HOW TO GET STARTED IN FISH FARMING
STEP BY STEP
STEP 1.
You need A LAND. After acquiring the land, then you need to decide which culture system you want to use.
Types of culture system:
Pond.
Concrete tanks.
Vats.
Cage.
Pen.
If you will use a pond, the land should not just be any land. The soil on that land should be clayey, or most importantly, it should be such that can hold water. On this land, you will either have A POND, OR A CONCRETE TANK. If you want to go into Grow-out production, you can use both the concrete tanks and the earthen pond. But if you want to go into fingerling production, you will have to use the concrete tanks. You may want to ask if you can’t use the earthen ponds for fingerling production. Yes you can, but for proper management reasons, you cant. You will get to understand the management reasons as we go along. So, your earthen pond should be constructed by experts who can do the job properly. In selecting your pond site, avoid areas that are usually flooded and ensure the area is such that you can drain your water easily. Your pond should be constructed in an area where there is availability of water because NO WATER, NO BUSINESS AND INCONSISTENT WATER SUPPLY = FRUSTRATION IN BUSINESS. So, water is one major factor to consider when choosing your site location. In constructing your site, get an expert and not just any body who can just dig the ground for you
These experts should be familiar with the following:
 The land has to be properly cleared of its weeds and hard roots.
 After excavating, the dike with a gentle slope should be built in such a way that the water will not seep into the soil.
 The inlets and outlet should be built.
 The pond dike should be protected.
 The pond should be fertilized before filling it with water.
 The pond should be left for about a week before stocking with fish so that the water condition will be in it normal state and natural food production will have evolved for the fish to feed on.
STEP 2.
When your pond is set, purchase your juvenile or jumbo sized fish and then stock. Ensure you cover your pond with net to prevent predators from coming in to eat up your fish and for those that can not eat up your fish, they will compete with your fish for food and this means your fish will not grow as they aught to because their food is been limited.
Get someone to construct your concrete tanks for you. For proper management, it should not be too big. And after constructing your concrete tanks, you will have to wash off cements. In doing this, you will have to spread farm yard manure into your tank for at least 3 days, the manure will decompose and reduce the effect of the cement. Clean and wash out the pond with water, then stock. Or you could just fill the tank with water and leave it for 1 week, flush the water out after one week, wash and fill with water again for another one week, flush and then stock your fish with a fresh water.
FEEDING.
As a fish farmer, especially for someone who is just going into the business, you need to understand that close to 50% of your investment goes in feeding. Feeding takes a whole lot especially if you are into grow out production. Just imagine feeding 1000pieces offish for 5 month and one bag of imported pellet feed now is about N4200. All of this is not to scare you but to prepare your mind for the task ahead of you.
You can reduce your cost of feeding by giving them a locally formulated feed. There are several places where you can buy the feed ingredients and then grind and pellet for your fish. In feeding your fish with the local feed, be careful not to waste you feed. Watch your fish as they feed and then stop feeding immediate the fish has stopped rushing for the food. The reason why you should stop feeding is because the local feed will eventually sink later n it will pollute the water which will cause trouble for your fish. But with the imported floating feeds, you will still see the remains of the feed on the water floating.
MANAGEMENT
Management covers all the operations which are required to keep the pond operating at maximum efficiency. For earthen ponds:
 Check your pond often for leaks.
 Remove undesirable aquatic weeds.
 Always watch fish behavior while feeding.
 Fertilize your pond when necessary.
 Watch for predators.
 Cut grasses on pond walls.
 Periodically, clean the bottom of your pond as this will control the PH of your water.
General Management.
 Change your water periodically.
 Feed well.
 Observe fish for signs of disease.
How do I know the number of fish to stock in my pond or a tank?
The size of your pond or concrete tank will determine the number of fish to stock. Some usually stock between 2 to 10 juvenile per meter square, and some other will stock between 5 to 7 juvenile per meter square. The most important thing is do not over stock and do not under stock. Infact, it is better to understock than to overstock because the fewer your fish, the faster their growth.
What happens when I overstock?
Firstly, Your fish will not grow as fast as they should.
Also, there will be reduction of oxygen in the culture system and when the fish have less oxygen available for them, they will be stressed and stress in fish will lead to disease outbreak.
What should be the size of my pond?
The size of your pond will depend on the purpose for which it is to serve. But it is better to have a pond that can be easily managed. For instance, you can have 2 – 3 ponds on 1 plot of land. It all depends on your capabilities.
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