Starting Your Cat Fish Farm II

CATFISH, popularly called Mudfish and or Adwene in Akan is the most popular fish in places like Nigeria, Benin and Togo and commands much more respect than Tilapia does in Ghana.

It is traditionally served in beer bars in plates of hot spicy pepper soup (what I got to taste had more aromatic spices than pepper, but maybe that was just the Ibadan recipe, or better still I may have chanced a bad cook).

In Ghana, CATFISH is most popular amongst the Akans and a selection of ethnicities in the Volta Region. In fact many, other ethnic groups taboo it as there are many superstitions making the rounds.

There are varieties of the species though that are popular amongst all Ghanaians, these include the smoked fish common in most markets called the ‘gearbox’. The ‘gearbox’ variety is strangely though not well researched for farming. This may be because the Original African Catfish (Clarias) has been adopted worldwide for fish farming.Presently, China farms more African Catfish than all of Africa can produce,funny uh?

My purpose is to show the commercial viability of catfish culture, the risks and reasons why tilapia seems to have more preference amongst fish farmers.

 

Feeding

Catfish unlike tilapia are cannibalistic. That is to say they eat other fishes or anything small enough to enter their mouths.

Now this happens mostly when the fish are not well fed. If you stocked 1000 tilapia fingerlings and did not feed them properly you may lose up to hundred fingerlings due to natural factors.

On the other hand if you did same with catfish fingerlings the more aggressive ones would have some of their siblings for lunch and as they get bigger they have a bigger appetite to eat even more smaller ones.

The result is that out of1000 catfish fingerlings stocked you may be lucky to count up to 200 if you neglected them for even three weeks. If well fed though from the beginning they tend not to eat each other after they gain a certain weight. Now it must be obvious to you why so many people prefer the more predictable tilapia to farm in Ghana.

Our brothers in Nigeria however prefer the catfish because it grows evidently faster and has a great market even when smoked. What’s more the price stays stable all year round and at best goes up once in a while when demand is too high. They are successful in this venture because they know what profits lie ahead and thus invest heavily in startup feed for the young fish up to a stage where they won’t cannibalize each other and then they resort to cheaper local home made feed or agricultural wastes.

The largest operating cost is feed. There are various types of catfish feeds. The type being used at any particular time is a function of size of fish being fed, whether the fish are feeding at the surface or in the water column, and if an antibiotic is incorporated.

Catfish fry in hatcheries are fed finely ground meal- or flour-type feeds containing 45-50 percent protein. Fines or crumbles from 28 or 32 percent protein feeds for food fish growout are suitable for fry stocked in nursery ponds until they reach 1-2 inches in length.

Larger fingerlings should be fed small floating pellets (1/8 inch diameter) containing 35 percent protein. Advanced fingerlings (5-6 inches) and food fish are generally fed a floating feed of approximately 5/32 – 3/16 inch in diameter containing 28-32 percent protein.

African catfish usually takes an average of 5 months to reach table size. At this age they usually have attained an average weight of 1kg. The weight attained by catfish after 5 months is however variable depending on a number of factors that may include, quality of fingerlings used, quality of feeds, water management quality, absence of disease, stocking density among others.

 

Profitability

This is a little budget we drew with consultation with some people on the field doing the cat fish business.

BUDGET

3,000 catfish fingerlings @1Ghc each                                   GHC3,000

Feed 30 bags @GHC 80 each                                                  GHC2,400

Labour @ GHC500 month/6months                                     GHC3,000

TOTAL                                                                                          GHC8,400

SALES = 3,000 kilograms X GHC 6 =                                   GHC18,000

PROFITS = SALES – INVESTMENT =                                 GHC9,600

 

 

Diseases

Catfish surfer from fungal, bacteria and parasitic infections. They all have different symptoms and manifests in different ways. Here are a few diseases and infections you might encounter while fish farming.

Cornybacteriosis symptoms are swelling of the head and bulging of the eyes. The treatments of this condition are OTC antibiotics like tetracycline and penicillin.

Fin rut is when the fish start having rugged and decaying skin. The farmer can use antibiotics on fin and tail and also check the ponds PH level.

Fish TB is a serious condition manifested by skin defects, weight loss, discoloration, loss in color, and inactivity, the illness is highly contagious, so remove the sick fish, get medication and disinfect the pond.

Fungus can cause cataract in the eye, sluggishness, loss of appetite, and bulging eyes. Other related conditions associated with fungus are white cotton like patches, excess mucus and reddish discoloration.

Chinodonella causes peeling skin and strained breadth including gill damage. Catfish can get Tumors which are swelling or distention of internal organs.

Catfish can get fungal infections because of the habitat they live. Fungal infections are not as deadly as bacteria infections but cause the fish a great deal of discomfort.

The infection can affect the growth rate, feeding and quality of your fish if not checked. Listed below are a few signs that your fish is dealing with a fungal infection.

1                     Erratic behavior are signs of fungal infection

2                     Darting and swimming erratically

3                     Cotton like stuff on its body

4                     Visible tufts on skin, eyes and mouth

 

Although catfish is very rugged they like any living thing can infected by many diseases. The type of infection we will deal with today is bacteria infection in catfish.

There a various types of bacteria infections which cause illness and damage to the fish. You can spot them if you are observant because many have physical manifestation on the fish.

Here are something’s you can watch out for.

Loss of color; if your catfish looks odd among the stock then there is something wrong. A rapid loss of color could indicate bacteria infection.

Bloated body; the fish body might become bloated and reddish if infected.

Cloudy eyes; Cloudy eyes is a sure sign of bacteria infection

Abscesses and open sores; Open sore might be caused by bacteria or when the fish is bitten or attacked by other fish. Catfish are carnivores and they can kill each other out of dominance or when hungry.

Inflammation; Reddening and inflammation of the skin, fins or internal organs are another sure sign that the fish needs help.

Inactivity; catfish are by nature very active except after a heavy meal when they tend to float about languidly. A dull inactive fish over a period of three day might have an infection.

Difficulty breathing; difficulty in breathing indicates two things either the fish has a lung infection or the water is dirty and polluted.

Red streak; Red streak through out the body is a bad sign of infection and should be treated promptly.

Bulgy eyes; fish normally have either flat or bulgy eyes however if the eyes look to pronounced the fish is fighting an eye infection. This may affect the growth rate of the fish because they use sight to locate food.

Signs of bacteria infection are bulgy eyes, inflammation and reddening of the skin. Others are inactivity, cloudy eyes, bloated body, abscesses and sores including loss of color

 

Aquacultureghana, farmingbizsetup, catfishfarming.