pond because of heavier aeration. Some of my ponds haven't seem temps over 65 degrees in days, but my big pond is still hovering around 68-70 degrees F.
Comment by Theo Gallus on September 11, 2008 at 8:13am
"Examination of Food "B" reveals that it is darker in color, and has a "richer" smell for lack of a better term."
We've secretly replaced Bruce's fish food with rich Folger's Crystals.

Your water temps are down in the lower 60's already? Whew! I'm still hitting the mid to upper 70's here in the afternoons.
Comment by Bill Cody on September 11, 2008 at 6:34am
Bruce, Are you using old style Food A to feed BG in your OTHER ponds. If yes what has been their response to Food A during this introductory period? My BG and perch feeding activity will decrease when the water is experiencing a cooling of temps in late summer. It seems the faster the temp decrease the more the feeding will slow down until the water temp stabilizes somewhat and fish adjust to the new lower temp. However, the reverse seems to happen in the spring when water temps increase and the feeding activity seems to increase as fast as the water temps increase. Some of this could be due to the fish being more hungry and with less fat reserves in spring after winter. Reverse is probably true in fall when fish have good fat reserves and can easily miss a few meals. As cold blooded animals fish, may have an easier time adjusting to warming temps as compared to decreasing temps.
Comment by Bruce Condello on September 10, 2008 at 6:47pm
Once again today "Food B" was introduced to fish that were being slightly underfed. This process of conversion is VERY, VERY gradual. Evidently if a bluegill uses a particular feed for two years, they are slow to change to a new flavor. It seems to be happening.
Comment by Bruce Condello on September 7, 2008 at 9:18pm
Sorry folks, about this boring thread, but it's going somewhere. It just might take a year to get there...

Anyway, the water temps were a chilly 63 F. this morning and the feeding was similarly chilly. As the afternoon wore on the fish became a little more active and "Food B" was gradually being accepted. I still think that it's maybe 50-75 percent of a typical feeding for this water temperature, but I'm going to keep hammering away.

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