For your catfish farm to be successful you would require several things to be in place, one of such category of things you want right are the tools you require for the farm to be functional.
Below are a few tools and equipments you can not do without as a catfish farmer.
Water pumps are crucial for our needs as fish farmers. Our fish live in water, however, every once in a while, we need to change the water to provide optimum growing conditions for the fish.
To do this, we need water pumps to pump out the water and pump new ones in. Water pumps are extremely crucial machinery that every farmer must have on the farm.
There are electrical and gasoline water pumps, the gasoline pumps in our experience are better able to move large volumes of water at a go and are more suitable for pumping water out of the existing ponds.
Each type of pump is useful, both electrical and gasoline, and the choice of machine, generally depends on the availability of electricity.
Electric pumps generally have a higher upfront cost but tend to be cheaper to run in the long run, compared to gasoline pumps.
For the farming of African catfish, aerators are an essential piece of machinery.
They are utilized to supply oxygen to the water, which is necessary for the fish’s well-being and development.
Aerators can be utilized in pond systems and come in a variety of sizes and types.
Some aerators agitate the water and boost oxygenation by using mechanical devices like paddlewheels or propellers.
Others add oxygen to the water by using diffusers or tiny bubbles.
Aerators can be manually operated or set to run on a timer and are commonly powered by electricity.
To guarantee the fish’s optimum health and growth, it’s critical to routinely check the water’s oxygen levels and modify aeration as necessary.
A pond water that is heavily deprived of oxygen might lead to the death of your fish, leaving the pond water open can help with the aeration of the pond.
If you are using an alternative feeding method like duckweed, be careful to ensure they do not cover the entire pond surface, as they would deprive the pond of oxygen. Using an aerator in this case is a must.
These are machines that are used to regularly feed the fish, ensuring that they get the nourishment they need for growth and development.
Feeders can be utilized in pond systems and come in a variety of sizes and types.
Some feeders require input from the farmer, such as manually dispensing the feed, while other feeders are automated and can be set to run on a timer.
It is crucial to pick a feed that meets the nutritional requirements of the fish as well as their age, size, and body type.
It’s also crucial to keep an eye on how much food the fish are receiving because overfeeding might result in waste and subpar performance.
However, when starting your fish farm, remember that you do not necessarily require a feeder to get your job done. You can simply pour your fish feed into a big bowl, fetch and throw it to your fish in the pond.
It is intended to keep fish contained in their specified region and shield them from predators like birds or snakes, tortoises, frogs, etc.
It is crucial to pick a netting material that is strong and resilient enough to repel any potential predators as well as the environment.
The netting must be installed and maintained correctly as well.
Having a Net over your pond is a must. A single frog in your earthen pond could wreak massive havoc over the course of the time it takes your fingerlings to mature enough to attack it.
Water Testing Kit;
A vital piece of gear for African catfish farming is a water testing kit.
To ensure the best possible health and growth of the fish, it is utilized to measure the pH, temperature, and other critical water quality parameters.
While some kits are manual and need the farmer to manually collect a water sample to test it using various reagents or chemicals, others are automated and deliver results right away.
It is crucial to routinely test the water to make sure it is within the fish’s ideal range and to make any required corrections to maintain the highest possible level of water quality.
The results of these test kits would inform important decision-making on the fish farm.
PVC pipes are required to circulate water and connect various components of the system.
While some plastic pipes are used to connect the aerator or feeder, other plastic pipes are used to connect the water pump to the pond or tank.
It’s crucial to pick a pipe material that can endure pressure from the water running through it as well as the environment.
In order to guarantee the effectiveness and dependability of the system, it is also important to install and maintain the pipes appropriately.
Site selection for African catfish farming (Earthen Pond)
There are several factors to consider when selecting a site for African catfish farming. Below we discuss the key factors you need to consider.
Water source: It’s crucial to pick a location with a dependable and clean source of water because clean water is necessary for the catfish’s health and well-being.
The water source should be able to meet the long-term needs of the catfish farm.
If your water source is a river body? does it dry up during the dry season? Does it overflow during the rainy season? What’s the bacterial load like? All these factors should be considered.
If the river dries up during the harmattan season, you are more than likely to suffer casualties during that period.
You can use the diverted river water, to provide a natural flow through system for your catfish and this would lead to optimum growth, however, have a borehole on stand by when the dry seasons hit.
If the river overflows it’s boundaries in a rainy season, make sure you have a very high embankment and also a boat available.
The embankment on your pond would stop the runoff water from the river to enter your pond unrestricted, while the boat would give you access to the pond even when it is all surrounded with water.
These methods above are to show you that everything is possible, and you have to be ready to deal with the situation at hand as and when necessary.
If your water source is a borehole? what is the capacity? does it go dry in the dryer seasons of the year? Does it contain enough water to sustain your production?
Catfish require water, so having them in abundance is a must! In general, boreholes when constructed well, are more reliable for long term production that other sources of water.
Kind of soil: The stability of the pond or tank and the capacity to hold water will be influenced by the type of soil at the selected site.
When constructing an earthen pond,it’s crucial to pick a location with clayey soil, because of its high ability to sustain water. For an earthen pond, sandy soil isn’t recommended.
However, if your acquired land is sandy or loamy, you can still proceed with concrete ponds,or tarpaulin ponds.
Slope: The land at the selected location should have a gradual slope, as a severe slope may lead to erosion and make it challenging to construct and maintain the pond or tank.
Market accessibility: It is crucial to pick a location that is close to markets as this will facilitate the sale of catfish and save on transportation expenses.
Additionally, choosing a location that is close to a road will make it simpler to carry feed, machinery, and other supplies.
Power accessibility: Having access to power is necessary in a fish farm, to prevent higher cost of operations.
For instance, your borehole needs power to pump the water, your surveillance system relies on power, your pumps all rely on power etc.
The alternatives such as solar have a higher upfront cost.
Gasoline, generally speaking is more expensive to use as a source of power.
Soil Preparation for Earthen Pond
Here are some actions you can take to prepare the soil:
Choose the proper place: Choosing a good location is the first stage in preparing soil for an earthen pond.
Think about elements like being close to a dependable water source, the slope of the land, and the type of soil that is present.
Conduct a test to ascertain the pH, nitrogen levels, and other properties of the soil.
This will enable you to choose the most effective method for soil preparation.
Debris and plants must be removed from the area before the soil can be prepared.
This includes any rocks, roots, or other objects that can obstruct the pond’s building.
The pond should then be excavated to the desired depth and shape once the land has been cleared.
Catfish require about 5ft of water, thus a pond constructed with a height of 7ft is enough.
Use a compactor to flatten the dirt once the pond has been dug out to establish a sturdy foundation.
This will lessen the likelihood of the pond moving or collapsing in the future.
The size of the pond depends largely on the quantity of fish you want to produce and the financial resources available at your disposal.
Use our Catfish stock density calculator to make an estimate.