The impact of feeding (fed to satiation, 13.85% body mass) on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC, chasing for 2.5 min) was investigated in juvenile southern catfish (Silurus meridionalis Chen) (38.62-57.55 g) at 25. Cutlets of freshly killed loach species without viscera, head and tail were used as the test meal, and oxygen consumption (VO(2)) was adjusted to a standard body mass of 1 kg using a mass exponent of 0.75. Resting VO(2) increased significantly above fasting levels (49.89 versus 148.25 mg O(2) h(-)(1)) in 12 h postprandial catfish. VO(2) and ventilation frequency (V(f)) both increased immediately after exhaustive exercise and slowly returned to pre-exercise values in all experimental groups. The times taken for post-exercise VO(2) to return to the pre-exercise value were 20, 25 and 30 min in 12 h, 60 h and 120 h postprandial catfish, respectively. Peak VO(2) levels were 257.36+/-6.06, 219.32+/-6.32 and 200.91+/-5.50 mg O(2) h(-1) in 12 h, 60 h and 120 h postprandial catfish and EPOC values were 13.85+/-4.50, 27.24+/-3.15 and 41.91+/-3.02 mg O(2) in 12 h, 60 h and 120 h postprandial southern catfish, respectively. There were significant differences in both EPOC and peak VO(2) during the post-exercise recovery process among three experimental groups (p<0.05). These results showed that: (1) neither digestive nor exhaustive exercise could elicit maximal VO(2) in southern catfish, (2) both the digestive process and exercise (also the post-exercise recovery process) were curtailed under postprandial exercise, (3) the change of V(f) was smaller than that of VO(2) during the exhaustive exercise recovery process, (4) for a similar increment in VO(2), the change in V(f) was larger during the post-exercise process than during the digestive process.