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.


  • PHANTT said on March 13, 2009
  • brian casey said on May 29, 2009
    I would like to start a small fresh water fish farm for breeding trout to get the experience with the view of doing it on a larger scale, I have a unit size 700sq feet to start with could you give me a rough cost to start. Kind Regards Brian Casey
  • Vijay said on August 21, 2009
    Hello, I want to start fresh water Fish farming business. but i don't have any idea about this. I want proper training and education about it. So can you give me rough idea how can I get proper Education. Thanks & Regards, Vijay Deshmukh
  • LYNDON GORE said on September 2, 2009
    i am in all three position to ask about fish. the only thing i knew about fish today is how to cook them and eat them.
  • brian & maryann caughell said on September 16, 2009
    Hi, I look forward to hearing from you and if you have any information of contact people regarding Aquaculture-Indoor fish farming. I can ask if you know of the Manitoba facility that is changing their Swine operation to Aquaculture Fish Farming. Look forward to hearing from you on any of the above. Thanks Brian & Maryann Caughell
  • Dotun Ogundare said on September 30, 2009
    I am currently employed in the US. I am thinking of starting a freshwater fish and shrimp/prawn farm in the West Coast of Africa, (Nigeria)when I retire. Could you give me some pointers on what I need to get started and the best fish and shrimp/prawn to raise in this region. Also, are there any International assistance to someone that wants to get into this type of business?
  • Paul said on October 17, 2009
    I have just moved to the UAE and what to start a backyard fish farm for hobby and education with my two daughters and need some advise on how and where to get a starter kit.
  • Joseph Agbigbe said on October 27, 2009
    I want to start a small catfish farm in my backyard and I need the information to start. I am informed thank there are some that breed in tank farms and some only grow to maturity in the tank.
  • Sly Bhunjun said on November 13, 2009
    i have some land which would like to convert into fresh water fish farming... i live in Mauritius and would like to be advised if we can breed fresh water eels and fish ... if yes which ones??/ thanks sly
  • Matt said on December 29, 2009
    Looking to start a fish/prawn farm within Cambodia. Would like to know the startup costs and requirements. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  • CESAR REYES said on February 9, 2010
  • Dr. Kaye Lawrence said on March 15, 2010
    We have an orphanage and want to raise fish for the children. How do we do this and how can we get started?
  • FRED said on March 23, 2010
    Just like Matt I am looking to start a fish farm in Cambodia. Would also like to know the startup costs and requirements. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
  • Vijay Kumar Goutam said on April 3, 2010
    Dear sir, i want to start the business of fish farming in the artificial tank. So please suggest to me how to start and which kind of information need to me.
  • mohammed mustapha said on May 16, 2010
    hi what are the common problems a new fish farmer is likely to come across and what are the solutions. from yola adamawa state of nigeria
  • J.M.MOHAMED ISMAIL said on June 9, 2010
    I am interested to start small fresh water fish farm near kumabakonam in south india. Kindly advise about the agency which imparts short duration course for the above subject in Tamilnadu state. can you cost break up for starting the farm. what are the facts to be kept in mind before starting the farm. Is it possible to build poultry farm above the fish pound so that it will be more viable.
  • daren quino said on July 9, 2010
    I hope there will be more collaborative concept about on how to raise shrimp.
  • socrates muyambo said on August 2, 2010
    i am interested in starting a backyard fish project in my village in masvingo, zimbabwe. i only have 100 square meters to spare for the ponds. i intend to grow sunflowers as food to feed the fish. could you please advise me on the best breed and food for such a project?
  • Frederik said on October 11, 2010
    I'm looking to start a fresh water fish farm in Northern Cape, South Africa. I have a farm next to the big Orange River. I would like to know what species would adapt to this climate.
  • Kola Ekeolere said on December 30, 2010
    Hello Guys, I am currently running a livestock farm in Nigeria and i intend to start a fish farm which will include rearing for table and hatching fingerlings for local fish farmer, kindly advise me on how to go about the above , only practical advice is required. Thanks, NB, I am interested in Catfish and Tilapia
  • chris said on January 12, 2011
    interested in finding a firm that may want to put in a fish farm or do a joint venture at ranch near Grants Pass Oregon USA. we have the property for sale and own 1/2 mile of river frontage with some of the oldest and best water rights on the river system. the river is also private (no public access) was brought to our attention that with what we have a fish farm may be perfect and advised not to sell.The river has steelhead ,trout,salmon...we also have the pumps with high volume GPM. any interest or help with the matter would be great.clh
  • Mari Verster said on January 15, 2011
    I would like information on starting a small fresh water fish farm in the Orange Free State, South Africa. We live next to the Valsriver so water is not a problem, although I am not sure how clean the water is. I thought about starting with Karp and Babers. These two species are indigenous to our waters. I want to sell the fish to the locals. A very informal business, if the business does good I can look at other species and or markets. Do you have info on this type of fish farming, costs, equipment, what to feed them, how long they take to mature, contact persons in SA? Thank you!
  • Hazel Mushava said on February 7, 2011
    Looking to start trout farming in Nyanga Zimbabwe. Any ideas on what i will need?
  • mohamed babu said on February 24, 2011
    Planning for a freshwater farm at SaudiArabia. Searching for a consultant to advice n implement the project
  • mohammed saleem said on February 26, 2011
    i am planning for a freshwater fish farm, around hyderabad, breeding marrul and rahu, local breed. mine is a small backyard farming perennial tank of 40'*40'*12' depth. i would like to build the pond underground. is it advisable to do so or do i have to build it over the ground. if it is underground, what type of construction should i go for, i) granite-cement-sand, ii) brick-cement-sand or iii) RCC? i am keen to know the capital to be invested. please help.
  • Michael said on March 12, 2011
    I like to start fresh water fish farming in plastic tank type. Can it profit? Mergesum Fish Farming Company
  • Raghunath expert adviser said on March 13, 2011
    @Michael, Hi Michael, yes it will be profitable but it depends on how you do it. Proper knowledge is the key to success in freshwater fish farming.

