A fish hatchery is a secluded place where artificial breeding, egg hatching, and nurturing of fries processes take place. The fish hatchery is an essential area of specialization in fish farming because it provides fingerlings for fish farmers to breed into their desired size majorly for commercial purposes.
Fries and Fingerlings are fish fertilized offspring that range between 5 to 8 weeks old for further nurturing to grow. The species of fish commonly produced in Nigerian hatcheries are majorly catfish and tilapia fish respectively, it is so because of the high demand for them.
The fish hatchery business has become a lucrative business over time, due to the high demand for protein nutrients from people. Owning a fish hatchery is not really capital intensive rather than having a fish farm because you don’t have to feed your fries for a long time. Considering owning a fish hatchery?
HOW TO START A CATFISH HATCHERY
Site selection is the first step to take for you to establish a fish hatchery. The site should be located where there is the nearness of fish farms, this is because the hatched fries are fragile and cannot endure a long-distance transfer into another pond as this can cause the death of the fries. Also, the hatchery should not be in any way exposed to pollution, all activities should be carried out in a favorable environment.
CONSTRUCT HATCHERY STRUCTURES
Be sure to build your structures according to hatcheries standards. Install plastic ponds for keeping the produced fries, and construct storehouses to cover and keep the plastic pond secured. Also, provide a source of water for your fries and make sure the pH of the water is normal and favorable to avoid the death of your eggs, larvae, and fingerlings.
ACQUIRE HATCHERY EQUIPMENT
Purchase the necessary hatchery type of equipment needed for the construction of farm structures to carry out operations. Hatchery instruments like plastic bowls, plastic ponds, syringes, water tanks, and pipes should be put in place for usage.
SORT FOR BROODSTOCK
Broodstocks are mature male and female fish chosen to carry out fertilization for production, this broodstock should be chosen from a secluded fish pond where they are being bred for spawning purposes.
START YOUR PRODUCTION
The production procedure can be successfully carried out after you might have been trained by an expert because it involves careful processes to achieve this task. The following procedures will guide you through your production task.
IDENTIFY THE MALE AND FEMALE BROODSTOCK
The male and female broodstock fish have distinctive features of identification that can be easily recognized. The male has a distinct sexual papilla, elongated and located behind the anus. The sexual papilla is usually red at the tip for the sexually ready ones.
The female’s belly can be gently pressed towards the genital opening, this process will make the fish release ripe eggs, which indicate the viability and readiness of the fish. Also, the matured female fish has a swollen and reddish genital opening. If you can find these features, your broodstock is ready.
INJECT YOUR BROODSTOCK
There are various hormones available that can be used to induce ovulation in gravid broodstock such as Ovatide and Ovaprim. The hormone injection should be inserted at an angle of 30 to 45 in the dorsal muscle in the direction of the fish’s tail and be injected into the fish muscles.
After the withdrawal of the syringe, gently rub the injected area with your finger for even dispersal of the hormone in the fish system and return them to the prepared receptacle before they strip their eggs.
COLLECT MILT FROM MALE FISH
The milt is found around the abdomen part of the male catfish which is cut open with a pair of scissors so as to expose the testes. The intestine is moved aside for easy removal of the testes and also, being in contact with water should be avoided so as not to render the sperm cells inactive.
STRIP YOUR FEMALE FISH
This process involves the removal of the ripe eggs from its abdomen by pressing gently several times until a high percentage of the eggs are removed and collected in a clean dry plastic bowl.
FERTILIZE THE EGGS COLLECTED
Distribute the testes evenly into the eggs collected and add a saline solution of about 0.9% to enhance the mobility of the sperm cells and fertilization of the eggs. Complete the fertilization process by adding clean water to the eggs and sperm cells.
INCUBATE THE FERTILIZED EGGS
After fertilization, the fertilized eggs should be incubated in an incubating unit where there is a free flow of water. The egg container should be covered and be placed in a favorable environment with a good temperature. It should be monitored at regular intervals to check the free flow of water and subsequent loss of hatchlings.
NURTURE YOUR HATCHLINGS.
At the nurturing stage, aeration is very important as the fries are very active at this stage and require a lot of oxygen. If aeration is not available, a constant flow of water should be put in place to remove feces and uneaten food which can easily contaminate the water. Actively feed your fries after the absorption of the yolk with the formulated feed of at least 40 to 50 percent of crude protein till they reach the fingerlings stage of 6 to 8 weeks.
Fish hatcheries in Nigeria provide fish farmers a constant supply of fingerlings or juveniles for rearing and growing for sale or consumption and the fact can not be overemphasized. Fish hatcheries also help in agricultural development and production.