Aquaculture is the farming of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants, algae and other organisms under controlled conditions. Following the social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic more and more people across Nigeria are going into the business of catfish farming and one thing they like to know is the kind of habitat, or environment, to grow their catfish in urban or semi-urban areas. In this article I will give a brief description of the three common ponds used in farming catfish in Nigeria with links to detailed descriptions of each type of pond.
The three most common types of artificial environment or ponds used for growing catfish in Nigeria are:
i) Earthen ponds;
ii) Concrete ponds;
Earthen Ponds are found close to natural water courses like rivers, streams, and ponds and are located in the outskirts of urban areas or even rural areas. Some work is done in and around these water courses to prepare the artificial pond to be suitable for farming catfish. There is usually the need to dig pits deep enough to hold water to grow fish. The banks of these pits also have to be reinforced with sandbags to prevent the sides of the ponds from collapsing during floods.
Care too has to be taken to protect the fish in the pond from predators such as snakes, frogs, birds and other animals. Flood and theft are major concerns and measures must be taken to prevent or mitigate their occurrence.
When conditions are right through a growing season fish do relatively better in earthen ponds than in concrete ponds or plastic tanks and tarpaulin ponds.
Earthen ponds can be found in agriculture settlements in Ogun State at Idiroko, Aiyetoro, Agbara, Ifo; in Lagos State at Iyana Ipaja, Ikorodu, Epe, Badagry, Ajah; and in Delta State at Warri.
ii) Concrete Ponds
Concrete Ponds are built with quality blocks, filled with concrete mortar, and plastered inside-out with cement mortar. They are usually found in walled enclosures in sub-urban areas. People with spare land and plenty of freshwater in their houses can set up concrete ponds to grow catfish. A well constructed concrete pond is leak-proof and can last ten years or more. Concrete ponds include plumbing systems to allow inflow of fresh water to the ponds and outflow of waste water from the ponds.
iii) Plastic tanks and tarpaulin ponds
Plastic tanks and tarpaulin ponds are temporary or mobile fish ponds commonly used in fish farming in residential areas. They are the least expensive to set up among the common types of artificial ponds. The plastic tanks and tarpaulin materials used in their construction can be bought from tank manufacturers or retailers of these products.
Features common to all types of artificial ponds used in farming catfish in Nigeria are a well, pumping machine, plumbing system, storage tanks, weighing scales, water pits and plastic containers.
In fact, in many catfish farms you will find a combination of two or even all three types of artificial ponds in use to grow fish.
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