The layout of your farm should be properly considered before embarking on any construction. It should be done holistically for the entire farmland but could be constructed in phases. Moreover, the layout would help in the design of your production practice.
a. Hatchery Design
The design of your hatchery is first considered on the basis of:
i. Available land space
ii. Source of water supply (if different from bore hole) and parameters.
iii. Target fingerlings production capacity per month
iv. Materials to be used for pond (vats, plastic, fiber, glass, tarpaulin or concrete)
A good hatchery should operate on recirculatory water management system to ensure stable hatching environment for the fish. This ensures that the temperature, PH, oxygen level is fairly stable and the water is devoid of pathogenic organisms.
The least method that should be used is a flow through system. Partial discharge method of water management does not favour hatchery operation.
Requirements of a complete recirculatory hatchery:
i. A hall, factory or enclosed canopy setting
ii. Brood stock fish tank
iii. Hatching tank with recirculatory facility (sedimentation, filtration, aeration, biofiltration and sterilization)
iv. Nursery tank
v. Fingerling / juvenile tank
vi. Mari-culture unit (where fish food are cultured or hatched out from eggs)
vii. Reservoir tank
viii. Bore hole with water pump
ix. Water text kits
x. Feed store devoid of moisture
xi. Waste water treatment plant (especially in an environment where there is no free flowing drainage).
b. Grow-out Pond Design
In designing a grow-out production farm, you need to determine the
i. Type of pond to be used (concrete, earthen, tarpaulin, plastic etc): This depends on your capital, land ownership, ground water table, scale of production
ii. Production capacity and schedule: what quantity of fish are you producing and for what period? What is your stocking or selling interval? Is it weekly, forth-nightly, monthly or quarterly?
iii. Pond water management method: what system of water management are you adopting? Is it partial discharge, flow-through or recirculatory system
iv. Waste water management method: are you installing a waste water treatment plant which treats the water before discharging to the public drain or are you discharging directly to the public drains or water body behind your farm.
v. Stocking density: what quantity of fish do you want to stock per pond?
The following are 7 requirements for Catfish Farming
This is the most important factor in fish farming operation after securing a land space. Water must be considered based on its; a. Source: it could be well water, borehole water, ground water (earthen pond), river or lagoon (cage culture.). b. Quality: this is referring to the basic water parameters that can sustain culture of fish. Such parameters include PH, salinity, temperature, hardness, ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, etc. c. Quantity: The volume of your water source must adequately sustain your fish culture from stocking to harvesting.
2. Fish Pond
You have to decide which type of pond you want to use depending on your level of investment, available land space, type of production, water management practice to be adopted.
3. Fish for Stocking
You have to decide on the type of fish you want to stock, its quality and where to source it.
4. Source of Electricity
The water pump needs to be powered. Without electricity additional cost needs to be incurred on alternative source of power such as generator, inverters, solar etc.
Since it is unthinkable that fish can grow without feed. You need to check on the type of feed to use, quality of feed, its source and regular availability.
It is necessary to determine where, how and at what price do you want to sell your fish.
7. Environmental Impact
This is an issue that most fish farmers operating in Nigeria are ignorant of. The environmental laws of Lagos State frowns at the discharge of fish pond waste water into the public drainage without first treating the waste water. People that have just two ponds in their backyard may be over looked and allowed to operate without hindrance.
Most farm owners / managers who want to invest / manage catfish farming business rarely ask themselves the question: WHY DO I WANT TO EMBARK ON CATFISH FARMING? That is, whether for business, passion (hobby) or charity. It is very important to decipher your business objective. Once you are able to agree with yourself that it is for business then business it should be.
Agriculture generally, is often embarked upon as passion, hobby or charitable venture in Nigeria. Constitutionally, it is seen as an all comers affair. It is the only business you are allowed to do constitutionally in addition to your government job.
Like other businesses, the factors to be considered before setting up a business should also apply to catfish farming. These are land, labour, capital, market, raw materials etc.
When proposing to start a successful catfish farming project, you need detailed information and know how on culturing catfish. This information could be gotten from government agricultural ministries, agencies and parastatals. It could also be gotten from private sector practitioners and experienced consultants (such as Tritech Business Solutions Limited) in form of site visits, trainings, workshops and printed materials on catfish farming.
However, having the technical knowhow alone is not enough to delve into production. Proper planning is expedient. You need a business plan (feasibility report) on the cost / benefit analysis of your proposed catfish farm.
After putting a business plan in place, you are ready for business. Focus on your plan and implement it religiously.