Commonly used ponds for aquaculture in Nigeria – Types of ponds used in farming catfish in Nigeria

A brief description of the three common ponds used in farming catfish in Nigeria with links to detailed descriptions of each type of pond.

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;

iii) Plastic tanks and tarpaulin Ponds.

Earthen 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. 

Earthen pond in Idiroko Ogun State
Earthen pond in Idiroko Ogun State

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.

Concrete pond used in farming catfish in a residential area.

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.

Ugochukwu Ukwuegbu

NB: Do you want to start your own catfish farming business? You can use our consultancy service and avoid common costly mistakes made by many new and even old catfish farmers. Call Divine Fish Farm and Gardens on +2348077776861; Email: info@divinefish.com.ng; Website: https://DivineFish.com.ng 

Catfish farming in Nigeria with earthen ponds

An earthen pond with a surface area of fifty square metres can be used to grow three thousand table size catfish in five to six months. Earthen ponds are ideal if you want to grow 10,000 or more catfish per cycle.

Earthen ponds are artificial ponds used to grow fish. They are usually found close to natural water courses like streams, rivers, and ponds and are typically located in the outskirts of urban centres or even rural areas. Some work is done around the water courses to prepare the artificial earthen ponds for growing catfish. There is usually the need to dig rectangular or circular pits one to two metres deep into the earth to hold water to grow the fish.

The banks of these pits have to be reinforced with sandbags to prevent the sides of the ponds from collapsing especially during rain. In some cases the sides and bottom of earthen ponds are lined with tarpaulin to reduce loss of water by permeation into the earth. Measures also have to be taken to protect the fish in the pond from predators such as snakes, frogs, birds and other animals.

An earthen pond with a surface area of fifty square metres (5m by 10m) can be used to grow three thousand table size (1kg – 1.5kg) catfish in five to six months. Earthen ponds are ideal if you want to grow ten thousand (10,000) or more catfish per cycle. Earthen ponds are the artificial ponds closest in features to the natural habitat of catfish.

Things you will find around an earthen pond used to grow catfish are water well, pumping machine, plumbing, nets, shovels or spades, jiggers, water storage tanks, plastic containers, a weighing scale and a storehouse. Earthen ponds require substantial use of manual labour during its operation.

Earthen ponds are usually used by farm cooperatives to grow fish and you will find them in agricultural settlements in the outskirts of towns. There are earthen pond farms in Ogun State at Idiroko, Aiyetoro, Ifo; in Lagos State at Iyana Ipaja, Ikorodu, Epe, Agbara, Badagry, Ajah; and in Warri, Delta State.

Advantages of using earthen ponds in catfish farming

i) Fish perform relatively better in earthen ponds than in other artificial ponds because it has features closest to the natural habitat of fish.

ii) Fish supplement their normal feeding from the farmer with worms and plants that grow in the ponds. This gives the fish a wider range of nutrition and can marginally reduce the total cost of feeding the catfish.

iii) Natural sources of water used in growing the fish are supplemented by fresh water pumped from wells dug around the earthen pond farm.

iv) The fish have a relatively larger surface area to grow in compared with concrete ponds or plastic tanks and tarpaulin ponds.

v) It is easy to embark and disembark from catfish farming done with earthen ponds because the farmer only needs to rent the farm for one or more years.

vi) There are natural outlets to dispose of waste water used in growing the catfish.

vii) Earthen ponds can be used for large scale catfish farming of 50,000 – 500,000 catfish per cycle. When done on this scale the per unit cost of growing the catfish and operating the farm is least when compared to other forms of artificial ponds.

Disadvantages of using earthen ponds in catfish farming

i) Because they are located in the outskirts of urban areas or in rural areas the cost of logistics in transporting feed, materials, and fish to and from the farm are relatively high. 

ii) They require hired farm labour to operate well unlike in the other artificial ponds where the farmer or members of the farmer’s household can provide the labour for operating the fish farm. 

iii) Catfish in the ponds are in danger of being eaten by predators like snakes, frogs, birds or other animals if adequate preventive measures are not taken.

iv) Theft. Earthen ponds are a target for human thieves who steal fish.

v) Flood. In times of excessive flood earthen ponds can overflow with water and the fish can swim away leading to loss of catfish.

vi) It is relatively difficult for the farmer to monitor the goings-on in his or her earthen pond round the clock.

Ugochukwu Ukwuegbu

NB: Do you want to start your own catfish farming business? You can use our consultancy service and avoid common costly mistakes made by many new and even old catfish farmers. Call Divine Fish Farm and Gardens on +2348077776861; Email: info@divinefish.com.ng; Website: https://DivineFish.com.ng 

Earthen pond at Idiroko, Ogun State
Divine Fish Farm visit to earthen pond at Idiroko
Earthen pond at Ikorodu, Lagos State

Catfish farming in Nigeria with concrete ponds

People with spare land 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 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 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 have plumbing systems to allow inflow of fresh water to the ponds and outflow of waste water from the ponds. There is usually a need for a pit for the waste water. It is advisable to get an experienced and competent builder to build your concrete pond because you do not want to be fixing leaks soon after a poorly constructed pond is put to use. 

Things you will find around a concrete pond are water well, pumping machine, water storage tank, net, plastic containers, PVC pipes, weighing scale and a storeroom. 

Three concrete ponds each with a surface area of four square metres and a depth of one and half metres can be used to grow one thousand catfish to table size (1kg – 1.5kg) in five to six months. The same three ponds can be used to grow two thousand catfish to two thousand catfish to 0.5kg – 0.7kg per fish in four to five months. 

