We’re receiving increased calls for biological methods to manage aquatic vegetation.  The option—white amur or grass carp.  When determining if your pond is a candidate for these vegetarians, the three most important steps are accurate—plant identification, plant identification, and plant identification!

Like us, grass carp have preferences when looking for something to eat.  They may consume their weight in vegetation daily, but it “must” be a plant they can bite and digest efficiently.  Varieties on the preferred list:  Baby pondweed, brittle niad, bushy pondweed, coontail, curly leafed pondweed, elodes, fanwort, hydrilla, Illinois pondweed, sago pondweed, southern niad, variable leaf pondweed and waterstargrass.  If pickings are slim, they’ll settle for eelgrass, egeria, eurasion milfoil, parrotfeather, or variable leaf watermilfoil.  Grass carp seldom control vegetation the first year.

In Texas, it’s legal to stock only triploid or sterile carp.  They must be obtained via permit issued by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  Stocking rates are seven to 15 fish per acre depending on conditions.  When filing an application, expect to pay two dollars for each fish requested.  White amur can be obtained only from certified dealers.  Approximate cost is $15 each.

Mature grass carp may weigh 35 to 40 pounds.  Life expectancy is eight to 12 years.  Tilapia are a proven biological choice for controlling algae.  They also consume duckweed, but otherwise have fewer menu options.  Call to visit with Chad about the best plan for your vegetation management.