POND CULTURE

Pond culture is a very popular aquaculture production method with many aquatic species cultured in ponds. To have successful pond production, ponds must be properly sited and built, with careful assessment of water availability, quantity, and quality. There are two main types of pond systems: watershed and levee systems.

The climate and topography of the region in which you are located will determine which type of pond system is appropriate. Areas that have enough rainfall to fill and keep ponds filled will be more suited to watershed pond systems. In an area where the main water source is groundwater, then a levee pond may be more suitable .

Watershed Pond Systems

With both watershed and levee ponds systems, it is critical to properly site the pond. Soil type, topography, characteristics of the watershed, water quality, access to utilities (electricity and roads), and safety all need to be considered. Soil type will determine how well the ponds will hold water; clay and clay-silt type soils are preferred for ponds because they prevent leakage. Knowing the soil type and characteristics is a key step in determining where and what type of pond you should build. Having the soil analyzed can sometimes be done by contacting your local office of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The availability of water and the quality of the water will also help determine where and what type of ponds should be built. The topography will determine the amount and direction of the surface water flow. Additionally, it is important to consider that run-off water may contain contaminants from the areas it passes over. Watershed systems are used frequently because ofthe availability of water and the quality of the water will also help determine where and what type of ponds should be built.

The topography will determine the amount and direction of the surface water flow. Additionally, it is important to consider that run-off water may contain contaminants from the areas it passes over. Watershed systems are used frequently because of the availability of water and the lower costs of not having to pump water. However, it is essential to contact your local Cooperative Extension staff to help you get an accurate assessment of the soil and the water quality before investing in building ponds. availability of water and the lower costs of not having to pump water. However, it is essential to contact your local Cooperative Extension staff to help you get an accurate assessment of the soil and the water quality before investing in building ponds.

Levee Pond Systems

Levee ponds are typically suitable for flat land areas where there is insufficient water from the watershed to fill the ponds. These are quite common throughout the Mississippi Delta region where tens of thousands of acres of ponds are used for culturing catfish (Steeby and Avery 2002). Groundwater is the typical water source for levee pond systems because of availability and the low likelihood of containing contaminants such as diseases, other fish, high levels of nutrients, or pesticides (Avery 2010). Water quality is a key factor in any culture system, and it is very important to determine the availability and quality of the water before investing in a production system.

Pond production levels and life expectancies are greatly affected by how the ponds are constructed and what type of soil they are built on. It is essential to have a percentage of clay in the soil to prevent water from leaking from the pond. Having your soil analyzed can sometimes be done by contacting your local office of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Shape is another consideration when building levee pond systems, as a production pond needs to be a shape that allows for feeding and harvesting the fish easily . The most common shape is a rectangle. The orientation of the pond should also be considered to avoid damaging winds and to allow for proper drainage . It is helpful to contact your local Cooperative Extension staff to assist you in obtaining accurate information on water quality and pond design before investing in these production systems.