Growing Fish in Caged System

Earth ponds and Cages

Growing fish in Cages system

By: Uri Ben Israel an Aquaculture expert


About cage farming tilapia

Raising fish in cages is a successful system used in many parts of the world.  It has replaced the traditional fish-growing method of earth ponds.  Its advantages are well recognized and it is widely spread all over the globe.  The first and most important advantage is the unlimited amount of water surrounding the cages. This unlimited water supply provides vast amounts of oxygen and running water, which is necessary for productive fish farming. In addition to that, the financial investment in such a system is much lower. This system of cages is simpler in daily operation in comparison to any other commonly used method of growing fish.

Site Selection and Placement of Cages

Large bodies of water tend to be better suited for cage culture than small ponds, because the water quality is generally more stable and less affected by fish waste. Exceptions are entropic waters rich in nutrients and organic matter. Small (1 to 5 acres) ponds can be used for cage culture, but provisions for water exchange or emergency aeration may be required. Cages should be placed where water currents are greatest, usually to the windward side. Calm, stagnant areas should be avoided. However, areas with rough water and strong currents also present problems.

Cages may be moored individually or linked in groups to piers, rafts, or lines of heavy rope suspended across the water surface. At least 5 meters should separate each cage to optimize water quality. The cage floor should be a minimum of 4 meters above the bottom substrate, where waste accumulates and oxygen levels may be depressed. However, greater depths promote rapid growth and reduce the possibility of parasitism and disease.


The optimum fingerling size for stocking in final grow out cages is determined by the length of the growing season and the desired market size. The shorter the growing season, the larger the fingerlings must be at stocking. The use of male populations, which grow at 30-40% the rate of female populations, will result in larger fish, greater production and a reduction during the grow-out period.

Recommended stocking rate of tilapia fingerlings depends on cage volume, desired harvest size and production level, and the length of the culture period.

Water exchange is less frequent in large cages, and therefore the stocking rate must be reduced accordingly to fish size.

In tropical or subtropical regions with a year-round growing season, a staggered production system could be used to facilitate marketing by ensuring regular harvests, e.g., weekly, biweekly, or monthly. The exact strategy will depend on the number of cages available and the total production potential of the body of water.

Daily Operation

The cage system is serviced by a number of floating elements. The work between the cages is performed using motorboats. The use of motorboats serves several purposes: stocking fish into the cages, harvesting fish from the cages, extracting fish to the processing plant, transferring fish between the cages, feeding the fish and a vast number of other activities requiring movement between cages and shore. In addition, the motorboat is used to move the whole cage to the shore for harvesting, restocking or net preparation.

Stocking and harvesting fish can also be done by using special fish tanks on the service boats that contain water with oxygen, which comes from a special bottle of oxygen. The extraction of the fish is done part by hand and part by mean of a special device for the extraction of fish called the Archimedes Screw (Fish Elevator).

At a central point in the lake a wharf will be located to serve the cages by the boats. The wharf will be the main service point which will concentrate all cage related matters such as loading and unloading of food sacks, fuel station, repair and maintenance of the cages, exit point for the divers and a place to tie up the boats at night, and to leave extra floating technical elements.

From time to time, when the cages are emptied of fish, the nets will be transported to shore and washed in a specially designated facility. The fish farm will be serviced by a number of divers whose role will be to watch for damage to the cages, repair the nets in case of tears caused by predators or by any other causes.

Elevator for fish harvesting

Total production

Total production in cages increases as the stocking rate is increased. However, there is a density at which tilapia become too crowded and water quality within the cage deteriorates to a point that causes a decline in growth rates.  In cages, production should be limited to 30 -50 kg per cubic meter. Tilapia continues to grow above these levels at gradually decreasing rates, but they convert feed poorly, and the risk of loss due to oxygen depletion or disease is greater. For maximum turnover of mar

ketable fish, it is best to limit production to levels that do not depress growth. The total number of cages that can be deployed in a lake and therefore total fish production, is primarily a function of maximum allowable feeding rate for all cages in that body of water. The total feed input is related to number and size of fish in the cages (the biomass) and is limited by surface area of the pond.

