Raising Catfish In Tanks, Ponds – A Complete Guide

How to Raise Catfish – A Beginners Guide

Today, Let us discuss about Raising Catfish.

Commercial catfish is gaining popularity for its rich source of healthy proteins and delicious taste. Catfish farming is not easy and flexible and highly profitable. Farming catfish can be started in any feasible place with minimum management practices.  There are many varieties of catfish available in the market. The type of catfish is can grow depends upon your market, feeding plans, pond size and the area you are planning to start the farm.

All Most all the varieties of catfish are resilient and prolific fresh water fish. You can grow them easily and harvest them quickly in either small or large pond. An ideal fish pond size for catfish farming can be approximately 0.25 acres to larger ones with an area of 20 acres of farmland.

Some varieties of catfishes are very large in size and some are very small. Nowadays there is a good market for catfish as many people showing interest in their meat. As the catfish in natural resources are reducing due to many climatic and other changes in the environment, so people are looking towards commercial farming of catfishes. If you are planning for fish farming business, below is the catfish farming project report.

Starting a Catfish Farming Business:

Catfish Farming Business.
Catfish Farming Business.

Investment Required for Raising Catfish:

The investment required for catfish farming, depends on the following factors:

  1. Do you own the land, or will you buy the land?
  2. 2 Build ponds manually or by using machineries.
  3. Dirt removing.
  4. The depth of the pond required.
  5. The investment required for the equipment like tractors, boats, motors and trucks for use on the farm?

Select the species for Raising Catfish

There are hundreds of species of catfish, like Corydoras and armored sucker mouth catfish (often called plaques), banjo catfish, talking catfish, and long-whiskered catfish is commonly reared in catfish farming.

Read: Rabbit Farming Busienss Plan.

Pond Selection for Raising Catfish

Pond selection plays a key role in maintaining a successful catfish farming business. Before you a select the pond for catfish farming, consider following the instructions.

  • The land you choose for the catfish pond should be free from floods.
  • Shore of the pond should be very strong and free from all types of leaks and holes.
  • There are high chances for the fish to escape if there are any hole in the pond shore.
  • The depth of the water depth should be above 4 feet in the rainy season.
  • Constructing an oblong pond instead of squire pond is recommended.
  • The fish pond should be constructed in an open area, so that the sunlight can directly incur.

Pond Construction for Raising Catfish:

Construction of ponds for the commercial production of catfish is one of the most expensive and important aspects in developing a fish farm. Unless careful thought is given to the look and also the price of pool construction, you may find the layout is not suitable for the species of fish you want to raise or the price of the building makes it not possible to form a profit. Average ponds are 17.5 water acres with 20 acres of land. Larger ponds area unit harder to manage, and smaller ponds area unit dearer to construct.

  • Dirt moving.
  • Drainage Structures.
  • Gravel:
  • Vegetative Cover.
  • Water Supply: Wells or pumps.


Construct ponds in such a way that water can be drained with gravity flow. The lowest part of the tank should be higher than the canal or ditch to which the pond water is drained. Pond bottom ought to be flat and slope from the shallow to the deep finish.1 – 0.2 feet per a hundred feet from shallow to deep finish. A flat sloping bottom is necessary for harvesting and draining. Do not build a harvest basin within or outside the lake.

Inside drain:  the most common option for inside drain is the turn-down pipe or modified Canfield outlet which should be placed at the lowest point in the pond. The level of water can be found by spinning the pipe up or down. It must be firmly placed in position to prevent unplanned drainage. This can be done with a chain from the end of the drain to a post on the bank. Heavily grease swivel joints to allow easy movement. Maintenance of swivel joints can be a troublesome, as the process should be done under water or when the pond is drained. ·

Outside drain. The drain pipe should be placed at the lowest point in the pond. The inside end of the pipe is fixed and extended out from the toe to prevent clogging caused by the sloughing of dirt from the  levee.

Pond Management in Raising Catfish

Catfishes are reared in both new and old ponds. Cultivating in old pond is recommended for commercial catfish farming.  If you are planning to raise in a new pond, then you have to use fertilizers such as dung, lime, etc. Applying fertilizer after constructing the pond will increase the fertility of the soil. Fish need a fertile soil for a healthy and proper growth. If choosing an old pond for cultivating, first step is to dry the pond perfectly before stocking catfish. Remove excessive clay and harmful gas before stocking the fishes. Then apply lime and other fertilizers to soil under the pond. Then fill the certain area with water you will stock the minnow for the first time. After stocking cover the place with a net will protect the fish from some harmful predators such as frog and snakes. Snakes very harm a lot than the frogs. Fill the pond with fresh water (2 – 3 feet water depth for the first time), after making the fence. Stock minnow 2 to 3 days after filling the pond.

