Fish live within nursery ponds during their fry to fingerling stages of life. This is the time between when larvae have fully absorbed their yolk-sacs, and once the fry have developed the full set of scales and fins that juveniles have. Fish are particulary vulnerable when they're fry, unable to compete well for resources or protect themselves from predators.
Fry are typically considered fingerlings once they reach between 3 or 4 inches of length, or the length of a finger. After this point, they are moved to later growing tanks with their larger and older neighbors.