Fish

Fish

Catfish farming business in Nigeria is a very profitable business to venture into. I have spoken with some successful catfish farmers in Nigeria, and from their testimonies, I can boldly say that this is a very lucrative business. In an earlier series, I shared with you an experience of a successful catfish farmer who has made huge fortune from the business.

 

 

REQUIREMENTS TO START A SUCCESSFUL CATFISH FARMING BUSINESS IN NIGERIA

 

1. A Deep and Wide Pond With Provision for Adequate Inflow and Outflow of Water.

To ensure adequate growth of your catfishes, two things are essential:

 

A pond with the right depth and width to ensure adequate comfort and growth for your fishes; often, the deeper a pond, the better.
Consistent inflow and outflow of “good quality water” to ensure optimal growth of your fishes; by good quality water, I mean natural flowing clean water coming from a stream or river.

 

The width of your pond can vary depending on how many fishes you want to put in a particular pond. However, the depth of your pond should not be compromised.

The optimal depth of a pond, that will actually contain water, that I’ve seen is in the 4 feet deep range; I’ve seen people do well with 2.5 feet, but you start to get the best results if your pond is at least 4 feet deep. More often than not, deeper is always better.

 

That said, you shouldn’t be too concerned with the width of your pond; ponds come in many shapes, including as a rectangle, a square, often as a triangle or a circle. That said, you want to make sure not to overstock your pond as that can affect the growth of your fishes.

 

If I were to stock 1,500 – 2,000 fishes, an ideal pond for me will be a pond that is square in shape, 50ft x 50ft wide and that has a depth of at least 4 feet.
That said, I believe I can’t overemphasize the importance of having water enter and go out of your pond on a consistent basis.

 

A pond designed for 1,500 fishes, all things being equal, can be used to raise 3,000 fishes effectively if you can guarantee 24/7 inflow and outflow of water. That’s how important water is.

 

The more your catfishes can eat, the more they will grow, and the more profit you will make. Not having good quality water can cut the feed consumption rate of your catfishes by up to 70%, leading to potentially serious loss for you as a farmer since your fishes won’t grow when they aren’t eating well.

 

Ensuring good pond size, good pond depth, consistent inflow and outflow of good quality water, and making sure not to overstock your ponds ensures the pond is not easily polluted, and as a result ensures your fishes eat well and grow well.

 

2. A Lot of Water

 

Good quality water is a fish farmer’s best friends.
Ensuring optimal quality of water for your fishes will not only guarantee that they eat and grow well, but it will also reduce the chances of them being infected or having diseases.

 

Catfishes often get infections through dirty and polluted water, and if their water isn’t constantly being refreshed with high quality, natural, clean water you shouldn’t be surprised if you get to your farm one day to find hundreds of fishes dead and floating in your pond.

 

Your water also needs to be highly oxygenated, so running pipes directly from a borehole to your fish ponds won’t be best since the water won’t contain enough oxygen, since it is coming directly from under the ground, as natural water flowing from a stream/river or rain water.

 

3. A Waterlogged Land

For most catfish farmers, especially if you are to do this on a large scale, this is the ideal option if you will be digging your own ponds.

 

You want to purchase land you’ll dig your ponds on, or rent your ponds, in a waterlogged area; ideally, you want your land in an area close to a stream, where you can be assured water is available and flowing 24/7.

 

This makes it easy to consistently channel water into your pond, thereby neutralizing and refreshing the polluted water in the pond consisting of waste from your fishes, remnants of the food you give to them, etc.

 

You can’t just dig your ponds anywhere; it has to be in a water area.
In my own case, after digging my ponds for just 1ft water was coming naturally from beneath the ground; at 4ft deep, my ponds were naturally filled with tens of thousands of litres of water in a few days, and the water never dries up during the dry season. This is because of the area the ponds were dug in.

 

You can’t have your fish pond dug on dry land; it just wouldn’t work that way.
That said, some people prefer to use a concrete pond system, or tanks to raise their fishes; in that case, they are able to retain water without having to worry that the earth will absorb it. If you go this route, your location doesn’t really matter as long as you can get adequate supply of water.

