Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin
Minnow and carp family - cyprinidae, pp. 415-605 ff. PDF (93.4 MB)
Fathead Minnow 605 When St. Louis encephalitis, in epidemic propor- tions, precipitated serious concern throughout most of Illinois in the summer and fall of 1975, the fathead minnow, the blackstripe topminnow, and the golden shiner were recommended as possible natural con- trols against its vector, the mosquito (P. W Smith 1975). In recent years, the fathead minnow has been used in Minnesota for mosquito control. Eddy and Under- hill (1974:249), writing of the program in the St. Paul- Minneapolis area, observed: . . . The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District has aban- doned insecticides and has stocked these minnows in the sloughs, ponds, and ditches where mosquitoes breed. The minnows have been successful in reducing the populations of larval mosquitoes in these areas to a satisfactory abate- ment level. Because the shallow depth of many ponds re- sults in frequent winterkills, those ponds will require con- tinued stocking, but the cost will probably be less than that for chemical controls and will eliminate any possible side effects from insecticides. The program provides us with a good example of biological pest control. In Iowa, Konefes and Bachmann (1970) suggested introducing fathead minnow fry into one or more ter- tiary holding ponds whose water source is the ef- fluent of a sewage treatment plant. Such effluent wa- ters, after having received primary and secondary treatment (trickling filters), still contain high concen- trations of plant nutrients, such as nitrates, am- monia, and phosphorus. Huggins (1969) found that when the effluent water passes through several ponds arranged in a series, the water quality progres- sively improved; the final pond released into the re- ceiving stream or downstream reservoir a discharge water from which significant amounts of nutrients had been removed and unwanted algal blooms di- minished. Since the chemical elements in the holding ponds are the same as the fertilizers purchased by fish cul- turists and dispersed by them in their ponds to in- crease minnow productivity, tertiary ponds inher- ently save the cost of the fertilizer. If fathead minnows are stocked to holding ponds where they will be able to feed on the algae produced in the nutrient-rich wa- ters, and where they can reproduce and grow to adult size, they will be converting effluent nutrients into minnow flesh. As the fathead minnows are har- vested, the organic load within the tertiary ponds will be reduced. Also, the moneys earned from the minnow sale might be used to help offset the costs of construction and maintenance of the tertiary ponds. Konefes and Bachmann observed that the use of such ponds for fathead minnow production seems to be a viable approach toward both environmental preser- vation and conservation of natural resources. In Wisconsin, from 45 kg (100 lb) of fathead min- nows stocked in a sewage treatment pond in White- hall (Trempealeau County) over 3,270 kg (7,200 Ib) of fatheads were harvested in 3.5 months (A. Oehmcke, pers. comm.). Sewage ponds are currently being used as holding ponds for feeding-out muskellunge fry prior to stocking (see p. 412). The propagation of the fathead minnow has a rich literature. Details of propagation have been outlined in Hasler et al. (1946), Markus (1934), Dobie et al. (1956), Hedges and Ball (1953), Forney (1957), and Prather (1957b and 1958). In one study (Lord 1927), the production of fatheads was recorded as 505,000 fish at approximately 133 kg/ha (202,000 fish and 119 lb/acre).
Copyright 1983. The entirety of this book is available for viewing by the public as an Open Access text through the cooperative efforts of George Becker, the University of Wisconsin Press, and the UWDCC. This Work is copyrighted to the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Any use of this material falling outside the purview of "Fair Use" requires the permission of the University of Wisconsin Press.