Triploid grass carp are attractive torpedo shaped olive green fresh water fish that will often be seen by the casual observer lounging in shallow waters where they enjoy warm surface temperatures.
While often stocked due to their attractive nature many people who own ponds are also attracted to these fish due to the fact that they are known to eat enormous quantities of underwater plants. By so doing they can serve to keep ponds from being over run and chocked by underwater vegetation.
For those new to pond keeping the Triploid grass carp are known as Triploids due to the fact that they are sterile. This sterility is usually caused by them having three sets of chromosomes rather than the more normal two which fertile fish have.
There are a variety of reasons that scientists create Triploids. These reasons can include preventing them from mingling with wild fish and interbreeding leading to the creation of hybrids. However there is another reason for using Triploids in ponds. These fish do not expend the extra energy that is required for the formation of functioning sexual structures in their bodies. Instead that energy is put aside for growth – which may explain their voracious appetite.
However the use of Triploid grass carp for vegetation control is not without its challenges. Often those new to pond ownership and management are puzzled as to why the grass carp are not performing the clearing miracle that they have become renowned for. With grass carp it often seems like it’s an all or nothing proposition – the result is either a pristine sparkling pond or one where the carp actually seem to under perform significantly.
In the case where the carp are simply not living up to expectations there may be some underlying causes.
The key to stocking grass carp that live up to their reputation is to clearly understand what sorts of vegetation they thrive on – and then stock the right size for the environment. For instance it is well known that Triploid grass carp enjoy softer types of vegetation and will ignore others. this means that the pond can be cleared of unwanted vegetation while still maintaining it’s natural appearance and attractiveness.
This selective feeding is also important because it allows enough vegetation to remain in order to give smaller fish and fry some cover to escape both sun and predators. If Large mouth Bass are a requirement the carp can provide just the sort of environment that is required.
When in doubt an expert should be consulted.
The attractiveness of grass carp for aquatic control of vegetation is twofold. Firstly they do far less harm to the environment than other methods of control such as herbicides. Secondly they are very long lived fish. Some reports put their lifespan at around 20 years – this makes them a very attractive option – it’s a simple case of letting your money work for you over the long time. They represent exceptional return on investment.