Fish feed is a brown, wheat, or flour-like material made by specialist producers, to feed fish for them to grow and reproduce at due time, they are also high in concentration of nutrients that is essential for fish.
These feeds are balanced in the amount of all essential amino acids, minerals, phospholipids, and fatty acids. It requires the combination of fish meal and fish oil with vegetable proteins, cereal grains, vitamins, and minerals to make up fish feeds.
Fish feed is one of the important factors that are needed to enhance and promote modern fish culture because fish need all the essential nutrients for the formulation of their tissues. To generate a lot of income and maximize investment, fish farmers can produce feeds themselves using local raw materials to feed their fish instead of buying foreign feeds.
There are indigenous fish feeds that are generated from waste agricultural industries, domestic wastes, and wild plants. The local fish feed should be processed to meet the requirement of nutrients the fish needs for optimum yield.
TYPES OF FISH FEEDING
There is an extensive and intensive system of fish feeding, in which extensive systems are exclusively dependent on natural productivity with little or no supplementation of feeds to the fish, while intensive systems deal with adequate feed supplementation, monitoring, and health management of the fish. Fish yields are higher in this type of system because it involves the input of supplementary and complete food nutrients that provide nutrients and energy to the fish.
Fish feeds modification can be grouped into various specifications such as;
This mode of feed contains less than 20 percent protein nutrients. They are derived from plant origins such as guinea corn, maize, cassava, wheat meal, and millets, these raw materials are basically originated from carbohydrates.
This mode also contains 25 percent of proteins, they are also referred to as protein supplements. They are obtained either from plant or animal materials, these supplements are higher in quality and nutrients than the energy feedstuffs. It is sourced from protein such as soybeans, groundnut cakes, and cottonseed cake.
This helps the fish in digestion processes and also shedding out toxins from their system. This feedstuff is sourced from maize and wheat bran.
This helps the fish to be healthy and nourished. It is sourced from vitamins like A, B, C, D, and K.
This helps the fish in building up their bones, teeth, and scales. It is sourced from bone meal, spinach, oyster, shell, calcium, and phosphate.
STEPS ON HOW TO PRODUCE FISH FEEDS IN NIGERIA
Fish feed production is the process of selecting, mixing, and producing fish feeds for fish consumption. If you are a fish farmer and you consider producing fish feeds for your fish yourself, following these simple steps will be your best bet.
Selecting is the first stage of fish feed production, it involves the selection of local raw materials that is also rich in nutrients for the nourishment of the fish. These ingredients must be selected according to the fish species that were cultured so as not to contradict the feeding pattern of the chosen species.
Weighing is the second stage of production that deals with measuring equal amounts of ingredients for the production of the feed. It must be ensured that the proportion of the feed ingredients are the same. Weighing is the most important part of feed production because it produces feeds at the same level of nutrients
Grinding is the process of mixing and grinding the selected ingredients together. It helps in the improvement of pellet quality and reduces pellet breakage. It also aids in the digestion process of the fish due to the edible granules that are formed.
Pelleting involves using a diesel engine machine, or an electric-powered machine to pellet the feeds into various sizes according to the fish age, size, and species. It helps in reducing feed wastage and ensures uniform feed intake in fish.
Drying is the last stage in the production of fish feeds. This process is done so as to remove any, or excess moisture present in the feed, this helps in preserving the feeds for proper storage for a long period of time. Sun-drying is very common in drying feeds, but during the rainy season, using an oven to dry your feeds will be great.
Local fish feeds should be promoted in Nigeria because it is rich in nutrients and minerals. It is also easy to produce feeds using our local raw materials. Also, the government should subsidize the cost of machinery of feed production to make it affordable for fish farmers to purchase.