Fish Farming Catfish facts and implementation

Introduction:  By Uri Ben Israel an Aquaculture expert

Introduction:  By Uri Ben Israel an Aquaculture expertcat fish in fish farm

Aquaculture: aquaculture is the production, through artificial cultivation techniques, of any aquatic plant or animal, such as fish, shrimp and clams. Aquaculture is sometimes referred to as “the agriculture of the oceans,” involving the “growing” and “harvesting” of aquatic life, including but not limited to fish, shellfish and algae.

Although it is a relatively new field, already about fifteen percent of total worldwide production of fish and seafood currently comes from aquaculture “farms.” Environmentally, as aquaculture production expands to meet the global demand for fisheries products, it is essential that efficient and sustainable production systems be developed and utilized by trained professionals.

Benefits of catfish production

The African Catfish (Clarias Gariepinus) is widespread all over Africa and is regarded as important diet and protein source.  It enjoys warm climate, grows in earth ponds, concrete ponds, tanks or channels and reaches market size of 1-1.5 kg within relatively short time

Catfish can eat almost anything it can find in nature. However, on a commercial production, it is important to feed it with quality food to ensure fast growth and optimal weight / size. Unlike other fish, cat fish breathes fresh air from the atmosphere. It can survive and grow in brackish and low oxygen water. It can tolerate high density, up to 400 kg per M3 water.

Catfish flesh has many practical selling options such as fresh, live, smoked cooked and more. Catfish is very popular worldwide and is the most desirable and preferred fish in Africa.

Rationale and Benefits

Fish farming initiatives have many benefits that can be viewed from different angles. It affects individuals, communities and the country macro-economy. It can be viewed in measurable economic and business terms as well as non-measurable terms, such as health and education.

  • Family Diet Improvement-Nutrition – high quality meat source that is rich with protein, but very low fat.

  • Extra Income for households.

  • Exploit private resources such as water and land.

National/states Benefits:

  • Reduce fish import and hence save foreign currency expenditure.

  • Boost economy development of gross domestic market.

  • Reduce unemployment, poverty and political unrest.

  • Reduce malnutrition, illnesses and medical cost.

  • Utilization of unexploited resources – land, water and labor.


  • Planning is based on the following factors:

  • Place of project – Topography

  • Weather

  • Soil (type act.)

  • Water (Sources, quantity and quality)

  • Infrastructure Available..

  • Market

  • Planned annual production.

  • Fingerlings production supply.

  • Equipment, storage and inventories.

Fish farming catfish facts

There are several stages in the growth and development of the catfish fingerling:

  • Artificially obtaining the eggs and the sperms from the parent-stock to mix it and produce the Catfish larva.

  • Growing of larva to fingerlings size: 0.5gr – about one month.

  • Growing of fingerling to juveniles’ size: 5gr – about one month.

The initial stages require very high professionalism, since they use advanced and complicated methods to ensure high fertilization and receiving the high planned number of fingerlings.

Capacity and Structure

The proposed (sample) project is for the production of 300 tons per year catfish, the farm includes:

  • Rearing tanks.

  • Juvenile tanks – in the Hatchery

  • Growing out tanks

  • Water pipes

  • Electricity system + generators

  • Drainage pipes.

  • Office room & Residents

  • Shading for the tanks.

  • Equipment

The rearing tanks will consist of 20m3 of water.

The fingerlings will be purchased from the farm hatchery and will be grown initially in the juvenile tanks before being transferred to the “grow out tanks”.

The Running water System

The treating water System will keep flow of clean water for the fish. The system is built of sedimentation tanks to remove the fasces, ammonium, CO2 and heat.

The water is being pumped continuously from the nearest reservoir/well to the filter, and by pipes (as clean water) to the fish tanks, continuing to the sedimentation tanks and then, back to the reservoir.

The Growth Inputs

The major inputs for the farm are:

a)   Water

b)   Fingerlings / Juveniles

c)   High quality food

d)   Electric Power

e)   Manpower

Water Consumption

The farm will consume 150m3(cubic meters) of water per hour. That will cover the hatchery needs and the grow out area.

Fingerlings / Juveniles

The hatchery is regarded as a standalone vertical integration unit since it will supply fingerlings to the farm internally as well as other fish farms in the region.

 Concrete ponds



The feed is crucial for the best and the most efficient development of the fish production.  The imported feed should be in high quality.  The food conversion rate (FCR) in the farm is based on 1:1.4 = 1.4 kg of feed to get 1 kg of fish.

The “Growing out” stages program:

a) First cycle – 5 – 30 gr. 30 days.

b) Second cycle – 30 – 250 gr. 45 days

c) Third cycle – 250 – 1300 gr. (market size) 105-115 days

Type of fish feed – Pelleted of different size, protein and fat content. Fingerlings size 1 gram to 50 gram getting feed with 48% protein and 12% fat. Fish from 50 gram up to market size, getting feed with 42-45 protein and 9% fat.

 Sorting system

Implementation timetable

  • Measuring and designing

  • Digging and infrastructure setup

  • Farming Methodology study

  • Equipment order


The farm is designing to market linear share of the annual production every week – which compute Monthly average output of 25,000 kg.

Most of the production will sell at farm gate or will carry to local markets. One should take into consideration that such distribution requires good facilities such as ice machine, refrigeration room cooling pickup and more, to keep the fish fresh.

If restaurants or hotels are located at reasonable distance, the farm may try to establish long term business relations and to increase its profit margins.

Risk Management

Investors must be aware to some risks that can jeopardize their production. Among these are:

  • Meteorological conditions of the site and the climatic conditions, the chance for flooding, storms and drought.

  • Monitoring and patrolling farms regularly to prevent theft saboteurs and vandalism.

  • Check beforehand for a chance of pollution from other neighboring industries.

  • Farms should seek for technical and data support to reduce risk of technical misunderstanding. Learning from own mistakes can be expensive tuition fee.

  • Make long term planning of work and needs to avoid last minute crises