One cannot stress enough the importance of having the right water quantity and quality for a successful breeding experience. Have read some enough articles on successful catfish operation, more than ones, I have found this topic on water management appearing. And in reality, from personal experience I have also learnt this truth to be the different between failure and success in catfish breeding.
Understanding your water qualities is the major key to maintaining a healthy catfish hatchery. Several variables influence water quality in our hatchery, these includes water temperature, pH, carbon-dioxide, alkalinity and hardness. Additionally, water quality can be affected through the interaction of these factors. For instance, Water temperature and pH influence the onset of fish spawn, and the biological demand for oxygen in ponds. As water temperature increases, it holds less oxygen particularly if your tanks are crowded.
pH is a measure of whether water is acidic or basic. Fish have an average blood pH of 7.4, so pond water with a pH close to this is optimum.
An acceptable range would be 6.5 to 9.0. Fish can become stressed in water with a pH ranging from 4.0 to 6.5 and 9 to 11 Fish growth is also limited in water pH less than 6.5, invariably, fry can die at pH less than 5.0. Death is almost certain at a pH of less than 4.0 or greater than 11. I always advise breeders to have their pH meter handy. In the area where my farm is located the pH ranges between 5.3 to 5.7. The addition of chemicals like lime stone and other makes it possible for most of us to get result, however, it takes a keen manager to be able to manage the variations at different times and different level.
Alkalinity is water’s ability to resist changes in pH and is a measure of the total concentration of bases in pond water including carbonates,
bicarbonates, hydroxides, phosphates and borates. These bases react with and neutralize acids, buffering changes in pH. Carbonates and
bicarbonates are the most common and important components of alkalinity. A total alkalinity of at least 20 ppm is necessary for good pond productivity. Water with high
alkalinity and similar hardness levels has a neutral or slightly basic pH and does not fluctuate widely (Russell, 2009).
Hardness is a measure of alkaline earth elements such as calcium and magnesium in pond water. Hard water has a higher concentration of alkaline earths. Calcium and magnesium are essential to fish for metabolic
reactions such as bone and scale formation. Additionally, hardness and total alkalinity can affect pH through interaction with the carbon dioxide cycle (Russell, 2009).
This is just a brief overview of some of the variables that influence water quality. Interactions between these variables can become complex and would require much more explanation.
Let me state here also that regular water changes is also important to water management. It is an exchange of polluted water for a cleaner and quality water. My take home message in this article is that breeders cannot stress enough- if they are to have a sustainable growth, the importance of having the right water quality for a successful breeding experience. Breeders must be sure of these essentials before any successful operation can be said to take place.