Fish Hatchery Business, Types of Fish Hatching

Fish Hatchery Business Plan

Today, let us get into details of Fish Hatchery Business and Various Types of Fish Hatcheries.

A fish hatchery is a place where the artificial life cycle of fish takes place. The entire cycle, which includes breeding of fish, fertilization of eggs, incubation, hatching, rearing will occur artificially in fish hatcheries.  It is very much influencing in the modern way of aquaculture as it has the capacity to allow the continuous supply of stocking materials of the pond. Through this, there would be a chance to raise the fish which are most popular in more number and reduce the fish which are not much required for mankind. This is purely started for commercial benefits and to stay close to the urban markets.

The hatchery can be kept in a fish farm. That is, it can be induced as a part of fish production. It can also be an individual firm dedicated to producing fingerlings.

Requirements for a Fish Hatchery Business:

The requirements of fish hatcheries are common in induced fish production firm or an independent fingerling production.

  • The water should be available abundantly throughout the year. The water should be under regular observation to check if there are any chemical changes occurring in water. If any of such changes are observed, then there should be an immediate treatment. The water should be aerated with a neutral pH level. It should also be free from pollutants which spoil the atmosphere with water.
  • Though the fingerlings generally feed on plankton, there is no guarantee that they would be available all time or you cannot even guarantee that they would be sufficient to meet the required proteins and nutrients. So it is very much important to learn about the supplement food which would meet the minimum requirements of the young fish. The feeds, which would meet these requirements can be bought from the fish feed stores available in your respective localities.
  • Fishes should be available for breeding. It is very much important to have matured male and female fishes in order to help with the hatchery. The breeding fishes you choose should have a good history and a quick rate of growth.
  • If the hatchery is started treating it as an individual firm and not a part of fish production, then the owner or the farmer should maintain a market to make the people know about his stock.

Fish Hatchery Equipment:

The most important requirement for any fish hatchery is the equipment. There should be enough supplies available to lead a fish hatchery. The most important requirement includes fish tanks, fish ponds, nets, aerators, filters, etc. Each and every equipment mentioned will play a major role in the hatchery of fishes. A fish tank is filled with water and breeding materials or fishes are kept in it. That acts as a house for fishes. The eggs, which are laid by the fishes are placed in containers at the time of spawning. In order to monitor the fish closely, it is better to place them in a small tank. Keeping the male and female fishes in different tanks is advisable. Adding to this, there are few more important equipment required for a fish hatchery:

  • Boats and Docks: If your fish farm is an outdoor one, then it is important to raise the fish by feeding, harvesting and monitoring them closely. A floating dock which is movable would be very helpful to access the fish easily. This provides sufficient area of the surface in order to feed the hold the feed and nets or any other equipment. If you have a larger area to cover with very less equipment, then you can use a motorized boat to move over the farm. You can use aluminium fishing boats or rafts which are inflatable. But before using them, you need to check if they can accommodate all the cargo you have.
  • Cages and Nets: If yours is an outdoor pond, then it is important to isolate the farmed fish from the other fish by using nets or cages which are submersible. These cages can be prepared by using any material which is durable such as plastic or metal. Mesh or walls, which are perforated are used to make the water flow easily and also helps to restrict the fishes which are unwanted. Nets will also do the same thing, but these are more flexible than the cages. They are collapsible for storing and transporting outside of water.
  • Aerators and Diffusers: An aerator can be placed either in the form of a pump which is static or it can be dynamic by floating on water. These pumps will be used to circulate the oxygen into water. This can be done in static pumps by attaching tubes to it. A diffuser will be made of stone, rubber or wood. When the air is made to pass through the rubber, there would be tiny bubbles from the medium and makes it dissolve in the water easily.
  • Filters, and Tanks: For the fish farms which are above the ground level, then there would be no chance to use the natural sources of water to put your fish. You need to keep your fish in ponds or tanks. Aeration is very much important for systems of this type as there would be no normal circulation of oxygen in the water. Filters are also required to maintain the fish in a healthy way as it cycles and filters through different concentrations of ammonia, nitrates and nitrites which come as waste from the fish you are growing in the ponds or tanks.

Read: Fish Feed Preparation At Home.

