The Most Lucrative between Production of Fish Fingerlings or Raising them to Table Size

The answer to this question is more of your interest rather than what each entails. Sincerely speaking both has its advantage and disadvantages and both could be very lucrative if properly harnessed.

However, I will like to say that the risk involved in fish fingerling / juvenile production is minimal because the time lag between production and sale is short. Also, fish fingerling / juveniles production could bring money at short intervals if there are enough market outlets.

Nevertheless, handling of fish fingerling / juveniles production needs more attention and expertise more than raising them to table size. This is why you will need to be trained before going into this production and you must have enough time to give them adequate attention.

We can think of fish productionas a three-stage system: (1) fryrearing, (2) production offingerlings and (3) on-growing.

Whereas fry are raised in small and shallow ponds,fingerlings need larger-sized (0.08-0.20 ha) andslightly deeper (1.5-2.0 m) ponds. If the ponds areseasonal, only one crop of fingerlings will be possible,whereas at least four crops can be produced inperennial ponds.

Read Also: How to Control Feeding Struggle among Fishes in the same Pond

Facts about Fingerlings:

  • Fingerlings of about 100 mm are goodfor stocking in medium-sized ponds where predators have been eliminated. ƒ
  • Advanced fingerlings of about 150 mm are best for stocking in seasonal ponds (because they grow fast and can be marketed in 6-8 months)ƒ
  • Advanced fingerlings of about 150 mmare also good for large ponds and tanksand Medium Irrigation Projects (MIPs) where competitors and predators arepresent in good numbers (because they can better escape predation).

How to reduce fingerling mortality

  • Do not Over stock Fingerlings in a pond

When fingerlings are overstocked in a pond, mortalities tend to be higher. It is more difficult to manage them when they are overstocked since large quantity of feed would need to be given to the fish and their subsequent waste released into the pond would quickly degrade the water quality which could lead to mortalities. Also, there would always be uneven growth as the stronger fish tend to feed better and grow faster leading to them preying on the smaller ones.

  • Sort Frequently and remove the larger size fish 

Catfish are carnivorous. The larger sized fish usually prey on the smaller ones swallowing them whole. When stocking fingerlings, always try to sort them frequently (weekly), removing the quicker growing fish (shooters) and always try to put the same size of fish together.

  • Stock grow-out ponds at the right size

For both surface tanks and earthen ponds stocking them at the right size in the grow-out ponds determines the survival rates. Its usually best to always stock fingerlings and manage them in smaller tanks before transferring them to grow-out ponds. Given below is a table showing the expected survival rates for fingerlings stocked at different sizes and the expected survival rates:

  Size at Stocking (g) Survival Rate (%)
   0.3 – 1.5 6 – 20
   1.5 – 3 19 – 30
  3 – 5 30 – 50
  5 – 10 40 – 60
  10 – 50 60 – 90
  50 – 100 80 – 100
  above 100 90 – 100

Source: USAID Fish Project Farm Trials (2005 – 2008).

Please do not hesitate to input any other factors that could help reduce fingerling mortalities.

Catfish Farming – How to Increase Your Profit

Over the last couple of decades, the demand for seafood has increased around the world and it’s still increasing. This is due to rapid urbanization around the globe. As people’s living standards improve, they tend to buy more seafood and meat for their diet.

Many experts believe that the demand for seafood will put further strain on an already overfished natural and wild fish supply around the world. Aquaculture can be a profitable method to produce more seafood and meet this increasing demand. It would also help the natural fish stocks to recover and regenerate.

Profit from Catfish farming

African catfish (Clarias Gariepinus) farming could be a profitable business and could be an important source of protein in diet. Catfish is a warm water fish and can be grown in natural ponds, fish tanks, raceways aquaculture, and in backyard ponds for profit. They reach a marketable size of 2.5 to5 pounds within a very short period of time. They can reach 1-2 pounds after 18 to 36 months of hatching.

Let’s look at some of the most efficient ways you could raise catfish in your pond or channels or cages for maximizing your profit.

Read Also: Factors that Hinders your Fishes from Growing Fast

Producing Marketable Sized Catfish fast

There are several factors that affect the growth of your catfish. Growth of your fish and profit will depend on how efficiently you manage your farm, the water quality, disease control, managing your costs, and the number of fish you produce for your inputs or per acre of your land.

Your profits from a catfish farm will depend largely on how fast you grow them to marketable size. The faster they grow, the sooner you can harvest them for profit.

Here is a list of factors affecting your fish farm production:

  • Temperature

  • Flowing water

  • Pond Balance

  • Fish feed

  • Water quality & fish health

1) Temperature

Catfish grow best in warm water between 83-86o F. You can begin spawning of your fish in the spring when the water temperature rises above 70 o F. You may collect juvenile fish from a nearby hatchery.

2) Flowing water

Catfish grow more rapidly with flowing water or raceway aquaculture. However, they can also thrive in fish tanks and reservoirs. They do not grow well in small ponds because of the predators, especially if bass and bluegill are present which feed on young catfish. Catfish tend to grow faster in rivers where cage based aquaculture culture is possible.

3) Pond balance

Maintaining a balance in your pond is important because if you have fish growing in higher density, it could give rise to toxic water and pollution. Your fish will get sick and grow less. Two years following the stocking, your fish will reach its limit and harvest sized fish have to be taken out. Remove all undesirable fish and materials from your pond.

4) Fish feed

In a well-balanced pond, the natural ecosystem of the pond can feed your fish after you have set up your pond and added nutrients to the soil. In a fertile land, plants and insects will provide food for your fish. For rapid growth, use a nutritionally balanced catfish feed.

Your catfish fingerlings will grow faster if you feed them regularly in the beginning of production season, they will grow the right size for harvesting by autumn. However, feeding too much will result in poor water quality and it will also increase your feeding costs.

5) Water quality & fish health

Water quality plays an important role in raising healthy fish. A circulating water system will keep your water clean but also check for the right pH balance. Your water should have a pH between 6.5-9.0. If the pH is too low, add limestone to your pond. Also check for dissolved impurities and oxygen level of your water. Both physical and chemical factors play important role in rising catfish faster.

The ideal density for intensive farming could be between 1,500 to 5,000 lb/acre, with four feed pond depth. For small scale farms 1,000-1,500 lb/acre is ideal. For faster growth, you will need to supply aerostation and regular supply of food.

Check for water contamination by using water tests and soil tests. Also look for sick fish in your pond. There are several signs for checking illnesses in fish. You may consult your local authorities and agricultural centers if you have any concerns about your fish health.

Here are more amazing fish farming books to guide and assist you further:


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Benadine Nonye

An Agric. Consultant & a Blogger - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education... Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4ProfitsTV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: benadinenonye.

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