Thursday, 2 August 2018

Creative Methods For Cat Fish Farming & How To Construct Fish Ponds

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If after studying this post you have any question regarding catfish farming, you can visit our office or give us a call Chinedu 08176954042. You can also invite one of our experienced fish farmers to come and work with you on your intending project (to avoid mistakes).

Catfish farming is the act of growing one of the diverse groups of ray-finned fish for commercial purpose in Nigeria. This involves building earthen, concrete or tarpaulin ponds, stocking the fingernails or juveniles and feeding the fish till market size is met. We shall be learning how we can start our own successful catfish farming business. If you’re interested in agrobusiness, you may want to consider fish farming. 
If you’re in Nigeria and considering fish farming, aquaculture of catfish (also known as catfish farming) might be your desired business. In this study we shall expose the profitability of catfish farming in Nigeria and how to successfully run a catfish business. 
 To further boost your interest in fish farming, this is the statistics of fish consumption in Nigeria. The total fish demand for Nigeria based on the 2014 population estimate of 180m is 3.32m Metric tons. The domestic fish production from Aquaculture, Artisanal and Industrial fisheries for 2014 is 1.123m Mt. which is below the demand thereby leading to fish importation. Also, in 2014, fisheries contributed 0.48% to the Agriculture GDP and contribution of Agriculture to GDP (2014) was 20.24%. A study investigated the pattern of fish consumption and knowledge of fish farming in Dutsin-ma Local Government Area, Katsina State. One hundred and twenty households were randomly selected for the study. Structured questionnaire and informal interview were used for data collection. Simple descriptive statistics and multiple regressions were used to analyze the data. Majority of respondents (87.5%) were males, 84.2% were married, 60% were within the age range of 20-40 years and 40.8% of them had a small household size of 1-5 persons. Majority of the respondents (36.7%) had Arabic education. The area was dominated by civil servants (33.3%). Monthly income of majority of the households were low (< ₦20,000). However, all these socioeconomic characteristics except area of residence did not affect fish consumption pattern, according to the multiple regression analysis (R 2 = 10.7%), so also for knowledge of fish farming (R 2 =14.2%). Despite 90% of respondents claimed they know that fish can be cultured, 69.2% do not know how to culture fish. A vast majority (91.7%) indicated their willingness to be trained on fish farming. Many respondents (64.2%) identified lack of finance as a constraint. Consumption of fish is significantly low in Dutsin-ma due to low availability of fish and inadequate knowledge of fish farming. 

Now that we are enlighten, let us proceed to the business of the day. 


There are two types of grow out pond systems. They are the concrete and the earthen or natural pond system. 


As the name implies, concrete ponds are constructed using concrete materials namely blocks, cement, gravel sand, etc. Under this type of pond, we have three different types in operation. They include the stagnant concrete grow-out, the free flow grow-out and the water re-circulatory concrete grow-out pond systems. Let’s now discuss them in detail below. 

  • Stagnant Concrete Grow-Out Pond System 

This pond is such that once the water is pumped in will remain until the water becomes dirty with feed before it will be required to be changed to a clean water. This type of pond when compared to other concrete ponds is cheaper to construct and maintain but gives the least satisfaction in terms of stocking capacity, fish growth and output. In other words, you cannot stock the same quantity of fish in this pond as you would in other concrete ponds irrespective of their size. 

For instance, while a stagnant pond of 10 feet (3m) by 20 feet (6m) dimension with a dept of 4 feet water level can only stock a maximum of between 300 to 600 table size catfishes. Similarly, it will take between 6 – 9 months for the first grown in stagnant pond to reach the average table size of 0.5kg while on the other hand it will take between 5 – 6 months in other concrete pond types. 

  • Free Flow Concrete Grow-Out Pond System 

This pond system works on the principle that fresh water flow from water source employed into the pond continuously while waste water from the pond flows out continuously into a waste water pit. The waste water is not refined or re-used but is allowed to either sink underground or flow into a waste pit or gutter. 

The running of the water is not necessarily continuous for 24 hours a day. Rather it can be made to run and stopped intermittently every four to six hours. However, you still need to manage the pond water by 70% and wash the pond water when necessary. 

The major shortcoming of this system is that water wastage is very high in which case it may not be very feasible when constant water availability is not guaranteed. Furthermore, the entire pond water still has to be removed and the pond washed once in a while. Besides this, some of the suspended and dissolved waste cannot be removed from the pond water as such the stocking rate is not as high as that of the re-circulatory system. 

Notwithstanding, the grains are tremendous. Firstly, the stocking capacity is nearly equal to that of the re-circulatory system. Likewise, the growth rate and time which is fast and shorter. The cost of construction equal s that of stagnant pond but far less than the re-circulatory pond system. 