 

4. Good Juveniles from a Reliable Source

It took me so long to realize the importance of good juveniles.
My teacher had always emphasized the importance of getting juvenile fishes from good sources but I didn’t realize the essence of what he has been saying until I did my first round of fish farming.

 

The fishes I stocked in a particular pond stopped eating well after 2 months, and there was nothing I could do to make them eat more, making their growth really stunted compared to other fishes stocked at the same time, and I recorded a loss as a result.

 

A lot of factors go into breeding catfishes; in an attempt to rush things, some breeders will use fishes that are not mature enough to hatch their fishes, or they will sell juveniles that are not up to standard to their clients. The result is often weak fishes that die when they experience little stress, or fishes that do not eat and grow well.

 

A great way to get good quality juveniles is by looking for farmers with impressive results around you, and asking them where they get most of their fishes; if a reliable fish farmer has gotten his juveniles from the same source for years, that source is likely very good.

 

Fishes that eat well are also almost good fishes; if you see a source of catfish where the fishes are responding well to feeding, it is most likely a good source.
Good juveniles should be anything from 7 – 9 weeks old from scratch, and they should average anything from 7 – 15 grams per fish depending on the source.

 

5. Protective Nets

Whether you stock in an earthen pond, a concrete pond or a tank, you want to be sure to net your pond as soon as you stock your juveniles.
Birds, monitor lizards and other predators really enjoy eating baby catfishes, and if you’re not careful you’ll be lucky to meet one third of what you really stocked at the end of the day.

 

I’ve come to farm several times to see my net catch big snakes, big monitor lizards, birds, bats and other predators to my catfishes.
Be sure to net your pond until your fishes are at least 2 months old from juvenile stage; you can decide to later remove the net, or you can keep it till you harvest if it doesn’t hinder your activities.

 

6. Adequate Fish Feed

Your fishes need to eat.
Besides getting your fishes from the right source and ensuring they have good quality water, it is essential to make sure they have adequate feed.
I usually start my fishes with floating feed for 1 – 2 months, I then switch to local/sinking feed.

 

I’ll be going more extensively into feeding cycles of catfishes, the recommended time to feed and various types of feeds in a future article.

 

PREPARING YOUR POND

How to Prepare Your Pond Before Stocking Your Catfishes

 

1. Dig Your Pond

NOTE: If you already have a pond, or plan to rent a pond, skip to point 2.

 

If you’ll be using a tank or a concrete pond, you can skip steps 1 through 5 altogether and just jump to step 6.
If you’re yet to dig your pond, an ideal pond for stocking 1,500 fishes from Juvenile till 6 months maturity should be about 15m x 15m, or approximately 50ft by 50ft.

 

This will take the shape of a square and should be at least 3ft deep, and could be up to 5ft deep if possible.
Just give this information to your contractor; tell him the shape of the pond, the width/length as well as the depth.

 

Exactly how much this will cost will differ depending on what part of the world you are in. Over here in Nigeria, depending on your area, you could have manual laborers dig a 15m x 15m pond that is 4ft deep for around N120,000 – N150,000; that’s around $500 – $700 at the time of writing this.
Costs should be higher, possibly significantly, depending on what part of the world you are in.

 

You can also use excavators to dig your ponds; when I just got started, I dug my first 2 ponds with an excavator. I had to stop since the area was waterlogged and swampy and the excavator shoes couldn’t comfortably move in swampy areas.

 

That said, an excavator can easily dig two 15m by 15m ponds in a day, depending on the capacity of the machine and the skillfulness of the operator.
If you were to use manual labor, however, with an average of 4 – 5 people working for you daily, it will probably take at least 5 days to complete one 15m x 15m pond that is 4ft deep.

 

2. De-mud Your Pond

Assuming you already have a pond that you plan to use, that isn’t newly dug, or you plan to rent a pond, the next step is to “de-mud” your pond; this is basically removing the mud from your pond to make it more suitable for your fishes.

 

When a fish pond is being used, due to rain falling and washing sand from the dike of the pond back into the pond, mud will gradually start to accumulate in the pond; catfishes are also very strong and rugged, so sometimes their activity against the wall of the pond will lead to sand falling from all sides of the pond into the pond.