Cages advantages and disadvantages

Some advantages are:

  • Flexibility of management

  • Ease and low cost of harvesting

  • Close observation of fish feeding response and health

  • Ease and economical treatment of parasites and diseases

  • Relatively low capital investment compared to ponds and raceways

Some disadvantages are:

  • Risk of loss from poaching or damage to cages from predators or storms

  • Less tolerance of fish to poor water quality

  • Dependence on nutritionally-complete diets

Leveling turned over – This may occur when anaerobic material flows up from the bottom of the lake, increasing toxic chemicals and lost of oxygen in the water.


  • The cage has three main parts. The outer part which floats on the water surface is made from 2-3 HDPE tubes. The diameter of the tubes is 250mm and they compose the upper floating base (as seen in the pictures) to which the fish growing net is tied.

  •  The second component is the net, where the fish are kept and grown. The net is completely submerged under water in a depth as determined by the farm’s requirements.

  • The third component is the mooring system located at the bottom of the lake which anchors the cage system to the designated location above water surface. The mooring system is anchored to the bottom with heavy anchors (as illustrated below). Out of this anchoring system are a number of cables protrude which connect to the cages and thus anchor the cage so that it cannot move. This system is designed to withstand strong winds and large waves. A number of mooring systems will be placed in several locations in the lake. Each of the systems will carry 24 cages. Each system will be named so it will be characterized and identified by the farm’s computer.

Posted on

Tilapia Fish Farm

Earth ponds and Cages

Tilapia Fish Farming & Marketing

By Uri Ben Israel an Aquaqulture expert

By choosing this method your aim is to establish a fish farm capable of growing and marketing any amount of tilapia per year. It will enable you to grow tilapia fish in earth ponds utilizing the unique advantages in that selected area.

Why Tilapia? and why in Africa?

First and foremost, tilapia is amongst the most favourable fish worldwide. The demand for Tilapia is rapidly exceeding supply which is why the price remains high. Another important advantage is the reproduction and production ability of the tilapia species. West Africa has extremely ideal conditions for raising

The increasing demand encourages many growers to enter into tilapia production worldwide. Tilapia belongs to the Cichid family of fishes. It is one of the major groups of food fish around the world, especially in the tropical semi tropical areas. Tilapia has been called “Saint Peter’s fish” in reference to biblical passages about the fish fed to the multitudes. Tilapia due to the quantity and quality of the water and due to optimal weather conditions all year round. Tilapia will die if left in unheated ponds in the winters of most of North America. Because tilapia is a native African fish, it has a relatively strong resistance to diseases and therefor ideal for the earth pond or cages rearing system proposed in this project.

Fry Production Process In Tilalpia Fish Farming

Here is an example for a system of Broodstock and sex reversal: Three groups of broodstock (parents) 1000 females + 400 males which will produce 2.500.000 fry per year.

Breeding stock enter the production cycle of 14 days in the spawning ponds. After 14 days the fry are separated from their parents and transferred to the sex reversal ponds.

Why Sex reversal?

  • By producing 100% males we prevent the fish from reproduction. It is essential to control the number of fish in each pond.

  • Tilapia male is faster growing by 30-40% then Tilapia female.

The process of sex reversal is accomplished by providing high quality feed with a male hormone supplement (testosterone) which changes the fry to 98% male. Duration of treatment: 25-30 days.

The “Hormone supplement” – It is come with portions of 10 kg of high quality fish feed (45% protein) mix with 0.6 gram of a male hormone (testosterone).  To mix the hormone with the feed, we use 4 liter of alcohol which spread the very little hormone on the feed. Eventually the alcohol is evaporated and disappear.

Nursery: The fry after sex reversal are transferred into nursery ponds in two stages until they reach 50 grams.

Stage A — size of 1 gram – 20 gram in 50 days in a density of 200.000/Hact.

