Practical advice for profitable fish farming...

Starting Up a Catfish Farming Business: 7 Important Factors to Note


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starting a catfish farming business

In a situation where opportunities are limited in both private and public sector, especially in Africa economy, people often look for what to do and investment decisions to make. This desire for investment opportunities in certain sectors of the economy is leading many small scale investors into Agriculture, specifically catfish farming. Awareness is being created daily in electronic, print and other media. Hence many people are ready to take advantage of this sector for possible investment.

Before you invest your hard earned money in this sector, you should take a bit of your time observing certain things that may affect your success or otherwise.

1. Cash inflow

Catfish farming business is a bit capital intensive because of continuous spending involved over a period of months before harvest. Therefore, as a potential investor in this business, irregular or meager salary and projected returns on other investment cannot be depended on because spending continues from day one to harvest. As a form of suggestion, it is better to have at least 80% of whatever capital needed to last you till the end while expecting the remaining 20% from other sources.

2. Water source

Three major things make splendid catfish farming are; water, feed and breed. Of all these three, water is the most important. When starting up your catfish farming business, you must make good water source your number one priority. To me, the definition of good water source is;

  • A water source that will not run dry, season in and out
  • A source that is not always polluted
  • A source that is not flood prone
  • And a source that will not involve additional cost before being used

The good water source mentioned here is applicable to any system you may want to run. As you are about to start, make good water source your ultimate consideration.

3. Source of feed

local catfish feed

As mentioned earlier, the efficiency of your feed management is as important as good water source. A good and well-developed catfish is a product of breed, feed and good water management. Therefore take your time to locate points where floating feed and raw materials for feed formulation are being sold. The closer the market of these materials to your farm, the more money you save on logistics. Locate your farm in a place that will not be too far from feed market to ensure continuous supply of input. For those who are setting up on either medium or large scale level, I strongly advise you buy directly from the producer of your floating feed. The advantages of buying directly from the producers are numerous; you are sure of saving money on logistic because many of them render free delivery service based on the quantity you buy, you will also get the product at cheaper price by eliminating middlemen and, more so, it will afford you the opportunity to get the right quantity and quality for your farm.

One more thing that medium and large scale investors in catfish farming business must have is feed mill to avoid disappointment by commercial feed millers.

4. Nearness to the market point

Elementary economics defines market as a point where buyers and sellers meet to transact business. In catfish farming business, marketing begins when a farmer who has raised his catfish to maturity makes moves to sell off his product. Many at times, most buyers are not willing to go to certain places due to poor road network or other factors which may include; farms not being located along the market route, unpopular catfish farms, glut etc.

One of the benefits of economy of scale you will enjoy when you locate your farm where catfish farming is popular is free movement of buyers within such community.

5. Security

Another thing you should think of is the security of your investment. Catfish farming business is like a black market; you might not be able to measure your progress until sales are made. In order to limit the extent of uncertainty in your business, security should be of paramount importance. Think of ways to secure your business from flood, theft, etc. Read more on farm security in my article here.

6. Availability

If you are one of those who love doing business in proxy, catfish farming business is not suitable for you. Your availability means a lot to this business. It will afford you the opportunity to observe and obtain firsthand information on happenings on your farm. The health and general security of fishes on your farm may be at risk if you depend too much on farm attendants.

7. Interest

Do not invest your hard earned money on business that does not interest you because interest on investment will still go back to people who have passion for such business. Before you get started, ask yourself this question: “am I interested?” Your interest will make a way for you and strengthen you towards success.


Don’t Lose it All: 9 Effective Ways to Secure Your Catfish Farm


  1. Emmanuel Mamshep Miri

    I will love to have more knowledge on catfish farming


    I will love to be trade as a catfish farming

    • You mean to be trained as catfish farmer. Pls follow my articles…they will be of great help. Thanks

      • Temilayo

        Good day sir, please I have as much as 10,000 stocks of catfish,but my major concern is the fact the fishes consumes up to like 23kg of local feeds daily, is this Normal or the other way round (it’s concrete ponds with the fishes between 2months-4months?

  3. adekoya Ademola

    I won’t mind a training cos I intend to start by February this year. Any help from you?

  4. Tosin

    Nice 1 sir…u’re doing a great job. Thank you.

  5. Onyeka

    Hello Eniola,

    I would like to contact you with respect to Fish Farming. My email address is bellow.

