Catfish farming is the act of rearing one of the various groups of species of fish for commercial purposes in Nigeria. The process of fish farming deals with the building of earthen, concrete, or tarpaulin tents and stocking them with fingerlings or juveniles to nurture them till they grow to meet market size and demands. Catfish farming is capital intensive and at the same time a profitable business to venture into because it is popular and highly demanded by the people in Nigeria.
Catfish live in freshwater and are bottom feeder species, they are also carnivorous in diets because they feed on insects and worms that are close to the pond and occasionally small reptiles around the shores.
Catfish farming is an aspect of pisciculture that deals with the farming of aquatic habitat creatures such as fish and aquatic plants. In catfish farming, the fish ponds should be constructed according to the standard required to enable your catfish to grow well and healthily.
The Nigerian market today values a catfish that weighs up to 500 grams to 20000grams, the average fish price of 500 grams is about 450 to 500 naira as of now. As a catfish farmer in Nigeria, you need to consider the following factors to guide you in your catfish farming business in order to boost and generate profits.
Breeding is the process through which propagation or development occurs in catfish, this process also involves the production of fish of the same species. Female catfish usually produce eggs close to the surface of the water, they spawn up to 10 to 100 eggs at once and hatch them in less than one week.
Breeders can be collected from ponds by capturing brood fish from spawning grounds or natural habitats to hatch their eggs into fingerlings in hatcheries and transferred to a special brood fish pond to be nurtured. To generate quick income and spend less, choose a genetic selection of a crossing channel of female catfish and blue male catfish to create a hybrid strain.
These types of catfish are profitable to rear because they eat different types of feeds such as aquatic insects and plants in the water and feed supplements, making it easier for the farmer to raise them.
As it is known that water is the life of every fish, good and adequate water should be supplied to your catfish. Water quality should be maintained in catfish farming to enhance the growth of your fish and to perform better. There should be a channel for adequate flow of water in your pond, especially concrete and plastic ponds to maintain the freshness of the water.
If the water in concrete and plastic ponds is staying too long, it can be contaminated due to the frequent feeds leftover in the pond. And when the water is contaminated, your fish start to reduce in size or not feed well like before due to the dirty water.
This is the most important of catfish farming because it helps in the propagation of the fish. Feeding is skillful and requires a lot of time to get the feeding pattern right, and it should be done according to the size of the pond and the weight of the catfish reared.
Catfish in hatcheries are to be fed with a finely grounded meal that contains 50 percent of protein nutrients. Fines or crumbles with 28 percent to 32 percent of protein nutrients are to be fed to fries and juveniles in nursery ponds till they reach 1-2 inches in length.
And lastly, the larger catfish in the freshwater ponds should be fed with floating pellets or granules containing 35 percent of protein nutrients, the feeds may either be floating or sinking in the bottom of the water. As a good catfish farmer, you need to feed your fish to a satiation level. That is, the level at which your fish no longer rush the food because they have eaten to their full satisfaction.
Some farmers feed their fish once every day, making it seven times a week. Well, that is not a bad feeding pattern, but if catfish can be fed at least twice a day it will improve their growth and well-being.
This is also important in catfish farming because it is carried out to protect and save your fish from becoming prey. You can protect them by using nets to cover the pond area to avoid interference from predators like rats, insects, toads, birds so as not to hurt or kill your fish in the pond. You can as well make use of cassette tape to camouflage the corners of your pond, thereby distracting birds and preventing them from devouring your fish.
It takes up to 5 to 9 months for a typical catfish to grow and achieve its normal and marketable size. During this period, fish should be examined using a scoop net to test crop them routinely and to monitor the fish growth and health. After test cropping to know the size of the fish, mature fish can be selected to be harvested for sale or consumption.
During the nurturing process of your fish, start by advertising your fish to hotel and restaurant owners so as to create awareness about you having fish to sell in quantity and quality to them. Catfish farming is a systematic way of rearing and growing catfishes for sale or consumption. It is widely practiced in Nigeria by fish farmers to generate food and income.
There is a wide range of catfish-eating people in Nigeria today, that is why there is a high demand for catfish from fish farmers. In order to meet the sporadic need for the protein nutrients of Nigerians, adequate infrastructural facilities should be put in place for the production of a healthy quantity of fingerlings and fries to be reared.