Today, I will be teaching you on some basic, and important things you need to know about fish farm or fish rearing.
There are over hundreds, and thousands of different species of fish available by nature. In all these, my teaching will be centralised on the African catfish also know as Clarias gariepinus, because of there strength, survival rate and market demand.
Fish farming, is one lucrative business in Nigeria, that is highly profitable and less expensive to start.
The market, Homes, restaurants and hotels can not have enough of the supply of fish.
We all know Fishes are coldblooded vertebrate animals, and live exclusively in water by nature. They move around in water using their fins (appendages of a fish, used to propel itself and to maneuver) and breath using gills(breathing organ of fish.)
Fish is highly prolific (high rate of production of fries), it is also nutritious and virtually edible even for aged people.
What is fish farming?
This is the natural or artificial breeding or rearing of fish, basically the African catfish(Clarias gariepinus) in their habitat for commercial purpose.
Types of fish habitat
There are various types of fish habitat available for use that you can choose from depending on your finance, purpose for farming, or your area. These are:
. Earthen habitat/pond
. Concreted habitat/pond
. Tarpaulin habitat/pond
. Large rubber tank/pond
* Earthen habitat: You can construct this, and make it look real like the natural habitat. You can have it in a rectangular shape, circular or irregular shape depending on your choice.
Here, the fishes get some more free natural feed and are rarely disturbed.
When choosing this, Ensure there is enough water supply because the rate of water seepage might be high depending on the area where the pond is constructed.
* Concreted habitat: This involves the casting of slabs to build or construct fish pond.
It should constructed in such a way that there will be water outlet ant inlet channel. It can come in any form of your choice.
During water discharge, the fishes should be handled with extreme care to avoid suffocation especially the post-fries, juveniles or fingerlings.
* Tarpaulin: Do you know what Trampoline is?
This is a heavy, waterproof material sheet, or fabric used as cover to prevent water passage.
Since tarpaulin prevent water passage, it can be used to construct fish pond.
Using tarpaulin as fish pond is cheap compared to the concreted pond. The construction should be technical to enable easy passage of water disposal/discharge.
* Rubber pond: This involves the use of open rubber tank as fish pond. The price of this rubber should be around 30,000-50,000 naira.
This is cheap and easy to maintain.
Once you have decided on the type of pond that you want for your fish production farm, it is also important that you take into consideration the following things I will share with you in order to have a great return and smile as you earn from your business.
. Get a promising site/farm.
. Proximity to healthy water source.
. Get a good and healthy starter breed.
. Know the type of feed you need.
. Adopting and understanding your market strategy.
* Farm site: Know the area where your fish production business will do well.
Will your fish production business do well in your current area?
If yes, then you can start your production Right there in your compound by setting up a temporary habitat for your stock, either using the tarpaulin or the rubber tank pond. Ensure you section them(I.e, more than a pond for isolation and sorting)
If your answer is no. Then I will suggest you get a better place.
* Proximity to healthy water source(s): Like I said earlier about fish, it is a coldblooded animal that survive mainly in water. The growth and life of your stock is dependent on the availability of healthy supply of water.
Note: Not all water are healthy for fish. Unhealthy water is capable of doing one or more of these to your stock;
- Alter growth.
Ensure a steady availability of water, because it is even more needed than the feed.
Change the water when you observe that the water is no longer healthy.
* Get a good starter breed: The starter stages of fish are fries, fingerlings and juveniles and then of course, we have the table size.
I will encourage you to start your business with the juveniles stage, because it is much easier to manage, and mortality rate is low, although a bit higher in price as against the fingerlings.
During this stage, ensure you go for those with good maturity character and are not easily susceptible to disease from a nice renowned hatchery.
* Knowing the right type of feed to give.
What type of feed should I give to my stock?
This Is the next question every beginner should ask.
Basically, we have different types of fish feed and there are;
- Natural feeds.
- Man made.
* Natural feeds: This are feeds provided naturally with or without you feeding the fish directly. They include; Worms, bacterial, plankton, plants, insects, detritus, snails, annelids, molluscs etc. These natural feeds are found in the pond.
* Man made: These type of feeds are formulated by experts in catfish feed production, and they contain the right nutrients in their right proportion.
You can get the foreign or local feed depending on what you can afford, but in all, get a good feed that is capable of enhancing the production of your stock.
* Marketing and market strategy: This is the point where you will get the feel and satisfaction of your business.
This is where you make real cash out of your farm, although you can make some money while your stock is yet to be ready for harvest by selling them to urgent buyers if you so desire.
It is highly advantageous to look out for good buyers before your stock is actually due for harvest.
You can supply your product to big hotels. Guess what! They pay well provided you can always meet there needs on time.
You might be wondering what security has to do with fish farm right?
As strange as it might sound, your pond should be rightly secured from predator.
In the fish farm I worked some years ago, we had an issue where there was direct attacks on the fish by an unknown individual (s) either injuring the fish or killing them in order to make away with the attacked ones.
Open ponds with fishes stocked in them are prone to attack from birds which come directly to pick them from the pond. Therefore, I recommend that you always net the pond if its a small farm or fence the area if its a large farm to avoid such occurrence.
It is pertinent to regularly check the condition of your fish to ensure they are safe.
All questions are entertained.
I wish you the best as you succeed in your business.