  6. Adedoyin Adesola

    I am given my juvenile 2mm of sretting feed and dey don’t eat d good as given to dem instantly until some minute later. wot shld I do to dat

  7. Danny

    Can you please tell me the general ratio of stocking of catfish in a pond or how much fish can be stocked in 1 square metre area.

  8. fauziyah Bj

    pls sir,when a catfish that is a bit bigger than fingerlings are dieing and when they die u find out dat there are wounds on the under part of their body please what is the cause or you see a little reddish wound on their head.But mine is stocked in the tank used for fish farming? thank you

    • Catfish Diseases and Treatments
      \Bacterial Infections:Inactivity, loss of color, frayed fins, bloated body, cloudy eyes, open sores, abscesses, red streaks throughout body, reddening or inflammation of the skin, fins or internal organs, bulging eyes, difficulty breathing.
      Fungal Infections (often secondary to another type of illness):Erratic swimming, darting, scratching, visible cotton-like tufts on skin, eyes, or mouth.
      Parasitic Infections:Inactivity, loss of appetite, excess mucus or film on body, visible spots or worms, rapid breathing, scratching.
      Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment
      Grayish-white film on skin, damaged fins, ulcers, yellow to gray patches on gills, tissue on head may be eaten away. Columnaris (Cotton Wool Disease) Must be treated immediately with Over-the-counter antibiotic medications. Very contagious disinfect tank, rocks, net, etc.
      Swelling of head, bulging eyes. Corneybacteriosis OTC antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline.
      Swelling of abdomen, raised scales around swollen area. Dropsy (Malawi Bloat) may be caused by internal bacterial infection (if swelling is sudden), parasites, or cancer (if swelling is gradual). Add 1/8 teaspoon of Epsom salt for every 5 gallons of water and monitor for two weeks. Check for signs of bacterial infection or parasites for further treatment.
      Ragged or decaying fins. Finrot Check pH and correct as needed. If level is normal, use OTC antibiotic for fin or tail rot.
      Inactivity, loss of color or appetite, weight loss, skin defects. Fish Tuberculosis Human strength TB medication may help in early stages. Contagious disinfect tank, rocks, net, etc. to prevent transmission. Wash hands and surfaces well.
      Erratic swimming, bloating or swelling in body, black patches on body or fins. Myxobacteriosis — rare Medications, if any, are difficult to come by. Keep up on water maintenance to prevent it.
      Sluggishness, lack of appetite, fin damage, reddish discoloration, bulging eyes, clamped fins Septicemia Antibiotic treatment in food form is required.
      White or gray fungus on eyes. Cataracts OTC medication for fungus.
      White or gray patches resembling cotton, excess mucus. Mouth or Body Fungus OTC medication for fungus. Usually added to water, but may need direct application.
      White cotton-like patches on fins, body, or mouth. True Fungus (Saprolegnia) OTC medication for fungus. Check for symptoms of other illnesses.
      Small string-like worms visible on fish, or burrowed in skin. Anchor Worm Over-the-counter medication for parasites.
      Bluish-white film on body, strained breathing caused by gill damage, peeling skin. Chilodonella Salt treatment (see below).
      Weight loss, strained breathing. Copepods OTC medication for parasites, also fungal treatment for possible secondary infection on damaged gills
      White film, reddened areas on body, abnormal swimming, scratching, folded fins. Costia (Slime Disease) Must be treated quickly. Raise water temperature and use OTC medication for parasites. Salt treatment may work, as well.
      Weight loss, abnormal swimming, generally looks very ill. Will accompany or follow leech infestation. Blood Flagellates (Sleeping Sickness) rare Salt treatment can be used to kill leeches, but may not cure flagellates.
      Sluggishness, flashing, spider web lesions on skin, color loss, reddened fins, drooping fins, fin damage. Skin Flukes (Gyrodactylus) OTC medication for parasites
      Lack of appetite, weight loss, small holes or eroding pits appearing in the head. Hole in Head Disease (Hexamita) more common in cichlids OTC medication for Hole in Head Disease.
      Scratching, white salt-like spots starting on head and spreading over whole body, rapid breathing, cloudiness on eyes or fins. Ich (Ichtyophthirius) very common OTC medication for Ich or Ick.
      Scratching, small worms hanging from body. Leech Salt treatment or OTC medication for parasites.
      Scratching, green to brown lice (up to inch) visible on skin. Lice OTC treatment for parasites.
      Erratic swimming, weight loss, loss of color. Neon Tetra Disease mostly affects tetras, danios, and barbs Treatment is difficult look for a medication that treats gram-negative bacteria or with nalidixic acid as the active ingredient.
      Darting, scratching, small yellow to white spots dusting skin. Oodinium OTC treatment for parasites.
      Cloudy appearance on skin, red patches on skin where parasite has bitten. Trichodina — predominately freshwater Salt treatment.
      Red or bloody gills, gasping for air. Ammonia Poisoning No treatment. Regular water testing and maintenance will prevent it.
      Small dark spots on fins and body. Black Spot OTC medication for parasites. Spots (cysts) may remain after treatment.
      Cloudy white appearance to one or both eyes. Cloudy Eye Check for symptoms of another illness like velvet, ich, or tuberculosis. Treat with OTC medication.
      String of feces hanging from fish, swollen abdomen, sluggishness, disinterest in food, off-balance swimming. Constipation Stop feeding for 2-3 days and continue with a more varied diet including live and plant-based foods.
      Small white spots that get larger over time possibly with black streaks. Fish Pox No treatment. Keep up on water maintenance and symptoms should cease after about 10-12 weeks.
      Difficulty swimming, swimming upside-down, floating, unable to surface. Do not confuse with swim bladder disease. Flipover Air can be removed from swim bladder by a veterinarian. Surgery is also a possibility in larger fish. Check for signs of internal infection or parasites and treat as necessary.
      Reddening on or under skin, sudden abnormal behavior. Inflammation OTC antibiotic treatment.
      Unusally bulging of one or both eyes. Pop-eye (Exophthalmia) OTC medication for bacterial infections and/or parasites. Check for other symptoms of bacterial or parasitic infections.
      Fish struggles to swim, may float with head tipped down, or have difficulty surfacing, no balance, etc. May occur after eating. Swim Bladder Disease Stop feeding for 3-4 days. If symptoms persist, feed the affected fish a small amount of fresh spinach or a green pea without the skin (laxatives).
      Swelling or distention for internal tumors, external can be seen growing on skin. Tumors Usually incurable. Consult a veterinarian about potassium iodide treatment for thyroid tumors.
      Sluggishness, lack of appetite, open sores with red edges, possible fin rot. Ulcers OTC medication for bacterial infections.
      Scratching, small gold to white spots, loss of color, weight loss, difficulty breathing due to gill damage. Velvet (Gold Dust Disease) OTC medication for parasites.

