Effects of feeding on pre-exercise VO(2) and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) after exhaustive exercise were investigated in sedentary southern catfish, active herbivorous grass carp, omnivorous crucian carp, and sluggish omnivorous darkbarbel catfish to test whether feeding had different effects on EPOC and to compare EPOC in fishes with different ecological habits. For fasting fish, the pre-exercise and peak post-exercise VO(2) were higher and recovery rates were faster in crucian carp and grass carp compared to those of darkbarbel catfish and southern catfish. EPOC magnitudes of grass carp and southern catfish were significantly larger than those of crucian carp and darkbarbel catfish. Feeding had no significant effect on peak post-exercise VO(2), recovery rate, and EPOC magnitude in grass carp. Both the pre-exercise and peak post-exercise VO(2) increased with meal size, while the EPOC magnitude and duration decreased significantly in the larger meal size groups of crucian carp and southern catfish. In darkbarbel catfish, both the pre-exercise and peak post-exercise VO(2) increased with meal size, but the VO(2) increment elicited by exercise was larger in feeding groups compared with the fasting group. These results suggest that (1) the characteristics of the post-exercise VO(2) profile, such as peak post-exercise VO(2) and recovery rate, were closely related to the activity of fishes, whereas the EPOC magnitude was not and (2) the effects of feeding on EPOC were more closely related to the postprandial increase in VO(2).