May20 , 2022

Remedy to catfish mortality

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Remedy to catfish mortality

The recent rise in rate of catfish mortality is a phenomenon. Mortality rates in some farms are above 30 percent, which is not acceptable in any way. A proactive farmer can reduce catfish mortality by at least 50 percent if causes of diseases in catfish farms are taken care of. More so, if diseases are discovered and diagnosed earlier, solutions can be applied.

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Control of catfish mortality is a knowledge all profit-minded farmers must learn to acquire. However, it is sometimes unfortunate that solutions recommended in books and other platforms are not always effective in this part of the world. In other words, indigenous researchers have to do more in the area of catfish disease control. Many at times, control of catfish mortality go beyond application of certain selected drugs. In fact, good observation of your stock could be all you need to avoid uncontrolled mortality.

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Read also: Fisheries management and the ecosystem

I have discovered through my years of experience in catfish farming that mortality will not just occur; there must be a cause. It will be a good and wise decision to tackle the root cause of the problem and not just address the problem on the surface. You can only be sure of the root cause of the problem through laboratory tests which will help you to know the cause and specific solution to be applied. If the use of drugs will be required, you will know the specific drug to use. This is why a farmer must not wait till the time his fishes will stop eating before taking appropriate action. Once you discover mortality consistently, take action by applying the right therapy.

In Nigeria of today, there are not many drugs specifically manufactured for catfishes. A pharmaceutical company who will research into drugs for catfishes will do well in Nigerian market. All these while, catfish farmers in Nigeria have depended so much on poultry drugs to cure catfish diseases. Little wonder that some of these drugs will not work as expected.

Prevention is better than cure, says an adage. Mortality in catfish can be totally eradicated or controlled to the barest minimum if these two conditions are met:

Good water quality

And healthy feed

Every suggestion as regards prevention of catfish mortality is either related to good water management or feed management. Here are the highlights of what you need to do to limit mortality in your stock throughout a farming season:

Read also: 7 secrets of catfish farmers

Never stock your pond without adequate pond preparation. If your pond is not properly prepared, cycles of pathogens causing disease will not be broken. It will be a wise decision on your part as a catfish farmer to do the necessary as regards pond preparation. For lime treatment of your ponds, 250kg of lime is recommended per acre of pond surface. Also under pond preparation, ensure all macro-organisms (tilapia, frog, etc.) are eradicated from your pond before introducing new set of fishes. Do not allow residual infection to spread to your new stock through poor pond preparation.

Ensure that water quality entering into your ponds is not compromised. As much as possible, prevent turbid water from flood entering into your pond. Also take note of water coming into your pond from adjoining ponds. If you allow water from disease infected ponds to enter into your pond, sooner or later, you will start to experience the same diseases in those ponds where your water source is derived. Never allow water coming out of ponds with bigger fishes to enter into ponds of smaller fishes. It is possible that bigger fishes have developed resistance to certain diseases in their ponds. Smaller fishes receiving water from bigger fishes with disease will be at the risk of infection.

Proper monitoring of feed consumed by your stock of fish is very important. Certain feed and feed ingredients can induce mortality if some toxic substances are found in them. Make sure you buy floating feed with pedigree. Select your feed ingredients well.

Keen observation of fish stock on a daily basis is what every farmer must learn to prevent heavy mortality. Before feeding, farmers must look out for any behavioral change in their fish stock. Prior to mortality is behavioral change. The change in behavior of these fishes may be in the way they react to your movement, sound of your vehicle, change in their swimming pattern, their activeness and so on. It could also be a change in their response to feed. Instead of rushing to consume their feed, they run away as soon as feed touches their water. A proactive farmer should observe these changes in behavioral pattern and act accordingly. Stop feeding as soon as you notice any negative change in the activities of your fishes. Never force your fishes to eat what they cannot eat.

Routine medication can be applied to prevent mortality. This is done by adding certain mild drugs into your feed periodically (e.g. once in a month). However, experience has shown that there are certain challenges related to routine medication in catfish feed. It can lead to development of resistance to certain drugs causing them to be more vulnerable when they are sick and the same drug is applied.

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