Rules are meant to guide, and when you break them you will be penalized. Almost every line of business is guided by dos and don’ts. In catfish farming business, there are many rules you must never attempt to break. They must be obeyed or else profitability of the business may be affected negatively. For instance, at the stage of breeding, male and female catfish of the same family and same generation must not be used to breed. The effect of violating this rule is long term and can even make mess of the whole process. However, not every catfish farmer will hatch what he will stock but every catfish farmer must stock small fishes to produce table size. This is the main reason I want to focus on seven rules you must observe as you stock your fingerlings.
- Do not stock in an unprepared pond. Stocking in an unprepared pond is as good as keeping your money on an African highway and expecting to get it back someday. Many things could be wrong with that pond you fail to prepare. I tell you; too much mud in your pond affects the survival rate of your new stock. It makes them less resistant to diseases and also makes the turbidity level of your pond water to rise to an unacceptable level… causing mortality in some species of catfish.
- Never attempt to stock an unsorted seed. You will do yourself a lot of a favor by stocking fingerlings/juveniles of sizes within the same range. Do not accept gift of fishes that outgrow others from your hatcher to be stocked in the same pond with the rest of smaller fishes. It is dangerous. You may not be able to predict what will be left at the end of the process.
- Do not stock catfishes of different species in a pond except you want to experiment. The feeding pattern in different species of catfish is not the same. This might make one specie to outgrow the other. If the voracious species outgrow less voracious species, then there will be a problem of cannibalism.
- Do not stock catfish and tilapia fish together in same pond. I am against the school of thought that believe that stocking catfish and tilapia together will reduce the cost of production and ultimately increase profit. I once tried it and paid dearly for it. Tilapia, being bony fishes, will kill your small fishes as they attempt to swallow them. Also, tilapia cannot survive polluted water and stress.
- Even after pond preparation, do not stock your smaller fishes when you still notice movement of bigger fishes. A catfish of one kilogram can eat up to ten pieces of six gram juveniles per day. If you notice any strange movement in your pond after preparation please drain out the water and effect necessary corrections.
- Don’t overstock except you have other plans. It is more expensive and less profitable to overstock your catfish pond. It is not how far but how well.
- Never stock in an unprotected pond. If you do, don’t hesitate to put in place necessary protections. Put screen on your pond inlet and outlet pipes. Failure to do this will make you to lose part of your stock through your pipe network. Put net on your juvenile ponds where necessary.