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Dissolved oxygen is an important water quality parameter in fish farming. Just like terrestrial animals and plants, fishes and aquatic plants(like planktons and algae) requires oxygen and this oxygen is available in dissolved form hence it is referred to as ''dissolved oxygen''.

Monitoring the level of dissolved oxygen in ponds is...

 

 


Dissolved oxygen is an important water quality parameter in fish farming. Just like terrestrial animals and plants, fishes and aquatic plants(like planktons and algae) requires oxygen and this oxygen is available in dissolved form hence it is referred to as ''dissolved oxygen''.

Monitoring the level of dissolved oxygen in ponds is very important because
 

fish take in in oxygen through their gills for growth and development.

Generally, catfish could tolerate dissolved oxygen content of 4mg/l in pond water because it could absorb some amount of atmospheric oxygen. Tilapia requires an optimum dissolved oxygen content of 5mg/l anything less than that leads to death.
Tolerance range of fishes to dissolved oxygen level in pond water
Tolerance range of fishes to dissolved oxygen level in pond water  

Natural Ways By Which Oxygen Enters The Pond Water

  • Through photosynthesis by aquatic plants e.g planktons and algae
  • Atmospheric aeration of water by wave, wind and other water mixing action.

Causes Of Low Dissoved Oxygen In A Fish Pond

Oxygen in water is mainly lost through
  • decomposition of organic particles as a result of too many organic particles from fish waste, over uneaten feeds in the pond water.
  • respiration by aquatic plants: Although planktons and algae add oxygen to pond water during photosynthesis, they also remove oxygen during respiration. Hence, excessive aquatic plants will deplete dissolved oxygen.

How To Know When The Dissolved Oxygen Level Of The Fish Pond Water Is Low.

  •  Presence of gas bubbles at the surface of the pond water
  • Fishes gathering at the surface of the water and gasping for air and swimming lazily.
  • Fowl smell from the ponds likened to the odour of urine (ammonia)
  • You take a reading with a dissolved oxygen meter
  • The water looks muddy and very turbid.
 

How To Improve Or Correct Low Dissolved Oxygen In The Water.

  • Flushing the pond water to remove excess organic and inorganic particles as well as excess planktons and algae that exact excessive demand for dissolved oxygen and also reduce light penetration.
          This is done by reducing one-tenth of the pond water every day and topping with clean water.   Large scale farms with larger stocking density can run a ''flow through system'' 
  • Mechanical aeration of water using an air pumping device (aerators) for large ponds. Mechanical aeration is also used in hatcheries to ensure the delicate fries have adequate oxygen for survival.
  • Integration of ducks to fish ponds to assist in aeration of pond water. This is usually used for earthen ponds in the semi-intensive and extensive system of fish farming. 
  • Do
  1.   25 March 2020
  2.   abc

 

 
 

 

 

For any fish farmer who wants to make more profit, making his/her own fish feed should be an integral part of his venture. This is due to the expensive costs of foreign feeds been used in the country.




Even though a farmer decides to use local feeds made by a local feed millers, he/she might be cheated by the feed miller...

 

 
 

 

 

For any fish farmer who wants to make more profit, making his/her own fish feed should be an integral part of his venture. This is due to the expensive costs of foreign feeds been used in the country.




Even though a farmer decides to use local feeds made by a local feed millers, he/she might be cheated by the feed miller who will reduce the ingredients(or use substandard ones) in order to make more profit.

For fast optimal growth of your fishes, you ought to consider the following factors before choosing your own feed formula and ingredients.


  • Nutritional requirement of your fishes
  • Availability of choice ingredients
  • Palatability of available ingredients
  • Cost and profit of the available ingredients
  • Processing technology/method

Nutritional Requirement Of Your Fishes:

You should know the nutritional value of various ingredients you wish to use, and with the nutritional requirement of your feed at various stages of growth. These will help you as a farmer to formulate a quality feed.
 

Availability Of Choice Ingredients:

 Knowing the nutritional demands of your fishes, or the formula of the feed you want to make will make you prefer some feed ingredients over others. This might is usually connected to cost and availability of such ingredients.
 
 When such ingredients are not available, a farmer is saddled with the responsibility of choosing from a wide range of similar ingredients. For instance, when flour or dough is not available, a farmer is faced with the challenge of choosing from energy grains or processed tuber crops to complement the energy requirements of the fish. For instance, due to the high cost of flour in my locality, I used  roasted cassava flakes(Garri) to make my own feed.

Palatability Of Available Ingredients:

Palatability in this regard refers to the taste preference of the fishes to ingredients. Catfishes have taste preferences.  For instance, GNC(Groundnut cake) has better taste and aroma and preferred by catfishes over its substitute Beniseed, and soya meal is preferred above cotton seed too. 
 

Cost And Profit Of The Available Ingredients:

 Cost is very important to choosing the ingredients and formula for your feeds. Low-cost ingredients help keep the cost of production down and give you more profits.
 
However, one should also consider the benefits(profits) of choosing an ingredient despite the cost. You might decide to opt for a local fish meal instead of the costly 72% fish meal to reduce the cost. You can then decide to use other plant sources of protein like Soymeal and GNC.

