Saturday, July 20, 2024

Guide to Proper Techniques of Fish Culture

Fish culture is the growing of fish in ponds. Growing fish in ponds, from which they cannot escape-, allows feeding, breeding, growing and harvesting the fish in a well-planned way. Fish culture is one form of aquaculture.

Aquaculture is the science which deals with the cultivation/growing of aquatic organisms ( fish , mollusks, crustaceans, other vertebrates, unicellular organism, microalgae and higher plants) using extensive or intensive method in order to increase the production or yield per unit area or volume to a level more than can be obtained naturally in a particular aquatic environment.

Aquaculture, a type of agriculture, is also the practice of cultivating aquatic animals and plants in managed aquatic environments. Aquaculture in salt-water or marine environments is called maricultures.

Fish culture, or pisciculture, refers to the husbandryof finfish. The most popular aquaculture species are finfish grown in fresh waters, accounting for over 40 percent of total aquaculture production.

Criteria of Cultivable Fish

Advances in controlled reproduction of desired species, feed formulation, and water quality management have helped generate the rapid growth of aquaculture. The biological selection of culture species depends on many factors.

A few criteria that must be considered in choosing a species to cultivate include the following characteristics of a species:

Growth rate;

Place in the food chain;

Climate and environmental adaptations;

Disease resistance;

Breeding characteristics;

Compatibility with other fish species in cultivation; and Conversion efficiency (feed-to-flesh).

For example, aquaculturists prefer fast-growing planktivores because of their short food chain. Interestingly, biotechnological selection criteria are not always the most critical; for example, growing fish unsuitable for local or export markets can readily drive a farmer out of business.

Thus, consumer preference, market conditions, regulations against nonnative species, and other economic, social, and political criteria play an important role in species selection.

Purposes of Aquaculture

Aquaculture is practiced for a number of reasons, chief among them being food production and income generation. Most fresh-water aquaculture production (over 70 percent) comes from low- income, food-deficit countries.

Even in the poorest countries, fish farming is seldom solely a subsistence activity. So while farmers may consume some of their product, typically fish are sold, thereby enabling farmers to earn income to purchase other goods and services.

Additional purposes of aquaculture include:

Utilizing land unsuitable for agriculture;

Utilizing inland water bodies such as shallow lakes;

Reclaiming saline soils;

Increasing the supply of highly valued species;

Improving the reliability of fish supplied in the marketplace;

Offsetting losses in the capture fisheries or in native fish populations;

Servicing the sport fishing industry;

Controlling parasites like mosquito and snail larvae that cause diseases such as dengue fever and malaria;

Storing water; and

Earning foreign exchange. (Europe and the United States import aquaculture products from Asia, Africa, and Central and South America.)

Techniques of Fish Culture

Fish culture techniques may be classified based on the level of manipulation of the environment into three, which are:

1. Extensive Fish Culture

This is any fish culture techniques that do not require any supplementary feeding or energy input to support growth of the species under culture. Its attributes include:

– There is relatively little or no manipulation of the environment, that is, there is low degree of control in terms of nutrition, predator, competition, disease or pathogen.

There is low initial cost.

– Low socking density: about 1-3 tons of fish per hectare

High dependence on local climate and water quality. The system is practiced in ponds, reservoirs and pens/fences.

Fish Culture

2. Semi-Intensive Fish Culture

This is any system that does not depend exclusively on a natural food chain; supplementary feeding is applied to augment the natural food in water in form of fertilization or lining of the water to increase primary productivity or through wastes e.g. domestic wastes.

Read Also : Methods of Fish Fecundity Determination

Therefore in a semi-intensive culture system, part of the food needed is supplied through supplementary feeding; stocking density is moderate and much higher than extensive culture systems (3-10 tons).

3. Intensives Fish Culture

This is any culture systems that do not depend on natural food chain. It is a highly culture system in which the nutrients requirement is supplied during the culture systems.

Thus, it involves the use of adequate food both in term of quantity and quality. Its attributes include:

– There is a high degree of control i.e. land manipulation of the environment. There must be recirculation of water in the culture systems, wastes are removed and enough water is supplied.

– Initial cost is high.

– High technology and high production efficiency for instance electricity must be provided.

– Allows for high stocking density (20-100 fingerlings per hectares).

– There is tendency towards increased independence of local climate and water quality.