 

In other to make things much easier for you when it is time to harvest, you’ll need to de-mud the pond.
When de-mudding your pond, you can go about it in two ways:
Ask your contractor to just remove the mud in your pond; this is the easiest way out.

 

Ask your contractor to remove the mud in your pond and add to its depth; instead of asking for a de-mud, you can ask your contractor to make your pond 1ft deeper; this is the best option, since a deeper pond is always better for catfishes.

 

If it is a pond that has been used before, you can easily find big fishes (I’m talking 1 – 2kg big) hiding inside the mud in the pond; these are potential predators to your juvenile fishes if you just stock without de-mudding your pond.

 

3. Ensure Your Dike/Embankment is Very High

Catfish farmers often have to deal with a lot of problems, and a common problem during the rainy season is flood that can carry away your fishes.
Since I’m recommending having your pond in an area close to a stream/river, I can’t overemphasize the importance of having really big dikes/embankments for your pond; you want something at least 2 to 3ft higher than the highest water level of your pond; it is better if your dike is a bit taller.

 

By ensuring the dike/embankment of your pond is big/tall enough, you can ensure that it will be very difficult for your pond to become so filled that water starts to carry your fishes away, especially during the rainy season.

 

If you’re wondering how you can make your dikes taller; this can be done automatically while de-mudding your pond or while digging to make it deeper. Sand removed from the pond can be thrown at the various sides to make your dikes taller.
Better still, you can use sandbags to make your dikes taller.

 

4. Ensure There’s an Inlet and Outlet

The next step is to make sure there is an inlet and outlet for your pond; this often comes in form of a pipe through which water can enter and go out of your pond.

 

The inlet can be placed slightly higher than the outlet to ensure maximum water inflow and outflow; if you’re sure of the water pressure from where water will be entering into your inlet (assuming water is coming from a stream, from a gutter that is having water flow into it 24/7, or from another pond that is constantly supplied with water), then it is okay to have your inlet at the same level as your outlet or even slightly lower than your outlet.

 

The water pressure will take care of things and ensure water is still being pushed into your pond.

 

However, water could be returning to the inlet, if the outlet is higher, should water stop coming in through the inlet or should water pressure go down drastically.

 

That said, it is usually better for your outlet to be slightly lower than your inlet, so water keeps flowing in and going out irrespective of the abundance, or absence, of external pressure.

 

There are several advantages to ensuring there’s a functioning inlet and outlet for your pond:

 

It takes care of your pond in case of heavy rain or slight flood; the last thing you want is for water to just be entering your ponds during periods of heavy rain without a way to go out. A good inlet and outlet ensures water is escaping your pond just as it is entering it, thus preventing overflow of your pond.

 

It ensures the quality of your water; bad/polluted water can reduce the response of your catfishes to feeding by up to 70%, which in turn affects their growth.

 

A lot of things can pollute stagnant pond water; this includes fish activity and excrement, particles of the feed you’re giving to your fishes and a sudden increase in the number of fishes that die if they aren’t quickly taken care of.
That said, a pond with good inflow and outflow of water will always yield bigger fishes.

 

5. Treat Your Pond

Once your pond is prepared and ready, the next step is to treat it.
This applies only to earthen ponds, whether you just dug them or whether you are de-mudding them.

 

When I dug all my ponds, I currently have 7, we found various predators to juvenile catfishes inside the ponds; this includes big snakes, tortoises, monitor lizards and other catfishes. The last thing you want is for them to start feasting on your baby catfishes as soon as they are introduced into the pond.

 

That said, the very first thing you want to do after preparing your pond – whether it is new or you just de-mudded it – is to treat it with chemical that can kill all the organisms in it.

 

Available chemicals might differ depending on your location, and this is something you probably want to look into, but over here I use Phostoxin (a variation of which is Justoxin) to treat my ponds.

I’ve also heard that lime can be effective for killing off organisms in a pond before stocking.

 

Before treating your pond, you want to block water from going in or coming out for at least two weeks, the duration of which you will be unable to use your pond.