Types of fish Hatchery:

Hatching Hapa: It is a traditional method of hatching in which a net will be used. There would be two nets involved in this process where the inner net will be smaller than the outer one. There would be a fine mesh in the outer net with a size 0.6 mm and a sieve cloth tank with an inner chamber which is again prepared using the same material. The inner chamber will be having a mesh size of 2.6 mm. The entire thing is placed in the water body. The water body should be a protected one with a good amount of oxygen levels in it. The eggs, which are fertilized will be spread in the inner mesh, i.e., inner hapa evenly. The larvae which are hatched will be passing through the inner hapa which is having meshes of larger sizes.  These larvae will be retained from falling out by the outer hapa whose mesh size is small. The dead eggs will be stopped in the inner hapa which is removed in order to protect the quality of water.

Hatching pits:

Along with hatching hapas, hatching pits are also used in hatcheries. These are the pits which are arranged in series in a very close manner to the breeding ground. The size of each pit should be 9 feet X 6 feet X 3 feet. The pits should be connected to each other. This is done to allow the water to flow from one pit to another.

There are three layers of cloth tanks or hapas in each pit. The cloth tank which is the outer one is made up of cloth which is a cheap one. For this, bamboo poles are fixed for support. Even the cloth is tied to these sticks. The cloth tank located in the centre is made up of mosquito cotton cloth and it will be having meshes which are circular in shape. The inner cloth tank will be having meshes of bigger size. The same process of hatching hapa is done in hatching pits too. The inner one hatches the fishes whereas the outer one retains them.

Hatching of eggs:

The eggs which are collected from the water bodies will not only contain the eggs of the fishes we need. They also contain larvae of insects, eggs of several small fishes. So the eggs need to undergo sieving before they are moved into the hatching pits or hapa.

The eggs, which would be up to 23 lakhs will be placed in the hatching pit. Out of these many eggs, only 3% to 26% hatch successfully. The water which flows through the hatching pits which are connected internally will help the eggs in hatching. For the fishes to hatch, it takes 3 hours to 15 hours.

After the eggs are hatched, as they would be very tiny and sensitive, they come out through the meshes of the inner hapa to the outer cloth tanks. The unwanted things like the eggs, which are left unfertilised and the dead hatchlings will remain in the meshes of inner hapa.

Once the transmission of eggs is done, after 18 hours, the inner hapa will be thrown out along with all the unwanted material present in it. The hatchlings, once they grow to a size of 4 mm, will be moved to a nursery pond.

Earthen pot hatchery:

Construction and placement:

  • In this method of hatching, an earthen clay pot will be used as an overhead tank. This pot is kept on a brick stand which would be approximately 2 feet in height. It also contains two containers of different sizes. The first container acts as a chamber of incubation and the
  • A pipe which is made of rubber and a valve are fitted from the bottom of the pot. The other end of the pipe will contain a tube made of metal. This will be placed in the first container. This container is covered with a mesh supported by a bamboo rod. On the other end of the first container, a circularly shaped spout is fitted close to the surface. This rubber spout will also be opened into the second container which is smaller in size than the first container. On the second container also, a net is placed and an overflowing pipe is fitted to the other end close to the surface. The pipe outer end is covered with a tiny net.

Read: Fish Pond Design and Construction.

Working method:

  • Freshwater is collected from a water body or well and poured into the clay pot. To regulate the pressure of water entering into the first container., a valve is maintained. Then the eggs, which are fertilized are kept in the first container.
  • The water, which is excess will overflow through the rubber spout into the second container and then through it flows through the pipe and goes outside. In this way, the water is maintained. Moreover, the water pressure is controlled by the valve in such a way that the eggs do not go out from the first container.
  • When the hatching of eggs is done, the eggs come to the surface of water due to their tendency and then the water which is overflowing moves the eggs into the second container.
  • The materials which are not required, such as unfertilized eggs, dead shells will be retained in the first container as they do not move to the surface of the water.
  • The spawns will remain in the second container for three days. These have to be taken care by feeding them if necessary until they are moved into the nursery ponds.

Advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages:

  • The costs included in making earthen pot hatchery is low.
  • The conditions which are required for the eggs to hatch are maintained by keeping the water cool due to the clay pot.

