Starting a Fish Farm In Nigeria (Detailed Guide)

Fish farming has over the years become a lucrative agro-business to venture into especially in a country like Nigeria. Apart from the profitable scale of the business, Fish farming can be done by almost anyone in various ways. For example, some people might decide to rear their fish commercially in tanks, others in ponds or in some kind of enclosures -depending on the financial stands of the farmer.

Fish farming is a lucrative business, but it requires a bit of time, patience and money (depending on how big the farmer wish to start). Fish farming is very technical, a bit risky and needs adequate knowledge and attention. But when compared to other reared animals like poultry, they are still a better choice because their mortality rate is less; that is the rate at which the fish dies is less.

There are a few things to put into consideration before one can decide starting this business and one of those things is to go for training from an experience fish farmer or watch and learn from an experience person in other to know the ins and outs of the business, thanks to internet and technology most tutorials are online such as in Youtube and Nairaland forum.

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I always recommend people who want to go into fish farming to start small; until you have become a successful fish farmer before expanding. The Fishes that are mostly domesticated in Nigeria are; Mackerel, Catfish and Tilapia. Of the three fishes, most reared fish in our environment is the catfish.

Things to Put into Consideration Before Starting Fish Farming:

LOCATION

You have to choose a suitable place that will be used in the construction of the fish pond or where to place the container you will rear the fish in. One of such places is a swampy environment if you want to dig the pond into the ground but if you wish to construct one or use a container then any location can be used as far as their open area to discharge the water from the pond on a regular interval and a source of water for the pond.

PURCHASE FISH FROM A GOOD FARM

Buy fish from reputable farms, if not you will be given runts (small-sized fish), which cannot attain reasonable heights. It should be a farm where the female and the male are equal or above 1.5kg Here is how to identify runts; the heads appear whitish in colour and their body very thin. thinner in such a way that it cannot be matched with the head.

Before stocking fishes in the pond disinfect it with Blagdon (or any other disinfectant) against fungi and bacteria present in the pond. There are people who stock without treating the pond only for the fishes to start decaying due to outbreak of diseases present in the pond.

HOW TO TREAT A NEW POND

Pour 4 bags of poultry manure into the pond to neutralize the acidity of the cement and also to add Spirogyra to the water. Leave it for about a month before washing them out and restocking fresh water that’s if you are building a pond if you are using any other enclosure then there is no need.

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FEEDING

Getting foreign feeds are expensive compare to the local feeds and when you start your fish farming business it is advisable you feed them with foreign feed for a period of 4 or 6 weeks after that you can start using local feed.

Example of a foreign feed is the Durantee or cupen feeds. The purpose of feeding them foreign feed is too helps them to gain weight, but you can produce your own feeds locally while maintaining high level of protein in the feed. This way you would have reduced the cost of purchasing and feeding the fishes.

Always feed your fish 3 times a day, from the third month you can start feeding them twice and you can drop them to once per day, but keep in mind, If you don’t feed your fishes regularly, they will not grow, give them the correct size of food at the right time. Some of the feeds one can use in feeding they fish are coppens, durante, multifeed, zeigler, aqua feed, ranan, vital feed, top feed etc.

FACTORS THAT MAY AFFECT FISH FEEDING

There are different factors that can affect or contributes to the response of fish feeding habit, some of the factors includes:

  1. Water quality (turbidity, pH level, temperature etc.),
  2. Stress (from the spacing in the pond)
  3. Health
  4. Age
  5. competition

When the fish feeding habit changes you need to keep a close eye to know what could be the issue.

SPACING

Fishes need enough space in other to feed well, as well as to reproduce effectively. To know if you have overstock fishes in a pond, you will notice that their water starts smelling within a space of 2 to 3 days of changing it.

Having a well space pond, helps them (fishes) to swim well and also eat better which will in turn result in healthy and bigger fishes.

SORTING

In a pond with lot of fishes of various size, bigger fishes will always suppress the smaller ones because of their size and weight. This makes it difficult for the smaller fish to feed, when food is served.

In other for them not to die or be stunted, separate them by putting the smaller fishes in different pond. Sort them into different sizes; big and small after two weeks of stocking.

Keep in mind: don’t give the fishes food before sorting and after sorting else the vomit the feed; due to the stress the underwent.

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MARKETING

When it’s time to sell your fish, sell to market men and women, frozen food dealers, hotels, restaurants, bars, joints, individuals etc. The price of fish will depend on the size of the fish. A big fish will attract more money than the small size.

Marketability of fishes depends largely on the market forces such as demand and supply. Most people generally prefer big fishes. To attract good customers always cultivate big fishes.

Before starting this fish farming business, look out for your potential buyers first and the sizes the prefer. You can raise a fish to 1kg in 5 months.

The two most important things in fish farming are quality water and feeds. The things that can pollute water are; urine, faeces, and dissolved excess food. At 4 month a fish should be able to attain an average of 1kg in size. It is better to start on a small scale, learn the trade from ground and then expand to a bigger capacity you can handle.

There are different of young fishes to stock such as; fingerlings, juvenile and post juvenile. It will be advisable as a starter you start with juvenile because you may not have the facilities to handle fingerlings. juveniles cost between #20-#30 for one.

In summary, note that when using earthen pond, that is ponds that a dug into the ground, you will need to consider the man power/ resources involves. The earthen ponds can be either expensive or cheap depending entirely on how you draft your plan and they scale you wish to establish. However, Concrete pond will require much resources/labour -but I believe one can look for a way to cut the cost down or simply use tanks or other enclosure to rear the fish.

Concrete ponds consume more money than earth ponds, this is mainly due to the need of changing water more frequently but if you live or your pond is located in an area where there is availability of water then this can pose no problem.

Success in fish farming depends on;

  1. The quality of the fish
  2. The quality of the feeds
  3. The quality of the water system used
  4. The structure of the pond system (space/depth)
  5. infected fish will be eating without growing. Always observe your fishes whenever you change their water to identify any infection. If most of the fishes turn whitish then know there is an infection. Immediately use anti-biotic for fish.

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