This post was written for you all who want to go into fish farming. I noticed a lot of people want to go into fish farming but don’t really know what it takes to start the business.

Have you always thought about starting your own fish farm but you are not so sure about how it works, what to do and how to start. Here is a guide to help you start your own fish farming business.

Things You Need To Start Your Fish Farming Business.


Knowledge is key in fish farming and without which you may end up loosing your money at the end of the day.

You need to know the following:

a. How to hatch if you are interested in hatching yourself.
b. Raising from fries to fingerlings or grow out
c. Managements practices
d. Culture Systems
e. Feeding e.t.c


You need capital for the following:
a. Purchase of Land
b. Construction of Concrete Tanks, Earthen Ponds or Vats
c. Farm Materials e.g PH Meter, Nets e.t.c
d. Feed e.t.c

You can either start big or small. Staring big means you want buy a land, construct large concrete tanks and then go into grow-out production. Starting small means you want to use the available space in you compound, construct vats or small concrete tanks and then go into fingerlings production. Starting big or small depends on your present capital.
Your Knowledge of fish farming and Capital works together. If you have the capital without the knowledge, your capital may not be too useful. If also have the knowledge without the capital, then your knowledge may not also be too useful so the too factors work hand in hand.


Fish can be raised in CONCRETE TANKS, EARTHEN PONDS, VATS, PVC E.T.C All these culture systems have their own management practices and its very important to note that your choice of production ( fingerlings production or grow-out production) will determine the type culture system to use.


You can start by buying fries, raising them to fingerlings or posts fingerlings and then sell.

You can hatch them yourself, raise them and sell at fries, fingerlings or post fingerlings.

As an experienced farmer, I prefer to hatch myself, raise and sell at whatever size I intend to sell them. Briefly, note that it is more expensive to buy, raise and resell while it is very cheap to hatch yourself, raise and then sell.

Fish farming is a very lucrative business. Fish is consumed daily and its demand is yet to be met so you can also be one of those making fish available while you make your money. People consume fish everyday, so the market is always available for you.

Have you always thought about starting your own fish farm but you are not so sure about how it works, what to do and how to start. Here is a guide to help u start your own fish farming business.

Fish farming involves raising of fish commercially in tanks or enclosures commercially for food. Fish farming is a form of aquaculture and the essence is to increase the number of fish available in the society because the increased demand of fish has led over fishing in the wild.


You need A LAND. After aquiring the land, then you need to decide which culture system you want to use.

Types of culture system:
Concrete tanks.

If you will use a pond, the land should not just be any land. The soil on that land should be clayey, or most importantly, it should be such that can hold water. On this land, you will either have A POND, OR A CONCRETE TANK. If you want to go into Grow-out production, you can use both the concrete tanks and the earthen pond. But if you want to go into fingerling production, you will have to use the concrete tanks. You may want to ask if you can’t use the earthen ponds for fingerling production. Yes you can, but for proper management reasons, you cant. You will get to understand the management reasons as we go along. So, your earthen pond should be constructed by experts who can do the job properly. In selecting your pond site, avoid areas that are usually flooded and ensure the area is such that you can drain your water easily. Your pond should be constructed in an area where there is availability of water because NO WATER, NO BUSINESS AND INCONSISTENT WATER SUPPLY = FRUSTRATION IN BUSINESS. So, water is one major factor to consider when choosing your site location. In constructing your site, get an expert and not just any body who can just dig the ground for you

These experts should be familiar with the following:

 The land has to be properly cleared of its weeds and hard roots.
 After excavating, the dike with a gentle slope should be built in such a way that the water will not seep into the soil.
 The inlets and outlet should be built.
 The pond dike should be protected.
 The pond should be fertilized before filling it with water.
 The pond should be left for about a week before stocking with fish so that the water condition will be in it normal state and natural food production will have evolved for the fish to feed on.


When your pond is set, purchase your juvenile or jumbo sized fish and then stock. Ensure you cover your pond with net to prevent predators from coming in to eat up your fish and for those that can not eat up your fish, they will compete with your fish for food and this means your fish will not grow as they aught to because their food is been limited.

Get someone to construct your concrete tanks for you. For proper management, it should not be too big. And after constructing your concrete tanks, you will have to wash off cements. In doing this, you will have to spread farm yard manure into your tank for at least 3 days, the manure will decompose and reduce the effect of the cement. Clean and wash out the pond with water, then stock. Or you could just fill the tank with water and leave it for 1 week, flush the water out after one week, wash and fill with water again for another one week, flush and then stock your fish with a fresh water.


As a fish farmer, especially for someone who is just going into the business, you need to understand that close to 50% of your investment goes in feeding. Feeding takes a whole lot especially if you are into grow out production. Just imagine feeding 1000pieces offish for 5 month and one bag of imported pellet feed now is about N4200. All of this is not to scare you but to prepare your mind for the task ahead of you.

