The fish farming business in Nigeria has been on a rise with the increase in its popularity and increase in demand for their products. Any business aims to give their customers the best possible products for the satisfaction of their needs. The fish farming business in Nigeria is not left out. For a fish farmer to get the best out of their farm and also maximize their profit, their fishes have to be well-fed with the nutrients they require as their weight and robustness affect their prices directly.
In the business of fish farming, the cost of the fish feed takes up a considerable amount of the total expenses. Therefore, the right fish feed must be purchased and administered to the fish. There are different types of fish feed for rearing fishes in the pond and they include natural food and supplementary feeds.
Natural fish food is the different types of food that grow or are found naturally in the fish pond. The availability and quantity of this type of food depend on a couple of things such as the quality of the water, water current, and liming (when lime is regularly provided for the water in the pond, it helps to purify the water, keep the fish healthy, and the addition of helping to produce natural fish food). This type of feed can include detritus, worms, aquatic plants, insects, plankton (phytoplankton and zooplankton), snail, etc. These fish feed grow due to the fertility the soil possesses naturally, but organic fertilization also helps to produce them.
This is a type of feed that is made up of materials that are easily and locally available to the feed producer. When a large number of fish is being reared, they would require supplementary feed to be able to balance their nutrient and for proper growth making them quite important and an integral part of commercial fish farming. These ingredients for the supplementary feed can are normally cheap and palatable for the fish.
They include agricultural by-products and terrestrial plants. Some supplementary feed includes rice bran, crop grain, fish meal, mustard, etc. The supplementary feed should contain about 35% of protein, 10.5% of carbohydrates, between 4 to 8 percent of fat, and it should also contain vitamins such as Vitamins A, B, E, D, and K.
This type of feed is thoroughly made by experts who carefully understand the appropriate formula for the fish feed at their different stages. The feed usually contains ingredients with good nutrients.
This is a process by which experts combine different selected feed ingredients in varying proportions to meet the predetermined nutrient requirements of the catfish. A complete feed should be nutritionally balanced, palatable, water-stable, and digestible for the catfish. Feeds should be formulated to be dry with a final moisture content of about 6-10%, semi-moist with 35-40%water, or wet with 50-70% water content.
Catfish feeds should be formulated according to the size and species of the catfish reared to carry out the nutritional needs of the fish to maintain their physical quality and health generally. The feed should also be formulated to meet the protein nutrients, energy and minerals demand of the fish, it should be measured with measuring scales at equal proportion to ensure the feed’s water stability and ability to float on water.
Catfish feeds are basically classified into protein and energy nutrients produced feedstuffs. The protein level in the formulation of feeds is about 30 to 32 percent for fries and about 20 percent are given to fingerlings, the value of protein nutrients reduces as the fish increases in size.
The specific nutrient requirements of catfish are affected by many factors such as genetics, sex of the catfish, feed intake, energy density of the diet, digestibility level, nutrient balance and nutrient interaction in the diets, the presence or absence of anti-nutritional or toxins, the expected level of performance and environmental factors. Catfish feeds should be digestible because once digestion has occurred, absorption of the nutrients will take place.
Essential Nutrients Needed for Catfish Feed Formulation
Protein Nutrients are the most important nutrients that should be first considered in the formulation of catfish feeds. It is required to build the catfish body tissue because it contains physiological molecules such as hormones and enzymes. It can either be derived from animals and plants. Examples of animal protein feed ingredients are meat meal, blood meal, poultry meal, shrimps, and fish meal. Examples of plant protein ingredients are soybeans, groundnut, cotton seeds, and sesame seed cake.
Energy Nutrient is also an important component of catfish diets, a certain degree of energy-giving feedstuffs should be added when formulating fish feeds. Energy nutrients derived from carbohydrates provide catfish with enough energy to move around, swim, and carry out other activities. The energy feedstuffs are gotten from cassava, maize, wheat, rice meals, and sorghum.
Vitamin Nutrients are responsible for the control and maintenance of the catfish’s health and body processes. Vitamins are usually found in organic and inorganic chemicals like vitamins A, B, C, D, and K.
Mineral Nutrients help the catfish in building up the bones, teeth, and scales. Examples of mineral ingredients include shell, calcium, and phosphate
Fat and Oil
Fat and Oil enhances energy delivery in catfish and also contain fatty acids which are good for catfish nutrition and health.’
Maximizing profits from your fish farm is not only dependent on feeding alone as there are other aspects but this is one aspect that cannot be overlooked. Since the fish farming market in Nigeria has been experiencing an increase, getting more popular, and meeting the increasing need for their product, it means both the fish farmers and those producing fish feeds are doing it right. However, there is always room for improvements to be made for improved outcomes.
The primary aim of feed formulation is to provide catfish with an acceptable nutritional requirement at different stages of life, with the aim to maximize profit and reduce the production cost. Catfish feeds should be formulated according to the required crude protein level, energy level, and vitamin levels. At Indigo Africa, we produce fish feeds for all the different species of fish and they can serve both smallholders and commercial farmers. We also produce snacks that are rich in Omega 3, Omega 6, and Vitamin B12 Essential Micro Nutrients. To help our customers enhance their performance we offer them guidance and advice.