Catfish Farming is a Great Way to be self-sufficient in food, save money, and eat sustainably. It’s also a great business opportunity for an unemployed person looking to get back on their feet.
A catfish farm is an autonomous, near-zero-waste system that produces healthy meats and protein for humans without expensive feed additives.
A well-managed farm can produce sustainable food products with minimal inputs and chemical use. A catfish farm is not where thousands of fish are crammed into tiny, filthy tanks, fed garbage, and pumped full of chemicals.
This is the common misconception (at least in America) of a catfish farm. Farming is the next revolution in food production. As the freshwater aquaculture industry has grown over the last decade, it has brought a great need for information.
To help educate the public and dispel many of the myths surrounding aquaculture, a non-profit organization was created to provide accurate information and support to catfish farmers and future farmers alike.
How to Start a Catfish Farming?
There are several ways to start a catfish farm, including:
Culturing – this is the method most commonly used by commercial catfish farmers. In this method, you raise the catfish in normal aquarium conditions for about three weeks until they reach sufficient size.
Stocking – this method requires some knowledge of fish farming, and it will most likely take longer than the culturing method to yield harvestable fish.
Raising from eggs – these fish require a one-year incubation period to generate healthy fish and speed up the culturing process.
Aquaponics – combines the culturing and stocking methods for quick, high yield.
Shellfish Farming – makes shellfish such as clams and oysters possible to farm in large aquaculture systems.
In addition to raising Catfish, many other types of farm produce are possible with a little bit of research.
Here are the Best 10 ways of Catfish Farming
1. Common Catfish Species
There are many species of catfish available for farming. Some of the most popular catfish include:
Cavefish, or Indian cat (Sarasa), is a native fish found in only two rivers in India. Although it does not taste great, it has a unique look with a deep red color and heavy texture. It’s also called the “Red King” because of its large size at birth. Cavefish require more meticulous care when aquaculture than other catfish species. They are not recommended for beginners.
Nile tilapia (tilapia niloticus) is an African catfish introduced to the Mediterranean and has become a prevalent farm fish.
This species is an important food source for locals and has become a highly sought-after fish for aquaculture. Black bass, Kentucky cavefish, Dorado – these are all commonly used in aquaculture systems.
2. Measuring the Progress
Although catfish farming is a gratifying experience, it is not something you should enter into lightly. The first thing that you need to do is decide what your end goal will be.
Do you want to start a business, or are you looking to create a sustainable, autonomous system? Once you have decided this, the next step is to determine whether or not aquaculture is suitable for your location and, if so, how much time and money you are willing to invest in it.
3. Site Selection
Your farm site should be as flat as possible and with plenty of freshwater, space, and room to expand. Cats also need to get in and out of their tanks without too many obstacles, so you have to have enough land for a proper catfish habitat.
4. Location Preparation
There are several factors you should take into account when choosing a location for your catfish farm:
Elevation- the higher the height, the more stable the water temperature. (A lot of catfish farms are located near reservoirs. This is because the water is warmer, and the fish are raised in a controlled environment.)
Airflow- if you wish to get your fish produced faster, it may be a good idea to choose a location with plenty of airflows. Also, this will help reduce disease problems within your system.
Location – remember where you will put your farm and take into account the seasons (if you live in the northern hemisphere). Moisture – avoid sites that have high amounts of humidity.
5. Water Source
Most catfish farms use a municipal water supply, but you can also hook up to an underground water source if you have the money to do so. If you want to learn more about obtaining a hook-up, I highly recommend reading Aquaponics: How To Build An Aquaponics System.
6. Water Treatment
Unfortunately, Catfish cannot tolerate very high chlorine levels in their water. Once again, you can either use a municipal supply or get a hook up to an underground store.
Depending on the source, you may or may not have to treat the water with an additional chemical such as – carbon dioxide, ozone, or ultraviolet light. One of the most important things you have to do before using your water is to test it and adjust it if necessary. Water quality is critical in a catfish farm because it helps keep fish healthy and happy.
pH- pH refers to how acidic or alkaline a substance is… pH levels for Catfish should be between 6.5 and 8.5.
Salinity- this is a measure of the quantity of salt in water and should be a minimum of 10 parts per thousand (ppt)
Nitrite- Nitrite is a chemical that occurs when ammonia breaks down into nitrate. The nitrite level in the water should be below 1 mg/L (milligrams per liter).
Electrolytes- this substance helps the fish maintain its internal fluids, especially sodium and potassium (salt).
Catfish are bred using different methods. It is best to check directly with your fish breeder to find out what they are using and how they are raising their Catfish. In the majority of cases, it is natural in-breeding. This means the Catfish will be a runt when they are born and only grow to about 3-4 inches. Runts are often raised for later use as fingerlings.
8. Containment System
Some fish farmers use an aquarium system, which is best for small volume operations. However, some catfish farms work with large ponds/lakes that can be used to house thousands of cats. A good fish farmer will use different containment systems for different types of fish. For example, a farm may use smaller ponds to raise smaller Catfish but a larger pond for the larger varieties.
9. Feeding System
There are two standard feeding systems when raising Catfish: freshwater feeding or dry feed feeding. In freshwater feeding, you can use chicken pellets (if you want organic) or any other type of natural feed (that’s not full of preservatives. I recommend checking out this website for more info about meals). This will keep the fish healthy and prevent them from building up parasites.
On the dry side, you can use grit. Grit is used to help your fish clean their teeth (because no one wants a catfish that has a mouth full of parasites!). One problem with this type of feeding system is that it is not very efficient, and when the catfish get bigger, they will start fighting each other because they have too much to eat.
10. Caring for the Catfish
Depending on the system you are using to raise Catfish, there are some things that you will need to take into consideration. For instance:
Seawater – aquariums can only hold about 35% of fish volume. This means for every pound of fish. Many pounds of water must be maintained. If you use seawater from a public source or a local ocean, the water will contain bacteria and other parasites. To prevent this, filter your seawater before using it in your system.
Catfish are so common in fish farming because they are very resilient to disease, especially during the first few weeks of their lives. I highly recommend reading this article about how to prevent illness in your fish: How To Prevent Disease In Fish
As with any farm raising fish, harvesting must be handled with care. The best advice you can get is from a farmer or aquatic biologist who has experience raising Catfish. When harvesting, there are three main things that you need to consider.
Marketing the Catfish
Once you are ready to sell your Catfish, you need good quality and environmentally friendly product packaging. The most common way to package Catfish is in a cardboard box, but it is essential to know that the box may not hold if the cardboard is not the right thickness for this type of fish. You can also use an ice chest or insulated bags, but if you do, you will have to check them every hour or so because they tend to get warm quickly.
From the information I have provided in this article, you should raise Catfish quickly and cheaply. By following these steps, you will eliminate many problems you may have when it comes to raising catfish and will have healthier fish in the end. I hope you enjoyed this article and if you did, please leave me a comment!
If you would like to learn more about raising Catfish, “The Catfish Farmer’s Handbook” is an excellent book for further research.