 

Assuming you are using a pond that is 15m by 15m wide and 4ft deep, you can use 3 tubes of Forcetoxin to treat it; a tube usually contains 30 tablets, making it a total of 90 tablets you’ll be putting into the pond.

 

Pour all the tablets into the pond, ensuring you cover all angles, and make sure you wear protective gloves before applying the tablet and wash your hands carefully after; you also don’t want to ingest it in any way, as Phostoxin can be very poisonous.

 

Once your pond has been treated, don’t use it for up to 2 weeks; I have heard that it takes around 5 days for the effect of most chemicals used to treat ponds to wear off, but you don’t want to take any risk since we’re talking about thousands of fishes here.

 

To be safer, even after waiting, you can pump out water from the pond and introduce new water into it to ensure the effects of the chemical used has completely wore off. If for some reason you want to stock earlier, you can do this as well; just make sure to pump water out of the pond at least twice.
Once your pond is treated, you’ll often start to see most of the predators in it dead and floating on the water surface within a day or two of treatment.

 

6. Net Your Pond
The final step in the preparation stage is to net your pond.
I can’t get too technical about this since my knowledge on the different types of net is limited; I’ve heard they have “double fingers”, “four fingers” or “single finger”, etc. This is just speculation, so I’m not sure.

 

What I do, if I have to get the net myself, is that I go to the store where they sell equipments and tools for fish farmers, and I ask them to give me the kind of net used to net fish ponds; most of the times, though, I have the contractors digging/de-mudding my ponds handle the netting part of the process as well.

 

Conclusion

Following the 6 steps in this article, hopefully, you now have your pond ready to be stocked with fishes.
The next step is to get your catfishes and put them into your ponds; this process is called “stocking”.

 

STOCKING YOUR POND

Stages of Catfish Growth; What “Type” of Catfish to Stock

It’s important to realize that there are different stages of catfish growth. There are a lot of stages but, while being practical, here are the four main types you can stock in your pond:
Fingerling (3 to 4 grams)
Post-fingerling (4 – 6 grams)
Juvenile (6 – 10 grams)
Post-juvenile (10 grams and above)

 

I’m not sure if the above taxonomy is universal, but that’s how we know it over here in Nigeria; just tell everybody what stage of catfish you want and they’ll know what you mean.

 

To ensure the information is applicable to you irrespective of where you are, I included information about fish size in grams; an average, good fingerling catfish should be at least 3 – 4 grams in weight while an average, good, juvenile catfish should be at least 6 – 10 grams in weight.

 

Risk of Stocking Smaller Catfishes
It is very important to note that the smaller the catfish you stock, the higher the risk factor. By “risk factor” I’m referring to the following:

 

Mortality rate:

Smaller catfishes are not as stable as more matured ones, which can be really rugged, so their mortality rate is higher.
I’ve seen a pond where 8,000 fingerling catfishes were stocked, only to come one day and find at least a thousand of them dead and floating on the water; this rarely happens with juveniles, but it is more common with fingerlings.

 

As a rule, my teacher tells me to expect at least 25% of fishes I stock to be dead within 6 months if I stock fingerling catfishes, with most of them dying within 3 weeks of stocking, while you can be sure less than 10% will be dead in 6 months if you stock juvenile or post-juvenile catfishes. All things being equal.

 

Feeding Difficulty:

The smaller your catfish, the more intensive the feeding.
With juvenile or post-juvenile catfishes, you can easily get away with feeding them once a day right from the day you stock; with fingerling, or sometimes post-fingerling, catfishes, though, you need to feed them twice to thrice a day for a few weeks for optimal results.

 

You’ll also have to use the broadcast feeding system for longer compared to just spot feeding.

 

Maintenance:

You also have to consider other factors such as changes in water quality, water pollution, predators as well as other factors when the fishes are smaller.
The bigger a catfish is, the more rugged it will be; I’ve seen a big catfish stay alive for up to 6 hours without being in any water; the catfish should be around 6 months old and around 2 kg. You can’t try that with a baby catfish; it will be dead in minutes.

