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All About Largemouth Bass

The Largemouth Bass is America's all-out favorite game fish! It is probably the most glamorous species in the fresh waters of the world today.

The Largemouth Bass is a freshwater gamefish in the sunfish family, a species of black bass native to North America. Largemouth Bass are also known as Micropterus Salmoidesis and a host of regional names including the Widemouth Bass, Bigmouth Bass, Black Bass, Bucketmouth, Largies, Potter's Fish, Florida Bass, Florida Largemouth, Green Bass, Green Trout, Gilsdorf Bass, Oswego Bass, Southern Largemouth, and paradoxically, the Northern Largemouth. It is the state fish of Georgia, Mississippi and Indiana; the state freshwater fish of Florida and Alabama; and the state sport fish of Tennessee. Many people like to stock their ponds or lakes with Florida-Northern crosses because of their potential for increased growth.

Largemouth Bass are an edible and accessible aquaponics fish.
Because they need constant monitoring the ensure proper conditions, they may not be the best choice for beginners. While this bass can be successfully grown in an aquaponics system, it requires a vigilant, patient grower that sees raising Largemouth Bass as a long-term goal since it takes between 12 and 18 months to produce a table-ready fish – and a lot can go wrong.

Largemouth Bass are less tolerant to unfavorable water conditions, and they are more demanding in terms of care than Tilapia. They will not do well with less than delicate handling. They do not like bright light and cannot tolerate a poor nutrition/feeding regime. The Largemouth Bass are one of the most sensitive fish to raise and conditions must be closely monitored to ensure pristine water, and proper oxygen and pH levels, and young fingerlings need to be trained to feed on pellets.

Keep in mind that bass are big fish when grown, so you would not want to take on this species of fish if you only have a small area to work with, but the Largemouth Bass is a viable species for larger systems. In its younger stages, it feeds on mostly small bait fish, scuds, small shrimp and insects, while adults will eat smaller fish such as Bluegill, snails, crayfish, snakes, water birds and other small mammals. Because this fish is a voracious predator, and because they are cannibalistic, suitability for aquaponics activities may be limited as intensive culture system production is difficult. If you don’t mind the daily monitoring of your aquaponics system, bass are a viable and rewarding aquaponics fish. Regardless of the stocked subspecies, available forage (baitfish) is essential to growing big, healthy bass.

Water Management Is Crucial
Water management of pH and temperatures must be monitored daily as they are the main concerns when raising Largemouth Bass in aquaponics. Water temperature plays the single most critical role in governing the life of Largemouth Bass. A cold-blooded bass' temperature is the same as the water in which it swims, and until it rises above 60˚ F, the fish are not really active. Cold temperature slows down their metabolism, their digestion, their nervous system, and their need for much food consumption. They do prefer mildly cooler water ranging from 60˚ to 96˚ F with 65˚ to 75˚ being the optimal range. Bass become uncomfortable when the water temperatures rise above 80˚. At those times, the oxygen content of the water drops as the oxygen also becomes heated, expands and releases itself from the water. Largemouth Bass prefer a pH between 5 and 10 with the optimal range being 6.5 to 8.5.

Growth
Largemouth Bass grow an average of 3 to 6 inches in length during the first year, though lengths of 10 to 12 inches are not unusual. Between 8 and 12 inches in length is expected by the end of the second year, and 16 inches is possible by the end of year three. Sexual maturity is usually reached in their third year of life, but is possible in their second year. Growth rates vary in direct proportion to the fertility of the water, the length of the growing season each year, and the numbers of other fish competing for the food supply. In areas with enough food and a good habitat that includes water plants, Largemouths can grow fast. It is always the female bass which attains the greater weight. Male or "buck" bass rarely grow to any size larger than three or four pounds.

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