Catfishes, being aquatic animals, are raised in water environment: Anywhere there is fresh water, catfish can be cultured. Over time, besides the natural habitat of fishes, researches have made us understand that catfishes are rugged type of fish. Catfishes can be raised in almost every object that can retain fresh water in a conducive atmosphere. However, the choice of pond type to use depends largely on factors like land availability, convenience, purpose of raising fish, water resources, and scale of production among others. In this article, various ways of raising catfish are identified with unique advantages of one over others.
Types of Catfish Ponds
1. Earthen Ponds: are artificial dams, reservoir, or lake constructed for different species of fishes in order to retain some features of the natural aquatic environment. Earthen ponds are created manually, or mechanically, in a carefully selected site with high water retention ability. Earthen ponds are constructed manually with the use of shovels and diggers. However, in recent times, the use of excavators to dig ponds has been on the increase. An excavator can dig a pond that ten men will ordinarily dig in five days within just ten hours. For commercial pond construction, the use of excavator is more cost effective than manual construction. It also saves time and can attain good depths in hours.
The choice of land for earthen pond must take into cognizance availability of water, or at worse confirm wetlands in season and out of season. Other factors that must be considered include soil type, soil texture and soil permeability. A site located in an area that mainly has sandy soil costs more when it comes to construction because ponds constructed in such areas will need sandbagging to prevent the collapse of such a pond.
Advantages of Earthen Pond over Other Types of Ponds
- It is similar to the natural habitat of fishes.
- Fishes grow better in an earthen pond than in every other type of pond.
- Maintenance cost is cheaper.
- It can support different kinds of feed.
- It has natural capacity to control pollution.
- You do not need an electric aerator to boost the oxygen level.
- It requires lower cost of production.
- It allows fishes to grow faster.
- It allows easy water management
2. Concrete Ponds: are usually constructed with concrete and sometimes reinforced to make them stronger. Construction of concrete ponds is often handled by highly skilled professionals in civil/construction engineering. For any concrete pond to stand the test of time it must be well constructed. The use of blocks for the construction of concrete tanks is not usually encouraged.
Concrete tanks for catfishes can be constructed below or above the earth surface. Concrete ponds are must popular in urban areas where catfish farming are practiced.
Advantages of Concrete Pond over Earthen Ponds
- It is easy to manage; e.g. counting, sorting, sales and other management practices.
- It is better for production of fingerlings and juveniles.
- It can be constructed on dry land.
- It cannot be flooded.
- It has manageable surface area.
- Diseases are easily detected and controlled.
- Predators can be kept away or easily controlled.
- Concrete ponds do not need demudding.
- Waste feed can easily be discovered in concrete ponds.
- It cannot be affected by weed and chemical pollution.
- It may not need major maintenance for years.
- Growth of fishes can easily be monitored.
- Usage requires less manpower.
3. Tarpaulin/Synthetic Leather Ponds: are dug like an earthen pond but the walls are lined with a form of rubber/leather carpet to prevent water percolation. These kinds of ponds are excellent at raising juveniles and brood stock. They are usually constructed with flow-through system.
Advantages of Tarpoline/Synthetic Leather Pond
- They are easier to manage
- They reduce water waste
- They are easy to maintain
4. Plastic/Rubber Tanks: are of different sizes specifically manufactured for raising catfishes. Some of these containers are constructed to accommodate as much as one tonne of table-size fish.
Advantages of Rubber/Plastic Tank
- They can be used to raise fishes almost everywhere.
- They can easily be moved from one place to the other.
- They can be used to raise fingerlings before they are transferred to the main ponds.
- They are safe and secure because they can be used to raise fishes indoor.
- They pose no threat to the environment i.e. they are environment friendly.
- They can be used to learn the art and science of fish farming.
- They are cheap and less expensive to maintain.
5. Fiberglass Tanks: are transparent tanks used to raise frys and fingerlings under a controlled temperature before they are transferred into the outdoor tanks.
Advantages of Fiberglass Tank
- They are easy to manage
- The activities of the fishes can be monitored at a glance
- They are portable and movable
6. Cage Tanks: are constructed and placed inside fresh water. They are anchored to the surrounding pegs. Most of the times, feeding of fishes in the tanks are done with the use of a canoe because these tanks are placed in the middle of a large water body to replace their water environment in an enclosed cage.
Advantages of Cage Tank
- It can be used to raise large number of fishes
- Water pollution is rare
- Fishes grow better due to constant fresh water
- Availability of oxygen at all times
- Availability of other water organisms for fishes to feed on
- However, water pollution can lead to the death of all fishes in the cage