 

My point is that the older a catfish is, the more mature it becomes and the smaller the risks you have to deal with.
So, if you want to stock, ensure you get the biggest fish you can get; by “biggest”, I’m referring to something in the juvenile/post juvenile stage. For me, anything that is 10 grams plus will be a win.

 

Putting the Juvenile Catfishes into Your Pond
Once you’ve gotten your juvenile catfishes, you want to make sure they are not stressed too much from the point of transportation to being introduced into your pond.

 

This means:
You want to avoid exposing them to heat
You want to avoid completely covering the container you put them into before they get to your farm
You want to avoid shaking the container too much; if you have to transport them on bad road, drive slowly. Once the fishes get to your farm, the next step is to introduce them into your ponds.

 

Now, the worst way to go about this is to just pour/empty the container into your pond; that is faster, but it stresses your fishes. If you do this, you could get to farm the next day to find dead fishes floating on your pond.

 

The best way to go about this is to slowly put the container into the pond (that’s if it is small; if it is big, look for a small container and do this slow and steady), let the natural pond water mix a bit with the water you brought the fishes in for a while before finally releasing them into the pond.

 

Doing this ensures they don’t suddenly get introduced to the water, which probably has different temperature and qualities from the one they were brought in; remember that there were possibly thousands of them in a small container just awhile ago, only to be suddenly released into a large body of water that will seem like an ocean to them.

 

They get some time to adapt before being finally introduced into the massive water in the pond.
Doing this for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute before releasing the fishes into the pond should be fine.

 

Conclusion

That’s it. Once you follow the above steps, you have successfully introduced your catfishes into the pond.
By following the above instructions, not only will you reduce the mortality rate of your baby catfishes but you’ll also position yourself to more efficiently take care of them.

 

FEEDING YOUR FISHES

One of the things my teacher emphasized to me when he was teaching me was the importance of quality feed for your fishes; according to him, good feed is there on the same level with quality water, and it is often what determines the profitability of a farmer.

 

While most fish farmers focus only on getting inexpensive feed for their fishes, feeding your fishes should be less about the cost but more about the profit margin; so, you might be spending 3 to 4 times more than the average farmer on feed, but there’s nothing wrong with that if it makes your fishes 5 to 6 times bigger than their fishes, significantly increasing your profit margin.

 

There are mainly 4 types of catfishes:

Fingerlings (3 to 4 grams)
Post-fingerlings (4 – 6 grams)
Juvenile (6 – 10 grams)
Post-juvenile (10 grams and above)

 

When it comes to feeding catfishes, there’s no one-size-fits all feed; there’s a lot of variations and factors to be considered depending on the size of your fishes.

 

Types of Catfish Feed

Since there are different stages of catfish growth, there are different stages of fish feed; fish feed are often denoted in mm, so you’ll see/hear about 1.5mm feed, 1.8mm feed, 2mm feed, 4mm feed, 6mm feed etc.

 

There’s also extruded (or floating) and non-extruded (or sinking) feed.
What I recommend is to give your fishes extruded (or floating) feed for up to 2 months before switching to the non-extruded (or sinking) feed.

 

Catfishes are mostly bottom feeders, so by their very nature they are designed to be eating non-extruded (or sinking) feed, but the reason I recommend giving them floating feed at the early stage is because they are more fragile then.
With floating feed, you can put the feed on the pond gradually and let them eat it; the risk of overfeeding is significantly reduced, thereby ensuring there is no water pollution that can lead to high mortality in your very fragile juveniles.

 

Furthermore, due to their fragile nature, giving your juveniles feed that isn’t rich with the right nutrients can affect their long-term growth; going with floating feed from recognized producers like Durante, Cargill Aqua Feed, Raanan, and Coppens will ensure optimal growth of your fishes, even when you later switch to sinking feed comprising of your own formula.

 

That said, the top feed producers that I recommend and have used are Aqua Feed, Durante and Raanan; I’ve heard that Coppens could be the best, but there are lots of adulterated versions of it here in Nigeria, so I won’t recommend it since the inexperienced farmer could fall victim to these adulterated versions.

 

From my research, I have also noticed that Aqua Feed, Coppens and Raanan are available internationally, so my recommendation isn’t restricted to just Nigeria.