Processing Technology/Method: 

Some ingredients should not be used at all due to the crude processing method which might have led to the loss of essential nutrients. For example,Maize should not be used at all if the available miller cannot effectively mill it  to powdery form. This is because fish might not be able to fully digest maize grain that is not well milled.
 
For me when I started making my own feed at home I didnt have enough money to pay a feed miller to compound and pelletize my feeds, I had to do it by myself watch video below

 

General Nutritional Requirement For Catfish Feed

A standard catfish feed must contain some essential nutrients(classes of food) which are required for their optimal growth.
 
There are four(4) major nutrients that must be present in a catfish feed for optimal performance. They are
 
1. Protein
 This class of nutrient is required for building body tissue and replacement of damaged tissue. It helps in  fish growth. It can be obtained from plant and animal sources. Examples are Groundnut cake and Bloodmeal respectively. Methionine is also protein.
 
2.Energy (Carbohydrate)
This class of nutrients provides the energy needed by catfishes for living. Grains of cereals and  tubers like cassava are the major source of this nutrient.
 
3Vitamins and minerals:
Growth, health, and body process are controlled by this class of nutrition. Examples of vitamins are Vit C, Vitamin B-complex, Minerals include Iron, copper, Magnesium, Calcium e.tc
 
4. Fat and oils: 

Fat contains vital fatty acids and also enhances energy  in the feed. Example is PKC-Palm Kernel Cake

  ReadThe art of catfish feeding: How, when, and the right quantity of feeds to give catfish.


Now this is one of the best  feed formula to make 50kg

Ingredients                                                     Quantity (kg)
   
Maize or Cassava flour 9.80
Poultry meal 7.35
Fish meal (72%) 4.90
Blood meal 2.45
Soya meal 14.70
GNC 9.80
Fish premix 0.25
Lysine 0.05
Methionine 0.05
Vitamin C 0.05
Salt 0.10
DCP 0.5
TOTAL 50kg

  1.   25 March 2020
  2.   abc

 
 

 

Today, I'm going to talk about factors that cause poor returns in catfish farming investments. Stay glued to this post and read till finish.
  
You know that catfish farming venture like every other agribusiness ventures has its own sweet and sad moments. Most prospective farmers might think catfish farming investment is all rosy...

 
 

 

Today, I'm going to talk about factors that cause poor returns in catfish farming investments. Stay glued to this post and read till finish.
  
You know that catfish farming venture like every other agribusiness ventures has its own sweet and sad moments. Most prospective farmers might think catfish farming investment is all rosy until they are hit by a downturn in investment returns. When  most farmers encounter  such poor returns in their catfish farming venture, they become discouraged.





 I could remember the first time I started a catfish farm, my catfishes were hit by an infectious disease which caused me to lose all my fishes. A farmer who is no determined like me might feel discouraged and may not want to try to find solutions to the problem.

.


Here we go!

 Poor Returns In Catfish Investments Are Caused By:

1. Infections and diseaseas: Infection was what destroyed my first catfish farming venture. I lost everything I invested. 

A farmer has to be very conscious to detect any infection or disease in the pond water and fishes. Since fishes are in the same pond and share body fluids together, any slight infection in the pond is bound to spread.

So pond hygiene, and regular treatment with antibiotics is key to avoid poor returns in this arm.
2. Increase in cost of inputs: This is the most powerful problem facing catfish farming in Nigeria.In the past years, there has been a high increase in the cost of almost all of the inputs used in catfish production. From the construction of the fish pond or earthen pond to the purchase of fingerlings has felt the impact of the bad economy.


72 percent fishmeal was sold for N16000 as at 2008 is now sold for at least N20,000 as at today. There is also a high rise in  the cost of other imported feed and feed ingredients like floating fish feed, lysine, methionine, premix, fish meal etc. The local feed ingredients like Soya meal, Maize, groundnut cake  are not left out in the price increase.  Soya meal was sold for 75 Naira in January 2012 and  is now sold for about N130 as at the time of writing this article.

This increase might be linked to the decline in value of the Naira against the Dollar.

The funny thing about the whole thing is that the prices of selling  the table size catfishes are not increasing at the same rate as the cost of inputs, hence the seeming poor returns in investments.

3. The scarcity of crop produce for feed production: Fish feeds are made from crop products like maize, cassava flour, soybean, groundnut e.t.c. The Scarcity of these products in recent times had led to the increase in prices of the products which also impact on the cost of feeds.

The scarcity of these products might in one way or the other be related to the unrest in the Northern Nigeria, the major source of these grains.

According to economics, scarcity which leads to high demand brings about an increase in prices of such goods.


4.Increase in catfish farming ventures in Nigeria : Increase in awareness in catfish farming has generated several millions of investment in the sector. Almost 'everybody' wants to be a catfish farmer, including the very rich investors. These well-to-do businessmen have economic of scale working for them due to almost huge financial resources they have. They can produce in mass at cheaper cost and sell at an cheaper price, thereby trying to drive small farmers out of business.

