5 Reasons Catfish Become Restless In A Pond

Why catfish become restless
Why catfish become restless

There are several reasons why catfish become restless in a pond. Over times, some catfish farmers cry out that they got to their fish pond and found their fishes rubbing their bodies against the wall of the pond.

Well, the common reason why catfish become restless is when the catfish are having skin disease or when their water has become too dirty. From real life experience, turbid and dirty water is normally the cause of this.

Commonly, if it is due to dirty water, changing the water immediately will make the condition subside.

Why catfish become restless
A catfish

In the case of water getting bad faster, three major things 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 that is resulting in this. Therefore 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.

Well, if after renewing the water and they keep on rubbing their body over the wall, it could prove a skin disease which should make you call on your consultant for an instant treatment.

Recently, a lot of catfish farmers wonder why catfish become restless specifically 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 habits in fishes thereby affecting their growth.

Speaking of why catfish become restless is paramount as this has led to high mortality. It induces unnecessary stress, and if the stress persists, you may start counting losses.

Why catfish become restless

According to research, there are at least five major reasons why catfish become restless, and below are the causes identified.


Why catfish become restless
Catfish in a pond

Restlessness is one of the signs you must look out for when your fishes are in an 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 a rate of mortality. When next you notice restlessness not related to a disturbance from a predator, take the right step of treating your fishes before this leads to economic loss.


Certain predators 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 groups of amphibians are known as animals that feed on fish.

The best time water predators attack fishes are when they are feeding. This is because the 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 the 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.

Human 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 waterweed, test cropping, or any other assignment.

Secondly, someone might enter your pond by accident or steal your fish. Any of these interferences can cause stress and restlessness.

I often encourage catfish farmers to always respect the privacy of their fishes by limiting their 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.

Polluted pond

Why catfish become restless
A fish pond

Have you ever witnessed a situation whereby your fishes attempt to run out of a pond for safety? Sometimes, your fish could swim vertically on the water as if something is chasing after them.

Check it well, your pond water is polluted and there is a need for you to refresh the water. If you have freshwater entering your pond from another source, you will see almost all your fish at the same time and the transparency of the pond shows that there is no pollution.

Water pollution is a major reason why catfish become restless. So, when next you witness restlessness, stop to take a second look at the fish pond, it could be that it is polluted and already making the catfish restlessness.

Big fish

This is another major reason why catfish become restless. Due to poor pond preparation or poor management of pipes linking two stocked ponds of different ages, or unknown underground holes that link to another pond, bigger fishes could enter into the pond of newly stocked fish.

It has been observed from experience that big fishes prefer to feed on smaller fishes which is not just a reason why catfish become restless but a major cause of catfish mortality.

They do this during feeding or any other time they feel like eating thereby causing restlessness in small fish. The best solution to this problem is to drag the pond and remove bigger fishes that will not allow smaller ones to rest.


Restlessness in catfish can be a serious situation if measures are not taken to identify the reasons why catfish become restless as well as measures to address the situation.

Why catfish become restless
Why catfish become restless

Therefore, as a catfish farmer that is into the catfish business, you should always set your sight for unusual behaviour or signs of restlessness. This will help keep your catfish farm OK. Moreover, restless behaviour can result in mortality, thus, kicking you out of business.

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