Types of Fish Ponds for Fish Farming – a Full Guide

Introduction to types of ponds for fish farming business

A fish pond is a reservoir or controlled pond that is stocked with fish and is used in aquaculture for fish farming and is used for recreational fishing or ornamental purposes. It is the most common process of fish culture. Water is maintained in an with this area by artificially constructed ponds where the aquatic animals. The ponds can be filled with canal water, rainwater, and bore well water or from other water sources.

A step by step guide to types of ponds for fish farming business

The fish pond must be constructed after proper site selection. The climate requirement, topography, water availability, and soil quality of the region influence the character of the fish pond.

A guide to types of ponds.
A guide to types of ponds.

The fundamental considerations for managing a pond for fish farming include;

  • Proper pond construction and watershed management,
  • Fish species selection and stocking,
  • Determining fertility needs,
  • Managing for a balanced fishery,
  • Proper harvesting and record-keeping,
  • Managing water quality and also understanding pond dynamics, and
  • Aquatic plant management.

Importance of site selection in pond construction

Good site selection is a pre-requisite in fish pond construction. Improper site selection can lead to;

  • Difficulties in holding water in the pond
  • High seepage
  • Dike erosion
  • Low productivity of the pond
  • Inability to drain the water completely, and
  • Difficulties in harvesting.

The selection of soil is an important point for consideration for the construction of the fish pond. The major soil groups for fish farming available in India are black, red, lateritic, and alluvial soils. The occurrence and development of microorganisms and higher plants mainly depend upon the chemical composition of the soil environment and that is why the study of soil reaction is so important.

Soil quality analysis for pond construction

In determining soil quality, it is not enough to just examine the topsoil. Enough samples have to be taken from various representative spots. The sampling depth must exceed the depth of the pond by one meter. There must be a certain thickness of soil that has good water retention power to avoid serious leakage.  The important function of the pond soil is that it holds water, the pond substrate, and dyke building material.

Pond size for fish farming

The size of your fish pond will directly affect your management goals and objectives. Small ponds (1 to 5 acres) give excellent fishing opportunities. Larger ponds and lakes can provide excellent fishing but have other potential uses, such as irrigation, swimming, boating, and hunting. Also, they are less susceptible to changes in water level. For surface runoff ponds and lakes, the area of land that flows into the fish pond will determine its size. For each surface acre of pond water, 10 to 20 acres of the drainage area is required.

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Pond size for fish farming.
Pond size for fish farming.

Pond size will dictate how many fish to stock if sport fishing is the primary goal. Many people difficulty estimating the surface area of their ponds. Overestimating the surface area can lead to overstocking and management issues. If your pond’s surface area fluctuates considerably, it must be stocked based on the average annual low-water surface area.

Fish species for of pond culture

The supply of fish for a pond is enormous. Ranging from goldfish, golden orfes, and sturgeon to koi carps and more. When making a choice you must reckon with the qualities of various fish types. Then, there are fish which dig the bottom, fish which eat plants, fish which are nearly invisible because of their camouflage and fish which propagate at lightning speed. You can bring different kinds of fish together.

Surface fish

Surface fish are fish that feed at the pond surface and not on the bottom. So, you see these fish species swim better; moreover, they do not make a mess of pond. Though, they need additional protection against a threatening calamity like a hungry heron or cat.

Species of surface fish included;

Eye-catching fish – Fish in natural water has a camouflage, which protects them against herons and different enemies. In a pond, you must rather introduce fish with eye-catching color. After all, you want to see your fish. Protection can be applied to many different methods.

Quickly propagating fish – A fish pond can accommodate just a limited number of fish, without it getting into trouble with the biological cycle. If there are too many fish or too large fish in a pond, the pond plants and the filter can no longer cope with the number of waste materials and the fish pond will get turbid. Therefore, it is important to choose fish that do not grow too fast and which do not get hundreds of young ones per annum.

Suitable pond fishes

List of suitable fish species for you which you can keep in your fish pond;

  • Algae eater
  • Fathead minnow
  • Goldfish
  • Sunfish
  • Golden Tench
  • Koi carps
  • Rosette
  • Shubunkin
  • Sturgeon
  • Golden orfes

Types of fish ponds

There are two types of pond systems;

  1. Earthen or natural type and
  2. Concrete type.

We also have plastic-type, metal type, glass type, and wooden type, etc.

  1. Earthen or natural type

The location for earthen or natural pond is limited to the area where there are clay soil and underground water or a flowing stream. It is sited in a swampy area where clean fresh water is available. The pond is always a dug-out type to an average of about 1.5m depth. The dugout soil is used to build dyke around the pond to prevent flooding during the rainy season and the water of an earthen pond is 1.2m deep. A natural pond can be contour or a dugout pond.

Some of the advantages of the earthen type of ponds are;

  • It is relatively cheaper to construct.
  • It has a large stocking capacity.
  • Fish live in a natural environment.
  • Fish growth is rapid
  • A high-profit margin may be envisaged.

Some of the disadvantages of the earthen type of ponds are;

  • The main shortcoming of this type of pond is the need for fencing and security guards.
  • Flooding occurs if the dyke is not properly built during construction and if not controlled can lead to fish escape, pond water pollution, or even total collapse of the earthen pond.
  • Sorting can be difficult in the earthen pond.

