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Use This Simple Method to Calculate Your Stocking Density


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One of the frequently asked questions in catfish farming is that of how to know the number of catfish to be stocked in a pond or container. I have answered this question through my article on carriage capacity of pond.

Like I said in some of my previous writeups, calculation of stocking density depends so much on a number of variables. Pond type is an important variable that must be given priority in calculating capacity of pond in relationship to stocking/harvest ratio. Other vital variables include; availability of water source and volume, water management techniques to be adopted, desired size/volume expected at harvest, groundwater capacity in earthen pond, feed type to be used, estimated mortality rate based on previous experience or average mortality rate in your environment and numerous other variables.

Recently, a friend sent a writeup on how to calculate stocking density in catfish to me. I wish to share this piece of information with you. Although the research was done in the USA, we can still make use of the recommendations with little or no adjustment to suit our tropical environment and African catfish that we culture in our region. The calculation was done on static water pond with depth not specified. However, the volume of water must be known and I do hope we can all calculate water volume in any form of container based on our knowledge of elementary mathematics. Good! Another important thing you must predetermine before calculation begins is target size at harvest as well as expected mortality rate — usually between 5-10 percent. Generally, according to the recommendation of the research, a static pond system has maximum stocking capacity of 1.8kg of fish per meter square. Arithmetically, the calculation is simple: 2000 meter square of static pond water can carry 3,600kg of catfish.

There is more to the above calculation because we still don’t know the number of fishes to stock. Assuming your static pond water volume is 2000 meter square and you intend to produce average size of 900 grams of catfish at end of culturing season with an average mortality rate of 5 percent, and then calculation can be done thus:

2000 meter square of water volume multiplied by 1.8 divided by 900 gram plus 5 percent expected mortality rate i.e. (2000m2 x 1.8kg/900g) + 5% (2000m2 x 1.8kg/900g)

                                (3600/0.9) + 5%

                                4000+ 5% of 4000

                               4000+ 200 = 4200 juvenile

Note: The above calculation is recommended for a mono-culture system of catfish farming and to maintain water quality, each fish should not be fed above 20 g.


The above calculation might not be 100 percent applicable in tropical catfish farming system but can be used as basis upon which stocking density can be calculated with due consideration to other unique factors in our environment. It must also be noted that stocking capacity of pond can increase significantly if external source of water is introduced to a static pond. The increase in the level of dissolved oxygen in pond water can help increase the level of stocking density as waste is removed from pond either through flow through system or re-circulatory system.  


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  1. How will i know the total pieces of my catfish.i put 150,000 fingerlings of catfish they are more than 2months now..but because i had a problem with my water on my pond my fish are dying since january 20 till january 30 the tolat of fish died is 568pcs..can you teach me how to estimate how many pieces do i have..please reply asap..thanks

    • Mark Bradley

      How many cubic metres for stocking 225000 rainbow trout at 10grams do you need by law

  2. Okeowo Oludayo

    Hi Mr. Eniola, I really appreciate your post with regards to catfish farming. in fact, it helpS me a lot in my fish farming business because I gained a lot from it. I wish to have your phone number and your location.
    Thank you.

  3. Okeowo Oludayo

    kindly send me your phone number and your location. thanks.

  4. samson

    I want to know the quantity of fish Fingerling to be stock in a pond 8ft by 12ft. and 9 ft by 12

  5. Raine Shuki Peter

    I really benefited immensely from the above article. God bless you.

  6. Emmanuel Otoijamun

    Dear Okeowo, how did you get your pond size in square meter. Does the depth not count??

  7. Jacob A Olatunji

    Pond System Carriage Capacity: Mr E Abiodun you are few among many, I have been surfing webs to know or have an ideal idea about number of fish per meter square. Right now I’ve gotten it right. Which pond system is most ideal for fishes breeding in a farm set up environment? What’s the idea height for a pond be it earthen or concrete? I am not a practicing farmer yet. I appreciate your love, concern and sharing tendency on fish farming issues. Do you consider a would be apprentice/tyro?

  8. Isiko wilson mpongo

    My ponds are 40M x25M and 3M Deep. How many cat fish fingerlings should i stock?

  9. 2000 m² of water volume does not sound normal at all. Volume is a function of 3 dimension L×B×D expressed in m³. While area is a function of 2 dimension L×B = area(m²). And all you expressed there no depth. So how do you say volume of water in m²?
    Pls explain

  10. i am a student studying aquaculture and i have questions on how to find stocking rates,can this platform help.

  11. davis kalubenyi

    a farmer constructed ten (10) ponds of 500m squared each,he intends to stock tilapia using 2.5 fish per square meter.he intends to water his garden throughout the year,
    seepage rate of 1%. evapouration rate of 2%, irrigation rate 2% , if the farmer is to have three production cycles per year ,estimate the water requirement per year, (1)
    (2)approximate the fingerings per production cycle(3)if he is to start producing seed,he needs to have a rearing pond and a breeding pond ,estimate the sizes of the rearing and breeding ponds if he uses 25 fingerings per square meter.

  12. Temitope

    Hi. I appreciate your efforts. Please I need to.know the dimensions of pond that will sufficiently raise 1000 juveniles to table size. Example 20*30*4 ft etc. Thanks

  13. Volume of water is in cubic meters and not square meters. Pl. Correct in the above write up.

  14. lawrence

    Thank you so much for the valuable information. I’m about to start my catfish pond so i am searching for the viable stocking density formula. I wish to start with a small pond of 4m x 2m x 1.2m. How many catfish fries i can stock based on below sample calcultation?

    “2000 meter square of water volume multiplied by 1.8 divided by 900 gram plus 5 percent expected mortality rate i.e. (2000m2 x 1.8kg/900g) + 5% (2000m2 x 1.8kg/900g)

  15. Ikechukwu

    Hi Mr. Enniola, i am new in fish farming and appreciate your effort in educating beginners like us in it.

    Kindly help me in determining the optimal carrying capacity from fingerlings to tablesize of 1kg/fish in a pond of 3m x 2m with an approximate water depth of 1m.

    Thanks and stay blessed!

  16. Ikechukwu

    Hi Mr. Eniola, many thanks for all the knowledge you have empacted to farmers especially locally here in Nigeria.

    Kindly assist me with the optimal carrying capacity of a static pond of 2m x 3m, with a meter water depth.

    Thanks and stay blessed.

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