Fish farming is lucrative business that Agripreneurs are cashing in on to speedily increase their capital.
Among all the fish species, the most popular and commonly sought after is the catfish followed by tilapia. Catfish is been rated as the sixth most popular fish and seafood consumed in most countries today.
Catfish farming is chosen over others because it is one of the most suitable fishes that do well and is easier to farm considering the climate and weather even in warm climates. Again, their foods are inexpensive and can be gotten from local grocers.
Catfish farming business involves breeding of fingerlings to table-size fishes, creating awareness for them and selling them to make profits. Notwithstanding, many people wish to venture into catfish farming but don’t know where and how to start it.
For you to start and run a successful fish farming in Nigeria you have to consider these:
- Look for a suitable location. Location is very important in any kind of business you want to engage in. Although any location is good since fish doesn’t cause any environmental disturbance. But look for land where you can get it cheap and buy. Depending on the capacity you wants to operate on, half plot of land is just good enough for average fish farm.
However, you may go for something bigger like full plot or two if you can afford it probably for convenience sake. If you already have a compound with leftover space you think can accommodate two or three ponds, you may use it.
- Get the details of the requirements involved. Starting catfish farming business is good but is far better when you know the primary and essential things required for the success of the farming operation.
Catfish farming is a flexible agricultural based business but it needs adequate attention and knowledge, so the initial thing you have to do when this business pops up in your mind is how to get the best training on catfish farming so that you wouldn’t do things the wrong way.
Having essential knowledge of catfish farming requires that you know the species of catfish, how they survive, the best facilities to raise them, food suitable for them at every stage, target markets, sales strategies and related other important things.
- Construct your pond and make available clean and steady water for your farm. You need to engage the service of expert pond construction engineer or you go to another fish farm to get the specification and construction requirements. The plumbing work must be properly done to ensure proper drainage. Adequate water supply is the lifeblood of fish farm and lack of it may result to disaster because water need to be changed on regular interval. Naturally available sources of water such as borehole and river water are the most suitable. Rain water and tap water from chemically treated source is not recommended for fish farming.
You have to have a water reservoir from which water is supplied to your ponds. This tank has to be connected to your ponds through plumbing system to make it convenient for water to flow into your ponds when needed.
- Get good breed of healthy Juvenile. Get your juvenile from a farm that specializes in supplying it and you should go for the high yield specie of catfish or tilapia and make sure you are getting it from a healthy farm. Always go for fish that are standard juvenile, don’t go for fingerling fish. Fingerling catfish are the group of catfish between the ages of 0 to 4 weeks while the juvenile is the group within the age range of 4 to 8 weeks.
Stock the pond with healthy and quality juvenile depending on the species you are going for, and try to find out the diseases that are associated with such fishes and how to control and prevent it.
Start with a juvenile which has every tendency to mature to table fish within 2 months provided that they are been supplied with good quality of water. It is most important to consider their feeding source and management.
Once you start up with good and healthy species of juvenile catfish, supply them with neat healthy water and adequate feed, the outcome will be higher than what you expected.
- Separate genders and sizes. It is advisable to separate the catfish sexes at a stage to reduce aggression. The presence of the female catfish in the pond may cause the other gender to exhibit aggressive behaviours. To do this, you have to determine their sexes then from the identity you can select all the female catfish and put them in a separate pond while the male stay on their own separate pond.
Also, sort the fish by sizes as they continue to grow. Ensure you constantly separate the large ones from those that are not growing fast.
- Good and consistent feeding. The point here is not just feeding the fish on a daily basis but feeding them with a quality rich feed that will enhance healthy growth. Fish growth is major dependent on the quality of feed they are fed with.
Every catfish farmer is recommended to feed the fishes on a daily basis especially during the early stage until they pass the first four months of the juvenile stage at least. Feed your catfish consistently with quality feed because it is the most essential thing that adds to their growth.
- Maintain a healthy pond. Always introduce fresh water regularly. If there is a need for the ponds to be treated, know the chemicals that would be necessary and adequate for treating your pond and the fishes as well. There are some notable chemicals approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat fish diseases and water in an eco-friendly way.
- Keep on learning from fish farmers around you. There are always new things to learn about anything you have interest in. You can meet fish farmers around that are already successful you to learn one or two things from them.
- Create your Market. As your fish start maturing, start contacting buyers around you and ensure you know the demand of each of the prospects.