Where is the weirs

I have long argued for more small natural weirs to be placed in some waterways to hold back water in the creeks throughout the dryer months , especially the Cooriemungle and Scots creeks, this would allow enough water to sustain blackfish and other small fish until the rains came again.

This could be achieved with fallen logs or rocks and would cause minimal damage to surrounding riparian vegetation .

This is good example it was probably constructed when the original bridge was built to slow the water during construction.

I don’t think it looks bad in the environment, moss and algae grow over it and it blends in quite well.

One of the arguments against weirs is that they would constrict flow for other species , I say what other species.

 

Hatchery

I have been asked on several occasions now that I should start a hatchery here at the farm, firstly there are several different types of hatchery , without going to boring detail  you have open systems and closed system and a variety in between .

To breed a fish you first need to understand that fish and sadly we know very little about blackfish breeding

In my experience if you take the eggs off the fish minder( the litriture says thats the male fish) the eggs  die, so if we don’t know that how can we start a hatchery .

The very definition of a hatchery is to breed fish, so how can we breed fish when we know so little about them , that’s born out by the recent trials by Travis Howson who is filming the fish in the wild to try and ascertain just what does go on during mating.

It is a disgrace that after nearly two hundred years of knowing of these fish we know so very little about them , where is fisheries, growing trout , a blow in from Europe, what about native fish , where is there concern for this very Australian fish.

I am Australian to my boot straps and I will not see this fish disappear on my time here.

Trout it seems can be released anywhere you like, they have recently released a tiger trout into lake Purrumbete how long before this fish is in the Curdies river killing remnant blackfish.

Below is a short video of a blackfish taking a yabby , have a look at the colours and notice the similarities to Murray cod . if Murray cod are legends of the north then blackfish are like the ghost fish of eastern Australia .

Do we seriously want to lose this fish . if the policies of the managers of our waterways dont start to give their full attention to these fish I can only conclude that they want to troutafy the state of Victoria to the detriment of all other native fish.

Believe me i am on the phone to local and federal Government people all the time but they dont seem to care.

 

 

Grub time

One of the foods that Blackfish like is grubs this type of grub are found in dead or dying wood , they like them either as grubs or later on as moths , they have several common names so I wont bother trying to name them here.

 

it takes a while until the fish will trust you enough for them to be comfortable to show themselves, but with time and food they will become just like puppy dogs, I am not sure this will lead to good breeding habits but I believe when people get to see what a great fish they are more people  will want to protect them , just have a look at the colours , we really need to start calling the something other than blackfish, (southern marbled cod) maybe.

The fish finally sees the grub and its all over in a flash.

Note the blackfish  poo just in front of the pipe in the second video.

Spring

Spring is the time we need to think about food on the farm, we need food for adult fish as well as any young fish that are to come, brood stock fish are just starting to get active and are looking for more food , I have found that the brood stock that I have will not take artificial foods ( young fish may if started early ) so I must have natural food ready , yabbies and worms make up most of the diet this time of year later on crickets and grasshoppers along with moths that come along around April .DSCF4140  The small yabbies below are best for 1, 2,3 year old fish ( as well as black bream )DSCF4142 This yabby is the best size for the larger brood fish.

DSCF4146   Here I am checking a net for yabbies, you can see in the background lots of long grass and weeds , insect swarm to these and the odd insect falls in the water and also becomes food. I did cut the grass one year because there was a snake living in it .DSCF4145   The young fish I hope will be along soon will need food as well , here I am below checking for plankton and copepods along with water fleas and other assorted bugs. I also have a theory that if the food for the young fish is not present in the broods ponds in sufficient quantities then the brood fish may well suspend breeding for the year , this is not unprecedented in Australia Kangaroos do a similar thing , last year we had no heat and little sunshine in October ( necessary for plankton growth ) this inhibits breeding. The winter this year has been long, cold and wet heres hoping for a warm spring , we all know some places are struggling for rain and we hope it rains for them  soon.DSCF4151

I would like to thank Rob Beavan for the photos.

Fishing container

After the fires burnt down the shed that I had my aerators in I had to replace it quickly so I purchased a forty foot high cube shipping container to house the aerators and it works well, but the aeration room at the end of the shipping  only take up a small area the rest of the container will be used for aquariums that will house river blackfish and some pygmy perch so people who visit will get to see a blackfish.

The first photo shows the first six foot aquarium with a blackfish ( in the pipe) and some perch.

 

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The photo below shows the room with the aerators one for each pond , they are small and the reason for that is blackfish dislike a lot of current in the water especially around mating time so these aerator provide air and some ciculation of the water but not to much. I have used garden hoses that have a pressure rating for air hoses they are stronger I have buried them under a track and they work fine,

 

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As you can see from this photo below the diffuser is attached on top a blue drum which is about nine hundred cm high they are weighted with steel and placed in the middle of the pond, the reason for this is so as not to stir up the silt on the bottom of the ponds, blackfish like clear clean water as much as possible.

 

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We are now heading into breeding season, plancton will start to form when the temps rise a bit just in time to feed the young fish that we hope will be there this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pipe Dream

Blackfish this time of year go quiet and don’t eat much ,if you force them to feed you can kill them , the food sits in their guts and goes off because their metabolism is so slow, this fish has been separated from the herd so I can show visitors a fish he has a six foot aquarium all to him self apart from a hand full of pygmy perch to keep him company .

This fish would be around four years old and should be old enough to breed, I have had quite a few people who come to the farm to see the fish and the set up I have created to breed these fish.

While fisheries have told me they will try and breed these fish it could as much as five years away before they start so wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for them.