How to Control Feeding Struggle among Fishes in the same Pond

Want to understand how to control the situation whereby some fish in the pond prevent other fish from feeding well?

This is a common experience in fish pond where bigger fishes do prevent the smaller ones from having access to feed. The common reasons for this include: overcrowding and keeping fishes of different sizes together in one pond.

Overcrowding / Overstocking will make the fish to exhibit survival of the fittest while in a situation where different sizes of fish are kept together; the bigger fishes will prevent the smaller ones from feeding well. So, to control this, always avoid overcrowding / overstocking.

Stock the recommended number of fishes in a pond at a time. Also, stock fish of similar sizes and do regular sorting so that bigger and smaller fish are kept separately. This then necessitates your having more than a pond to be a successful fish farmer.

Fish Feeding Rate, Frequency, and Timing

Feeding rates and frequencies are in part a function of fish size. Small larval fish and fry need to be fed a high-protein diet frequently and usually in excess. Small fish have a high energy demand and must eat nearly continuously and be fed almost hourly.

Feeding small fish in excess is not as much of a problem as overfeeding larger fish because small fish require only a small amount of feed relative to the volume of water in the culture system. As fish grow, feeding rates, frequencies, and feed protein content should be reduced.

However, rather than switching to a lower protein diet, feeding less may allow the grower to use the same feed (protein level) throughout the grow-out period, thereby simplifying feed inventory and storage.Feeding fish is labor-intensive and expensive.

Feeding frequency is dependent on labor availability, farm size, production system, and the fish species and sizes grown. Large catfish farms with many ponds usually feed only once per day because of time and labor limitations, while smaller farms may feed twice per day.

Generally, growth and feed conversion increase with feeding frequency. In indoor, intensive fish culture systems, fish might be fed as many as five times per day in order to maximize growth at optimum temperatures.Many factors affect the feeding rates of fish.

Read Also: Importance of a Fish Feeding Point in a Fish Pond

These include life stage, time of day, season, water temperature, dissolved oxygen levels, and other water quality variables. For example, feeding fish grown in ponds early in the morning when the lowest dissolved oxygen levels occur is not advisable.

In contrast, in recirculating aquaculture systems where oxygen is continuously supplied, fish can be fed at nearly any time. During the winter and at low water temperatures, feeding rates of warm-water fish in ponds decline and should decrease proportionally.

Feed acceptability, palatability, and digestibility vary with the ingredients and feed quality. Fish farmers pay careful attention to feeding activity in order to help determine feed acceptance, calculate feed conversion ratios and feed efficiencies, monitor feed costs, and track feed demand throughout the year.

Published feeding rate tables are available for most commonly cultured fish species. Farmers can calculate optimum feeding rates based on the average size in length or weight and the number of fish in the tank, raceway, or pond. Farmed fish typically are fed 1-5 percent of their body weight per day.

Fish Feed Care and Storage

Commercial fish feed is usually purchased by large farms as bulk feed in truckloads and stored in outside bins. Smaller farms often buy prepared feed in 50-pound bags. Bagged feed should be kept out of direct sunlight and as cool as possible.

Vitamins, proteins, and lipids are especially heat-sensitive and can be readily denatured by high storage temperatures. High moisture stimulates mold growth and feed decomposition. Avoid unnecessary handling and damage to the feed bags that could break the pellets and create fines (powder) that will not be consumed by fish.

Feed should not be stored longer than 90 to 100 days and should be inventoried regularly. Bags should not be stacked more than 10 high because the excessive weight from the upper bags will crush pellets in lower bags, creating excess fines (dust).

Older feed should be used first, and all feed should be regularly inspected for mold prior to feeding. All moldy feed should be discarded immediately. Mice, rats, roaches, and other pests should be strictly controlled in the feed storage area because they consume and contaminate feed and transmit diseases.

Related: Effect of Tropical Climate on Animal Parasites, Vectors and Diseases

Here are some amazing fish farming books to guide and assist you further:

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Benadine Nonye

An Agric. Consultant & a Blogger - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education... Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4ProfitsTV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: benadinenonye.

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