Stocking African catfish refers to the process of introducing the fish into the pond or tank for the next stage of growth.
This process is typically done when the fish are at the fingerling stage or juvenile stage.
How Many Fingerlings Should I Stock | How to calculate stocking density
The maximum number of fish that can be kept in a pond or tank depends on a variety of factors such as the size of the pond, the weight you intend to grow your fish to, the availability of feed, and the type of water system you intend to run.
To avoid overcrowding and to preserve the health and welfare of the fish, it is essential to adhere to the recommended stocking density.
Number of fingerlings to stock = (Pond volume (m^3) x Stocking density (fish/m^3)) / Average weight you want to grow your fish to.
Pond volume can be calculated using the formula:
Rectangular ponds: Pond volume (m^3) = Length (m) x Width (m) x Depth (m) (representing the depth of the water)
Circular ponds: Pond volume = π r²h (where h represents the height of the water)
For example, if the pond is 20 meters long, 10 meters wide, and 2 meters deep, the pond volume would be:
Pond volume (m^3) = 20 x 10 x 2 = 400 m^3
The standard stocking density for African catfish is (76 fish/m^3)
Number of fingerlings to stock = (400 x 76) = 30,400 fingerlings
The stocking density of African catfish does not vary depending on the type of ponds you are using.
However, experienced farmers are able to push their ponds a bit by running better water systems such as the flow through system which is constantly pushing in fresh water and taking away waste water, and (or) by using earthen ponds which as discussed earlier provides the catfish with much more natural environment for growth.
With a flow through system and (or) an earthen pond system, experienced farmers have been able to push the stocking density to 100 fish/m^3 without suffering any negative consequences.
Concrete pond: The standard stocking density for African catfish in concrete ponds is around 76 fish/m^3.
Earthen pond: The stocking density for African catfish in earthen ponds can be higher, in our farms, we use 100 fish/m^3.
This is because earthen ponds are less susceptible to fluctuations in water quality, and provides a more natural environment for the fish to grow, thus even when the standard is 76 fish/m^3 you can still push a bit to 100 without any errors.
Tarpaulin ponds: Tarpaulin ponds are considered intensive systems and the stocking density is relatively higher, 76 fish/m^3.
This is because tarpaulin ponds are designed to have good water quality and temperature control, providing an ideal environment for the fish to grow.
Use our catfish stocking calculator to determine how many fingerlings you can stock.
Your success depends on proper stocking, failing to stock properly can often lead to your failure.
Dangers of Over-Stocking
Low oxygen levels: If there are too many fish in the pond or tank, the oxygen levels may drop, causing stress and eventual death in the fish.
Overstocked fish will create more waste than the pond or tank can handle, which will result in poor water quality, and maybe hazardous conditions for the fish. This may also lead to the excessive growth of algae. Unlike Tilapia, Catfish do not feed on algae, thus algae growth is essentially a waste of your resources.
Competition among the fish may increase if there are too many of them in the pond or tank since there may not be enough food or other resources for everyone. Catfish are Omnivorous, they eat both plants and animals, and if they are left hungry, they would eat each other. You may not even notice, when catfish kill each other, they do what we call (deep sea burial) i.e they eat the dead, and bury it, without you noticing, especially in earthen ponds.
Disease outbreaks: Because fish are crowded together and may be more vulnerable to infection, overcrowding can facilitate the transmission of diseases.
Reduced growth rates: Fish may not grow as quickly due to a lack of resources and greater competition.