    Raghunath Natarajan
    Startup Biz Hub - Advisor (Staff)

  • Ruairi said on March 20, 2011
    I am interested in starting a medium scale freshwater fish farm in the west of Ireland, with the view of expanding operations in the coming years. I want to start off focusing on the local Irish market before opening up export to the rest of Europe. I would have the option of using a natural lake and/or river. I don't have experience farming fish but I have grown up in a freshwater fishing house and have will have operational support from experienced fish hatchery persons. Can you help me make this initiative a reality by sharing some experience? Thanks, Ruairi
  • eric said on March 28, 2011
    hello i am a student that survived the earthquake in haiti and i would like to start a freshwater fish possibly shrimp farm on the land i have recently purchased the fish would either be free or extremely low in cost i would like to only break even if you could inform me on the proper steps to take that would be great.........E
  • Michael said on March 30, 2011
    hello, I am also interested in fresh water fish farming. What govt' agency provides free information regarding laws and rules that we have to adhere to; or is that something I would find on a local level. Thank you for your time. Michael. Dallas, Texas
  • melbourne said on May 17, 2011
    I am interesting in fish rearing, i really dont have any experience one thing i have is plenty water. I would like to get some specs, depth, width,how much fish per square feet, how much feed per fish and growth rate
  • suresh said on June 10, 2011
    dear sir i'm suresh from mumbai ,i'm a sea foods trader for all type of sea foods ,mainly export to europ and korea and china . now i'm looking for fresh water eel fish (live) i need more quantity . anybody have pls reply me by mail thanks
  • margie said on July 7, 2011
    sir i'm a teacher.i am presently teaching CP-TLE specialized in Agri-Fihery Arts. We are now in Fish culture. We are planning to have a pond in our school, can you give us tips to do so.
  • Mick OConnor said on July 28, 2011
    Hi , I'm interested in starting a fresh water fish farm in Ireland. I would like to know what are the best fish to farm here and how I could go about setting this up. Kind regards. Mick OConnor
  • Kim said on August 5, 2011
    Where can I find a good school in the U.S. that offer training in aquaculture or fish farming?
  • Shawn Pepper said on September 11, 2011
    Looking to start eel/bait fish business on my small property in troffs. Anyone having info on cost/profit of this type of at home projects. Please send email. Northeasern U.S. location. thanks, Shawn
  • gregory palmer said on September 16, 2011
    las vegas, Nevada...I am interested in starting an indoor talapia farming operation but cannot locate local regulations
  • pearl fernandez said on February 8, 2012
    we are making our feasibility study regarding fish pond but still we dont have enough knowledge about it..can you help us? we have already our investor, and we already acquire land and the land is a former fish pond area..
  • GCMREDDY Hyderabad A.P India said on February 23, 2012
    Sir, my concern is weather chlorine in Drinking water is useful for fish farming?? if yes what type of fish can grow in such type treated drinking water.
  • RAM said on March 24, 2012
    We propose to promote a medium scale fresh water fish farming company in India. We have already procured land -22 acres. We are looking for a joint venture partner who could provide technology with appropriate financial participation by way of equity to share the profit-overseas partner. RAM
  • p priyadarshi beginner adviser said on April 20, 2012
    Dear RAM, Hi, please contact me at,or call me 8977544302