  • Waste Re-circulatory Concrete Grow-out System 

This pond ensures that there is complete water refilling (filtration) and circulation. The principles behind this type of pond system is such that there is high water efficiency. Water flowing from the elevated water reservoir tank enters the pond and at the same time waste water is discharged from the pond into a re-filling chamber from where it is passed through a series of sedimentation tanks. 

From the last of the sedimentation tanks, the water is then collected back using a pumping machine and then passed through bio-filter in order to remove all solid, suspended and soluble wastes and contaminants from the water before it is then passed into a suspended water reservoir from where the water flows into the ponds continuously. It could also be pumped directly through the bio-filter into the ponds on a continuous basis. 

This pond type is most advanced in terms of water efficiency, stocking capacity, water quality and percentage of dissolved oxygen in the pond water among other attributes and derivable benefits. 

But, it is the most expensive type of concrete pond to construct and maintain. You will also have to ensure that the entire pond water is discharged and the pond re-filled totally fresh or refined water from the ponds once in a while because not all wastes, especially the solid wastes can be removed from the main ponds. These solid wastes easily precipitate and stick to the pond base over time. As such, they cannot be removed through ordinary water flow, hence the need to be scrubbed and removed from the ponds so as to prevent the decaying organic waste from polluting the ponds. 

Nevertheless, the output outweighs whatever cost and maintenance implication. This is because the stocking capacity is higher, fish growth is faster, the harvest period is shorter and consumption is lesser. 


Having discussed all concrete grow out systems, it is obvious that the water purification and re-circulatory is the best more so when the most advanced method of pond water treatment using the bio-filter is employed. 

Before now, the conventional method of re-circulation (using local filtration process) involves the use of particulate filter gravel, sand, carbon which is highly limited in their ability to remove all waste found in the pond water and also improve the quality of the water. This is because a lot of shortcomings are inherent in the system, hence the need for a bio-filter. 

Fish culture (fish farming) is pure aquaculture, that is heavily dependent on water. Therefore, the management, quality and availability of water have to be given high premium. The bio-filter helps you to realize the twin objectives of efficient pond water utilization and improved pond water quality. 

For hatchery operations, the free flow water system is employed especially in the first ten days. This leads to very high-water turnover since all the used water from the pond are recycled. Furthermore, during the dry season and in areas where good water is not readily available or its availability cannot be guaranteed, there is need for the waste water to be recycled so as to conserve the available water while also maintaining its quality. 

The conventional method of re-circulation is only capable of removing most of the solid and suspended waste in the pond water while leaving the very dangerous dissolved wastes in the water thereby compromising the pond water quality and thus creating a potential danger to the fish, particularly if your stocking density is high. However, With the bio-filter at least 97% of waste and disease-causing agents found in fishpond water are removed. 

The bio-filter is a very efficient water purification and re-cycling equipment. Aside the fact that it helps to remove biological and mechanical (solid, suspended and dissolved microscopic) waste from recycled water it also helps to conserve available water as well as enhance good and increased water quality, water condition, fish performance, growth, stocking capacity activity, etc. 

Classification of Waste Found In Pond Water 

They are classified into three major categories which includes; 

1. Solid waste such as leaves, sand grains shells, grains particles, bone particles, fiber and other food particles. These solid wastes easily precipitate and settle in pond base where they gradually decompose and pose danger to the fish. 

2. Suspended wastes such as leaves, green algae, nematodes, etc. 

3. Dissolved waste such as urea, ammonia, nitrate, carbon dioxide and drugs. 

Component Section of The Bio-Filter 

The bio-filter are three-in-one component sections. They are ultra violet light sterilization compartment, which destroys all soluble/microscopic diseases causing agents such as nematodes, pathogens and microbes. The denitrification and de-carbonation compartment uses the activities of bacteria to convert harmless nitrites and to remove carbon dioxide from the water. Furthermore, it also converts ammonia, urea, copper, etc., into harmless materials. 

The particulate waste removal compartment, removed both solid and suspended waste from the water, using specially designed foams or brushes with specially designed bristles to trap waste and separate them from water before taking the water directly into the pond or to an overhead water reservoir tank from where the water flows into the ponds. 


The primary function of the bio-filter is to remove all microscopic, dissolved, suspended and solid waste from pond water. It also helps to remove toxic waste and convert carbon dioxide into harmless material. The bio-filter works effectively with the aid of a water pump. Waste water leaving the pond goes through the waste water discharge pipe into the pump gutter, from where it is channeled to a two or three chamber filtration/sedimentation chambers. 

The first chamber is the primary filtration/sedimentation chamber. It is fitted with the mosquito net as filters. Most of the solid waste are trapped in this chamber by the net which acts as filter. From here the partially filtered water flows on its own to the second chamber where most of the sedimentation through precipitation takes place. Finally, it flows further into the third chamber which serves as underground water reservoir and at the same time where the final sedimentation takes place. 

