|Langston University Aquaculture|
Cage Construction Technique
For Plastic Coated Wire Mesh Cages
by Kenneth Williams
1. Cage construction will require slightly less than 20 feet of wire mesh. Use 16 gauge 2 X 1 inch mesh in rolls 48 inches wide. Wire mesh is normally sold in 100 ft. length rolls but often can be purchased in shorter lengths.
2. Cut an 11 ft 3 in. piece of wire mesh and form the material into a cylinder with approximately 4-6 inches of overlap at the adjoining ends. Fasten the length of the joint with a double row of hog rings spaced 1-2 inches apart.
3. Cut two pieces of wire mesh to a size that will cover the top and bottom of the cage.
4. Attach the bottom cage mesh with hog rings placed in every mesh slot around the edge of the cage then trim the excess material with side cutters or tinsnips.
5. Cut an 11 2 ft. x 12 inch feeding screen from 1/8 inch Vexar@ plastic mesh. Attach the feeding screen to the inside, top perimeter of the cage with a few hog rings. Place rings at top and bottom edges of the screen about every 6-8 inches.
6. Cage Top - The top of the cage must be constructed to open as necessary. The wire mesh can be attached to the top of the cage with plastic coated copper wire, cable ties or a more elaborate hinged lid can be made from other materials. The top of the cage must be securely closed to prevent escape of fish should the cage sink or capsize. A solid top that will shade caged fish is recommended in clear water; however, convenient access for feeding is necessary. A small, mesh covered opening in the top of the cage is adequate.
7. Attach four floats around the top of the cage. Plastic jugs can be used but may need to be replaced occasionally throughout the year. Styrafoam@ blocks 12 in x 6 in x 6 in also work well. Cable ties make quick inexpensive fasteners for floatation materials. Alternatively, the cage can be suspended from a frame constructed of 4 in PVC pipe. Securely glue the joints to prevent leakage.
It is very important that the cage not be allowed to sink to the bottom of the pond where dissolved oxygen may be low. Almost certain fish stress or death will result.
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