Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat’s whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the three largest species, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia, the wels catfish of Eurasia and the piraíba of South America, to detritivores (species that eat dead material on the bottom), and even to a tiny parasitic species commonly called the candiru, Vandellia cirrhosa.
There are armour-plated types and there are also naked types, neither having scales. Despite their name, not all catfish have prominent barbel.
Members of the Siluriformes order are defined by features of the skull and swimbladder. Catfish are of considerable commercial importance; many of the larger species are farmed or fished for food.
Many of the smaller species, particularly the genus Corydoras, are important in the aquarium hobby. Many catfish are nocturnal.
The Fish Species
Along with good site and well constructed pond and other good facilities, selecting proper fish species is most important.
Selecting fish species for fish farming in Ghana depends on the market, climate, weather and farm location. African cat fish has a huge demands among all the fish species available in Ghana. And almost all people of prefer it. These are the characteristics of the African Cat fish
- Body of this catfish is long and thick.
- There is no scales in their body.
- Head is skate.
- Mouth is wide and crescent-shaped.
- Mustache in front of their head.
Preparing your Pond
There are two ways you can go about this:
The first is the outdoor which we will take some time to talk about and do the indoors later.
With the outdoors:
First Dig Your Pond: The pond can be concrete or a muddy one. Whichever ways depends on the money available at the time. But these guideline will help you in both ponds, whether muddy or concrete.
An ideal pond for stocking 1,500 fishes from Juvenile till 6 months maturity should be about 15m x 15m, or approximately 50ft by 50ft.
This will take the shape of a square and should be at least 3ft deep, and could be up to 5ft deep if possible.
Just give this information to your contractor; tell him the shape of the pond, the width/length as well as the depth.
Exactly how much this will cost will differ depending on what part of the world you are in. Costs should be higher, possibly significantly, depending on what part of the world you are in.You can also use excavators to dig your ponds.
That said, an excavator can easily dig two 15m by 15m ponds in a day, depending on the capacity of the machine and the skillfulness of the operator.
If you were to use manual labor, however, with an average of 4 – 5 people working for you daily, it will probably take at least 5 days to complete one 15m x 15m pond that is 4ft deep.
Second Ensure Your Dike/Embankment is Very High
Catfish farmers often have to deal with a lot of problems, and a common problem during the rainy season is flood that can carry away your fishes.
Since having your pond in an area close to a stream/river is idle, emphasize have to be laid on the importance of having really big dikes/embankments for your pond; you want something at least 2 to 3ft higher than the highest water level of your pond; it is better if your dike is a bit taller.
Here’s a picture of one of my ponds with a “good enough” dike:
By ensuring the dike/embankment of your pond is big/tall enough, you can ensure that it will be very difficult for your pond to become so filled that water starts to carry your fishes away, especially during the rainy season.
If you’re wondering how you can make your dikes taller; this can be done automatically while de-mudding your pond or while digging to make it deeper. Sand removed from the pond can be thrown at the various sides to make your dikes taller.
Better still, you can use sandbags to make your dikes taller.
Here’s a picture of a pond I did some serious “sandbag work” on; you’ll easily see the arrangement of the sandbags at one side of the pond:
Third Ensure There’s an Inlet and Outlet
The next step is to make sure there is an inlet and outlet for your pond; this often comes in form of a pipe through which water can enter and go out of your pond. This is neccessary in both concrete and muddy ponds.
The inlet can be placed slightly higher than the outlet to ensure maximum water inflow and outflow; if you’re sure of the water pressure from where water will be entering into your inlet (assuming water is coming from a stream, from a gutter that is having water flow into it 24/7, or from another pond that is constantly supplied with water), then it is okay to have your inlet at the same level as your outlet or even slightly lower than your outlet.
The water pressure will take care of things and ensure water is still being pushed into your pond. However, water could be returning to the inlet, if the outlet is higher, should water stop coming in through the inlet or should water pressure go down drastically.
That said, it is usually better for your outlet to be slightly lower than your inlet, so water keeps flowing in and going out irrespective of the abundance, or absence, of external pressure.
There are several advantages to ensuring there’s a functioning inlet and outlet for your pond:
- It takes care of your pond in case of heavy rain or slight flood; the last thing you want is for water to just be entering your ponds during periods of heavy rain without a way to go out. A good inlet and outlet ensures water is escaping your pond just as it is entering it, thus preventing overflow of your pond.
- It ensures the quality of your water; bad/polluted water can reduce the response of your catfishes to feeding by up to 70%, which in turn affects their growth. A lot of things can pollute stagnant pond water; this includes fish activity and excrement, particles of the feed you’re giving to your fishes and a sudden increase in the number of fishes that die if they aren’t quickly taken care of.
That said, a pond with good inflow and outflow of water will always yield bigger fishes.
Forth Net Your Pond
The final step in the preparation stage is to net your pond.
I can’t get too technical about this since my knowledge on the different types of net is limited; I’ve heard they have “double fingers”, “four fingers” or “single finger”, etc. This is just speculation, so I’m not sure.
What I do, if I have to get the net myself, is that I go to the store where they sell equipments and tools for fish farmers, and I ask them to give me the kind of net used to net fish ponds; most of the times, though, I have the contractors digging/de-mudding my ponds handle the netting part of the process as well.
References: RoyFarms, Effective Business Ideas, FarmingBusiness.