Commercial and small scale catfish farming business is gaining popularity day by day. There are numerous catfish species available throughout the world. Among those species, some are very large in size and some species are smaller. Nowadays catfish are highly available in the market and most of the people love this fish on their table. Although the number of catfish in natural water resources is reducing due to numerous reasons. Lack of natural living place and fishing in a plenty are the most common reason for reducing the number of catfish species. But now people are becoming interested in catfish farming and establishing large or small scale catfish farm commercially. If you like fish farming business, then you can also stock and manage catfish in your pond. There are some steps for starting this fish farming business, which are shortly described below.
Pond Selection for Catfish Farming
Pond selection play a very important role for maintaining a successful catfish farming business. Before selecting the pond for catfish farming, you have to consider the followings.
- The selected pond must have to be free from flood.
- Shore of the pond will be strong enough and free from all types of licks and hole.
- All fish will escape from the pond if there are any hole in the pond shore.
- Water depth will not be more than 4 feet during rainy season.
- It will be better if you construct oblong pond instead of squire pond.
- Construct the pond in an open area, so that the sunlight can directly incur.
Catfish can be cultivated in both new and old pond. But it will be better if you cultivate catfish in an old pond. If you want to use new pond, then you have to use fertilizers such as dung, lime etc. Applying fertilizer after constructing the pond will make the soil fertile. If the soil of your pond is not fertile, then it will hamper the health and proper growth of fish. In case of cultivating in old pond, dry the pond perfectly before stocking catfish. Remove excessive clay and harmful gas before stocking. After that apply lime and other fertilizers. Cover a certain area with pond where you will stock the minnow for first time. Covering the place with net will prevent the fish from some harmful predators such as frog and snakes. Snakes harm a lot than frogs. Fill the pond with fresh water (2 – 3 feet water depth for first time), after making the fence . Stock minnow after 2 to 3 days of filling the pond.
After completing all pond management tasks, stock high quality catfish minnow. Purchase 2 to 3 inch size minnow from the hatchery. There are many hatcheries available who are producing high quality, diseases free and highly productive catfish minnow. Apply anti fungus medicines in the pond, after 2 or 3 days of stocking minnow. This will help to keep the minnow free from all types of diseases.
You can use your pond for cultivating only catfish or with other fish species. If you cultivate catfish with other carp fish, then the stocking density will be at most 2500 to 3000 per acre. You can increase the number, if you cultivate only catfish in a pond. You can cultivate catfish with other fish species such as tilapia fish, pangash etc. You can stock 4000-5000 catfish if you cultivate with pangash or tilapa. Cultivating catfish with carp fish, tilapia or pangash will help to reduce the feeding costs. Catfish will eat the food provided for carp fish from the bottom of the pond, along with consuming their regular feed. The main benefit of catfish farming with carp fish is that, this mixed system help to reduce the quantity of ammonia gas from the pond and ensure a healthy environment for all fish species.
Provide 20% of feed daily for the first 10 days, according to the body weight of stocked fish. Usually catfish minnow like to eat food at night. So serve their feed twice a day. Reduce the feed serving rate to 12 to 15 percent, after the first 10 days. Catfish start taking feed during day time when they reach about 3 inch size. After one months from stocking, provide them 5% of feed daily, according to their body weight. For measuring average weight of catfish, measure the total weight of 10 fish and divide the total weight by 10. For example, total weight of 10 catfish is 2 kg, divide the result by 10. Now the average weight of one catfish is 200 g. Measure average weight of catfish after a certain period and feed them according to their average body weight. Provide them feed twice daily (first in the morning and rest in the evening). Always provide adequate feed according to the age and body weight of the fish. If you provide the catfish less feed than their daily demand, then they will not live and grow properly. And if you serve excessive feed than their demand, then the extra food will pollute water and increase feeding costs.
During Winter Season
Winter season is not favorable for catfish farming. Various diseases affect the catfish during this season. So you have to take extra care during this season. Change water on a regular basis, usually after every 15 days. Apply anti fungus medicine after every one month. Keep water depth within 2 feet. If you notice excessive amount of ammonia gas, then you can use Ganonex medicine (a medicine, usually used for removing ammonia gas).
You can use net for collecting fish from the pond. But it’s very difficult to collect catfish from pond by using net. You can use net for collecting a few catfish. But if you want to collect all fish at once, then you have to remove the water from the pond. Always try to collect fish when it’s morning or afternoon. Never collect catfish, when it’s too sunny weather outside. Because collecting catfish in excessive sunny days will damage the condition of fish and you will experience lower rate in the fish market.
Catfish has a great demand and price in the market. Almost all types of people like to have catfish dish on their table. Catfish also has medicinal value and very suitable for the patient. As a result, doctors advice their patient to eat catfish. However, catfish farming is also a very suitable way to earn some income along with your current job. And also a great source for fulfilling your daily family nutritional demand. On an average, you can produce about 4 tons of catfish (in proper care and management) from a pond of one acre within 10 months.