Types of Earthen fish ponds based on water supply

There are two ponds based on water supply;

Barrage pond

This pond is constructed along the main path of the flow of stream or river water. Up-stream and down-stream both are barricaded with inlet and outlet respectively. The advantage of Barrage pond is its low construction cost and sufficient amount of water all through the culture period. The failure associated with this pond is the likelihood of flooding during the rainy season and the whole pond system can be washed away including the stocks.

Diversion or Contour pond

Diversion pond is constructed in the by-pass of a stream. The water supply channel is built for this purpose with the inlet gate at the entrance to control the water volume coming in or going out of the pond and to the influx of extraneous materials. In this case, the flood effect is minimal when compared to the barrage type.

  1. Concrete as a material for fish pond

Concrete ponds for fish farming are constructed using cement, blocks, and aggregate of suitable ratio. A concrete pond can be mainly three different ways;

  • Stagnant concrete pond
  • Free flow concrete pond and
  • Water recirculatory concrete pond

Stagnant concrete pond

In the stagnant concrete pond type, water in the pond is seldom replaced. No water flow out channel is provided during pond construction. Water replacement is mainly based on when it is polluted and a pumping machine is employed for the purpose. The fish pond is cheaper to construct with limitation in the quantity of fish stocking capacity. A pond of about 2m x 5m capacity may not stock more than 600 fish. Fish growth could not be as fast as expected due to poor water conditions. It could elongate to up to 9 months to reach the desired table size of 1.0kg.

Free flow concrete pond

Free flow concrete type of pond is suitable for quick response grow-out fish and the scope of this work will be centered on this system of the pond. The pond construction includes the water flow-out channel. Water flow in the pond is regulated and continuous at the stipulated period. Then, this ensures water freshness and turbulent that makes the fish agile for improved feeding rate. A free flow concrete pond of 2mx5m capacity can stock between 1,000 and 1,800 fishes given space requirement of between 0.005m2 to 0.01m2 per adult catfish. The major problem of the pond is that water wastage can be on the high side. Then, this will be feasible where constant water supply is guaranteed.

Water recirculatory concrete pond

The construction of this concrete type of pond includes complete water refining (filtration) system. The system involves high water efficiency and water in storage tanks at elevated height flows freely into the pond. Wastewater out of the pond is stored in another chamber or passed directly through a bio-filter re-circulation and it is a continuous action. Then, this type of pond is the most advanced in terms of water efficiency, stocking capacity, water quality, and percentage of dissolved oxygen in the pond water among other attributes and derivable benefits but have a high initial cost of construction and equipment benefits acquisition. The maintenance cost is high. There will be required for cleanout of the pond once a while to remove accumulated solid wastes from the bottom of the pond.

Above all types, derivable benefits out ways the initial capital cost in terms of stocking capacity, faster fish grow-out, and water consumed will be less.

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Importance of concrete fish pond

  1. Concrete fish ponds are constructed to culture fish were flowing streams of water or river is not available. Thus, concrete fish ponds afford us the opportunity of culturing fish around our homes and immediate surroundings such as school and college premises, office areas, industrial and commercial centers, etc.
  2. It can be constructed for storing live fish until needed. Such life fish should have reached table size (that is at least 400-500 grams in weight) before storage.
  3. Concrete fish ponds are useful for fingerlings production especially in the case of fish species which breed easily in captivity e.g. Tilapia species, and clarias species.

Types of fish ponds based on usage

Holding pond – This pond is used to hold fish temporally in readiness for transportation or fattening for induced breeding purposes.

Spawning pond – Spawning ponds for the production of eggs and small fry and used to hold the set of fish intended for artificial propagation.

Integrated ponds – Integrated ponds that have crops, animals, or other fish ponds around them to supply waste materials to the pond as feed or fertilizer.

Nursery pond – Nursery ponds for the production of larger juveniles and used to nurse the fry produced during induced breeding into fingerlings.

Grow out pond – Grow-out pond used to raise fingerlings to table size fish.

Wintering ponds – Wintering ponds for holding fish during the cold season.

Types of fish ponds according to the water source

  1. Ponds can be fed by groundwater

(a) Spring-water ponds are supplied from a spring in the pond or very close to it. The water supply varies throughout the year but the quality of the water is usually constant.

(b) Seepage ponds are supplied from the water-table by seepage into the fish pond. The water level in the pond will change with the level of the water table.

  1. Rain-fed ponds

Rain-fed fish ponds are supplied from rainfall and surface runoff. No water is supplied during the dry season and these ponds are small depressions in impermeable soil, with a dike built at the lower side to retain more water.

  1. Ponds can be fed from a water body such as a stream, a lake, a reservoir, and an irrigation canal. Then, these can be fed directly (e.g. barrage ponds), by water running straight out from the water body to the fish ponds, or indirectly (e.g. diversion ponds), by water entering a channel from which controlled amounts can be fed to the fish ponds.
  2. Pump-fed ponds are higher than the water level and can be supplied from a well, spring, lake, reservoir, or irrigation canal, by pumping.

Types of fish ponds according to the means of drainage

  1. Undrainable ponds cannot be drained by gravity. They are generally fed by groundwater and surface runoff, and their water level may vary seasonally. Such ponds have two main origins.
  2. Drainable ponds are set higher than the level to which the water is drained and can simply be drained by gravity. They are fed by surface water such as runoff, a spring or stream, or are pump-fed.
  3. Pump-drained ponds can be drainable by gravity to a certain level, and then the water has to be pumped out. Other ponds, similar to undrainable ponds, should be pumped out completely. These ponds are used where groundwater does not seep back to any extent.

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