Disadvantages:

  • It is not useful to work on eggs in a large number at a time.
  • It needs complete manual work which completely consumes time.
  • As pots are involved in the process, need to handle things with care.

Glass jar hatchery:

  • The glass jar hatchery is an improvised version of the earthen pot hatchery. It contains a system of water supply, tanks for breeding, hatching jars and incubators and spawnery.
  • To install the glass jar hatchery, a location which is close to a water body like a river or pond is chosen. Even the supply of water from nearby borewell is encouraged. But the important thing to do is that it has to be placed in a location where there are good ventilation and drainage system.

The process of construction:

Overhead tank:

The water, which is available from the nearby water source is taken or pumped into the overhead tank. This tank is kept above a wall made of brick. If you are taking water from a nearby river, then you need to arrange a desilting tank. A net which is meshed finely is kept in the pumping system.  This mesh helps in the prevention of organisms which are present in the water bodies. A borewell is the best thing to choose if you need pure water. Make sure that the tubewell is installed in an area which is free of toxic elements.

Breeding tank:

  • This tank is used for spawning to take place. This contains an outlet to send the excess water out. This is made with the dimensions 2m x 1m x 1m. There would be three breeding tanks in the farms for which three hapas can be fixed. The breeding tanks completely depend on the production of spawns. If the hatchery does not have breeding tanks, then the spawning is done by using the hapas. These hapas will be fixed to the ponds. For incubation and hatching processes to be carried, the eggs which are fertilised will be released into the glass jar. Even the spawnery can be used for breeding.
  • Spawnery is made up of synthetic material and is fixed on a frame. This frame will be kept in a cistern which is cemented. The cistern will be slightly less in terms of height when compared to the hapa. This is to restrict the hatchings getting out due to the overflow of water. To sprinkle the water on hatchlings to get fertilised, an overhead shower is used. The cistern has the dimensions of 2m x 1m x 1m and the hapa will have the dimensions of 1.5 x 0.9 x 1m. This will work in providing approximately 8 lakh spawns.

Read: Rhode Island Chicken Facts.

Working:

  • Water taken from the ponds or borewells are pumped into the overhead tank. From there, the water moves into incubators and then into spawnery. The eggs hardened by water will be released into incubators. In the incubators, the water pressure will be controlled. This is done to restrict the eggs from getting split or overflowed.
  • A flow which is of 1 litre per minute would be good to carp the eggs in the jar. Water will flow from the top of the jar through a pipe which is open at the bottom end.
  • After the hatching is done, the hatchlings come to the surface of water due to their tendency of vertical migration. They come up and move out of the jar through the outlet along with the water which is overflowing. Then the hatchlings move into the spawnery. The water flow will be increased at this stage to make the hatchlings quickly move out. The unwanted material such as unfertilised eggs, deads shells will be retained in the jar and are removed by disconnecting the glass jar from the tap. While the hatchlings are in the spawnery, water should be sprinkled continuously on to them so that they get ready for stocking.

Advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages are:

  • This method can take place in an area which is closed or packed.
  • As the jars are transparent, then you can directly monitor the development of embryos and make any modifications if necessary.

Disadvantages:

  • There are more chances of glass jar getting spoiled while moving from one place to another. O
  • It is not possible to regulate or control the temperature in this process.
  • There is no allowance of additional air to pass through the system.
  • There are chances of eggs getting damaged when they are being shifted from the glass jar.

Chinese Hatchery:

Chinese hatchery is also called as Eco-Hatchery. This system of hatching was developed by Chinese investigators. In this process, the hatching tanks will be circular in shape and the water will also flow in a circular direction. This system can take place in a small place near to rivers. This is the most successful method and involved carp seed for the commercial production to take place.  This method consists of an overhead tank like other methods, pool for spawning, hatching tank and tank for the rearing of spawn.