With the aid of water pump, water from the third chamber is picked up and passed through the bio-filter. The water on getting to the bio-filter first passes through the ultra violet light sterilization compartment, where all soluble/microscopic diseases causing agents such as nematodes, pathogens and microbes are destroyed. From here, the water proceeds to the particulate waste removal compartment, where all solid and suspended waste are removed from the water. Finally, the water is passed to the de-nitrification decarbonation compartment where the bio-filter uses the activities of bacterial to convert harmful nitrates and also remove carbon dioxide, ammonia, urea, etc. from the water before the refined and purified water is pumped directly to the ponds or to an overhead water reservoir tank, from where the water flows to the pond where it is utilized and the process resumes. 

The bio-filter can be used either independently or together with conventional water filters, irrespective of whether they are already in place or not as could be seen from the one already explained above. It will help to enhance the filtration and re-circulation process. It will not in any way disrupt the use of one in place it could be attached to it. 

The running of the bio-filtration is heavily dependent on electricity. And as such an alternate source of power should be put in place. But reduce power consumption on a 24 hour a day basis, you could first of all pump the water through the bio-filter to an elevated water reservoir tank, from where it will flow to the ponds. As soon as you notice that the elevated water reservoir tank is almost empty, you can then switch on the pump to resume pumping the water until the tank is filled, after which you have to switch off and resume later when the tank is almost empty. 

As an alternative to this, you could run and stop the system every three or six hours. To do this, you may not need a reservoir tank. What happens is that by switching on the water pump, the water passed through the bio-filter is refined and purified and then passed directly to the ponds on a continuous basis for either 3 or 6 hours intermittently or for 24 hours continuously. 


1. High water quality and efficiency 

2. Quicker growth rate of fish 

3. High stocking capacity (100 and 200 square meter) 

4. Higher percentage of dissolved oxygen. Up to 60% higher than pond system due to water movement and activities of bacteria in the bio-filter. 

5. Lesser space requirement for a large number of fish. 

6. It is very light portable and hence can be transported in the boot of a car to any destination 

7. Only requires cleaning. 

8. Has a lifespan of up to 5 years. 


This pond is limited to areas where there is clay soil and underground water source only. In essence, this type of pond is best suited in swampy areas where there is fresh water source (do not site in areas where there is any form of salt water source). Devoid of erosion and must be preferably solid swamped, whose sand is solid enough to construct the dyke. It could also be sited on a contour (sloppy) or a flat land with clay soil and fresh water resource. 

This pond type is derived by digging wide pit of an average depth of about 1.5 meters (5feet) with a minimum water level of 4 feet. Please note that if the water level at the depth is not up to 4 feet, you have to either dig further or pump water into the pond to achieve this water depth. 

The sand dug from the pit is them used to construct a dyke (an earthen wall) round the pit to prevent flood waters getting into the pond, the pond water overflowing and the fish escaping from the pond. You can construct this pond type on flat swampy land (dry or wet swamp) or on the slope of a highland with clay soil and nearby water source. As for the flat swampy land, water will naturally flow into the pit from underground source. The walls will not collapse and pit will hold water even during the dry season because it is clay soil. Earthen pond constructed on a slope is known as contour pond while that constructed on a flat swamp land is known as dugout pond. 


The major shortcoming of the earthen pond system is security. If fencing or security is not employed you may lose fishes to poachers. Further to this the pond may not be easily accessible during the raining seasons (especially in water log swamps). In this case you may need rain boots and waders (a type of rain boot). Flooding is another constant worry especially during the raining season. These can seriously undermine your investment if not effectively controlled as it may lead to fish escape, pond water pollution, pond collapse, etc. you may also have lesser effective control over the fish because of the pond. 

In order to evacuate water from the pond, you must use a water pump. Sorting through is very important and also cumbersome in this system. Sorting fish at regular interval is to separate faster growing fishes (shooters) from the rest so as to avoid cannibalism and this is stressful because you have to pump out the entire pond water at each occasion. Besides, you may not be able to sort out all the faster growing fishes because of their sizes at that stage and the fact that most of them will hide in the mud and later surface to cause some major havoc (feeding on the smaller fishes) thereby reducing your stock. 

Note: Do not use this system for smaller fishes 


1. It is relatively cheaper to construct and manage. 

2. You have the possibility of a very large stocking capacity. 

3. Fish growth is very rapid and bigger due to the natural environment, space and air. 

4. Profitability is higher because higher stocking capacity coupled with other factors help to reduce the unit cost of rearing fish. 

5. Land is cheap and environment more conducive for aqua culture (fish farming) because site are located in rural communities or outskirts of towns and cities. 


While it is possible to construct a smaller or a bigger size of concrete pond, for the purpose of this study we are using the 10 feet (3m) by 20 feet (6m) dimension concrete pond with a depth of 5 feet (1.5m) having water level of 4 feet (1.2m) as case study.


Disclaimer: Comment expressed do not reflect the opinion of Isaac Yoma