Have you always thought of starting a catfish farm but you don’t have any idea on what to do and how to start. I’m sure this will guide you to start your catfish farming business.
Planning: You have to decide whether you want to go into a large or small-scale commercial venture. Secondly, you have to decide on how much you have to invest. Capital is required for construction of ponds, water system, aeration system, operational equipment. Thus, proper planning is needed.
Site Selection: firstly, you consider a suitable site that has reliable water source, suitable land, you must be familiar with the climatic and land conditions, access to the relevant target markets, roads, labour, surrounded by supportive infrastructure, the catfish farm must be located in cool but not noisy area, the farm must be protected from predators, must not be directly exposed to sunlight. In terms of water, bore hole is the best water for fish farming, one or two must be sunk to guarantee steady water supply. Overhead tanks for holding water must be installed. The machine for pumping of water must have back up facility, because the system must not fail and there must be proper drainage facility. Don’t drain your water to constitute nuisance.
Land: is very important. You need at least half plot of land in a suitable location. This means, you must consider good access road, distance to market and labour, the soil must be good if you are using earthen pond, it is not about getting any land, the soil on that land should be clay or it should be such that can hold water. If you just want to make little cash in fish farming business, fishing at home in buckets is an option for you.
Pond Construction: It is advisable to engage the service of a consultant. If the pond is not constructed properly, it may not achieve desire result.
Breeding: The first thing you need to get hold is the fingerlings. In Nigeria it is usually more affordable.
Culture Systems: Fish can be raised in concrete tanks, earthen ponds, vats, pen e.t.c all these culture systems have their own management practices and its very important to know that your choice of production (fingerlings production or grow-out production) will determine the type culture system to use.
Feeding: If you are into grow out production, then you need to get fish feeds, but if you want to reduce the cost of feeding, you can feed them with locally formulated feed. Feeding your fish with the local feed, you have to take note of wastage, observe your fish as they feed and then stop feeding as soon as the fish stop rushing the food, because the local feed will eventually sink later and it will pollute the water which can be harmful for your fish. But with the imported feeds the remains of the feed will be seen on the water floating, which you can easily clean up.
Management: Management covers all the operations required to keep the pond operating at maximum efficiency. For earthen ponds: check your pond often for leaks, remove unwanted weeds, always watch fish behaviour while feeding, fertilize your pond when necessary, watch for predators, cut grasses on pond walls. Occasionally, clean the bottom of your pond as this will control the pH level of the water.
General Management: Change water occasionally, feed your fish well and observe fish for signs of disease.
Precaution: Common causes of failure in fish farming include, over stocking, poor quality feed, water pollution and bad species of fish fingerlings. Avoid overstocking your fish as they will not grow well and less oxygen will be available for them and this might not give you desired result.