Evaluation of Fertilization Techniques used in Striped Bass, Florida Largemouth Bass, and Smallmouth Bass Rearing Ponds

A study was conducted in 9 striped bass (Morone saxatilis), 7 Florida largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides floridanus), and 6 smallmouth bass (M. dolomieui) rearing ponds to evaluate the effects of various traditional and experimental fertilization regimes utilizing both organic and inorganic fertilizers. No significant differences were found in water quality, zooplankton populations, or fingerling production among any of the fertilization treatments. All treatments produced adequate zooplankton densities for fry survival and growth without detrimental effects on water quality. Low chlorophyll a values revealed inorganic fertilization rates could be increased to enhance phytoplankton production. A significant (P < 0.001) negative relationship between zooplankton densities and chlorophyll a levels suggested zooplankton grazing reduced phytoplankton populations. Fish predation may have reduced zooplankton densities as indicated by a significant (P < 0.001) negative relationship between total crustacean zooplankton and fish yield; however, some factor other than food availability limited fish yield.

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