Most times some catfish farmers complain that they got to their fish pond and discovered that the fishes were rubbing their bodies against the wall of the pond.
Well the common cause of this is when fish are having skin disease or when their water has become too dirty. From practical experience, dirty and turbid water is usually responsible for this. Commonly, if it is due to dirty water, changing the water immediately will make the condition subside.
In the case of water get bad faster, there are three major things that may be responsible for that, one it is either the source of the water used is bad or that the fish are being overfed thus polluting and contaminating the water.
There may also be an underlying disease which is resulting in this.
Therefore in order to avoid this, it is good to be sure that the source of the water you are introducing into your pond is good. Do proper feeding and avoid over-feeding as much as possible.
However, if after changing the water, they still keep on rubbing their body against the wall, it may indicate skin disease which should make you call on your consultant for immediate treatment.
Uptill date, many catfish farmers wonder why their fishes sometimes become restless especially during feeding. In many cases, once fishes scatter they might not return to feed for the day again. This situation may sometimes persist if necessary action is not taken.
The effect of restlessness in catfish is not small. It can affect feeding habit in fishes thereby affecting their growth. Also, restlessness induces unnecessary stress in fishes. If the stress persists, certain numbers of mortality occur daily.
Reasons why Catfish becomes Restless
According to research, there are at least five major causes of restlessness in catfish, and below are the causes identified:
(1) Presence of predators
There are certain predators that can live with your fishes, especially in earthen ponds, and others that do not live in water can attack fishes from land or air. Predators like snakes, alligators, crocodiles, tortoises, ospreys, eagles, herons and some group of amphibians are known as animals that feed on fish.
The best time water predators attack fishes are when they are feeding. This is due to the fact that gathering of fishes during feeding makes it easy for them to identify their prey and also launch an attack. As one of the fishes is attacked, others run for their lives.
This results in restlessness of fishes sometimes during feeding. A fish of about 100 grams or below can be preyed on by birds. Juveniles/post juveniles can also run for their lives when eagles or other fish-eating birds fly over them.
(2) Presence of big fish
Due to poor pond preparation or poor management of pipes linking two stocked ponds of different ages, or unknown underground holes that links to another pond, bigger fish(es) could enter into the pond of new stocked fish.
It has been observed from experience that big fishes prefer to feed on smaller fishes which does not only make the fishes restless but also causes shortage (loss) to the fish farmer..
They do this during feeding or any other time they feel like eating thereby causing restlessness in small fishes. The best solution to this problem is to drag the pond and remove bigger fishes that will not allow smaller ones to rest.
(3) Disease and infections
Restlessness is one of the signs you must look out for when your fishes are in early stage of infection as it is also one of the signs of diseases or infections among fishes.
Instead of rushing their feed, they will run away from it. Occasionally, some of them run away at intervals. The next thing you notice is one or two mortality per day.
If not controlled on time, it might lead to high rate of mortality. When next you notice restlessness not related to disturbance from predator, take the right step of treating your fishes before this leads to economic loss.
(4) Man Interference / Shock
This comes in two ways: Firstly, legitimate interference by the owner or any other authorized agent to carry out any assignment in the stocked pond. Such assignment may include removal of water weed, test cropping or any other assignment.
Secondly, someone might enter into your pond by accident or to steal your fishes. Any of these interferences can cause your fishes to be stressed and restless.
I often encourage catfish farmers to always respect the privacy of their fishes by limiting your activities in a stocked pond. If possible, don’t enter into your stocked ponds unless you are ready to crop or there is an emergency that may warrant that.
(5) Polluted Water
Have you ever witnessed a situation whereby your fishes attempt to run out of pond for safety. Sometimes, your fishes could swim vertically on water as if police is running after them.
Check it well, your pond water is polluted and there is need for you to refresh the water. If you have fresh water entering your pond from another direction, you will see almost all your fishes at the same point. When next you witness restlessness due to water pollution, do the needful by refreshing your water.