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Best Fish for Duck Pond

 
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What are the best fish to put in a duck pond? I might be asking too much but preferably fish that eat duck poo and that I can eventually eat, or that some other edible fish such as Bluegills will eat. Any tried and true combinations with particular benefits? Thanks!
 
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bottom feeders such as catfish then minnows and crappie or minnows and blue gill are the top choices around here (Arkansas).

While no fish actually eats poop, the catfish will eat lots of things including fish. To take care of the duck poop you want aquatic plants like cattails, bull rushes, papyrus and others.
Trees like weeping willow and bald cypress also do well in such an environment and will help with the nitrogen levels caused by the ducks.

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Large catfish may also take baby ducks, so there's that.
 
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Depending on the size of your pond to the number of ducks, you might not be able to have any fish in there. I have a pretty large pond that my husband had been planning on putting his big catfish in...but my 8-12 ducks got in there, and evaporation occurred, and the pond is waaaay too full of poop and the water to occluded from th e ducks constantly dabbling in the bottom of the pond and bringing up sediment. I'm pretty sure that all that nitrogen would reduce the oxygen levels so that a fish couldn't survive, and really sediment-filled water would be bad for them, too. I'll have to ask my husband, though, as he's the fish expert, not me.

Pond when it was full, It's at least 8 feet deep in many areas.



Pond a few days back:


It only took a year for the pond to get to this point. The ducks are banned from the pond until the fall rains come as the water is just too filthy.

If you want fish and ducks, you could raise the fish separately and feed the duckweed to the ducks. Or have a crazy large filter and do a lot of water changes...and water changes can be stressful on fish. Or only have like 3 ducks on a giant pond...

Another option might be to have other edible animals in you pond. I still have bullfrogs (concidered a delicacy by some and why they got introduced and became invasive) living in my pond and we've also found crayfish in our pond.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Nicole, do you irrigate from that pond? On any property where some water is going toward irrigation, I think it makes sense to put clean water into the pond, and then pump nutrient-rich pond water for irrigation purposes.

Alternatively algae blooms, duckweed, azolla and other flotsam, can be gathered from the surface, and used as fertilizer. Of course sometimes water fowl will get ahead of plant growth. If this happens, the surface plants can only recover in the absence of those waterfowl.

Muck from the pond bottom could be gathered if it gets quite dry.
 
Nicole Alderman
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We've never tried irrigating from the pond, as it's technically protected wetlands (the previous owner dug it--as far as I can tell--illegally, and threw a bunch of concrete and who knows what else down there). So, we generally just try to let the thing be as natural as it can be. I've actually never seen it this low, and this is the fifth year we've been here. We've had hot and dry summers before and it never gotten this low. I don't know if it's the willow drinking it up, or the total lack of rain, or what. I hadn't expected to have the ducks do this much devastation to it, though, so maybe we'll do a "water-change" on it and take out some poop...but we'd need a lot of hoses and a better pump and the electricity to run the pump to suck the nutrient-rich water out, right? We also have a well, and so I'm a little worried about both the electricity and the wear & tear on our well's pump if we were fill that giant pond. Maybe I'm missing something, though. I'd hate to under-utilize all those nutrients in our pond if I don't have to!
 
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How about Koi? Edible,saleable,and resilient.
 
Nicole Alderman
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My husband has been keeping fish for 15+ years. He doesn't think that koi would do well in that kind of set-up. Duck poop produces too much ammonia, and the dissolved solids would get too high. The ducks stirring up sediment could irritate the fishes' gills. A quote from him, "I mean, you could do it, but you're going to need massive filters that completely negate any hope of financial gain."

How big of a pond are you looking at having? How many ducks are you planning to have? How many hours/day would the ducks have access to the pond? How many water changes do you want to do? Willows and other emergent pond side plants, like cattails and wapatos, take up a lot of nitrogen. Another quote from him, "If you had at least 50,000 gallons with only, like, 3 ducks, and lots of plants, maybe you could pull it off. I'm just guessing on numbers, though--you'd have to test the water frequently for nitrates and ammonia. Duck poop is not like fish poop."

It's probably easier to just have two seperate ponds, one for ducks and one for fish. This thread: https://permies.com/t/64634/critters/duck-takes-water has a lot of ideas on different water systems. Ducks don't require that much water, they just need it clean, and sometimes that's easier with smaller ponds/containers. This really depends on your amount of ducks and your species of duck. Muscovies don't require much water, unlike mallards (mallards are most domesticated ducks, such as Peking and Runner ducks).
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:He doesn't think that koi would do well in that kind of set-up. Duck poop produces too much ammonia, and the dissolved solids would get too high. The ducks stirring up sediment could irritate the fishes' gills. A quote from him, "I mean, you could do it, but you're going to need massive filters that completely negate any hope of financial gain."

How big of a pond are you looking at having? How many ducks are you planning to have? How many hours/day would the ducks have access to the pond? How many water changes do you want to do? Willows and other emergent pond side plants, like cattails and wapatos, take up a lot of nitrogen. Another quote from him, "If you had at least 50,000 gallons with only, like, 3 ducks, and lots of plants, maybe you could pull it off. I'm just guessing on numbers, though--you'd have to test the water frequently for nitrates and ammonia. Duck poop is not like fish poop.



Carp is the most common fish used in rice-duck-azolla/duckweed-fish farming methods. The fish don't seem to mind the ducks too much.
 
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You might consider hiring a sludge pump, to remove the fitly water and start out again.
Sludge pumps can handle muddy water, sewerage etc so they are ideal to use in your application. They are usually petrol driven.
If you do empty the dam there may be an opportunity to carry out some maintenance etc while its empty.
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