Fish Farming – A Complete Guide

Fish Farming - A Complete Guide
Fish Farming - A Complete Guide

Fish Farming – A Complete Guide – Agriculture has changed. Yet Fish farming remains a profitable and safe venture for new entrants into agriculture.

Aquaculture is the growing of living organism inside water. This article focuses on fish farming with an emphasis on catfish farming.

Let us dive in and discuss 8 questions you should answer before you start a fish farm in 2022.

1.    The Power of Vision.

Fish Farming – A Complete Guide: Start with a target market in mind. The world is a global village now. You can decide to export your fish, however the requirements of SON or the appropriate regulatory bodies in your region means that you should let the decision of your target market influence the setup of your farm. If you want to export your fishes you know that your ponds water source must be controlled, you cannot use runoff water for the farm.

You would need a borehole that can be tested. If you are raising over 20,000 fishes, you know that you would need those clients who buy fishes in tonnes and thus ease of harvesting should be factored in. You would also prefer earthen ponds because you would be keeping the fishes for at least 7 months.

To also know the size and quantity of fish you can raise, use 700naira (1.20$)as a benchmark to raise one fish to 1kg. Do your calculations, that means 1000 fishes is N700,000. Realistically, how many fishes can you raise to 1kg?

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Please don’t start a farm and stop short because of funds, it would make you under pressure and then sell at a loss price because you don’t have funds to continue to feed the fishes and maximize the production cycle. Start small and let the farm grow.

2.    Secure your water

Fish Farming – A Complete Guide: As I said earlier, water is one of the 3 most important things in fish farming. It is called Aquaculture for a reason. Water cannot be rationed on the farm, it cannot be managed. You need a borehole or a running stream or a swamp to ensure you have running water year round.

Discuss with your borehole expert, you need an industrial borehole, it must support a 2horse power pumping machine and at least a 2 inch pipe coming out from the borehole.

It is better to have one very good borehole than have 3 small insufficient boreholes.

3.    Use production target to determine ponds type and size

Fish Farming – A Complete Guide: There are different fish pond types and they best suit different fish farming activities.

There are tanks, earthen ponds, fiber glass setups, concrete ponds, mobile fish ponds and recirculatory systems.

Fiber glass setups and recirculatory systems are usually best for fish hatching and the creation of juveniles and fingerlings.

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Mobile ponds, Concrete ponds and Tanks are best for mélange and smoking sized fish. Earthen ponds are best for table size fishes and broodstock.

When starting a fish farm in 2022, make sure you calculate your stocking density so you know the exact number of fishes to put in each pond. A 10*10*4ft mobile pond would take about 800 fishes, the smallest earthen pond you should do for growout fishes should be 50ft*30ft and depending on water availability that can take about 500 fishes.

4.    Innovation: What is your advantage?

Fish Farming – A Complete Guide: You have to know that every farm is different, yet every farm is the same business. As you are coming into the fish industry, what is your comparative advantage?

Is it that you are closer to your consumers so you can serve them better and fresher fish?

Is it that you use Solar to power your pumping machines rather than fuel powered generator?

Is it that you reduce labor cost by deploying Automatic Fish Feeder and thus your produce is cheaper?

Are you thinking of Climate change and its challenges in you starting the fish farm in 2022?

5.    The almighty Feed issue

Fish Farming – A Complete Guide: Fish feed should be about 70 percent expense on a well setup fish farm.

If you setup your fish farm properly then you should have feed expense, water change, cost of fingerlings and juvenile and cost of labor (staff salaries) as your top most expense in your fish farm.

Now I know that you have heard that you can make your own feed, it is true. And I do make my own feed in some of my farms; however I don’t make my own feed in all of my farms. Some of the farms are not big enough to make that venture worth it.

I personally advise that if you are not doing 10,000 fishes and above you shouldn’t bother with fish feed making machines. The money you would use to buy, install and run those machines is higher than what you think you would save from buying normal branded feed.

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There are good and economic fish feeds available right now.

There is a choice of either imported fish feeds like Skretting and Coppens or made in Nigeria feeds like Vital, Top, Bluecrown or Ecofloat feeds.

6.    Fish Processing the superpower

Fish Farming – A Complete Guide: Please and please, don’t start your fish farms without plans to have a fish processing oven.

You would thank me later. Even if you don’t get it in the beginning, just have the plans for it. You would ultimately get requests for smoked catfish. Processed products are more expensive with better profit margins than raw materials.

Also when selling fish, you would get premium prices for smoking the smaller sized fishes than dashing the fish buyer who complains that he won’t pay premium price for them because they are small in size.

Also, if your fishes ever look like they want to falter and give you trouble, you can always smoke them and repurpose them.

7.    Source of Juveniles or fingerlings

Fish Farming – A Complete Guide: This is a big issue that either makes or mars fish farms that are just starting. Some people unknowingly buy runts and keep feeding and feeding and the fish don’t grow.

This is not always the case as there are other factors that make fish have stunted growth e.g overcrowding or poor feed. But buying runts as fingerlings is a real possibility for anyone starting a fish farm in 2022.

The best way to avoid this is to buy fish only from a reputable fish hatcher.

8. The Administration of Enterprise

Fish Farming – A Complete Guide: The truth friends is that there is a lot of politics going on in and around our environment that can either be a support or hindrance to starting our fish farm.

Government Agencies, Grant and Loan applications and processes, digital empowerment can be an addition or a blessing to a farm.

Fish Farming - A Complete Guide
Fish Farming – A Complete Guide