Hatching Tank:

  • The hatching tank is the main speciality of this system. It is constructed with bricks and cement and moreover, the shape of the tank is circular. It involves two concentric circular tanks. Two of them have the inner diameters of 1.5m and 5m respectively. The depth of water is maintained at 1m. An outlet pipe is fit at the centre of the inner circular tank to maintain the depth of water in the chambers.
  • There would be gaps in the inner circular tank so that the water passes through space. This will make the shape look like a double doughnut. So, one wall will be on the periphery and the other will surround the outlet.
  • Before introducing the eggs, the inner wall will be isolated from the outer wall. This isolation is done by using a screen made of nylon which will be fitted on a frame made of iron. A rubber belt is used to seal the chamber tightly.
  • A number of pipes are fitted diagonally to the outer compartment. These pipes will be facing one direction only. Because of this, water circulation takes place when the taps are turned on.
  • The capacity of holding water of the hatching tank is 8 to 11 m3. The relative density of-of egg carrying capacity is 70 x 104 m3 The flow of water is maintained at 2250 per minute whereas, at the time of hatching, it is maintained at 260 per minute.

Spawning Tank:

  • The tank used for hatching is used for spawning also. An optimum level of water flow is maintained and in this spawning tank, the eggs are reared for 2-3 days approximately.

Working:

  • The male and female fishes are released into the spawning pool once the pituitary injection is given. The level of water will be maintained and the hatchery will be made ready before the fishes are introduced. The level of water is maintained by adjusting the outlet pipe.
  • The eggs can be brought from the spawning pool or can be released into the outer chamber through the pipe system which is fitted below the ground. As the pipes fitted are arranged circular, the eggs which are in the outer compartment are also made to circulate. The circulation of water there will be continuous and helps in maintaining the required oxygen level in the water and churn eggs.
  • The water flow which is selected helps in maintaining the temperature which is needed to make hatching successful. The water flow rate should be increased while hatching is taking place because it requires high oxygen. After 12 hours of fertilisation, embryo hatching starts and this hatching completes within 5 hours.
  • After the entire hatching process is completed, then the water flow will be reduced. All the unwanted materials like dead eggs and unfertilised ones are removed to avoid any kind of bacteria.
  • The removal of eggshells is done by dipping a rope made of jute with some kind of weight attached to it into the outer compartment. The eggshells which are circulating will get attached to the rope and then it will be taken out. Once the rope is taken out, the shells of eggs will be removed and the same rope will be sent in again. This process repeats until all the egg shells get removed.
  • Few eggs remain unfertilised in the hatchery and because if this, there would be chances of infections. To control this fungal infection, malachite green is applied with a concentration of 0.03 grams per litre of water for a time span of 30 minutes after the water flow is stopped. When the water flow starts, even the chemical gets washed out along with water.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

Advantages are

  • This system makes sure that the hatching of all the eggs takes place as there would be water replacement.
  • The rate of flow of water and the temperature can be regulated in this process.
  • The hatchery can be connected to the spawning pool and the nursery tank on either end so that there would be a very less chance of damage of fertilised eggs while transferring.
  • Less manpower is required which decreases the cost of labour and moreover, there would be a chance to accommodate a large number of eggs.

Disadvantages:

  • As there would be no perfect spawnery involved, unhatched eggs shells, larvae cannot be removed completely.
  • To setup Chinese hatchery, the costs will be very high due to the equipment involved.
  • As there would be a lot of technical knowledge involved, one has to take more care regarding the water flow and its direction.

Read: Sheep Farming In Karnataka.

Fish Hatchery Business / Fish Hatcheries in India:

  • Fisheries or Aquaculture in India is a very important thing for the production of food. It plays a vital role in providing security in terms of nutrients and also helps in the exports of agriculture. This involves around 10 million people in India for several activities involved in fish farming which in turn helps in the employment.
  • As we have several sources of water across the country involving seas to small lakes, India handles more than 8% of biodiversity in terms of the fishery.
  • India constitutes about 6.5% of fish production which occurs globally. It contributes. 1% of the GDP and 5% of GDP in agriculture.
  • Currently, India produces 11 million metric tonnes of fish. So this leads to a contribution of around 64.5% of the inland sector. The percentage is the same with the cultured fishes
  • Fish culture is increasing the health, economy, employment and tourism of the country in a wide range.
  • There are approximately 40 Brack water fish farm development agencies in India. These agencies promote the growth of freshwater aquaculture in the country in a broader way. The production of carp has been increased to 26 million in recent times and the shrimp has increased up to 13 million.
  • There are around 2 lakhs of fishing crafts which operate across the coast. There are 6 major fishing harbours across the country and approximately 60 minor fishing harbours. There are 4 million fisher folks in the country whose needs are satisfied by 1500 landing centres.
  • 55 types of fishes and shellfish are exported out of the country. The export is done for approximately 76 countries across the world.

