Catfish Farming Guide:
Introduction of Catfish Farming:- Catfish is a hardy fish that can survive in kind of regions and they are easy to farm especially in warmer climatic conditions. Raising catfish in tanks and channels are considered to be safest method as their waste and disease do not spread to the wild. Catfish farming is very profitable with low cost set up and due to the fact that these fish gain weight in short period of time. There are many varieties of catfish available across the globe. These catfish size varies depends on the variety and can get from small size to very large size. However, In India, African catfish is the one mainly cultivated species among all other varieties. Commercial and small scale catfish farming business is becoming popular day by day. If you are interested in fish farming, these fish can be raised even in small tanks at home. In the following article let us discuss about raising catfish and it’s management.
Catfish Health Benefits:- The following are the health benefits of catfish.
- Catfish is a source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
- Catfish is an excellent source of protein.
- Catfish is an excellent source of B-12 vitamin.
- Catfish is a good source of mineral like magnesium.
Note: If you are pregnant or nursing mother or suffering from any medical condition, contact your health care physician for advice on eating catfish as it contains some mercury levels.
Local Names of Catfish in India:- The following are the local names of catfish in India.
Sangtam, Sangot (Hindi), Nal Shingala (Marathi), Tedi Jella, Marpu (Telugu), Kezhuthi (Tamil), Kaari (Malayalam), Khagadi (Gujarati), Sangot (Konkani), Magura (Oriya), Thede (Kannada), Magur (Assamese), Kan Magur, Magur (Bengali).
Catfish Varieties in India:- Blue catfish, channel catfish and flathead catfish are the 3 primary species of catfish. Blue catfish category fish can reach up to 50 kg weight. Though there are many varieties available in the world regions, let us put here about varieties in India.
- Catfish Saccobranchus.
- Catfish Wallago attu.
- Catfish Clarius.
- Catfish Mystus seenghala.
Catfish Fish Breed Characteristics:- Unlike most fish, These catfish do not have any scales on the body instead they have an adipose fin and often spine-like rays (spines) present at the front of the dorsal and pectoral fins. The size of the catfish depends on the variety of the fish. In some cases they weigh up to 100 kg’s as well.
Seed Collection in Catfish Farming:– Usually, seed can be collected from fish nurseries or local government fisheries.
Pond Selection in Catfish Farming:- Selecting a proper pond for successful catfish farming business is very important factor before starting a commercial fish farming. Consider the following factors while constructing a new pond or using existing pond.
- Make sure to select or construct a pond in open place which has direct contact with sunlight.
- Make sure to select a site which is free from flooding.
- Make sure to have strong shore around the pond and free from all types of holes and licks.
- Make sure to check periodically for any holes in the pond, otherwise most of the fish will escape from those holes.
- Prefer to construct oblong pond rather building a squire pond.
- Make sure to maintain the water depth not more than 4 to 5 feet in rainy season.
- Make sure to have any wild animals away from the pond.
Pond Management in Catfish Farming:- Catfish can be raised in both new and old ponds. However, raising of cattish in the old pond is better than new pond. In case of using new pond, fertilizers, cow dung and lime should be applied to make the pond soil fertile for proper growth of the catfish. If you are planning to use old pond, the pond should be dried and removed any old fish or weeds from the pond before stocking catfish. If the old pond has too much of clay, remove excessive clay and any other harmful objects from the pond. Apply fertilizers and lime in the old pond. Cover the pond with a net to protect the catfish minnow (fingerlings) from predators like frogs and snakes. Filling the pond about 3 feet with fresh water is necessary for first time after making the fence around the pond. Catfish minnow should be stocked after 3 to 4 days of filling fresh eater.
Catfish Fingerlings (minnow) and their Density in the Pond:- Select high quality catfish seedlings (minnow) of 2 to 3 inch size from the fish hatchery. Selecting minnow, of high quality with disease free and highly productive catfish is necessary for successful catfish farming. Stock the minnow in the pond and spray anti-fungal medicine in the pond after 3 days of stocking the minnow to prevent from any diseases.
Well, the pond can be used for raising catfish alone or with other carp fishes. When catfish is grown along with other carp fish, then the recommended fish stocking density is about 2500 to 3000/acre pond. If you are planning for only catfish stocking, then density can be up to 4000/acre pond. Mixed fishing would reduce the feed cost. Hence, cultivating the catfish with carp, tilapia fish will reduce the feeding cost. As catfish is an excellent bottom feeder, the feed provided for carp fish will be consumed by catfish at the bottom without wasting apart from it’s regular feeding. The main advantage of mixed fish farming of catfish and carp fish is that, this reduces the quantity of ammonia gas from the pond and ensure healthy environment for all fish species in the pond.
Feeding in Catfish Farming:- Feed should be supplied according to the body weight of fish in the pond. During initial 10 days of period,20 to 25 % of feed should be provided. Generally, catfish likes feeding at night times. So feed the catfish twice a day. Feed rate should be reduce to 10 to 15% after 10 days period. Catfish fingerlings should start taking the feed during day time when they reach 3 inch in size. After 4 weeks of stocking, try to provide 5 to 6 % of feed extra depending on the body weight of the fish. How do you measure the body weight? well, for measuring average catfish weight, measure the total weight of 20 fish and divide the total weight by 20. For example, total weight of 20 catfish is 2 kg, divide the result by 20. Now the average weight of one catfish is 100 grams. So, based on their body weight provide the feed twice a day i.e. in the morning and late evening. Care must be taken care while providing the feed as insufficient feed will result in unhealthy growth and gain less weight. Excessive feed also causes the pond polluted and increase the feed cost.
Harvesting – Collection in Catfish Farming:- Based on the market demand, collect the fish using nets. However, if large quantity of fish needs to be collected, then the pond should be dried .Catfish should be collected in early morning or late evening as excessive sunny day will damage the fish quality.
Winter care in Catfish Farming:- If you are planning to go for catfish farming in winter, extra care should be taken as this season causes many diseases in catfish. Change water on periodic basis, usually after every 2 weeks. Supplement the pond with anti-fungal fish medicine after every 1 month. If excessive amount of ammonia gas found in the pond, use Ganonex medicine to remove the ammonia gas. Try to keep the water depth below 2 feet level.
Bottom Line & Note in Catfish Farming:- Catfish farming is profitable business provided there is a good fish management practices. In India, you may have to get the license from government for raising the catfish. First and foremost, find out whether your state government fishery board allows commercial catfish farming in your area.
For Rohu fish farming : Read here.
For Murrel fish farming: Read here.
For commercial Sheep or Goat farming : Read here.