    8977544302 || || Shrimp Farm Consultant

  • Atiq Uddin said on April 22, 2012
    Dear Sir, I want to start a fresh water fish project in Bangladesh. Previously I loss huge amount of money regarding this issue. Now I want to success. I have 10 acres land and 20 ponds inside the land. Only one difficulties is there that electricity supply is not available there. if anybody interested to do the business jointly, who have experience abut fish project , Please contact with me.
  • Vincent said on May 13, 2012
    Dear Sir, I have a farm in Mayilladurai. I want to know the feasibility and guidance for fresh water fish farming. Kindly reply me asap. Thanking You, Best Regards, Gregory
  • p priyadarshi beginner adviser said on May 16, 2012

    @Vincent, Dear vincent, There is huge demand for fresh water fish in India, and there are a lot of fish species to culture. It all depends on your financial capacity, if you are really interested send me the details viz area of the farm, water availability, and the finance available to invest.

    8977544302 || || Shrimp Farm Consultant

  • Dr M.Syam prasad said on June 8, 2012
    Dear sir, i am in plan of starting fresh water fish farming and the area is at east godavari district of andhra pradesh and it is having the plenty of artificial water facility and we are having the land of 30 acres so kindly advice me the plan...
  • Ella Stern said on June 28, 2012
    Retired to our childhood home in Hungary. Climate is not suited for year round fish farming - or at least not for fish that can't manage winters. Freshwater prawns I would like to attempt in an indoor tank for the family only. Please let me know what equipment is necessary and where in Europe I may obtain them and the hatched animals to stock the tank with. Thanks in advance - Ella
  • Abhijit Singh said on July 1, 2012
    Dear Priya, I am a salaried person and also interested in fish farming and Poultry farming jointly. I have identified a land measuring 1 acres (43200 sq.ft) for starting the said project. I will also be moving ahead in the said business with piggery and rearing of DOgs. I feel that there is a lot of scope regarding the same in the near by areas of Ranchi, Jharkhand. Please revert and advise me so as to proceed further. Regards/Abhijit
  • Carl Ferguson said on July 31, 2012
    Luton, UK. I would like to grow and farm perch and other fresh water fish artificially in my backyard in the UK. What do I need as equipment and what capital do I need to start. What are the laws I need to comply with
  • S.A.B said on August 25, 2012
  • Angel Veselinov said on October 9, 2012
    Bulgaria, We are looking for partnership on a European Project (60% Grant ) for a fish farm. We are looking for investor to finish the project. The total required investment is 450 000 Euro. If there is any interest please do not hesitate to contact us for further details.
  • Ramesh said on October 31, 2012
    Hi sir. this is a Ramesh from Karimnagar dist:we are interesting the fish farms please full details. Ramesh chilumula, Karimnagar, Andhrapradesh, 505528, 8096679669
  • k miah said on November 4, 2012
    essex, barking, uk need help I would like to grow and farm tilapia and fresh water fish in the backyard. What are the laws I need to comply. Uk thanks
  • Bibhajeet said on November 6, 2012
    We provide space for fresh water fish culture in Orissa. We help to provide space that is 1.5/2 km away from sea and up to 250 acres are readily available.
  • Bibhajeet said on November 6, 2012
    For space in Orissa for sweet water fish culture please contact
  • Balbir Singh said on November 20, 2012
    Hello Sir i am balbir singh from jamshedpur want to start fresh water fish farming plz guide me cost to cost and what are the preliminary requirement after having Land, thank you my mobile number is 09431330801
  • suresh gurung said on November 20, 2012
