Catfish farming is lucrative business entrepreneurs have found as a better source of income and have strived to widen it to accommodate many kinds of fish species.
Among all the fish species, the most popular and commonly sought after is the catfish followed by tilapia. Catfish is been rated as the sixth most popular fish and seafood consumed in most countries today.
Catfish farming is chosen over others because it is one of the most suitable fishes that do well and is easier to farm considering the climate and weather even in warm climates. Again, their foods are inexpensive and can be gotten from local grocers.
Catfish farming business involves breeding of fingerlings to table-size fishes, creating awareness for them and selling them to make profits. Notwithstanding, many people wish to venture into catfish farming but don’t know where and how to start it.
Here are the helpful tips on how to start up catfish farming.
1. Know the Requirements
Starting catfish farming business is good but is far better when you know the primary and essential things required for the success of the farming operation.
Catfish farming is a flexible agricultural based business but it needs adequate attention and knowledge, so the initial thing you have to do when this business pops up in your mind is how to get the best training on catfish farming so that you wouldn’t do things the wrong way.
Having essential knowledge of catfish farming requires that you know the species of catfish, how they survive, the best facilities to raise them, food suitable for them at every stage, target markets, sales strategies and related other important things.
2. Research your Target Market
First of all, you have to know how many catfish farmers that you have around the vicinity and the demand for catfish over there.
Try and meet hotels and restaurants that might need constant supplies of catfishes before concluding on which to embark on.
Since the basic aim of venturing into such a business is to make money, you have to make efforts in knowing what your target markets need which is a point of paramount significance.
Check the customer base and the competitors that you are going to face. Learn whom they sell to and how they sell to their potential customers so as to put them in action when you must have established your own catfish farm.
3. Choose the Species of Catfish
Choose the species of catfish but after you must have made the necessary research which includes knowing what kind of catfish the markets around your farm needs.
There are different species of catfish used for aquarium business. See and get more ideas about all the freshwater and saltwater catfish for starting an aquarium business.
Some of the freshwater catfish species that are best used for aquarium include bristlenosepleco, bumblebee catfish, otocinclus catfish, upside down catfish, glass catfish, Asian stone catfish, pictus catfish, corydora catfish, striped Raphael catfish and clown pleco among others.
Master the care, characteristic features and best surviving environment for each species of the catfish in order to know how best to handle them to make a better outcome.
The species of the catfish you choose will determine the kind of facility you will provide for the fishes. It will also depend on the size of the pond, how you will operate the farm as well as the target market.
4. Start with A Smaller Scale Catfish Farm First
Consider how you will like to run the business, but in most cases starting on a smaller scale is better as it will help you to easily manage the business well and wouldn’t lose much when the business is at risk.
You can then make an expansion later when you must have learnt the tricks in doing the business, see the wrong steps you have made and taken the necessary corrections.
Note that starting up a large aquarium farm requires a huge amount of capital to begin the investment. In this case, you need to get land that will not be less than 100 acres because the large the scale of business the larger the capital.
But in a wise way, you can start little and aim high with a small fish pond or inland tank. When you have your principle objective and aim high, starting small will lead to a huge income that will now help you create a large commercial catfish farm.
A wrong way to start is when you start high just because you feel that you have more than enough capital but with no vision. The business will definitely not grow. It is advisable to have a vision, start small but aim high so as to make a huge profit and grow the business.
5. Get the Facilities
Find a suitable land that will accommodate your farming business, you can buy if you have enough money or you can rent for a start and buy one later when you start making enough profit.
But it is very important to know if there is any catfish farmer in that area so that you won’t be competing with anyone especially those who have made a name in such business.
The very first facility that comes to your mind when you are set to start up an aquarium business is a land - where your pond will be situated.
Building a fish pond is not what you can do yourself, even if you can, you still need others to assist you, but it is very important that you employ the services of skilled labourers who will build it according to your design while you supervise their work. A pond can be made of concrete, tarpaulin, or polyvinyl chloride depending on your choice.
You may choose to use inland tanks or channels for raising your juvenile catfish. Catfishes raised in such places are said to be safe for the environment since their waste and disease are not spread to the wild.