Hatching Eggs of Fish at home:

  • Breeding and hatching of fish is not an easy method. It has to be done with careful planning and monitoring.
  • The first thing you need to do is to research the mating habits of the fishes along with the conditions of living which can be preferred.
  • After that, select a healthy and matured parent fishes of each sex.
  • Prepare the tank in which you have planned the mating of the fishes. Adjust the pH levels, the temperature of water and lighting. You need to create a favourable environment for mating to take place.
  • The tank in which the mating takes place is called as a spawning tank. The parent fishes should be isolated from normal fishes and kept in the spawning tank.
  • A spawning tank with a capacity of 10 gallons of water.
  • When you move the parent fishes into a new tank, it would be better if the environmental conditions in the new tank are same as the old one from which the fishes are isolated. This is done in order to make the fishes habituated to the new environment easily.
  • The fishes should be treated with the food which is rich in nutrients and proteins. When these fishes are treated with perfect food, then the fertility of the fishes increase. This food is given to maintain the health of the fishes which makes the babies also be healthier as they are.
  • The aquarium fishes which are of average size like betta fishes feed on live food or frozen and dried shrimp or worms.
  • The fishes should be made to get habituated to the environment for about 15 days before mating takes place. You need to collect proper details of what sort of food to provide to the fish at the time of breeding. Most of the species of fishes prefer having fresh plants, orange slices, watermelon slices, herbal plants and even live food such as brine shrimp. It is better not to prefer live food and go with freeze-dried foods like dried shrimp or bloodworms.
  • If you want the fishes to start breeding, then you can bring the temperature of water to 31 °C. The pH level should be maintained at 7 and the light should be low.
  • Any changes you want to make in the spawning tank should be done gradually. If you want to increase the water temperature, start increasing with 3 degrees a week. Sudden drastic changes will affect the health of the fish and sometimes even injure them.
  • To create some natural environment, it would be good to add plants, stones etc. Adding these into the spawning tank will also help the female eggs to choose a place for laying eggs.
  • Make sure that you are turning off the high-speed filters in the spawning tank as there are chances that they might suck the tiny eggs from the tank because of their speed. For breeding to occur, prefer sponge filters. But remember to clean the spawning tank regularly if you are using low-speed filters.
  • Once the eggs are laid in the tank, put back the parent fishes in the previous tank so that they will get back to their normal environments easily. This is done to protect the eggs from getting disturbed for the fingerlings while hatching. The conditions of the tank must be the same as the one which is kept while mating. This spawning tank can also be used a nursery now for rearing the fry.
  • If you are unable to maintain a separate tank for the fry, make sure that you are using few physical structures so that the fishes can hide until they are capable of swimming.
  • The tank should be covered with paper or fabric on three sides so that some amount of light can be blocked which is coming from outside. The eggs and fingerlings will be very sensitive to light and excess light may also lead to their death. Once they start growing, they would be able to tolerate the actual light. Make sure that you are blocking the sides from where maximum light is coming in. One side which is absorbing very minimal light should be kept open and this is also done for monitoring purpose.
  • The tank can also be left covered completely when you are not feeding anything.
  • Once in a day, make sure to remove 50% of water and replace it with the fresh ones. This is a must because clean water is very much required for small fish because they would just be learning to breathe on their own. The water which you replace with the old ones should have the same composition.
  • When the fry is hatched for the first time, it comes with a yellow egg sac that gives protection for the eggs for a few days. Once this turns off, you should start feeding the fish. Crushed flake foods, plankton, algae are the best foods given to the fry.
  • Tiny species of fishes like rainbowfish will not be able to handle the foods bought from stores soon after the hatching is done. So they need to be fed with liquid infusoria or similar foods which supplement it. Moreover, the foods offered to these small fishes should be in such a way that it gets digested easily.
  • Smaller species like tetras and rainbowfish, for example, won’t be able to handle commercially prepared foods so soon after hatching and need to be fed liquid infusoria or similar supplements that they can digest easily.
  • When you find your fry growing larger, then you can offer them with micro worms, pellets, flakes, freeze dried shrimp etc.

Read: Raising Catfish In Tanks.

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