Evaluating the Potential for Rearing Walleye in Lined Ponds Filled with Well Water

Matthew J. Ward, Nathan A. Pool, Chad R. Haabala, Ryan A. Rasmus

Abstract


Walleye (Sander vitreus) fingerlings (30 to 35 mm) are commonly reared in ponds filled with surface (i.e., lake) water, but the use of ground (i.e., well) water would provide increased biosecurity. We assessed the potential for using well water to rear walleye by comparing plankton and water quality over 30 days between organically fertilized lined ponds that were filled with either unfiltered lake or well water. All ponds were inoculated with plankton that originated from Blue Dog Lake, filled by May 15, 2020, and remained fishless. Zooplankton density and body size were consistently reduced in well ponds suggesting that fry survival and growth would be reduced. Initially, well ponds exhibited higher ammonia-nitrogen and alkalinity, but lower pH owing to the inherent chemistry of the well water. Later, reduced ammonia-nitrogen combined with increased dissolved oxygen and pH suggest that decomposition of the organic fertilizer occurred slower in well ponds. A phytoplankton bloom was successfully initiated but was difficult to maintain despite consistently lower zooplankton density in well ponds. While the use of well water would enhance biosecurity, these data suggest that walleye fingerling production would be reduced relative to lined ponds filled with productive, lake water. Increasing organic fertilizer, supplementing with liquid 28N:0P:0K, and/or filling ponds earlier (e.g., 30 days) may provide a more favorable environment for walleye culture in lined ponds filled with well water.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ast.v9i2.18431

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Copyright (c) 2021 Matthew J. Ward, Nathan A. Pool, Chad R. Haabala, Ryan A. Rasmus

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Aquatic Science and Technology  ISSN 2168-9148

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