    we have started a inclosure fish farming (specialized in carp family fishes) here in lekhnath (begnas lake), kaski nepal. We are looking for more specialized knowledge on above mentioned carp family fish farming as well has adequate funding to improvise our fishery project.
  • Patricia said on December 3, 2012
    Hi I am interested in backyard fish farming and I do not have any knowledge on how to do so. I need all the information required and all the support possible to get this project started. I am in Harare Zimbabwe.
  • mr macanthony .o. success. said on December 24, 2012
    Good day sir, Am a young graduate, instead of going to look for work , i want to start fresh water fish farming, all i have is 100,000 and i told somebody who gave me an already constructed pond. The site has a water facilities functioning and already existing electrical facilities. The site is at Akpajo in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State in Nigeria. so sir, what do i do next?
  • Engelina Botha said on January 17, 2013
    Hello. I'm from Pretoria, South Africa. Where can I buy live fresh water prawns in South Africa. Would like to start farming with them. Regards
  • Tiny Sinden said on January 19, 2013
    @Engelina Botha, i am also interested in prawn farming in SA. My mail address is let me now how far are u in planning and getting prawns.
  • Shaun said on January 20, 2013
    Hi I'm Shaun from Durban I'm interested in fish farming but for me to get more information plz email your contact details on ... The more important thing fore me is a quotation, Thank you Shaun
  • andrew fay said on January 22, 2013
    i would like to start up fresh water fish farm. i live in cavan. i have access to fresh lake water. i would like to meet someone with a fish farm to obtain information to start this project. also possible partnership with the correct person.
  • Asif Ahmed said on February 27, 2013
    I'm going to start an small scale fish farm in Village. Initially I'll start the farm in one 2 acre land. After getting good result, I'll go for more 5 acre land. It is in West Potiya, Chittagong. I'll like to get good advise to make it success. Thanks
  • Emelian Zhgenti said on March 14, 2013
    I’m planning for a freshwater farm at Georgia, Caucasus. We live next to the river, so water is not a problem. I thought about starting with steelhead , trout, salmon. We have own 7500 sq. m land for this business. Searching the project and consultant to advice implement this project or interested in finding a firm that may want to put in a fish farm or do a joint venture.
  • Ebenezer Nwazuoke said on April 3, 2013
    I am from Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria. 15 yrs. ago I dug out by a spring an area the size of a tenis court, filled it with water stocked it with fingerlings - tilapia. I did not make anything out of it because I was sabotaged as my pond was savaged by intruders six weeks after stocking since it was miles away from living area. My interest in fish farming still runs high. Right now I am fencing round a double plot of land which I've just bought for fish farming but my greatest concern is fish food. I want to be producing food for my fish farm myself but how do I go about it? Thanks, Ebenezer.
  • Navid Rashid said on April 21, 2013
    i am seriously interested in starting a fish farm on 10 acres in texas can u give me some idea on the same and what is the investment one is to look at early revert will highly be appreciated as i am in Dallas and i need to close on this ASAP. Regards Navid
  • Andrew Lockyer said on May 10, 2013
    Dear Sir, I live in Ireland and have 35 acres of land and have just completed my first pond which is between 6 to 8 foot deep and is around 40ft x 60ft and is fed by the ditches running from my land and a fresh water spring i would like to rear fish and start some sort of business what would you recommend? Regards Andy
  • Taman said on July 30, 2013
