Catfish Farming _ Guide For Commercial Purposes
The need to increase fish production by farming became therefore an urgent matter.
The term ‘aquaculture’ covers all forms of cultivation of aquatic animals and plants in fresh-, brackish- and saltwater.
Aquaculture has the same objective as agriculture, namely, to increase the production of food above the level that would be produced naturally. Today, aquaculture is responsible for an ever-increasing share of global aquatic food production
Benefits For Catfish Farming
Fish farming techniques include:
Removal of unwanted plants and animals
Replacement by desirable species of fish Improvement of these species by crossbreeding and selection
Increase of nutrient availability by the use of fertilisers and feeds
Fish provides high quality animal protein for human consumption.
A farmer can often integrate fish farming into the existing farm to create additional income and improve its water management.
Fish growth in ponds can be controlled: the farmers themselves select the fish species they wish to raise.
The fish produced in a pond are the owner’s property; they are secure and can be harvested at will. Fish in wild waters are free for all and make an individual share in the common catch uncertain.
Fish in a pond are usually close at hand.
Effective land use: effective use of marginal land e.g. land that is too poor, or too costly to drain for agriculture can be profitably devoted to fish farming provided that it is suitably prepared.
Fish farming can be combined with agriculture, animal husbandry and irrigation practices, which can lead to better utilisation of local resources and ultimately to higher production and net profits. This is called ‘’integrated fish farming.’’
Catfish are bottom feeders which makes it an advantage for an aqua farmer especially when tilapia is also raised in the same pond because they both keep the water clean.
The best time to feed catfish is in morning as the dissolved oxygen begins increasing during warm weather. Feed them once a day, 7 days a week especially in warm months. Twice a day feeding routine may be encouraged to aid in the fast growth of the fingerlings.
How To Succeed In Aqua Farming
1. Know your market before starting fish farming and the market demand. .
2. Invest wisely and get healthy fingerlings for start-up otherwise when you have them stressed, they will not adapt and die. So make sure that you invest and manage your farms based on the market opportunities and their resource limitations.
3. Undergo training and seek advice from qualified aqua farmers.
4. Do not cover up your mistakes but rather learn from them as well as from other farmers’ mistakes.
5. Record every activity of your farming so you will be able to track your expenditure and losses. This is the best management tool for your business success.
6. Follow recommended best management practices because short cuts will be detrimental to your business.
7. Use the best feed locally available to you correctly. Advisably closely monitor the feed conversions and cost.
8. Owners are Managers hence they must be involved in the running and/or management of the farm.
9. Proper sitting of the farms and adopt appropriate production technology.
10. Sell your fish to the market as soon as they reach market size to appreciate the turnover.
11. Honour promises to your customers, even if occasionally it means they may have to make a no-profit sale or replace fish at no charge.
12 Be able to analyze your farm data yourself and use that data you obtain to assess the farm’s production and economic performance.
13. Use your own data as the primary basis for making management and investment decisions.
BREEDING AND MATURITY
Catfish mates once a year and this is from May to July when the water reaches 75 degrees Fahrenheit (25.8 degrees Celsius). The male finds a nesting site near shore and uses his fins to make a nest on the ground.
Catfish takes 4 – 5 months for a catfish to mature and in ponds they are sexually mature between 8 – 12 months, as they start to have enlarged ovaries and mature testis.
They spawn during spring or summer when the water warms to an optimal temperature; however, this is determined by the catfish species.
When a catfish is spawning, the female may lay 50,000 eggs in which the male will then fertilize. How To Raise Catfish. This process takes about 4 – 6 hours and once this is done then the male will guard the eggs because the female will eat them when let near. The baby catfish will hatch within a week and remain in the nest for another week.
Fingerlings Or Baby Catfish Feed
These eat small insects until they are ready to venture on their own in about 2 – 3 weeks.
It averages between 15 – 20 years of age.
Species Of Catfish
Channel catfish – this is monogamous fish through having one mate during the spawning season. They are cavity nesters (laying eggs in crevices).
Flathead catfish – their head resembles a shovel with a square like tail and is said to be larger in the catfish species. Its back and side is brown to yellow with black olive brown mottling.
Blue catfish – have a deeply forked tail, overhanging upper jaw and pale chin.