5. Lack of quality fingerlings for stocking: I was lucky to find a supplier who supplied me with quality fingerlings. Though I didn't weigh the fish(don't forget too), the fishes were quality ones. Imagine what would happen to the investments of a new catfish farmer who was supplied with low quality fingerlings. I bet no farmer want to be in that situation because it is heart-breaking.

Also, increase in demand for catfish has led to the influx of low-quality fingerlings in the market.

6. Adulteration of inputs: Many farmers complain of  poor growth of their catfishes after using locally formulated catfish feed. These complains have been linked to the adulterated materials used in the production of these feeds. This adulterated inputs are sold to unsuspecting farmers who use them to prepare their catfish feeds.
 


Some of the adulterated feed materials in the market includes adulterated methionine(made by combining sugar and flour), Soya bean meal mixed with sawdust, sub-standard fish meal and a whole lot in the market.

7. Middle men: Some buyers are not even concerned if you are losing or gaining. They just want to rip you off, because they have monopoly in the market. 

They set the price they want to buy from farmers without considering the farmers cost of production. This usually happen in places without strong union or catfish farmers association.


8. Weak or ineffective catfish farmers association: Some local catfish farmers association are so weak that they cannot even control the influence of big commercial farms out there, who still sell theirs at outraging cheaper prices. Some cannot even regulate prices offered by powerful buyers on their members. 
 


So, strong catfish farmers association are very important for good returns in investments in catfish farming as it wades off unneccessary competition.

My Conclusion

 Poor returns in catfish farming investment can be avoided if the neccessary steps are taken at the right time. Sourcing for best quality materials from the right suppliers if you make your own feeds, buying the best quality feeds and sourcing for quality fingerlings for stocking is key for maximum returns in catfish farming investment.
  1.   25 March 2020
  2.   abc

 

 

 

 

My catfish after two months
I started my Catfish farm on 4th April. Since then, the fishes have been doing great if not for a few challenges here and there.

I'm going to start by listing out some of my challenges followed by how I solved them.



My Challenges In Catfish Farming

  • Fish prey, losses to fish...

 

 

 

 

My catfish after two months
I started my Catfish farm on 4th April. Since then, the fishes have been doing great if not for a few challenges here and there.

I'm going to start by listing out some of my challenges followed by how I solved them.



My Challenges In Catfish Farming

  • Fish prey, losses to fish farmer:
I started out my catfish farm with 75 fingerlings. I put them in the pond without covering the top of the pond with a net. After the second day, I counted just to find out I have only 73 fishes left. I was shocked, because I didn't know what happened to the fishes, moreover I didn't see them on the ground(in case they jumped off the pond).
I ignored the signs since I didn't know what was wrong.

Also Read: Size and growth rate of my catfishes after 2 months

Two days after that day I recorded that another 3 fingerlings were lost, followed by another 5 fingerlings and it continued till I was left with only 54 fishes.

I later discovered that prey like hawk, raven, eagles, and snakes were picking up my fishes

Now, imagine those losses, not even by fish infection, stress or other diseases but by a thief called prey. Such losses could be so discouraging to a newbie farmer.


Solution to fish losses by prey
 1. Cover your fishes with a metal net or wire gauze. Like mine, I covered with a net. See picture below
covering surface of catfish pond with net

 2. Apply Snake repellant chemical around your fish farm to drive away snakes.


  • Infections in Catfishes
At a point in the course of my fish farming, I noticed signs of infection in a fingerling. I caught it and examined it, and found out that the gills were already exposed and the gill fins were damaged. I knew from experience and examination that it had an infection so I quickly isolated it from the pond and left it to be treated.

Point to note: Always be observant for any signs of infections in your fishes and treat them immediately, or you may lose all your fishes.

  •  Fish stress
 I noticed some stress factors in my fish pond. Stress factors are pond water conditions which cause stress to fishes. Some of those factors are
  1. Too dirty pond water: I observed that if my pond water becomes too dirty, the fishes start gasping for air on the water surface and feed consumption is also reduced. Too dirty pond water brings about a foul smell in the pond.  Another thing is that toxic compounds start accumulating in the pond water when the pond is dirty. Infection might also affect your fishes when you let them stay in the dirty water for so long.
  2. Oxygen depletion: We shouldn't forget the fact that fishes obtain their oxygen from water, and depletion of pond water oxygen will really stress them. Too dirty pond water leads to depletion of pond water oxygen
The solution to all this is to constantly change your fish tank water.
  •  Have an alternate source of feeding your fishes:
 What will yo do if your catfish feed finishes on a Saturday evening and you don't have the feed for feeding your fishes till you buy feed again? I am not saying that you should make provision for 'feed scarcity', but sometimes you just run out of feeds for your catfish. Such scarcity periods are very bad for your fishes since they will have to go hungry till you provide feed for them.

So you should always be conscious of your feed supplies to avoid your fishes going hungry.
 


Stay tuned to this blog as I will soon publish an article on how to prepare fish feed locally.

Does any one have any challenges with catfish farming please tell me in the comment box.
  1.   25 March 2020
  2.   abc
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