Common Mistakes New Cat Fish Breeders make in Fish Farming

Breeders can never say they’ve never made mistakes in their breeding experience. The gospel truth is we all have enough mistakes credited to us during our growing years and practices. If we know then what we know now some of us would have become billionaires in dollars. As with so many things in life, it is whether we learn from our mistakes that will determine how successful we will be.
Granted, the mistakes we all make can be FRUSTRATING, as is evident in the numbers of closed farms and farmers quitting the business soon after beginning . To some of us just coming into the system, try not to be disturbed by negative reports and news making round. The road to success is often full of bumps. They are signs for you to slow down, look and think before making a leap.
Similarly, no matter how frustrating or difficult fish breeding or fish rearing may seem at the moment, if you will learn from some of our mistakes, you will definitely find this business so rewarding. I read in a recent article on Nairaland titled ‘Truth about catfish farming’. It is a personal testimony of how someone turned adversity to advantage. This article inspired this writing. The write puts it this way; ‘first off if you have never started hatching on your own, my brother you have not started…so I carefully built my hatchery’. I know that many farmers who have read the article must by now be thinking about building their own hatchery. They must be looking everywhere for someone who can ‘hatch’ for them or possibly contract it out. But knowing your need to build your own hatchery and start hatching alone does not bring success.
I have just created few lists based on my personal experience and the ones I borrowed. Learn from the list and avoid these mistakes before you even come close to hatching.

#1. Learning.
From the above sited article. The testifier having lost a quite huge investment took a visit to Songhai Farm and from there learned ‘all I needed to know and come back full of wisdom’. Why didn’t he learn this before!! I am glad the man learned from his experience and eventually learned from ‘the best’. Avoid the same mistake. Put your ‘cart’ where it belongs and your ‘horse’ in its place.
Learning the basic of the business is important to success. Using the understanding and experience from experts can safe you years of fruitless labour. Isaac Newton, the man regarded as the most influential scientist in history once wrote ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’.
 Unfortunately, most farmers are standing on shoulders of dwarfs. I must admit here that there are quite a number of starters claiming to be a ‘professor’ in the business. 
Thinking all there is to successful breeding is hatching – most farmers have found out this isn’t true. 
Do all you can to get knowledge. Learn and learn from the best at any cost. Afterall, this is your business.
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.

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