Freshwater Fish Farming
Interested in starting a freshwater fish farm, but afraid it might need a lot of investments? Freshwater fish farming can be started as a backyard project. Read our guide and learn the options in pursuing this project, the equipment needed, and the most common types of freshwater fish that are farmed.
Freshwater fish farming is often associated with commercial fish growing operation. But this is not necessarily so; many large-scale fish farming start out small and freshwater farming could also be pursued as a backyard operation which doesn’t have to grow fish until maturity.
Freshwater Fish Farming Ventures
Commercially, one can grow freshwater fish for sale to restaurants and supermarkets. But he can also breed fingerlings for supply to commercial fish growers, recreational pond owners and hobbyist; grow fish for sale as bait; and raise mature fish for sale to pet shops. The culture of fish, whether as food or ornamental article, can also be pursued as a hobby.
For large-scale operation fish farming means having to seriously deal with fish biology, financing, construction of fish farm structures, buying of equipment, paying wages and bills, and marketing. As in any fish farming operation, space and water supply is of utmost importance to start this business. One needs to have an area where a pond could be constructed or a tank could sit. That space will contain all the other implements he need to raise fish – sheds, water pipeline, electrical lines, aerators, oxygen, nets and seines, feeders, and hauling trucks. Both space and water quality will dictate the size of the operation and the type of fish one could raise.
To start a freshwater fish farm, a prospective farmer may choose one of these production facilities: natural water or artificial system. Natural water means raising the fish in ponds, rivers, streams, and lakes. Artificial facilities include tanks, pools, cages and raceways. Water for use may come from springs, wells, surface water or municipal water.
Freshwater Fish Selection
The fish that one should choose to rear must meet certain attributes that should make it ideal for rearing. For a starter, it is wise to follow the advice of experts and choose the species that experts say grow well in the place’s kind of water and climate. The most commonly chosen fish for farming in the U.S. include rainbow trout, channel catfish, bass, minnow, and crayfish.
Control of Fish Farming Conditions
In terms of input, fish farming could range from extensive, intensive to highly intensive. At the low end of the range is farming that has low financial and labour input. Stocking density is low and the fish is left to nature for sustenance. At the high end is farming that involves high level of capital and labour investment. Stocking density is high, requiring the aid of equipment to maintain pond operation. Fish production is proportional to the amount of input a farmer puts into the operation.
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