Fish farming has become increasingly popular in recent years due to the high demand for fish and the decline in wild fish populations. One method of fish farming in an attempt to increase fish production is by making use of tarpaulin pond or ponds.
This type of farming involves raising fish in ponds made of reinforced tarpaulin material, which can be set up almost anywhere and is relatively low cost.
In our previous post on catfish farming in concrete pond, we stated that Nigeria is the largest aquaculture producer in Africa with a production output of over 15,000 tons per annum. That notwithstanding, there exist large unmet demand for fish.
Individuals have resorted to raising different species of fish using different ponds to have their share of the market demand
Our focus in this post will be only on fish farming using tarpaulin pond, as well as its potential impact on economy.
Fish Farming in Tarpaulin Pond
Tarpaulin ponds are becoming increasingly popular due to their low cost, ease of construction and portability.
There are two methods one could use here;
- Flow-through system
- Water re-circulation system
In flow-through system, you are required to constantly release water from the pond at least thrice weekly. This method is used to increase the oxygen level in the water for the survival of the fish.
Due to frequent change of water from the pond, you need to discharge properly without making a mess of the environment thereby coursing environmental pollution.
Understanding the importance of water quality in fish farming is essential if you want to succeed as a fish farmer.
Other things to Know
1. The first step to take when you plan to start fish farming is to select a suitable location that has access to a reliable source of water.
The pond should be constructed on level ground and should be free of rocks and other sharp objects that could puncture the tarpaulin material. The size of the pond will determine the number and size of fish to be stocked.
We have a post on pond size for 1000 catfish that will guide you on the number of fish to stock in your pond.
2. Once the pond is ready for use, it should be filled with water and chicken droppings (organic manure) and allow to settle for a few days before making use of the pond. After this treatment period, you can now stock the pond with fish. Our guide on stocking catfish in concrete and earthen pond will help you to know what to do when you are at this stage. When you fail to get this stage right you run at a loss.
3. Feeding is an important aspect of fish farming whether in tarpaulin pond or any other type of pond. The quality and quantity of their feed matters to their overall performance.
The number of fish stocked is dependent on the cost of feeding them. For example, cost of feeding 1,000 fish is different from the amount you will spend in feeding 500.
Overfeeding should be avoided as it can lead to poor water quality and disease outbreaks.
4. Water quality management is crucial in fish farming. The pond should be regularly monitored for pH, dissolved oxygen levels, temperature, and ammonia levels. Water changes may be necessary to maintain good water quality.
5. Harvesting fish in tarpaulin pond is usually done after 4-6 months depending on the species of fish and market demand. For catfish, there are four species grown in Nigeria for commercial purposes. They are
- Clarias Gariepinus
- Heterobranchus Bidorsalis
- Claria X Heterobranchus (Hybrid), and
- Claria Nigro-digitatus.
The fish can be sold live or processed depending on your niche market. Meanwhile, looking for fast growing species is important when trying to choose the ones to stock.
Impact of Fish Farming on the Economy
1. Employment and Income: Fish farming can create jobs in rural areas, providing income for local communities and contributing to poverty reduction.
2. Food Security: Fish farming helps meet the growing demand for fish as a food source. It provides a more reliable supply compared to wild fisheries, helping to ensure food security.
3. Economic Growth: A well-managed fish farming industry can contribute to economic growth through increased production, exports, and investment opportunities.
4. Price Stabilization: By increasing the availability of fish, aquaculture can help stabilize fish prices and make them more affordable for consumers.
Fish farming, especially when done in tarpaulin pond is a viable option for small-scale farmers who want to venture into the business. Proper planning, feeding, water quality and good management are essential for successful fish farming.