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Fish Farming

Updated on June 17, 2017

Fish Farming

Fish farming is 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, or rivers. Within this aquatic environment, the fishes are fed, grown and breed. After which, they are harvested for consumption or for sale.

Fish farming, also known as aquaculture, is one of the most lucrative agronomic practices in agriculture. Among the reason is the importance of fish as a cheap source of protein in the human diet.

Aqua cultural practices can also be defined as the different 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 different activities usually undertaken during fish farming include:

1 Fertilization Application & Liming

2. Stocking

3. Feeding

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FERTILIZER APPLICATION & LIMING

It is advised that a farmer should apply fertilizer around 15 days before stocking the pond with water and fish. Therefore, you are only applying fertilizer to an empty, newly constructed fishpond.

Fertilizer 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. They are called plankton.

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-aquaculture 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. 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 fishes 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 greenish, 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 stage would be the introduction of the fishes .One must ensure these fishes are culturable. Well, it would interest us to know that it is not all fish that are actually culturable.

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

The culturable fishes should possess the following basic characteristics:

1 The fish should be readily available, marketable, and very much in demand.

2 The fish should possess fast growth rate.

3 The fish should be able to reproduce, that is, give birth, even in captivity, either naturally or by inducement.

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

5 The fish should have an above-average resistant ability to diseases and parasites.

For example, in Nigeria, a typical example of a culturable fish very much popular among the fish farmers is the catfish. The choice of catfish would be the possession of these basic culturablity characteristics like high reproductive rate, wide range of food, resistance of disease.

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

The 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. Rather the fish farmer should place the container gently into the water and the fingerlings would happily swim into their new abode themselves.

FEEDING

Just like every other living things, fishes need food to survive as well. A 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 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 does not feed the fishes.

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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