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Catfish Feed Ingredients: The Ultimate Guide


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Catfish feeds are made up of major and minor ingredients combined in the right proportion to give required nutrient to fish that feed on them. Certain ingredients are major because they form the larger proportion of the feed – even up to ninety-six percent of the total feed ingredients. However, minor ingredients are needed in very small quantity in feed but their importance cannot be overlooked. Absence of feed ingredients needed in small quantity can reduce the efficiency of your feed to about fifty percent. Therefore, understanding of both major and minor ingredients is needed to prepare an efficient catfish feed.

The classification of feed ingredients in this article is patterned after human classes of food. Feed ingredients are classified based on their major composition. This means that some ingredients are made up of more than one class of nutrient but are classified under the dominant nutrient. The list of catfish feed ingredients are endless; in fact, more are being discovered on daily bases. The identified feed ingredients are grouped under five classes namely; Protein, Energy, Fat and oil, Vitamin and mineral, and other additives.

List of Ingredients according to class of nutrition they belong

1)Proteinous Ingredients are the building block in any feed ingredient because they are the major ingredients that aid the growth of fish and help in replacement of dead cells and production of new cells. Good catfish feed is made up of between 38 – 45 percent protein, which is more than twice richer than any poultry feed. The list includes animal and plant proteins;

  • Fishmeal is made from processed fishes of different kinds with different level of protein. Fishmeals are identified based on the level of protein in them e.g. 75 percent, 72 percent, 65 percent and 62 percent fish meal. Also in this category is local fish meal which is made up fish particle, fish head and waste, and sometimes whole fish. Local fish is not processed; hence level of protein in it is determined through laboratory analysis. Depending on the quality, local fish can be graded into A, B, C, etc.
  • Fish Analogues are synthesis in the laboratory to replace fishmeal in feed. All classes of protein present in real fishmeal are present in fish analogue, though in synthetic form.
  • Feather Meal is processed feathers of poultry. It is very rich in protein and can be used to complement the use of fish to reduce cost.
  • Poultry Meal is made from poultry waste: meat, offal, chicken head and leg, etc. It comprises of more than 60 percent protein depending on how it is processed. It can also complement fishmeal. When fishmeal is not available, poultry meal can serve as good substitute (though in feed for older fishes).
  • Blood Meal is the richest of all proteinous ingredients. It has more than 85 percent protein. However, it can only be used in small proportion in feed because it has a limited type of protein. Overuse of blood meal can lead to broken/cracked head in fish. 5 percent inclusive rate is recommended for your fish feed.
  • Meat Meals are made from flesh and other body part of domestic animals. They are excellent in catfish feed and enhance feed palatability.
  • Soya Meal is a king among plant proteins. Soy beans can be processed as either meal or full-fat soya. Full-fat soya is excellent in catfish feed because of oil as an added advantage in it.
  • Ground Nut Cake (GNC) is made from groundnut seed. The remaining cake from groundnut after oil has been removed from it is known as GNC. It becomes slug when oil is not properly removed from it.
  • Ben-seed Cake is a good substitute for GNC in fish feed.
  • Cotton Seed Meal is made from cotton seed that has been de-oiled.
  • Sun Flower Seed Meal is a good source of protein and also a good substitute for Soya meal when available.

2)Energy Ingredients help in providing necessary strength for livestock. Catfishes need energy as much as they need protein for all round development. List of energy ingredients for Catfish feed formulation includes:

  • Maize is used in catfish feed because of its high energy composition. The use of maize is recommended when the price is relatively low. Maize must be powdered in fish feed in order to benefit fully from its use.
  • Processed Cassava (Gari) is a cheap energy source that can be used in catfish feed. It is not a preferred source of energy in feed except other energy ingredient is not available.
  • Dough is wheat flour that has been mixed with water. It has good energy level and is cheaper than maize. Dough is waste from bread and biscuit factories.
  • Biscuit and Noodle waste can be used in compounding catfish feed where they are available because their main ingredients are wheat based.
  • Milk waste has more energy than protein and should not be used to replace proteinous ingredients.
  • Brewery waste can also be used as energy based ingredient in catfish feed, but this is not usually recommended.
  • Molasses is sugar waste rich in energy. It can be used as binding agent in locally pelletized feed. Also, starch is used as binding agent in pellet.