    I have 30 hectors land, I want to do fish farming I but I dont have money to do. If any one interest to invest money to farm I give my land plz contact me 8790529258 I am from Machilipatnam Andhra Pradesh India.
  • Gilbert Mhazo said on September 11, 2013
    Wako Kungo -Angola. Can I have information on. Where to get fingerlings., the price and veterinary requirements to import the fish from Zimbabwe into Angola
  • wael said on December 29, 2013
    Looking for an expert to start up my fish farming project.. if any one has experience and knows about this project and is looking to start it please call 00971558887655
  • shashikant ahire said on January 20, 2014
    hi, i am pomegranate grower and consultant any body want to start pomegranate farming please call shashikant ahire ( org.chem .M.B.A ) ON MOBILE NUMBER 8055393399
  • Zaraib shah Bukhari said on January 28, 2014
    Started fish farm in Thatta, Cost you too much good business with heavy investment involved. One has to know what is fish farming then only he can start.
  • Wilson Saurombe said on February 21, 2014
    In Midrand South Africa interested in backyard fish farming
  • Ryan Ng said on March 10, 2014
    I am investing into the freshwater eel farm Herein Vietnam, at the moment, i harvest about 2 tons eels every 4 months, i intend to open more eel-scale farming for finding export market, and i am looking for the fund and shareholder for my investment, when you read this and you are interest to corporate with me, please write to me by or contact me directly +84 909-138176 so that we can communicate how the cooperation. Best with to you. Ryan ng
  • YHK said on April 7, 2014
    I have well established 26 acr fish farm in Florida. I have 100 30 ft x 100 ft ponds and have 3000 sq ft cinder block indoor breeding house with all the plumbing and electric. I am currently breeding hoplo ( Armored catfish). If you're interested in investing into my farm or just simply want to purchase fish from us, please e-mail.
  • Dipankar Das said on July 11, 2014
    Hello sir my name is Dipankar das- from kolkata india. And i am fish farming and fish hatcherying expes all types of fish Breeding over 20 year If your Requirement a fish Doctor your hatchery and fish farm please contact-+919804590731/+917500230618 my e-mail. Thank you
  • Rav said on August 23, 2014
    Hi everyone, can anyone help me where i can get tilapia fingerling in abu dhabi uae for my aquarium. Basically an aquaphonic project for me and my kids. blessing to all..
  • jim nikodem said on December 1, 2014
    Hi I am looking at a fish farm in Wisconsin it is a full fungsaning farm with 7 outdoor ponds raising yellow perch it has a remodeled older house and some out building's and over 20 acres he is asking 800 thousand for it is it worth it
  • Dominic said on January 2, 2015
    Hi. Anyone interested in a joint venture in shrimp/fish farming in south London? Serious offers please ps be prepared to get your hands dirty!
  • Roxanne said on September 15, 2015
    Hi i'm currently located in Durban looking for a place where I can purchase trout, bass for freshwater farming, preferably somewhere in Durban if anyone has any info kindly email me
  • Mark said on September 27, 2015
    Berthoud, colorado
  • Tshethrim Zangpo said on February 12, 2016
    Hello I am looking for someone who can invest in my trout farming business.I am from Bhutan And yeah my project is first one to commercialize trout fish farming in Bhutan. So m seriously looking for some one who can invest in my business.
  • Frank J. Adams said on August 23, 2018
    Need all the information I can get on starting a small fish farm in eastern ky. Need to know what species would grow the best in my area year round, & the best for expansion & growth. want to start small & expand as quickly as possible. Need information from very first start-up to full expansion in fine detail, don't leave anything out, good or bad.


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