      Salt Treatments:
      Understand that while salt is frequently used as a treatment/preventative for sick fish, it is no guarantee. It can even be dangerous to some fish (for example, cory catfish).
      There is nothing more important than maintaining a proper environment (temperature, water quality, aeration).
      Basically, salt will strip or re-stimulate (depending upon the concentration) the slime coat produced by the fish, increasing antibodies and making bacteria, fungus, and parasites more vulnerable to medications such as antibiotics or fungicides.
      The following salts can be used in a salt treatment for your fish: Aquarium, solar (without anti-caking additives), meat curing, sea, kosher, rock, pickling, and ice cream salts, or regular non-iodized table salt.
      The additives mentioned above may include a type known as sodium ferrocyanide or yellow prussiate of soda. This is deadly to fish. The “cyanide” part should clue you in to that.
      For a constant preventative treatment, use a low concentration of about .3%. This is equal to about 2.5 teaspoons per U.S. gallon of water. If you have live plants in your aquarium, you may want to consider about half that amount.
      For a concentrated “dip” to be used in treatment of external parasites, the concentration should be 1%, or 7.5 teaspoons per U.S. gallon. You must be very careful when using these dips. All fish will react differently to salt treatments, and especially smaller fish must be monitored very closely. Generally this will be done in a hospital/quarantine tank, as water changes are the only way to remove salt from your main tank. The hospital/quarantine tank should be at least one gallon, with no rocks and only two or three plastic plants for security. The temperature should be kept between 75-80 degrees with good aeration. Dissolve your salt completely before adding your fish. Once you have put your fish into the water, watch it closely for signs of distress, such as rolling over. This may be as quickly as a few seconds with smaller or baby fish. Remove the fish at the first sign! Do not leave your fish in this solution longer than 30 minutes. Then place it in a container of aged water, preferably not taken from the main (still infected) tank. Give the tank a thorough cleaning while your fish recuperates.

  9. olatunji joseph

    i will like to know more about catfish farming because i just want to start,pls give me some piece advice on how to buy fish and the feed

  10. Chiz

    Thank you very much brother

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