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Fish that Eat Plants

Grass carp, White amur, Grass minnow, Nile perch, Ctenopharyngodon idella

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What’s in a name?

These fish are in the common carp family & are one of the world’s largest minnows. Perhaps we should call them Grass Minnows. They are originally from the Amur River in Siberia & China. 

 

Size 

They grow rapidly; 10 inches a year when well fed. They reach 20 pounds / 24 inches long by their third year. 

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Appetite

They eat plants; lots of plants. As youngsters, they can eat five times their body weight daily! As adults they still can eat 100% of their body weight each day during the warm weather.

 

What does triploid mean?

Triploid grass carp (the only ones permitted in Florida) have three sets of chromosomes (instead of the normal two) which render them sterile. Fish hatcheries follow a simple procedure to the sterilize the fish eggs. Grass carp are regulated by the Fish & Wildlife Commission (FWC).

Triploid Grass Carp Permit | FWC (myfwc.com)

 

Would grass carp help my lake?

Yes, if your lake has Hydrilla, Duckweed or other invasive plants the fish likes to eat. Adding grass carp to your lake is called a biological control. We use one organism to control another.

 

Certain plants, usually invasive / exotic species such as Hydrilla have no natural enemies in Florida. These plants can make your lake unusable & easily spread to other lakes. It’s in everyone's interest to eliminate these plants. Grass carp are an excellent solution to specific weed problems like this.

 

Plants are a natural part of all lakes. Underwater vegetation provides habitat for feeding, reproduction & shelter for many species of fish, amphibians, reptiles & birds. Fisheries biologists recognize that healthy, balanced lakes have about 30% of the lake covered with plants. Eliminating all plants is never a sustainable goal.

 

How do I get grass carp?

The FWC requires a grass carp permit. If your lake has escape routes, you are required to install a fish barrier (to lock the fish in) before your permit is issued. Consent of all waterfront property owners is also required prior to permitting. If the pond is owned entirely by your homeowner’s association, the permit is easy.

 

Fussy eaters

Grass carp eat a lot, but they have distinct tastes. They have to be on the verge of starvation before they will eat plants they don’t like.  Their feeding preferences change as they mature. 

 

Stocking grass carp is an excellent solution if your lake is overgrown with one of the top eight plants below. It is a long-term, cost-effective strategy for a healthy lake. 

 

Beautiful Ponds will secure the permit, build the fish barrier & stock the fish. Contact Beautiful Ponds to discuss your lake weed problems with an expert. 

Favorite Food 

Duckweed

Elodea

Hydrilla

Musk-Grass, Chara

Pondweed

Slender Spikerush

Southern Naiad

Widgeon-grass

Sometimes Eaten

Filamentous Algae

Bladderwort

Coontail

Eelgrass

Fanwort

Maidencane

Naiad, Marine

Nitella

Salvinia

Soft rush

Spikerush

Torpedo grass

Water-meal 

Rarely eaten

Alligator-Weed

American Lotus

Azolla

Baby-tears

Bacopa

Bog-Moss

Bulrush

Burhead Sedge

Cattail

Common Arrowhead

Duck-Potato

Frog's-bit

Hygrophila

Knotgrass

Limnophila

Para grass

Parrot's-feather

Pennywort

Pickerelweed

Red Ludwigia

Sawgrass

Sedges

Smartweed

Spatterdock

Water-hyacinth

Water-lettuce

Water-lily    

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Contact Beautiful Ponds for more information about grass carp or plant control.