Generally, catfish farming consists of two main sub-categories: the nursery and the grow-out with the tank operation. The nursery operation involves the inducement of the mother fish to lay eggs, which are then fertilized to grow up and hatched fish are commonly known as fries to us. These are then nurtured properly and timely from between 3 to 4 weeks into fingerlings, which is suitable for use in the fish grow-out operation.
During the nursery and grow-out operation, it includes the nurturing of about one month within which they could grow into post fingerlings, mini juveniles, and juveniles respectively as well. These can then are nurtured for between four to five-month into grow-out or table-size fish suitable for sale and consumption.
Steps of catfish farming
Going into catfish farming involves you need to find out two questions to answer rightly and properly. The first one is if you want to go into a big or small-scale commercial venture and the second one is the tank system to be adopted, the Re-circulatory system, earthen pond or concrete or plastic tank, or both.
1. Tank Design
Proper tank design and construction of tanks for catfish farming are very critical to the success of a commercial catfish farming business. Well-designed tanks, constructed on soil with proper clay content and adequate water supply, have a useful life of at least 10 years or even more.
Like for all other fishes, over-crowding catfish would increase competition for resources like food and oxygen. This can push the growth of some fish at the expense of others and in the end lead to bloodthirst. Besides this pressure stresses due to over-stocking are bound to affect the right development of fish in the tank properly. Therefore the catfish farmer would want to consider an appropriate length, breadth, and depth of the tank, depending on his intended number of fishes to the stock tank.
Also, tank design for catfish farming should incorporate provisions for the separation of fishes if growth is non-proportionate to avoid cannibalism. Water management for a tank means the periodic change of water and tank design should incorporate this from the outset to avoid challenges.
2. Tank Construction
The success or failure of a project mainly depends on the construction of standard tanks for catfish farming, that can stand the test of time. If you want to get better profit from a catfish harvest, it is required to determine buyer requirements when planning the season’s production. Consider the buyer’s demand in terms of weight, frequency, size, and price of the product. You can sell all the season’s harvest to fish processors and even directly to the consumer.
The latter results in a greater return to the farmer as well. Most of the commercial hatcheries usually offer many types of fish that a tank owner can purchase for stocking into his tank and most of these species are considered as better suited to the tank environment than others, and some can actually cause problems.
3. Filling with Water
After construct tanks, you need to fill up the tanks with water for catfish farming in time. It is a good idea to let the water into the tank and to conform slowly to the weight of the water as well. When the tank is full, the weight of the water will keep it in place. Then you can then set up your pump system if you have one.
If you do not plan to use a pump system in the tank, you may work on introducing your fish. However, you should not that fishes need some oxygen in the water to live properly and grow healthy. You can provide them with oxygen by placing a running hose in the tank 3-4 times a week.
4. Greening the Tank
As we know fish usually eat green plankton that grows in the water. Before putting fish in the fish tank you need to make sure that your tank is green in color and to do this you can do this by using dry animal manure in the tank. However; you have to control how green do you want your tank and it can be done by adding and removing the bag of manure as well.
5. Introducing Fish to the Tank
When the tank is ready to introduce the fish then you have to keep in mind that the new fish are not habituated with this water this is why slowly begin to mix the tank water into the bucket water that you have your fish in for 20 to 30 minutes, this will help them acclimatize to the new water Ph levels properly.
Once you have mixed the water properly and waited, tip the fish into the tank slowly. Don’t introduce all your fish at a time. At first start off with a small amount of fish. If most of them live for the first two weeks then introduce the rest of them.
6. Feeding Catfish
Generally, catfish can be fed once or twice a day. Excessive feeding of fingerlings will grow up first but increases the cost of rearing catfish and thus results in wastage as this may only result in marginal return increases.
Feeds are also may be a primary source of tank water pollution and excessive feeding constitutes water management difficulties. Thus the catfish farmer needs to strike a balance between feeding and water management properly and timely.
7. Water Management
A large number of fish deaths have been related to water management issues. Tank design needs to take into consideration the pH level of water which is 6.8 to 7.6 in percent. It is also important to make the opportunities for the growth of plankton by introducing manure before stocking with fingerlings into the tank to get better output from catfish farming.
Oxygen requirement for fishes depends on an effective water management system as too much plankton growth results in competition for oxygen among plankton and catfish. Waste from fish as well as pollution from feeds also reduces the oxygen content of tank water, resulting in stresses on fish.
An indication of declining oxygen is when fishes are seen for considerable periods on the water surface, which means breathing. Water should be replaced from time to time.
8. Take A Note
Taking a note is very essential for any commercial project. It always helps you to decide on further investment in the running project. Even it may show you the right path whether your farm running right or wrong. You can identify the pitfalls and problems in your business plan by investigating the note properly.
Every fish farmer aims to grow up a fish to one Kg. body weight or more and it is happened in the shortest possible time, though it occurs between four and five months. Even you may get more profit if you analysis a market properly. People like to find out its difficulties to get the fast-growing species of fish.
So, as you can see, you too can easily and quickly build a much better catfish farming business for you and your family and earn more money as well.