 

What Feed Size to Give Your Catfishes

Like I said earlier, there are various fish feed sizes, whether you go for floating or sinking feed; sinking feed is usually bigger, and longer, than floating feed.
From my experience, here are the different sizes I’m currently aware of:
1.5mm, 1.8mm, 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, etc.

 

The bigger you fishes, the bigger the feed size they can pick.
Here’s what I recommend if you just stocked your ponds, if your fishes fall into the following categories:

Fingerlings (3 to 4 grams): 1.5mm feed size
Post-fingerlings (4 – 6 grams): 1.8mm feed size
Juvenile (6 – 10 grams): 2mm feed size
Post-juvenile (10 – 50 grams): 2mm feed size

 

As your fishes grow, the size of feed they can pick will increase. Here’s the feed size I recommend for bigger fishes, based on their size/weight, if you’re to give them floating feed:

10 – 50 grams: 2mm feed size
50 – 150 grams: 3mm feed size
150 – 400 grams: 4mm feed size

 

All things being equal, your fishes should be around 200 – 300 grams in 2 months with floating feed alone, if they are being fed properly; after then, you can switch to sinking feed and give them the following feed sizes:

200 – 300 grams: 2mm feed size
300 to 600 grams: 4mm feed size
600 grams to 1kg+: 6mm feed size

 

If your fishes exceed 1kg in weight, and you’re able to get bigger feed sizes, then you can consider giving them 8mm, or even later 10mm, feed sizes. 3 to 4kg fishes eat 6mm sinking feed just fine, though, so don’t worry too much if you can’t find bigger feed sizes.

 

How Often Should You Feed Your Fishes?

How often you feed your fishes will differ depending on a lot of factors, but for the results I get – an average of 1.5kg to 2kg fish size in 6 months – here’s what

 

I recommend:

Fingerlings (3 to 4 grams): twice daily
Post-fingerlings (4 – 6 grams): once or twice daily
Juvenile (6 – 10 grams): once or twice daily
Post-juvenile (10 grams and above): once daily
Anything above post-juvenile: once daily
All things being equal, I feed my fishes daily until they reach the 6 months mark when I sell them; this is absolutely essential if you want optimal results.

 

Types of Catfish Feeding

There are two feeding types I use for my fishes:

 

Broadcast Feeding:

This basically involves me going round my ponds and spreading floating feed all over the pond to ensure all the fishes in the pond can eat.
I use this for my fishes if they are in the fingerlings to post-juvenile stage, and I do this because they just got introduced into a large body of water, often from somewhere significantly smaller, and not all the fishes can come to the same spot to eat.

 

By spreading the floating (or extruding) fish across the pond, I’m ensuring they all get to eat.
Once my fishes become more mature, often this is in the post-juvenile stage or around 30 – 50 grams, I instantly switch to spot feeding.

 

Spot Feeding:

Spot feeding is less time-consuming and more effective, since it is less stressful and I can carefully monitor how my fishes are eating.
Spot feeding is basically me feeding my fishes in one spot.
I try getting my fishes to eat in one spot once they reach 30 – 50 grams, or after 2 – 3 weeks of stocking them from juvenile stage.

 

At first, if they are used to eating using the broadcast style, most of the fishes won’t come to a particular spot to eat; however, by ONLY feeding them on that spot for a few days, they’ll be conditioned to come to that spot and eat.

 

Buying Catfish Feed vs. Making Your Feed

In the short time that I’ve been in this business, I’ve realized that you’ll be more profitable if you make your own feed as opposed to buying feed from major producers.

 

Some farmers rely on floating feed from producers like Durante and Aqua Feed to grow their fishes, but due to the expensive nature of these fishes, it can be unprofitable on the long term.

 

If you learn how to make your own feed, though, you’ll save a lot more money and you can have more impact on your fishes since you can easily control what they are eating.

That said, I recommend buying feed from feed producers like Raanan or Aqua Feed until your fishes reach 200 – 300 grams, and then giving them local feed.
Protein is the main ingredient in fish feed, and every good feed formula contains a significant amount of protein; however, fishes still need energy, mainly found in carbohydrate, to process and digest the feed so a protein-only feed isn’t going to be best.