Stage B — size of 20 gram – 50 gram in 25 days in a density of 100.000/Hact.

Stage C — Size of 50 gram – 250 gram in 65 days in density of 30000/Hact.

Stage D — size of 250 gram – 500 gram in 60 days in a density of 20000 – 25000/Hact.

Posted on



SYNERGY BIOTECHNOLOGIES had its genesis in the year 2002 with an intention to create awareness of sustainable and responsible aquaculture among the aquaculture farming community. It is led by its Managing Partner Dr. Narayana Swamy Allada, a PhD in Aquaculture. He had started his career in this industry as a Technical Manager in Pfizer food science, USA. He has been ably supported by Mr. Nand Kumar Lathker who shoulders the responsibility of Marketing the products all over the aquaculture areas and Mr. G. V. Babu Rao takes care of the administrative affairs. The company has resident Regional Managers, Area Managers (Sales & Technical) spread out in all the aquaculture areas supported by senior staff who have many years of field experience. A strong administration and production team consisting of senior manager and other staff takes care of the day to day operations. A well established network of Distributors and Dealers exists that can take care of the farmers need at any given point of time and place. [Read more >>]

Aqua Maof

Comprehensive integrated aquaculture solutions for the entire fish production cycle is at the heart of AquaMaof’s expertise. Providing a complete package from business development concept through system and production line engineering design and set-up, operation and maintenance, AquaMaof establishes a truly integrated approach for your business success. For more than 20 years the company’s large team of technology and aquaculture experts has been providing research and development, professional consulting and outsourcing services for aquafarming [Read more >>]


ASAKUA offers you turnkey solutions for offshore aquaculture projects includes site survey, bankable feasibility study, equipment supply, on-site installation, and training. In consultation with you we create tailored solutions which best fit your wishes. Our total service approach and years of experience in the industry allow us to offer the most complete service available today. The main products of our company are fish farm cages, fish nets, mooring equipments for offshore fish farms, fish feeders, fish tanks, net cleaning machines, aerators, navigation buoys, and solar marine beacons [Read more >>]


Raanan Fish Feed West Africa Limited is a creative and innovative fish feed producer: We are a leading producer in Israel and Ghana and our products are developed in close co-operation with the fish farming industry, who challenge our team to continuously create innovative solutions for different conditions and demands [Read more >>]

Posted on

Ghana “Crystal Fish” Tilapia Farm


Tilapia Fish Farm in Africa

Commissioned by Riverside Ltd. (Ghana) to carry out a feasibility study for a large Tilapia and Catfish fish farms, cage farms and earth pond farms including planning, designing and implementing the fish farms as well as a processing plant, hatchery, feed production plant and laboratory. ​

Advising and expanding the production of “Crystal Fish” Tilapia Farm. Owned by a local investor. During this period of time the growth rate in the cage farm located in the Volta Lake was significantly improved and local production of Tilapia fingerlings was started both for the farm itself and for sale to neighboring fish farms.​

Feasibility study was carried out for Tilapia and Cat fish farms in the Ashanti region. The business plan evaluated and designed two alternatives: earth pond production or cage production. Feasibility and technical study was carried out for Tilapia cages farm on the Volta Lake.

Crystal lake- Tilapia cages fish farm – improving fingerlings and market’s fish production

  • Brazil Fish Farm
  • Fish Farming in Nigeria
  • Fish farm in Jamaica
  • Togo fish farm survey
  • Ecuador fish farming
  • Vietnams fish farm survey

Get More Information on This Project >>

Posted on


Alphalapia’s team of experts were active for many years in the aquaculture industry. These activities were started at the early 70’s where an earth pond fish farm was rebuilt and upgraded to modernize an intensively cultured kibbutz in Bet Alpha, Israel.

  • Ghana Fish Farm
  • Brazil Fish Farm
  • Fish Farming in Nigeria
  • fish farm in Jamaica
  • Togo fish farm survey
  • Ecuador fish farming
  • Vietnams fish farm surve


Posted on