Consider the depth and size of the pond as well to avoid overcrowding the fishes or fishes escaping due to the shallowness of the pond and build it in partitions with a flattop.
The source of water supply is very essential because water is the major thing after you have your land and the pond constructed. Your catfishes need a constant supply of fresh water from sources such as well or borehole.
Also include all the line items essential for catfish production such as fuel, electricity, feed, fingerlings, workforce, supplies, equipment, and repairs.
Other little but important things are plastic containers for collecting fishes from the pond from time to time and one square metre of the fishnet as the case may be.
6. Get Good Breed of Healthy Juvenile
Always go for fish that are standard juvenile, don't go for fingerling fish. Fingerling catfish are the group of catfish between the ages of 0 to 4 weeks while the juvenile is the group within the age range of 4 to 8 weeks.
Stock the pond with healthy and quality juvenile depending on the species you are going for, and try to find out the diseases that are associated with such fishes and how to control and prevent it.
Start with a juvenile which has every tendency to mature to table fish within 2 months provided that they are been supplied with good quality of water. It is most important to consider their feeding source and management.
Once you start up with good and healthy species of juvenile catfish, supply them with neat healthy water and adequate feed, the outcome will be higher than what you expected.
7. Separate Genders
While the fishes are been hatched in a healthy fish pond, you have to keep an eye as they continue to grow from week to week. It is advisable to separate the catfish sexes at a stage to reduce aggression.
The presence of the female catfish in the pond may cause the other gender to exhibit aggressive behaviours.
To do this, you have to determine their sexes then from the identity you can select all the female catfish and put them in a separate pond while the male stay on their own separate container.
8. Health and Environmental Factor
Catfish has a medication regulation which must be followed from time to time to ensure that they always in good health.
As mentioned in one of the paragraphs above, you have to keep an eye on all the fishes you have got inside the fish pond so as to detect early sign or signs of diseases.
Once you detect such, you have to take necessary actions as soon as possible to treat and prevent them.
Know the chemicals that are necessary and adequate for treating your pond and the fishes as well. There are some notable chemicals approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat fish diseases and water in an eco-friendly way.
In a case whereby the fish or fishes need to be injected, ensure that you make proper research on the best medicine and the right place to inject your fish.
Some of the approved chemicals used in treating fish diseases include, but not limited to the following: hydrogen peroxide, povidone iodine, formalin, and copper sulfate. Still, make research to find out more; how and when to apply each of them.
9. Optimal and Consistent Feeding
The point here is not just feeding the fish on a daily basis but feeding them with a quality rich feed that will enhance healthy growth. Fish growth is major dependent on the quality of feed they are fed with.
Every catfish farmer is recommended to feed the fishes on a daily basis especially during the early stage until they pass the first four months of the juvenile stage at least.
Feed your catfish consistently with quality feed because it is the most essential thing that adds to their growth.
10. Construct a Feasibility Report
Create a detailed business report about your farm may be on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis to help you know if the business is really moving towards your vision.
The feasibility report of your farm should include the details about the capital you invested in the business, expenses made on essential items and facilities such as workmanship, supplies, feed, repairs and utilities as well as your profit.
With this kind of detailed budget, construction will give you a clear overview of what the business look like in years to come.
11. Get Ideas from Potential Catfish Farmers Around
Paraventure, there may be other catfish farmers around the area where you operate your catfish farming you have to get close to the farmer involved to get ideas that will help you hit your target.
For the fact that the farmer has been into the business years before you, he must have known the tricks applied and also have a ready market.
You can start making a ready market where you will be supplying your grown fish through the catfish farmer and his customers. It there are no target customers, you may continue keeping grown fishes in the pond.
12. Analyze the Cost of Return On Investment (ROI)
Taking the calculation and analysis on return on investment helps any kind of startup business to know if the one run so far was profitable and is expected to continue.
In this case, you have to analyze the cost-benefit ratio on catfish farming. The result will show if it should be considered profitable or not. This is known as the profitability analysis of catfish farming in other words.
Thousands of people want to venture into catfish fish farming to start making profits, it is not a bad idea at all.
But you must always have in mind that fishes need exceptional care and management from what they eat, to quality water, temperature and all other things they need to survive and grow healthier and bigger.