Based on the number and types of species cultured, fish culture systems can be classified into two:

1. Monoculture

This is the culture of only one species of fish. It is commonly practiced in intensive fish culture systems.

Fishes culture, here, have the same feeding habits. It is very useful Tilapia culture doe to their prolific breeding.


It is a type of fish culture in which wild spawning is controlled and desired sex is increased e.g. female Tilapiasin a pond cause uncontrolled breeding.

To avoid this, monosex culture is practiced. The focus of this culture is to produce male seed stock.

This is done by fish culturists by hand sexing (or it’s also called manual sexing) wherein the males are sorted out from the unsorted stocks of fry. The sexes can be differentiated by visual examinations of the uro-genital papillae.

Read Also : Methods of Fish Age and Growth Studies

2. Polyculture or Composite Fish Culture

It is a type of fish culture in which different types of fishes of different feeding habits are cultured to exploit the different kinds of food that is present in the different parts of the pond.

This increases the productivity of the pond. This type of farming is also called mixed fish farming.

Polyculture poses no serious competition between the different species as each species renders a beneficial influence on growth and production of the other.

For example, the Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella)converts plant tissue into flesh by feeding on aquatic vegetation but its excreta fertilizes the pond which benefits other species. In Bengal, major carps like Catla,Rohuand Mrigalin the ratio of 3: 3: 4 are reported to be cultured together in ponds.

It is commonly practiced in extensive or semi-intensive fish culture systems and has the advantage of utilizing more ecological systems hence; there is increased utilization of available food.

Other fish farming techniques include:

a. Caging Systems

Nets or cages are popular methods of fishing in off shore coastal areas and freshwater lakes, ponds and oceans.

Fish are raised in the cages, fed artificially and harvested when the numbers of fish meet the required demands of market.

Some of the advantages of cage farming systems is, that this farming technique can be practiced in various types of water sources like lakes, ponds, seas and oceans, that offers flexibility to the farmers. Also, many types of fish can be raise together and the water can be used for various other purposes like water sports.

In this farming method, superior quality cages are constructed and put in the water sources to raise the fish. Spread of diseases, poaching and concerns of poor quality water are some of the disadvantages of this farming system.

b. Ponds

One of the small scale fish farming techniques is raising fish in the pond, especially designed for the purpose of raising fish. Small ponds can be made in the farms and houses, which can provide its owner the ability to have control over the farming system.

Ponds are useful for water harvesting in the dry areas and can also be utilized for raising fish. Waste water can be contained and treated properly to raise fish.

Release of untreated waste water into the environment is possible, if the ponds are not maintained properly and can cause pollution. For small farms, ponds are effective to raise fish for self-consumption.

c. Raceways

If you visit any fish farming area, you may come across narrow streams flowing between two wall type structures.

These streams are nothing but raceways and their purpose is to help the farmers divert water from water systems like streams or well, so that it flows through the water channels containing fish.

There are various restrictions imposed on this type of farming by the government and the farmers are strictly advised to treat the water before they divert it back to the natural waterways. Also, the farmed fish can escape raceways and interfere with the wild fish habitat of the waterways.

d. Recirculating System

The recirculating system uses recycled water for raising fish. The waste water is treated and recycled many times. Many fish species are grown in the recirculating systems. However, the operative cost of the electricity is a disadvantage of this method.

In summary, fish culture in ponds is the primary method of fish culture. However, there are other methods of fish culture used in places where ponds are not possible or advantageous.

To realize, the potential of aquaculture, opportunities for exploitation of resources, available suitable sites and cultivable species must be optimally maximized.

Of immense importance is the fish culture techniques adopted, which must reflect the overall cost of construction and eventual economic project cost.

Fish culture is the growing of fish in ponds and it is an important element of aquaculture. Aquaculture, a type of agriculture, is also the practice of cultivating aquatic animals and plants in managed aquatic environments.

The biological selection of a species for aquaculture include: growth rate, position in the food chain, disease resistance, breeding characteristic, conversion efficiency etc.

Fish culture may be classified on (i) level of manipulation of environment (extensive, semi-intensive and intensive techniques), (ii) number of species culture (monoculture and polyculture). Other fish culture techniques include caging systems, ponds, recirculating systems and raceways etc.

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Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with several years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education - PhD Student in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Policy... Visit My Websites On: 1. - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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