Common Mistakes Everyone Makes in Fish Farming

Many fish farmers today fail due to a lack of information about the fish farm business. To run a successful fish farm, you must be able to move your business from one stage to another, to create wealth and grow sustainably. Here are some common mistakes that many people make when starting a fish farm. Fish farming has been a lucrative business for many years but with the right guidance and without education you can lose money and waste your time. 

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Common mistakes everyone makes in fish farming

Stocking too many fish 

Of course, the most common mistake of new (and less new) fish farmers is to stock too much fish in tanks, cages, or ponds. To grow as many fish as possible and get the most out of our investment, so push the limits a little bit The result is as predictable as night following day; oxygen levels are compromised, resulting in reduced growth, and high N-compounds as the filters struggle.

Each cage, pond, or tank has a maximum density and if you store more fish then determine the higher density, then the growth of the fish will be compromised. Some people argue that storing the maximum number of fish, even if the individual fish quantity decreases, will increase the biomass (due to a large number of fish that will be harvested). The opposite is true: if more fish are stored, the total biomass decreases.

In addition, larger fish often order higher selling prices than smaller fish, which again favors lower, larger fish production. One final idea is that if a problem occurs, such as a very hot day affecting the ponds or a power failure in the RAS (recirculating aquaculture system), the fish in the high-density tank will be more than the tank. There will be more demand for oxygen than the tank at a more moderate density. Find out what the appropriate density is for the infrastructure you farm and avoid the temptation to stock beyond that point. 

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Too many tanks; too few filters 

RAS farmers starting often put too much emphasis on creating more tank space to keep fish with water management, and consequently a filtration system, which is hard to think of. Proper mechanical filtration is necessary to remove solids and soluble solids from flowing water, and the biological filter must be large and efficient enough to convert all ammonia into nitrate and all nitrate into nitrate.

Failure on both sides will result in poor water quality, reduced growth, poor FCR, and increased susceptibility to disease. RAS is professionally designed to ensure that the filtration system can maintain the target water quality even when the system is fully stocked. 

Lack of technical knowledge

When you start to consider fish farming a good business and it has become a good idea, first learn as much as you can about it and make sure that you have training and information. Meet others who are already in the business and join such an online group which is another source of information. 

Wrong reasons to invest in aquaculture

Some people do it because their friends are doing it or because they are targeting ‘free’ funds from donors or the government. Please note that nothing is free. Only invest in fish farming if you have studied it and understand the challenges.

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Poor farm and facility design

Ponds are not properly compacted, too much leakage, perhaps too little, and as a result, construction and maintenance costs are too high when maximum production is not achieved. Poor ease of access to ponds, in which workers have to cross difficult terrain to transport fish from the pond to vehicle or vice versa. 

Poor investment plan

Many farmers believe that to become a commercial fish farmer you need to have several large ponds. Therefore, they build many ponds at once, which prevents their cash flow. Because of this, some farmers may take some time to start production or may be able to afford to start production in just one pond after all the investment. 

Lack of marketing strategy

When the fish is ready for sale, most farmers start looking for a market for the fish. Meanwhile, because they are still feeding, the pond reaches its maximum and the fish stop growing. The longer the fish stay in the pond after they stop growing, the lower the profit margin. 

Don’t hire the right staff

Hiring the right people is very important for any business. Employ family members who have little or no interest in learning fish farming techniques because most people find it difficult to dismiss them even after it becomes clear that they are the cause of poor fish farm performance of the fish farm.

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Irregular and improper feeding

Lack of complete information about the nutritional needs and diet of fish to reduce the cost of using the cheap feed. Some farmers don’t just feed their fish because they think the fish will grow as long as they are in the water. They do not believe that, like all animals, the best performance will be achieved if the fish are given a balanced ration and that the feed is delicious, easily digested, and does not dissolve in the water before the fish is eaten. The fish should be given the right quality food. 

The issue of feed has been controversial in fish farming. Some cultured fish (tilapia, carp, catfish, many others) can be raised on a strict herbivore diet. Highly carnivorous animals (especially most Salmonidae species), on the other hand, depend on fish for food, a large portion of which is usually derived from wild fish (anchovies, mannequins, etc.). Vegetable-derived proteins have successfully replaced fish in the diet of carnivorous fish, but vegetable oils have not been successfully incorporated into the diet of carnivores.

Too little water flow 

Another common mistake in RAS is a very slow exchange rate. Two related concepts are important here: circulation and exchange rate. Circulation refers to the speed of movement of water inside a tank, usually a circular tank, and the water circulating inside the tank. This is important because it keeps the solid waste in suspension until it exits the main bottom drain, thus ensuring that the tank is always relatively clean.

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Larger fish tolerate faster rotation, which results in more efficient cleaning than smaller fish of the same species. The exchange rate connects the volume of the tank to the volume of water flowing in the tank per hour and this is an important calculation as it reduces the dissolved organics by changing the water regularly. Though, that 1 tank volume per hour exchange rate is a good basic guide but it needs to be adapted to many variables including fish density, species, and age of fish. 

Both the circulation and the exchange rate are usually obtained by pumping water into the fish tank at an angle that creates a circular flow inside the tank, allowing solids and dissolved organic waste to pass through the center bottom drain to the filters. Find the correct rates for your system and species, and scale the pumping system accordingly. 

Don’t know about fish health management 

Maintaining good fish health is important for profitable fish farming. Slow growth, poor feed consumption, low productivity, increasing disease, and mortality are the consequences of poor fish health. Therefore, the management of fish health should be taken seriously to ensure the profitability of aquaculture. This can be achieved by choosing a farm location with good water quality and quantity, high-quality food (both in nutrition and size), and standard broad stock.

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Spread of the disease and the use of antibiotics – Fish species are raised on unnatural food and in small enclosures, they cause disease, which can spread to wild populations. This is becoming increasingly a major problem, as are the most commonly used solutions to these diseases. Antibiotics use can lead to drug-resistant bacteria growth that can spread to wild populations.  Biosecurity is important to prevent or reduce the risk of infectious disease being introduced or transmitted in or between fish populations. 

Failure to keep harvest records 

If you do not know what you have, how do you know what to harvest? You should keep a record of fishing and catching fish to determine the size of the species in the pond. This allows you to determine how the fish should be cut using a percentage size distribution and relative weight. 

Failure in fish storage

Experts have said that fish are at risk of tissue decomposition and microbial damage as they lose their value as soon as they are harvested from the water. With adequate funding, the fish farming value chain can adapt the use of technology in the storage and processing of fish products.



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