Catfish rearing in Nigeria has proven to be a lucrative business. This is due to the high demand for fresh fish as it is popularly called and the shortage of such in our rivers.
Statistics show that Nigeria is the largest African aquaculture producer with a production output of over 15,000 tons per annum.
There exist large unmet demand for catfish and the market price is on the increase. However, individuals resorted to catfish farming in concrete pond or ponds due to market demand and its shortage.
There are different methods of rearing catfish, either by using a concrete pond, earthen pond, tarpaulin pond, or tank pond. For the purpose of this article, I will be focusing on a concrete pond.
The aim of this write-up is to teach you how to start catfish farming using concrete ponds and all that is involved in the construction, preparation, and treatment. This is an A to Z of catfish farming.
Catfish Farming in Concrete Pond
There are two methods of growing catfish in concrete ponds;
- Flow-through system
- Water re-circulation system
Operating a flow-through system requires constant release of water from the pond for its maintenance and to increase the oxygen level in the water for the fish.
Channel your discharge properly without making a mess of the environment thereby coursing environmental pollution.
The source of your water should be a borehole or stream nearby.
This is the first stage after you must have secured the right site for your farm. Employ the services of an experienced bricklayer for the construction of the pond(s), preferably one who has done a similar job before.
Here is my recommendation for molding your blocks:
- For 6 inches: 40 blocks to a bag of cement
- For 9 inches: 30 blocks to a bag of cement
- Plastering: 1inch thickness. The plastering should be double and be done by an experienced hand.
- For solidity: do not use 5inches blocks or ones with holes at the middle. The base of the pond should slant to one end
- Construct a discharge pipe at the base and above the pond. The work of the discharge pipe is to remove polluted water, dirt, and excess feed in the pond while the other pipe checks the level of water to avoid overflow
Once the pond is fully completed, it is best to leave it for at least two weeks before giving it any kind of treatment. The first stage of concrete pond treatment is to fill with water and then pour in dry chicken manure (chicken droppings).
You may ask, what is the quantity of manure to add when treating your concrete pond? This depends on the size of the pond in question. For a pond size of 10ft by 20ft, pour in 25kg of the chicken dropping and allow for 7days before flushing.
Clean the surface with soft foam and water after you must have drained the pond. Please, never wash the surface of the pond with a hard sponge and soap.
Why you must treat your concrete pond before stocking is to kill the acidity of the cement used during plastering. The organic manure used for the treatment sends nutrients to the pond. When you get this stage right you will have no worries over the survival of your fingerlings.
Now that you have learned how to go about with the treatment of concrete pond (s), it is essential to choose the source of your fingerlings or juveniles wisely.
First, decide on what type of catfish to grow. There are four species grown in Nigeria for commercial purposes. They are
- Clarias Gariepinus
- Heterobranchus Bidorsalis
- Claria X Heterobranchus (Hybrid), and
- Claria Nigro-digitatus.
See my article on types of catfish in Nigeria to better understand the difference between Clarias, Heterobranchus, Claria X Heterobranchus (Hybrid), and Claria Nigro-digitatus. Kindly study the differences before you decide on the particular specie to go for.
Pay Attention Here!
The source of your fingerlings matters. Buy from a reputable fish farmer or consult an expert to guide you.
Are you a student, graduate, employed, unemployed, businessman or woman, or a retiree? Catfish farming is a business venture you should try. This sector of agribusiness has continued to exceed expectations as the demand for fish far exceeds the supply.
Catfish rearing in Nigeria has no doubt proven to be more lucrative now than ever as the country is the largest aquaculture producer in Africa with a production output of over 15,000 tons per annum.
As you plan to go into catfish farming first consider using a concrete pond as it is easy to run and maintain. Also do not forget to seek the services of an experienced bricklayer for the pond construction.
Remember, organic manure sends nutrients and kills the acidity of the raw cement used during construction. Before you stock your fish, ensure to follow my guide on concrete pond treatment above.
Kindly share this article to help others who may wish to venture into or are already into fish farming. This will serve as a guide or A to Z of catfish farming.