 

My Fish Feed Formula

That said, here’s the formula I use for my fishes depending on the stage they are at; this formula uses the Hhanstholm 72% fish meal; I use local fish that can be gotten here in Nigeria depending on availability, but there is a lot of fluctuations in their availability, which became especially pronounced during the 2015 elections, ensuring there hasn’t been local fish that fish farmers can use for over 2 months now at the time of writing this, so I’m giving a formula based on the Hanstholm 72% fish meal, since this is always available:
Feed Formula for 200 – 600 Grams Catfish

 

Your catfishes are still very small and tender at this stage, so they need quality nutrient in their feed; this formula results in a feed rich in good protein but it is a bit expensive; it is not as expensive as using floating feed, though.
You should only have to use this feed formula for around 1 – 2 months.
Fish meal (Hanstholm, 72%): 25%
Soya Meal (or full fat soya): 30%
GNC (Groundnut cake): 20%
Dough/Maize/Biscuit (or other main forms of energy/carbohydrate): 20%
Molasses: 5%
(Based on this formula, 1 ton of fish feed will have: 250kg fish meal, 300kg soya meal, 200kg GNC, 200kg Dough, 50kg molasses)

 

The above are the main ingredients; you can then use other ingredients such as DCP (Dicalcium Phosphate), Methionine, Lysine, Salt, Vit. C, Fish Premixes, Antibiotics, etc. according to your preference.
Feed Formula for 600 Grams and Above
Fish meal (Hanstholm, 72%): 10%
Soya Meal (or full fat soya): 40%
GNC (Groundnut cake): 20%
Dough/Maize/Biscuit (or other main forms of energy/carbohydrate): 25%
Molasses: 5%
(Based on this formula, 1 ton of fish feed will have: 100kg fish meal, 400kg soya meal, 200kg GNC, 250kg Dough, 50kg molasses)

 

The above are the main ingredients; you can then use other ingredients such as DCP (Dicalcium Phosphate), Methionine, Lysine, Salt, Vit. C, Fish Premixes, Antibiotics, etc. according to your preference.
PS. In my own case, for 1 ton of feed I use the following: DCP (Dicalcium Phosphate): 10kg, Methionine: 1kg, Lysine: 1kg, Salt: 2 – 3kg, Vit. C: 1kg, Fish Premixes: 5kg, Antibiotics: Optional, unless my fishes are sick (in which case the quantity depends on the antibiotics used; it’s often around 500g to 2kg for 1 ton of feed, though)

 

How to Know When to Stop Feeding Your Catfishes

Knowing when to stop feeding is something the inexperienced catfish farmer has to deal with; it took me months to know when my catfishes are well-fed, and I only truly mastered this after around a year.
Knowing when your catfishes are okay becomes a bit tricky once you switch to spot feeding, but you don’t have much to worry about.

 

If using floating feed, try to avoid having excess feed on the surface of the water; carefully observe your fishes to see what will satiate them.
If floating feed must remain on the water, it should be something that the fishes can finish within 5 minutes of you stopping their feeding; anything more is potentially a waste.

 

For sinking feed, carefully observe the response of your fishes; they will eat excitedly while their reaction reduces as they start to get satiated, but it’s safe to stop if you can barely see them pop their heads out of the water to eat. If you stocked 1,000 fishes into a pond and can only see 5 – 10 fishes eating after awhile, it is safe to stop; with sinking feed, anything more could be a waste.

 

Conclusion

I tried to include everything I believe you need to know about feeding, that can help you grow your catfishes from fingerlings stage to several kgs.
Just as I said earlier, this piece is a compilation I made from the experience of a successful catfish farmer in Nigeria as published on his blog.

 

When you must have successful raised your fished to the desired weight, the next step is marketing the fish. I am currently working on an article or compilation to educate you on the best strategies to market the produces from your fish farm in Nigeria.

 

Catfish farming in Nigeria is a very profitable agro-business if done properly. My advice is that before you venture into the business, take out time to learn all you need to know about the industry before starting. I wish you the best.
Read more about fish farming business in Nigeria.