Pond & Lake Q & A
Q: Why are the catfish in my lake changing color? – Carlos in Texas
A: When summer sun causes water temperatures to rise in your pond or lake, you may notice color changes in your catfish. Sometimes, the changes are caused by natural reasons like age, spawning and temperature fluctuations. Other times, their coloring lightens from environmental causes like stress and disease.
Your pond fish likely looked darker in the spring or fall – for good reason! The cooler water holds more oxygen, which your fish need to thrive and look their best. In warmer water, oxygen levels tend to drop off. The lack of sufficient oxygen, coupled with poor water quality, can cause your pond fish to stress. When stressed, they’re more prone to disease and health problems, which can cause their color to lighten.
In worst-case situations, stressed fish can succumb to disease. One that commonly affects stressed and oxygen-deprived catfish is Columnaris (Flexibacter columnaris), also known as cotton-wool, cotton-mouth, flexibacter or mouth fungus. It is a highly contagious bacterial infection that appears as white spots on the edges of the fish’s scales, fins and mouth area. When one fish is affected, the bacteria causes death within days; when an entire lake population is affected, it will wipe out an entire population within hours.
As the saying goes, “Prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so the best way to keep your catfish healthy and deeply colored is by making sure they’re getting enough oxygen and proper nutrition. The Pond Guy® Game Fish Grower Fish Food helps by strengthening immune systems while promoting good health and longevity. An aerator, like the Airmax® Aerator, breathes life-giving oxygen into ponds and lakes, ensuring a clean water column, even water temperatures and reduced sediment.
With a healthy diet and oxygen-rich water, your catfish should start to show their true colors again!
POND TALK: What do you do to keep your fish healthy?