The present state of economy in the country is not helping catfish farmers in the area of profitability. You probably have not heard that the prices of floating feeds have gone up because you don’t have small fishes. The cost of 72 percent fishmeal has almost doubled compared with what was obtainable in the last four years. In fact, the most discouraging part of my story is that you may not get customers for catfishes above 1.3kg except you are ready to sell on credit.
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It has been observed that there is a significant relationship between feed size and growth in catfish. In other words, the size of feed given to your catfishes has a lot to do with their growth and general well being.
In catfish feed production, most especially floating feed, it is a common practice that smaller feed must be made richer in nutrition than bigger feed sizes. The reason for this is that smaller fishes that consume feeds of smaller sizes need better nutrition in terms of crude protein to grow well. Catfish farmers are to be guided by the principle of ‘’the smaller the feed the better’’ in selection and formulation of feed for their fishes. Here are more facts on relationship between feed sizes and growth in catfishes that will enhance your proficiency in catfish farming practices.
A shallow pond in earthen pond system is a pond that has less than two feet of water depth. According to my recommendations on this blog, an earthen pond should have at least three or more feet of water depth to ensure your fishes grows well. Therefore do not allow anyone to deceive you into digging shallow ponds because you might have to spend double the money to make necessary corrections. In this article, I have listed seven reasons why you should not raise your grow out fishes in a shallow pond.
Do you know that profitability in catfish farming business is not about how big your fishes are at the point of sale? You can raise big fishes and still run at loss. Many farmers believe that they might not make reasonable profit on small-sized fishes. This is not true. Like I have been saying, big fishes are a product of good breed, nutritious feed, and good water environment. All these factor help them to feed in right quantity and convert well. As a matter of fact, one thing you might notice in fishes that will not grow well is irregular feed consumption. Their feed consumption pattern is often abnormal. For instance, by the time a thousand pieces of catfish should be consuming 20 kg of feed per feeding arrangement, they will consume around half of what they need to eat. There isn’t much problem when you notice. Just ensure you don’t waste your feed by dumping the feed in the pond.
It has been observed that selling catfishes before due time always result in a loss — especially when the fishes sold are under three month old. Many fish farmers are the architect of their own failure. They plan to fail even at the onset of their business. Those essential aspects of their business that should be monitored are left at the mercy of chances. As far as I am concerned, planning is everything in catfish farming. You might need to plan the number of times to stock and harvest in a year, number of fishes to stock based on your financial capacity, type of feed to use and many more critical areas of fish farming. Here are seven major factors that can cause you to sell before an appointed time:
Fish farming is one of the most profitable agribusinesses in Africa. You can start fish farming without the need for huge investments on capital projects like purchase of land and heavy constructions as is obtainable in poultry farming. One particular thing I love about fish farming business is that you can get details of your profit and loss after just a season of six months. I am also particular about rate of returns on the investment. It’s always fantastic when you get the business right. In fact, some of us in the fish farming business cannot easily switch to other businesses; we prefer to expand our capacity because fish farming is interesting.
As interesting as fish farming is in our own part of the continent, there are many challenges existing and new fish farmers are facing and will still be facing if drastic steps are not taken to correct abnormality in the business. These challenges are seriously militating against the development of fish farming. According to my article on prospect of catfish farming in Nigeria, fish farming can generate a lot of employment opportunity for the vast unemployed youth in Africa and also earn the continent a huge foreign reserve. Some of the problems militating against the development of fish farming are discussed below:
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.
According to a popular saying, “Prevention is better than cure.” This is due to the fact that the cost of prevention is always cheaper than the cost of control/cure. In catfish farming, effect of mortality due to disease may be severe. In fact, some diseases in catfish are incurable when they are discovered late. For instance, crack/broken head disease in catfish is difficult to cure. Any attempt to administer drug is usually a wasted effort. My recent experience in a friend’s farm prompted me to write this short note. He lost almost half of his capital to a disease that can be prevented.
Here are the ways to prevent Diseases in your stock:
A senior part-time farmer friend once invited me to his farm. The purpose of invitation was to behold his big catfishes. I was set aback when I saw how “big” his catfishes were at around six month old. They were not more than 600 grams. Indeed! What a “big fish” they were.
When I talk about raising big catfishes, I am not referring to my friend’s kind of big fishes. I am talking about raising catfishes of 2kg and above in six months. Anyone can raise catfishes but not everyone can raise them to profitable big sizes of my standard within a limited time. It takes well-planned preparation, knowledge and financial capability to achieve a real big size fish. Without further ado, here are seven things you must do to raise your African catfishes to giant sizes.
African catfish performs optimally in temperature above 25 degree Celsius. This does not mean temperature below 25 degree Celsius will kill your fish. It will only reduce the growth potential of your stock.
Catfish cultured in a deep earthen pond of depth between 3 to 6 feet can easily adjust to temperature by swimming to the warmer or cooler depth. However, studies have shown that shallow ponds are more affected by change in temperature (cold or hot temperature). Whether in earthen ponds or other types of ponds, cold weather affects the performance of African catfish and its environment in different ways as explained in this article.