Read: Prawn Cultivation.

What is Minnow?

After completing all pond management works, then stock high quality catfish minnow. Purchase 2 to 3-inch size minnow from a reputed hatchery. There are many hatcheries available who are producing high quality minnow, select the diseases free and highly productive catfish minnow. Treat the pond with anti-fungus medicines, after 2 or 3 days of stocking minnow. This makes the minnow free from all types of diseases.

Minnow Density for Raising Catfish

You can cultivate the catfish with solely or you cultivate with other fish species.  If you cultivate catfish with other fish species, then the stocking density should be 2500 to 3000 per acre. The minnow density can be increased if you are cultivating only catfish.

The suitable fish species that can be cultivated along with catfish are Tilapia fish, Pangash etc. You can stock 4000-5000 catfish if growing along with Pangash or Tilapa. If cultivating catfish with carp fish, tilapia or Pangash this will help to reduce the feeding costs.

Catfish will eat the food provided for the carp fish at the bottom of the pond, along with their regular feed. The main benefit of catfish farming with carp fish is that, this mixed system helps to reduce the quantity of ammonia gas from the pond and ensure a healthy environment for all fish species.

Feed Management in Raising Catfish

In catfish farming provide 20% of feed daily for the first 10 days, as per the body weight of stocked fish. Generally, catfish minnow will eat more food at night. So, the feed should be given twice a day. After first 10 days stocking, reduce the feed serving rate to 12 to 15 percent. When they grow up to 3 to 4 inches, they start taking food during the day. After 1 month from stocking, give them 5% of feed daily, as per their body weight.

To measure the average weight of catfish, measure the total weight of 10 fish by the total weight by 10. Measure average weight of catfish regularly and feed them according to their average body weight.

Feed them twice in a day (first in the morning and rest in the evening). Feed them an appropriate amount of feed, as per their age and body weight of the fish. Inadequate feeding will result loss of life or improper growth. And feeding them with excessive feed, then the extra food will pollute water and increase feeding costs.

Read: Fish Farming FAQ.

Winter Care in Raising Catfish

Winter care for Catfish.
Winter care for Catfish.

Winter season is not good for catfish farming. There are many diseases that affect the catfish during the winter season. And they need a proper care during winter season. In winter, change water on a regular basis, change for every 15 days. Treat the pond with anti- fungus medicine once in a month. The water depth should be within 2 feet. In case of excessive amount of ammonia gas, treat it with Ganonex medicine (a medicine, usually used for removing ammonia gas).

Marketing of Catfish:

If you have a large catfish farm, make a tie up with fish processing plants. Many farmers can buy shares of the fish processing plants to which they sell their fish. Your profit might be smaller, but you will make up the money through volume.

If running a small catfish farm, you just target direct local customers in your area. Start with your relatives, friends and family. Many customers like to buy fresh fish directly from the farm instead of buying frozen and packaged fish.

Catfish farming is not permitted in some areas. SO, research on what permits and licensing you will need to before starting a catfish farm. Consult with neighboring   fish farmers for the requirements. Hire a consultant for your paperwork or permits. Make sure you get all the state requirements regarding drainage, building, retail, tax, and other types of permits that they may need.

Health and environmental concerns of Raising Catfish 

For a healthy fish farming, be alert in detecting the early signs of diseases, and take the necessary actions to prevent diseases. Implement the safety guidelines and medication regulations for your fish farm. Make a complete study about the chemicals are safe to use and how to treat diseases and the water in an eco-friendly manner to treat diseases and pests. Several chemicals such as copper sulfate, formalin, hydrogen peroxide, and povidone iodine are FDA approved and are safe to use in your pond for treating catfish diseases.

Harvesting Catfish:

For harvesting catfish you can use net for collecting fish from the pond. But collecting catfish from pond by using the net is a hard task. If harvesting few catfish then you can use a net. If collecting all fish at once, then you should remove the water from the pond. Morning or afternoon time is the best time to harvest the fishes. Don’t harvest catfish when its too sunny weather outside. Harvesting the fishes in too hot sunny days will damage the condition of fish and you will experience a lower rate in the fish market.

Catfish has a great demand and price in the all parts of the world. Catfish has high medicinal value and very suitable for the patient. Catfish farming is highly profitable and easy manageable business.



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