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That Caring Fish Farmer

Updated on March 16, 2015

Aqua cultural Practices


Aquaculture can be defined as the practice of rearing selected species of fish under scientifically controlled condition within an enclosed body of water. This enclosed body of water can be artificial ponds, streams, rivers. Within this aquatic environment, the fishes feed, grow and breed. After which, they are harvested for consumption or for sale. Aquaculture, or what can be termed fish farming, is one of the most lucrative agronomic practices in Agriculture. There is no gainsaying that fish remains one of the most important sources of protein, thus, its importance in the diet of human.

One can define aqua cultural practices as those activities a fish farmer undertakes to ensure proper growth and sustainability of the fishes under his or her care. Just like every other professions, there is need for a serious-minded fish farmer to be conversant with the right aqua cultural practice to imbibe to ensure a high standard of sustainability in their fish farming venture.

The aqua cultural activities that we would be beaming our info-light on would be the following:

  • Fertilization Application & Liming
  • Stocking
  • Feeding


  • FERTILIZER APPLICATION & LIMING

A caring fish farmer should apply fertilizer 15 days before stocking the pond with water and fish. Therefore, you are only applying fertilizer to an empty, newly constructed fishpond. This does not mean that this particular rule of fertilizer application does not apply if one’s fishpond is at its second-hand or third-hand stage of usage. The rules remain the same. Even if the fishpond have been so used that it is leaking on all its size and have a hole on each side through which, not only water,but also a fingerling can pass through. Fertilization application is important as it encourages the growth of organisms that would act as food to the fishes when the pond is eventually filled and stocked. Plankton are what these natural fish food are. Fertilizers for fishponds can be chemical or organic fertilizers. The chemical fertilizers include N.P.K or super phosphates while the organic fertilizers would include the good old cow dung and poultry droppings, e.t.c. Another important pre-aquacultural practice would be liming. It involves the addition of calcium carbonate powder that includes quick lime, agricultural lime, ground limestone to the sides and bottom of the pond to seal any pore and prevent losses from the pond. There is no excuse of a fingerling escape, after all. Liming also reduce the acidity of the water and encourages the growth of the much-treasured plankton.


  • STOCKING

Stocking is the strategic placement of the required type and quantity of fish (es) in the pond for rearing purpose. However, let us know that stocking does not involve just the introduction of the fish to be cultured. In fish farming, there is an often-ignored aqua cultural practice known as pond inoculation. This is the practice of introducing organisms known as plankton into the pond. Inoculation involves obtaining some water from a plankton-rich pond and pouring it into a newly fertilized pond. Now, when the pond water begins to turn green, this is an indication of the abundance of plankton. To keep the water green, the caring fish farmer should apply fertilizers every week into the pond.

The second and obviously most important stage would be the introduction of the culturable fishes. The operative phrase in the former sentence would be the term, ’culturable fish’. The pertinent hook question on our mind would be what defines a culturable fish. Well, it would interest us to know that it is not all fish is culturable. Just like it is not all animals can be cultured e.g. Lion and Shark.

What, then, are the characteristics of the culturable fishes?

The culturable fishes should possess the following basic characteristics below:

{A} The fish should be readily available, marketable and very much in demand.

{B} The fish should possess fast growth rate.

{C} The fish should be able to reproduce i.e. give birth, even in captivity, either naturally or by inducement.

{D} The fish should be a voracious feeder i.e. the fish should be able to accept both natural and artificial or supplementary feeds.

{E} The fish should have an above-average resistant ability to diseases and parasites, e.t.c.

Of course, there are more of these basic characteristics. A serious-minded agropreneur in the fish-farming field need to make more research. Without a doubt, research, whether online in the university of Google or offline in a library downtown, is a very important component when setting up any business.

Here in Nigeria, the common species of fish whose rearing is gaining much ground would be the catfish. Catfish rearing have become the rave of the moment here in Nigeria. Obviously, the choice of catfish would be the possession of these basic culturablity characteristics a fish should possess.

It is advisable that a fish farmer should start rearing these fishes at their young stage {fingerlings are the newly hatched fishes while fry are the young fishes or baby fishes}.

The caring fish farmer introduces these little tender ones at the rate of two fingerlings per square metre of the fishpond to avoid over-crowding. In addition, when introducing these tender fingerlings to the fishpond, be a gentle fish farmer and not pour the container of fingerlings into the pond, like a basketball player on a slam-dunk. Rather the caring fish farmer should place the container gently into the water and the fingerlings would happily swim into their new abode themselves.

  • FEEDING

Just as you are need food to survive, so do fishes need food to survive as well. A caring fish farmer should ensure that he feed the fishes at least twice a day from selected points around the fishpond. Natural foods would include the stocked plankton. In addition, a caring fish farmer can feed the fishes with food like earthworm, termites, breadcrumbs, broken rice, leftover foods, grounded maize, mashed fermented cassava, etc. These food substances, termed Non Conservative Feed Resources {NCFR} still help in the growth of the fish. However, it is strongly advisable that fish farmers should endeavor to give formulated ration.

This is a mixture of different ingredients in such a way that it contains the essential bodybuilding and energy nutrients. These formulated ratios include soya bean meal, blood meal, bone meal, vitamin premix. Since feeds in mash form are quickly lost in water, fish feeds are usually in the form of pellet or crumbles. An astute fish farmer can make this locally by binding the fish feeds with starch and then steaming. However, most fish feeds manufacturer package their commodity in the pellet form.

It is advisable that a day be set aside within the week in which the fish farmer decides to uncaring not to feed the fishes. However, the deliberate forgetfulness benefits the fishes and the environment, in general. This is because there could still possibly be remnants of the week feed on the water. The fishes eating up these remnants on the last day would be among the only way to rid the pond of these remnants. Remnant food in a pond can cause decomposition and pollution of the water, which would be unhealthy for the fishes. Indeed, regular feeding promotes rapid growth and early maturity of these fishes until the day of harvesting, which is when the fishes are of market size or table size.

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