The quantity of fingerlings / juveniles to start your fish farm with largely depends on how much you can afford and all that is in place for proper management. You must raise the number of fishes you can conveniently feed and those that your source of water can conveniently cater for.
Left to me, unless there is a lot of money to introduce into the business, I don’t encourage beginners to start with more than 2,500 juveniles. It is better to grow into the business than to spend much money only to lose them due to inexperience.
How to Start a Successful Fish Farm Business
Whether you’re planning to start a small scale fish farming or a gigantic commercial fish farming, follow these 9 steps to get started;
- Get a good location for your farm
- Get a good source of water
- Choose the appropriate fish pond
- Decide the right species of fish for you
- Get healthy fingerlings or juveniles
- Understand fish feeds & feeding
- Start Marketing your fish before they grow-up
- Be business minded
- Get good and practical fish farming training
How to Start a Fish Farm? Let’s get into details;
1) Get a Good Location for Your Fish farming Business
You need to first decide whether you’re starting your fish business on a small scale or you’re going big. If you’re starting a small scale fish farm, you may decide to start at your backyard with tank but if you’re going big, you may need to buy or rent one or few fish ponds (earthen or concrete ponds) outside your home.
2) Get a Good Source of Water for Your Fish
How important is water to a fish? Just as oxygen is important to you. Put it in a bad water and you`re affecting its growth and productivity (though “bad” water varies, depending on the kind of fish we are talking about. Some fish live in rough water while others cannot).
My point here is, you’ll need good source of water for your fish. Also note that what we humans consider a “Good Water” is not what fishes consider good water. Take for instance, we can drink government treated water but such water could be poisonous to the fish because of the chemicals used to treat the water for human consumption.
The size of your intended fish farm determines the quantity of water needed. If you’re starting a small scale fish business, you may be comfortable with a nearby well. If however you’re starting fish farming as a big business venture, then, you’ll need a strong well or bore hole and water storage tank.
Read Also: The Best Specie of Fish to Raise for Profit
3) Choose The Right Fish Pond or Plastic Tank for Housing Your Fish
Just like you, your fish needs a comfortable place to live. The more natural and comfortable the fish pond is, the better for them. There are two popular fish housing system… backyard plastic tank or pond.
Plastic tank may be good for you if you’re just starting fish farming (especially on a small scale). This small scale medium will help you to be familiar with the nature of the fishery business, before you’ll extend your market reach. Fish pond sizes are also different.
Fish ponds are of various sizes and their cost is vary, depending on your environment and need. What should you do? Move out, Visit fish farms around you, Visit fish feeds seller, Visit some experienced bricklayers, Ask questions.
The reason why I advise you to go out this way is because, these people will give you the best advice that can be useful to you in that environment, since they are in your vicinity.
4) Decide The Right Species of Fish to Farm
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of species in the fish family. This means you as a potential fish farmer have to decide which species to choose as you’re starting your own fish farming business.
There are so many funny fishes like; Hypsurus caryi, Heterostichus rostratus, Hermosilla azurea, Halichoeres semicinctus, Gymnocorymbus ternetzi, Ginglymostoma cirratum, Galeocerdo cuvier, Embiotoca jacksoni, Echeneis naucrates, Ctenopoma acutirostre, Chromis viridis etc. However, you’re likely to be fine with most popular types farmed in your area.
5) Get Healthy Fingerlings or Juveniles
Juveniles are the little fishes you’ll need to grow to table-size. Ordinarily we have what we call Fry, which is the development stage of fish immediately after the larvae stage, at an age of less than a week.
We also have what we call Fingerlings which is the development stage of fish following the fry stage and continuing into the first three to four months of life. We as well have yearling which is the development stage of fish following the fingerlings stage and lasting until approximately one year of age.
The development stage of a fish after fingerling is what we refer to as juveniles. The best practice if you’re just starting a fish farm is to buy juveniles as this will save you from the headaches of much mortality you may experience from fingerlings.
There are fish farmers that specialize in hatching fingerlings and selling juveniles. Make sure you go for a reputable fish hatchery so as to avoid getting unhealthy juvenile. Don’t buy unhealthy juveniles.
6) Choose The Right Fish Feeds
Plants are able to utilize sunlight and simple nutrients to produce new organic material through photosynthesis. Animal (i.e. fish) cannot do this. That’s why animals need to feed on organic materials such as plants, other animals, or prepared food that contains plants or/and animals.
When feeding your fish both quality and quantity has to be taken care of. Feed them well and with quality fish feed. There are three means of food for your fish.
- Natural fish feed. This is found naturally in the pond. This include; detritus, bacteria, plankton, worms, insects, snails, aquatic plants and fish (yes, fish eat fish if they`re hungry).
- Supplementary fish feed. This usually include cheap materials locally available such as terrestrial plants, kitchen wastes or agricultural by-products. Supplementary feed may be good, but they are not for serious fish farmer (except if he includes the other types of feeds).
- Complete feed. This is a carefully made fish feed. They`re usually of good ingredient and nutrients, made by the experts who understand the perfect formula for the fish at a different stage.
7) How much it costs to feed your fishes
You know I cannot tell what your vicinity looks like and when you’ll be reading this post. Do what I suggested above. Move out. Ask questions and you’ll learn from people currently in your environment who know the current price of feed in your city and area.
Every other cost and materials (to be listed soon) could be gotten right in your environment. Take out a pen and paper. Move out and ask questions or contact our fishery experts to help you with you fish project.
8) Start Marketing Your Fishes Before They Are Grown Up
So many people who are starting fish farming business in Nigeria are making the mistake of thinking that the market is readily there.It’s not true.You have to start marketing your fish, even before they are grown up.
9) Be Business Minded
Too many potential fish farmers think “It’s just about feeding the fish and selling them”. They are wrong! Fish farming is a business and if you want to succeed in this venture, you must approach it as a serious business.
Here are more amazing fish farming books to guide and assist you further: