Tilapia Aqua Farming For A Beginner
When starting tilapia farming from zero, it is necessary to have proper training and knowledge about tilapia culture, the design of ponds or tanks; the quality of water needed and feed management.
The adequate design of ponds or tanks, and also dams will allow efficient water management. Your farming success will be dependant on the aeration and continuous or frequent exchange of water.
Stocking of small dams and reservoirs with tilapia has yielded very encouraging results in most African countries and ensure the feed is of high quality to produce healthy fish that grow well.
Under standing Tilapia Fish
Tilapias are warm water hardy fish that are easy to grow. They can be farmed in any type of fish culture system ideal for small-scale aquaculture from large production to small backyard farming.
As a beginner aqua farmer, bear in mind that these fish can be discovered in ponds, lakes, marine habitats, watercourses, estuaries, and seafaring conditions.
Knowing this should be an advantage for a beginner because they can source the fish from either of these places with or without a permit.
Tilapia fish favour tropic conditions with water temperature range of 25 – 30 degrees Celsius, though some varieties can tolerate cold water down to 8 – 9 degrees Celsius.
Tilapia fish vary in weight and size, also, not all tilapia fish are edible because of the extreme nutrient content they have in their meat which could be deadly to human consumption.
The tilapia is high in Omega 3 fatty acids that cause exacerbate inflammation which can lead to heart disease and other diseases such as asthma and arthritis.
Residential producers of tilapia fish farming have even started growing them in trash cans which makes it easy to farm them.
An Earth pond is one of the main farming system used in other countries. Though for constructing ponds it is best to properly construct a non-licking pond, which could be detrimental to the farmer and the fish.
Floating cages has become increasingly popular though with both positive and negative effects to the fish;
Positive effects in tilapia cage production Negative effects in tilapia cage production
They are relatively low in construction cost.
There’s no need to draw water to fill ponds.
No need to treat effluent water. Unpredictable weather conditions.
Golden mussel infestations reduce productivity thus increasing difficulties in maintenance and reduce the lifespan of net cages.
Tilapia Feed Guide
Tilapias prefer smaller pellets but they dislike hard pellets. Small fish must be provided with small feed particles while the large fish consume larger pellet particles.
There is a ratio used for feeding tilapia depending on the size of fish. Below is an assumption guide for feed;
ASSUMPTION OF FISH SIZE AMOUNT OF FEED EACH DAY PER FISH APPROXINATE TIME AFTER STOKING TIMES OF FEED PER DAY
5 – 40 grams 1 gram 1 – 2 months 3 – 4
40 – 100 grams 2 – 3 grams 2 – 3 months 3 – 4
100 – 400 grams 3 – 4 grams 3 – 5 months 3
- 400 grams 4 – 5 grams 5 months
The fish should be in good condition before being stocked to the pond. Only some feed, preferably high in protein and fat, is needed for the fish in the breeding ponds, as the females do not eat during the breeding phase.
The breeding ponds can be fertilized like the big ponds to enable the development of food organisms for the adult fish and the young fry.
Feeding artificial feeds (including fishmeal or fish oil) could make the fish grow faster, but these feeds are expensive and may be difficult to purchase in organic quality.
How To Raise Tilapia An aqua farmer should also consider homemade feed for fish as which is relatively low on cost but caution should be followed when administering the feed.
The homemade feed is foodstuff such as rice bran, soy press cakes, and other macroalgea that has been dried, grained and stored.
Feed may be administered directly or through mechanical feeding whereby food is blown onto the water.
Always monitor fish behaviour during and after feeding, and also during and after dispersing manure into the water which gives an indication of the well-being of the fish.
Once you notice the fish starting to hover on the surface, this means the oxygen in the water is too low. Be sure not to overstock your pond or tank because this will result in lack of oxygen for your fish, so keep fingerlings number as per the ideal pond size.
Relevance Of Fish Farming (Tilapia)
Employment opportunities are created especially for the youth.
There will be economic growth.
Food security (poverty relief) and nutritional value (health benefit).
Earning foreign exchange.
Ensure that the fish site is in a secure area because people may poach especially when ponds or tanks are far off from the farmer’s place. In backyard farming, erect fence to protect your fish.
Ponds should not be constructed in shaded areas as this could kill the fish as they depend on the sun as their source of energy and also the water is slightly warmed by the temperature of the sun.
The soil around the pond (levees) should be compacted well; you do not want to have the soil slide into the water and polluting it and this could kill your fish.
It would be wise to clear the land completely where the pond will be constructed to avoid debris entering into the water.