3) Fats and oils are essential feed ingredients comprising of fatty acid, and they also help in energy delivery in catfish feed. Some energy ingredient contain high level of fat and oil e.g. full-fat soya, Slug GNC, etc. At times, oil is added to feed to increase the energy in such feed. Some fats and oils that can be used in feeds are;

  • Palm oil
  • Fish oil
  • Animal fat
  • Palm cannel oil
  • Other edible oils

4) Vitamins and Minerals: Growth, health, and body processes are controlled by this class of nutrition. For example, organic and inorganic chemicals are found in vitamin and minerals. Most of the minerals and vitamins needed in catfish feed are available in Fish Premix. Therefore, the use of Premix is vital in catfish feed formulation. To ensure adequate presence of mineral and vitamin in feed, a kilogram of Premix is recommended for 200 kilograms of feed.

5) Other Additives may be needed to replace certain nutrients that are not available in sufficient quantity in other feed ingredients. List of these additives are:

  • Salt is used for taste, body process and anti-biotic in feed.
  • Methionine is protein manufactured to complement it shortage in soya. To avoid wastage, 1 kg of Methionine is recommended for a ton of fish feed.
  • Lysine is protein needed in fish feed but not available in sufficient quantity in feed ingredient. A kilogram of lysine is also recommended for a ton of feed.
  • Bone Meal is added to feed for strong bone formations.
  • DCP contains calcium and phosphate. It also helps bone formation and enhancement. The use of bone meal is not necessary when DCP is used. However, bone meal is preferred because it is cheaper.
  • Toxin Binder
  • Drugs, etc.


The above is a list of the most common ingredients used in catfish feed. For more information on compounding the best feed for your catfish, make sure to read my article on catfish feed formulation.

What other ingredients do you use for your catfish feed that isn’t mentioned in this article? Feel free to let share in the comments section below.


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  1. Tosin

    Fantastic write up mr Eniola… more fish oil to ur elbow!

  2. Temilayo

    This little article has so much benefits

  3. Bgof farms

    God bless u truely

      • Temilayo

        Please sir, I am currently having some challenges with the weight and sizes of my stock, it’s already above 5month, but the weight and sizes is not encouraging enough to sell off, is there any feed formula u could give sir??

  4. Esther

    should animal fat be given to the fishes raw or cooked?

  5. Mrs. Are, O.

    God will increase your knowledge IJN. I learn a lot from your write ups, please keep it up. Pls send me Mohammed Abubakar’s phone no to order fish feed. Thanks.

  6. adeleke

    this is very useful

  7. Temilayo

    Please sir, I am currently having some challenges with the weight and sizes of my stock, it’s already above 5month, but the weight and sizes is not encouraging enough to sell off, is there any feed formula u could give sir??

  8. This is a fantastic right up. God bless u for allowing us to share from your knowledge. Keep it up.

  9. sumit kadam

    still my fish are small 3 month has gone so what should i must feed that fish weight will become 600 grms



  11. sumit kadam

    daily feed is 100 kg

  12. Thanks my boss, i most appreciate this to have more. Please which breed is adviceable to stock sir

  13. Jessie

    My dear u have done more than what CBN cant do for the masses. Thank you very much . We love you. God bless your effort and reward you.

  14. mkk

    Can I add wheat flour in catfish feeding? I don’t know why in many formular there’s no wheat flour included so i am afraid to add in my formula.please kindly reply. Thanks in advance.

  15. Olyemi

    Can i use only blood meal and dead animals(cow fetus, intestines etc) to feed fish at 2months old to table size?

  16. Aliyu

    Thanks for your generosity. Please is it possible to catch up with fish size and weight? My fish are now 4 months+ but their size doesn’t correspond with their age

  17. Lawal

    U re really doing a great work bro. kudos to u

  18. A. Agboola

    Pls what additive can be used in feed as preservative

  19. Raphael Amari

    Thank you very much for enlighten me and God bless

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