It is not uncommon to hear catfish farmers complain of poor growth in their catfish stock. In fact, some farmers attribute poor growth in their stock to unresolved spiritual problems.
Up to 95 percent of cases of poor growth in catfishes are traceable to violations of fundamental principle upon which catfish farming is based. If you go against the rule and best management practices in catfish farming, you will surely pay for it in the area of growth of your stock.
At this point in time I will like to make a recommendation on how your catfishes should look like at specific month(s). This will enable farmer to compare and make a logical conclusion based on reality. Farmers should note that the recommendations in the table below is purely based on average results achieved on my farm in the in the last 7 years.
Catfish Size Range per Month
|Age (days\month)||Size (grams\kg)|
|Size stocked(10 grams juvenile)
|100-150 grams (0.1-0.15kg)|
|Day31-day 60||150-250 grams (0.15-0.25kg)|
|Day 61-day 90||250-500grams (0.25-0.5kg)|
|Day 91-day120||500-900 grams (0.5-0.9kg)|
|Day 121-day150||900-1600 grams (0.9-1.6kg)|
|Day 151-day180||1600-2400 grams (1.6-2.4kg)|
|Day 180+||2400grams+ (2.4kg+)|
The result in the table is achieved under an acceptable best practice in catfish farming. With good feeds that meet the nutritional requirement of your stock per time, good water environment and above all, good seeds — farmers should be able to get a result that falls with the range given in the table. You can be sure of poor growth in your stock if your catfishes perform below the range of sizes recommended (all things being equal).
From experience, there are many factors that can cause stunted growth in catfishes: king of which are poor seed, malnutrition and poor water environment. Apart from these major factors, other causes include;
- Stocking your ponds beyond its carriage capacity.
- Feeding your fishes grossly below daily requirement.
- Infections and diseases that reduce growth.
- Inconsistent and irregular feeding of your stock (skip feeding).
- Poor start.
- Feeding your fishes with the wrong feed size.
- Too shallow pond.
- Poor weather condition
What should I do to prevent loss?
- Identify the cause of problem through the history of the stock. Every other problem can be corrected except bad breed issues. Feeds can be improved and served as at when due. Work on how to improve the water condition and reduce density if you overstocked.
- Find out the type of breed stock, some breed mature early while some mature late. Late maturing breeds are always slow at the beginning and catch up later around three months.
- Never take any decision to sell before three months except they are raised for such market.
- Feed them with the right feed and the right size. Ensure up to 99 percent of your stock can pick certain size of feed before you introduce such feed size. There is no crime in feeding your fishes that can pick 6mm with 4mm. In fact it allows them to achieve their growth potential better. Never rush to graduate your fish from lower feed sizes.
- When there is no significant improvement in your catfish growth after four month, please dispose them (sell them out). The more you keep such fishes, the more you lose. Don’t ever forget that bad stock will eat little and convert less.