Despite the huge returns on investment, catfish business has its challenges. In today’s post, we have decided to look at catfish fries management, which happens to be the most important stage in catfish farming.
A lot of fish farmers prefer to stock their ponds with fingerlings and post-fingerlings due to what they consider as difficulties coping with fries.
Many believe that catfish fry management is the most difficult aspect of catfish farming but in actual sense, it is the easiest. What many farmers lack is strategies on how to manage the fish at this stage. Before we proceed, let’s first understand the meaning of catfish fries
Meaning of fish Fries
The word catfish fry or fries is used to describe newly hatched catfish that are raised in hatcheries for some time before being transferred to bigger ponds.
They are newly hatched catfish between 7-10 days. It takes a process of 7 to 10 days. Some call the fries baby fish because of how small and delicate they are at that early stage. In the beginning stage, they need special care and good feed to survive.
Once the fries have grown, they are sorted into grow-out ponds as fingerlings. Though the fingerlings are still relatively small but still need continuous monitoring.
Strategies for Successful Catfish Fries Management
To prevent catfish fry mortality, it is important to understand various strategies to handle them.
Below are some of the ways to manage your catfish fries:
1. Set up the hatchery: This is the first stage to effective management of catfish fries. To get maximum results in this line of business, the hatchery must have appropriate equipment such as good brood stock, a weighing scale, a synthetic hormone, a syringe, a spawning net, a plastic spoon, a saline solution, and a knife/razor blade.
2. Good water quality: Regularly test the water to find out the temperature, pH, oxygen levels, and ammonia concentrations. Poor water quality can cause stress or disease that could lead to mortality.
The secret to getting it right at this stage is to have water continuously flowing in and out of the hatchery. The essence of this is to keep the water clean, have good oxygen levels, and prevent any contamination.
3. Do not feed on the first day: One of the reasons newly hatched fries die is due to feeding on the first day. When newly hatched, the fish comes with a whitish sack under their belly. That transparent sack is the food that will sustain them for another 24 hours.
I believe you must have noticed such transparent sacks without knowing what they are for. So, feeding them when the sack is still visible is overfeeding.
Overfeeding is one of the major causes of catfish fry mortality. So, until the sack disappears, do not feed them.
4. Feeding: Catfish fries are fed small amounts of quality feed several times a day. Unlike fingerlings or juveniles that can be fed twice daily, fries need to be fed at intervals.
Remember that feeding starts between 24-48 hours after you have noticed that the whitish sack on their belly has disappeared.
Their feed must be nutritionally balanced and contain high levels of protein to support their growth. One can learn how to make catfish feed at home to reduce the cost of purchasing foreign feeds.
5. Keep the environment free from predators: For effective catfish fries management, the hatchery environment must be clean and free of predators.
Fish fries are vulnerable to predators such as lizards, birds, snakes, frogs, etc. Therefore, it is essential to net the pond to ward off these predators from accessing the fries.
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1. Regulate the water flow inside the pond/hatchery to avoid fast currents.
2. Maintain a slow water outflow from the hatchery.
3. Manage water inflow and outflow by reducing pressure; a 12-hour water change cycle is recommended.
4. Avoid excessive water pressure, as it can harm the fries.
5. Feed the fries at least twice daily.
6. Always cover the hatchery/pond with a net to deter predators.
7. Prevent direct sunlight from reaching the pond to avoid temperature spikes or potential blindness.
Many think that Catfish fry or rather fries management is the most challenging aspect of catfish farming but in actual sense, it is the easiest. All you have to do to ensure the newly hatched catfish survives is to follow the steps outlined in this post.
Q1. What’s the Optimal Water Temperature for Catfish Fry Management?
- The ideal water temperature for catfish fry management typically falls between 75°F and 80°F. Maintaining this range is crucial for their well-being and growth.
Q2. How Can I Prevent Overfeeding Catfish Fries During the Initial Days?
- To avoid overfeeding, refrain from giving food to newly hatched catfish fries on the first day. Their whitish sack provides enough nourishment for the first 24 hours, so it’s best to wait until it disappears.
Q4. How Do I Identify Common Water Quality Issues in My Catfish Hatchery?
- Regularly test the water for temperature, pH levels, oxygen content, and ammonia concentrations. Abnormal readings can signal water quality issues that may affect your catfish fry’s health.
Q5. Can You Provide Tips for Protecting Catfish Fries from Birds and Predators?
- Protecting catfish fries from predators is essential. Ensure your hatchery is securely netted to deter threats like birds, snakes, and frogs. Maintaining a predator-free environment is crucial for their safety.
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