The plots of land to acquire for the purpose of fish farming depend largely on how massive you like your farm to be. For example: the kind of plan you have for the extension. However, nothing stops you from starting with two fish ponds and then expand int the others.
The essence of having at least two ponds for fish farming is to make sorting the fish easy, Therefore, to know the space needed, the recommended stocking density of a fish in the pond is 10fish/m² which means that you will need an area of 100m² for 1000 fishes. You can now use this to determine what you want to start with and the expanse of land you will need to start it.
Appropriate site selection in fish farming is one of the most important factors that determine the success of the fish farm. Before construction of the pond, the water retention capacity of the soil and the soil fertility has to be taken care of because these factors influence the response to the organic and inorganic fertilization in the farm pond.
The selected site for fish farming should have adequate water supply round the year for pond filling and other uses. The pond construction has to be based on the topographic area. In swampy and marshy areas, bunds should have a greater accumulation of soil to build the pond of a preferable size. Self-draining ponds are ideal for higher elevation areas.
The fish farming site should be easily accessible by road or any form of transport to reach the market for easy fish disposal. In addition to this, the accessibility of inputs such as feed, seed, fertilizer and the construction material should also be available nearby the site. The site should be free from pollution, industrial waste, domestic waste and any other harmful activities.
For, site selection the following ecological, biological and social factors need to be considered.
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In site selection for a pond, the ecological factors to be considered include soil, water, topography and climate.
The soil quality influences the pond productivity and water quality and determines the dyke construction. The properties of soil texture and soil permeability are determined to decide the suitability of a site. Pond bottom should have the ability to hold the water. Loamy, clay loamy and silt clay soil types are most suitable for pond construction. A good quality gravel should not exceed 10 percent. Thus the rocky, sandy, gravel and limestone soil types are to be avoided.
Evaluation of soil suitability
Soil suitability can be evaluated by three methods.
- In squeeze method, take the soil in wet hand and squeeze the soil by closing your hand firmly. If it holds its shape even after opening the palm of your hand, soil is suitable for pond construction.
- The ground water test is the best method to evaluate the soil suitability. Dig a pit of one-meter depth and cover it with leaves for a night. If the pit is filled with ground water in the next day morning then a pond could be built. However, in such soils, drainage may require more time due to the availability of sufficient groundwater. If the pit is empty the next morning, the site is suitable for pond construction, but the water permeability has to be tested.
- The third method is the water permeability test. Pour the water into the pit and cover with leaves. If no water is found in the pit on the next day morning then there is seepage. To confirm this, once again pour the water into the pit and cover it with leaves. If the water availability is high then the site is suitable for construction. But if the water is drained, the site is not suitable for pond construction. However, the site can be used through use of plastic or heavy clay to cover pond bottom.
For a successful fish farming business, an adequate amount of water is required to build the fish farm because water depth needs to be adjusted at regular intervals. Natural water bodies such as reservoir, river, and lakes have stable water quality parameters (Water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, alkalinity and water hardness) when compared to borewell and well water.
The fish farming site should be away from the flood area. Water should not be acidic or alkaline and if found to be so, suitable correction is to be done by applying lime or organic manure respectively.
The ideal water temperature is 20 – 300C for a fish farm. Water Salinity is the amount of salt dissolved in water. A few freshwater fishes such as tilapia and catfishes grow even in salt water, but the carps can withstand only in freshwater.
Type of fish farming pond construction is determined by the land topography. Normally, flood prone areas and poor rainfall areas need to be avoided. Areas such as industrial zones, fields with underground oil pipelines, irregular land area, fields with high electricity poles and radio masts and highly rooted vegetation area are also not recommended for pond construction.
Biological factors include the species to be cultured, seed source and culture type and they need to be considered before site selection of farm.
Social and economic factors
The ecological and biological factors are a prerequisite for good practices in aquaculture site selection and site management. It is also important to get to know the social and economic background of the area and understand the culture and traditions, particularly ideas and beliefs locally associated with aquaculture practices.
The social fabric, market, and its structure, services directly or indirectly linked with aquaculture sector such as transportation, storage, wholesale market aspects etc are to be considered. The land identified for farm should be without legal issues and fish farming should be accepted by the local people. Other factors include availability of labour, electricity, medical facilities, and transportation.
An intelligent design and layout is a prerequisite for an efficient pond construction for fish farming. The excavated earth should be used to construct the dyke and with a plodding slope towards the outlet for the proper draining facility. Preferably construction of fish farming pond has to be completed during summer so that the pond can be used for stocking.
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