Catfish farming involves mostly two important types, which could either be operated separately or as an integrated process. The two are divided into the Nursery Fish farming and the Grow Out Fish Farming. The grow out fish farming is dependent of the nursery fish farming because you can’t grow fish without the nursery. But, like we said, they can be operated separately by two different farmers.
The nursery involves the inducement of the female fish to lay eggs, which are then fertilized, incubated and hatched. Those little fishes are know as fries. These fries are then nurtured from between three and four weeks into fingerlings which is the size suitable for use in the Grow Out farming. A catfish farming is a major investment operation. And so, starting one needs careful consideration.
Between the nursery and grow out operation is what we referred to as the primary operation. It involves the nurturing of the three or four weeks within which they could grow into post fingerlings, mini juveniles and juveniles respectively. These can then be nurtured for between four to five month into grow out or table size fish suitable for sale and consumption.
Requirements And How To Start A Catfish Farming In Kenya
As with almost any other farming business in any location, starting a catfish farming business in Kenya requires you have some important fishing equipments on ground, where you can comfortably set up your farm and without which you are yet to start.
Starting a catfish farming involves the following:
1. Piece Of Land For Catfish Farming
You would unavoidably need an area of land to start your catfish farming business, but it all depends on what you can afford. If it’s for a small scale Catfish farming business, then you can use a space as small as 1.5 square metres by 1.5 square meters. However, if you have some extra cash to spare, especially since you’re the bigger your space, the more fishes you can rear; which also means the more returns you’re looking at, then you use half a plot of land or even a full plot.
2. Catfish Ponds Construction
You can get a space or a land for yourself but construction of catfish ponds, not very likely. You need to hire the service of a pond construction expert/engineer. It must be carefully set up and the plumbing works must be accurately connected. An error here might mean the beginning of the end of the business. You can use concrete or plastic ponds.
One major consideration in designing a pond for catfish production is the flatness or steepness of the area and the source of water supply. For a generally flat area that has access to a well, a levee pond could be built. Watershed ponds are built for steeper areas near a natural source of water. The depth of the pond is also crucial as this influences the availability of oxygen for the catfish. And so is the amount of fish per surface acre of water.
3. Purchase An Overhead Tank
The overhead tank is the water reservoir for the fishes. The tank might have an independent borehole or it can share from your own domestic borehole (if it’s around your house). Using chemically treated water is not good for rearing healthy fishes.
4. Getting Your Fingerlings: There are various recommended farms where you can get your fingerlings from. Through appropriate consultation with a farming experts or specialist in fingerlings, you can evaluate fingerlings. If possible, check from a few of the recommended farms before making a pick on stock of fingerlings as catfish fingerlings are of different breeds, and it is very important that as a catfish farmer, you take your time to identify fast growing and disease resistant breeds of fingerlings to ensure profitability in a Catfish venture.
It is imperative you get trained for at least two to five months before setting up your farm.