The fact that catfishes do well in earthen pond during wet season is not contestable. Many factors are responsible for excellent performance of catfishes at this period of the year. Apart from the availability of sufficient surface water to refresh the polluted ponds, ground water has a way of replenishing the stagnant ponds. This means that water plays a vital role in ensuring that catfishes perform well.
What do we do when water is not available in sufficient quantity due to seasonal changes? As a matter of fact, water management can be a very difficult task in dry season. Water in earthen pond may not be as fresh as most farmers have during the wet season, especially when the source of the water to the farm is seasonal. Below are some of the tips you can use to manage your water for maximum performance in dry season.
1. Control Stocking: The first step at ensuring good water quality during dry season is to reduce the number of fishes put into the pond. As said in one of my write-ups on this blog, stocking capacity of pond can be reduced or increased based available water. It will not be a bad idea to reduce slightly the number of fishes usually stocked in a pond. This will ensure that oxygen and other beneficiary plant in the pond are not used up on time, and it will also reduce the level of pollution that can cause mortality. Since poor water management has been linked with increased rate of mortality. Therefore, if your pond carriage capacity in raining season is 3,000 juveniles, it will be a wise decision to reduce your stock to 2,000 or at most 2,200 juveniles.
2. Control Feeding: Locally pelletized sinking feed can be a major source of pollution to your ponds if you as a farmer are yet to understand the dynamism of catfish feeding. Overfeeding, apart from being an economic waste, can cause a lot of problem to good water management practice during dry season. Therefore the best practice is to monitor your feeding during this period of no rain. To get rid of any doubt as regards overfeeding, you can reduce the quantity of normal feed given to your fishes by at least 10 percent.
3. Control Choice of Ingredients: Farmers should be in control of ingredients used in formulation of their sinking feed at the period of water shortage. The reason for this is that certain ingredients can change water color and quality when dissolved in water. Avoid too much of oily feed at this period of the year. I will also suggest that farmers should limit or avoid the use of blood meal when there is not enough water to refresh your polluted pond. For those using pelletized sinking feed, make sure that your pellets are firm and well dried before use. If possible, I will suggest that farmers use floating feed machine to pelletize their locally formulated feed in other to be in control of their feeding.
4. Control Loss of Water: Maximizing the use of available water during dry season is the key to effective and efficient water management. Drain pipes should be handled with utmost care in order not to lose available water. Evaporation control can also be put in place by planting Banana trees around your ponds. Also, waste water from ponds can be recycled through natural sedimentation in an empty pond and reused after some days.