You can reduce your cost of feeding by giving them a locally formulated feed. There are several places where you can buy the feed ingredients and then grind and pellet for your fish. In feeding your fish with the local feed, be careful not to waste you feed. Watch your fish as they feed and then stop feeding immediate the fish has stopped rushing for the food. The reason why you should stop feeding is because the local feed will eventually sink later n it will pollute the water which will cause trouble for your fish. But with the imported floating feeds, you will still see the remains of the feed on the water floating.


Management covers all the operations which are required to keep the pond operating at maximum efficiency. For earthen ponds:
 Check your pond often for leaks.
 Remove undesirable aquatic weeds.
 Always watch fish behavior while feeding.
 Fertilize your pond when necessary.
 Watch for predators.
 Cut grasses on pond walls.
 Periodically, clean the bottom of your pond as this will control the PH of your water.

General Management.
 Change your water periodically.
 Feed well.
 Observe fish for signs of disease.

How do I know the number of fish to stock in my pond or a tank?
The size of your pond or concrete tank will determine the number of fish to stock. Some usually stock between 2 to 10 juvenile per meter square, and some other will stock between 5 to 7 juvenile per meter square. The most important thing is do not over stock and do not under stock. Infact, it is better to understock than to overstock because the fewer your fish, the faster their growth.

What happens when I overstock?
Firstly, Your fish will not grow as fast as they should.
Also, there will be reduction of oxygen in the culture system and when the fish have less oxygen available for them, they will be stressed and stress in fish will lead to disease outbreak.

What should be the size of my pond?
The size of your pond will depend on the purpose for which it is to serve. But it is better to have a pond that can be easily managed. For instance, you can have 2 - 3 ponds on 1 plot of land. It all depends on your capabilities.

With fingerling production, you do not need months to raise your fish. You can start selling your fish at 6 weeks old depending on their growth rate. Sales of fingerling should not be more than 6 – 8 weeks.

Step 1.
Get your culture systems ready ( A CONCRETE TANK OR A VAT). I have explained that of the concrete tank earlier. The Vat is usually constructed with planks and a carpet or tapeline laid on the wall and the floor of the wood after constructing it. Also with a vat, you do not stock your fish immediately. Fill with water and leave it for at least one week before stocking. Do not construct you Vat where direct sunlight reaches.

Step 2.
Buy your fries and transfer them to you farm. Ensure you transfer them early in the morning. And when you get to your farm, do not pour them into the water just like that. Lower you container close to the water and then pour gently. Do not feed immediately. Feed several hours later. Management is still the same as mentioned above.
As you manage and feed you fish daily, you will notice that some of the fish are growing bigger than the rest. At this point, remove the bigger once and take them to another vat. If you leave them there, they will eat up the smaller once. This is called SORTING. Sometimes, you will have bring out all the fish and sort them, leaving fish of the same size in a Vat.

Step 3.
Start marketing your fish before they are ready for sale.

You do not need N500,000 to start your fish farming business. You can start small by constructing a Vat for fingerling production. Four Vats of about 11ft by 3ft is enough to start you business. You can even have just two. For instance, I started with just one Vat. I will not advise you to start with one vat because you will need another vat for the sorted fish. Grow your business from using 2-3 vats and you can then expand.

Signs that your fish are in trouble.
 Slow swimming.
 Floating at the surface of water, gasping for air.
When you notice this, change you water first and then watch them for that day. Sometimes, it’s as a result of low oxygen in the water. Ensure you seek professional assistance from time to time.

Very Important.
 Fish requires a PH of 6.5 – 7.5. Although they will still survive in a PH of 6 – 8
 Test your water and ensure it is okay for the survival of your fish.
 Handle your fish with care.
 Water, Feed, and Management, when all these are in their proper state, you will have very little or no problem in fish farming.
How to make your customers come back again.
Your customers will always come back if you supply them with a good, healthy fish. This is why you can’t afford to buy you Broodstocks or Fries anywhere.

You will notice I only discussed about Earthen ponds, Vat, and Concrete tanks, this is because those culture systems are used by 75% of Nigerian farmers while that of the Cage and Pen are used by the other farmers.

If after reading this e-book, you do not take any step, then you have only wasted your time on this book. You can start by getting funds, visiting farms around you to see how they run things, just start somewhere. You may be discouraged at the initial stage, but my advice for you is don’t be discouraged because I was never discouraged by what people said to me and all the loss I went throgh. And now, am enjoying myself and people are now happy with my decisions.

If you are interested in learning how to hatch yourself “BREEDING CATFISH”, I am available to teach you for N10,000 instead of N20,000 which is my usual prize. This will be your starting point where all the hatched fish will be yours and not mine. Imagine having 10,000 to 20,000 pieces of fish to sell for a start.


We also hatch for people.

Contributed by Air Victoria, a fish farmer.
If you have any question to ask, please feel free to call Victoria on 07095229831, 07037067520 or mail at

I wish you all the best as you start your business.

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Catfish Nigeria said...

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