PIQUA — For several years, the City of Piqua has treated and mechanically removed vegetation from Franz Pond, Echo Lake, and the canal network. Due to the shallow depth of Franz Pond, vegetation and algae management has proven to be difficult. In an effort to increase manageable results, the City of Piqua will be releasing approximately 500 tilapia fingerlings into Franz Pond in early June.
“Tilapia only eat weeds and algae. Their use in decreasing nuisance pond vegetation is growing,” said Sky Schelle, Piqua water quality coordinator. “It is a great way to clean up algae and vegetation in a natural chemical free way.”
Tilapia are similar to panfish and can be eaten, though they are unlikely to hit on a lure and the City discourages fishing them. Like other fish, tilapia are temperature-sensitive, causing them to become lethargic, preyed upon, or eventually die due to dropping water temperatures in the fall, making it necessary to restock the fish every year.
“In an effort to keep costs low, Franz Pond is the only portion of the hydraulic network that will be treated with tilapia for this pilot project,” Schelle stated.
To keep the tilapia in Franz Pond, nets will be placed in the canal south of Park Avenue. Signage will alert boaters that they cannot enter Franz Pond from the canal. Likewise, boats launched into Franz Pond will not be able to travel north through the canal.
This project will not reduce the City’s manual efforts to control nuisance vegetation into Echo Lake. If this project is a success in this pilot project, it may be extended into Echo Lake in the future.