Advantages of using concrete ponds in catfish farming

i) Concrete ponds can be constructed in a walled environment in urban or suburban areas. It can even be constructed in the farmer’s house.

ii) The catfish farmer can work from home. In this case the cost of water and power can be discounted as part of the cost of providing these utilities for the household.

iii) Concrete ponds can be used to grow two thousand to twenty thousand (2,000 – 20,000) catfish very close to an urban centre where it has a ready market.

iv) It is easy to monitor and care for the catfish grown in concrete ponds. 

v) A well constructed concrete pond can last ten years or more before requiring serious maintenance.

vi) Waste water from the ponds can be used to fertilize a garden.

vii) There is practically no risk of flood overflowing concrete ponds so the fish are safe from flood.

viii) Protecting the fish from birds and predators is easy as covering the ponds with a net is usually sufficient.

Disadvantages of using concrete pond in catfish farming

i) The setup cost is relatively high. The structure is semi-permanent.

ii) It requires a relatively large volume of water to run.

iii) Waste water from the concrete fish ponds can be a nuisance in the residential neighbourhood if adequate provision like a large pit is not made to get rid of the waste water.

iv) One must have a constant supply of water and fish feed to run a successful farm using concrete ponds.

iv) One must have a constant supply of water and fish feed to run a successful farm using concrete ponds.

v) The per unit cost of scaling beyond a capacity of 20,000 catfish is relatively high.

Catfish in a concrete pond at Divine Fish Farm and Gardens
Catfish swimming in a catfish pond
A broad view of a concrete pond in Nigeria

Ugochukwu Ukwuegbu

NB: Are you thinking about starting a catfish farming business and you need consulting services to help prevent making costly mistakes? Then consult with us. We are Divine Fish Farm and Gardens. Call +2348077776861, Email: info@divinefish.com.ng. Website: https://divinefish.com.ng

Catfish farming in Nigeria with plastic tanks and tarpaulin ponds

Plastic tanks used in growing catfish come in various sizes and capacities from a volume of 1000 litres through to 20,000 litres.

Plastic tanks used in growing catfish come in various sizes and capacities from a volume of 1000 litres through to 20,000 litres. Used chemical storage tanks like IBC (Intermediate Bulk Containers) can be repurposed to serve as fish tanks. Tarpaulin material is also wrapped around rectangular frames and used as ponds to grow catfish.

Plastic tanks can be bought from manufacturers of water storage tanks and their retailers. Tarpaulin materials can be bought from markets that deal in related plastic and chemical products and used to construct the ponds. These types of ponds are temporary and used mainly in residential areas to grow catfish. On a larger scale tarpaulin materials can be used to line earthen ponds.

Plastic tanks and tarpaulin ponds have plumbing systems to channel fresh water into the ponds and wastewater out of the ponds. A pit is necessary for the waste water. Equipment you will find in a catfish farm that uses plastic tanks and tarpaulin ponds to grow fish include water well, pumping machine, nets, plastic containers or bowls, water storage tanks, weighing scale and a store room.

Advantages of growing catfish with Plastic tanks and tarpaulin ponds

i) They are easy to set up, assemble and disassemble.

ii) They are the least costly to set up of the three common types of artificial fish ponds used in growing fish.

iii) Leakages are easy to spot and fix.

iv) It can be set up in residential areas where they can be secured and easily monitored.

v) It is easy to monitor and observe the growth of the fish grown using plastic tanks and tarpaulin ponds.

vi) They are suitable for use in hatching or spawning catfish fries because they can be set up inside a building where the ambient temperature can be controlled. 

vii) If the farmer changes his or her mind about catfish farming it is relatively easy to disassemble the system and resell the component parts of the plastic tanks and tarpaulin ponds to other fish farmers.

viii) They are easy to maintain.

ix) They can be set up very close to the market for catfish in urban areas.

x) It is suitable for people who want to start small or who want to experiment catfish farming.

Disadvantages of growing catfish with plastic tanks and tarpaulin ponds

i) The component parts have relatively short lifespans of about 3 – 5 years.

ii) They break easily leading to leakages that must be fixed.

iii) They require frequent cleaning to control the slimy layer of plankton growth and bacteria colonies along the walls of the plastic tanks and tarpaulin ponds. 

iv) They have the most artificial environment among the common artificial methods of growing catfish. 

v) It is usually impractical to scale beyond a 20,000 capacity fish farm when exclusively using plastic tanks and tarpaulin ponds to grow catfish.

vi) The setup and look of a plastic tank and tarpaulin ponds system can easily get clumsy and cumbersome as it scales beyond a capacity of 5,000 catfish.

NB: Are you thinking about starting a catfish farming business and you need consulting services to help prevent making costly mistakes? Then consult with us. We are Divine Fish Farm and Gardens. Call +2348077776861, Email: info@divinefish.com.ng. Website: https://divinefish.com.ng

Catfish on a scale in a plastic container
Plastic container of 2000 litres capacity
Tarpaulin ponds
Juvenile catfish in black plastic container

Cost of feeding 1000 pieces of catfish juveniles to 1kg table-size fish in Nigeria

A good benchmark for budget planning to grow catfish is estimating the cost required to feed the fish till they reach market size. I recommend that every fish farmer does this at the beginning of a fish growing cycle.

A good benchmark for budget planning to grow catfish is estimating the cost required to feed the fish till they reach market size. I recommend that every fish farmer does this at the beginning of a fish growing cycle.

When feeding of catfish is done optimally, 1000 kilogrammes (kg) of feed will convert to 1000 kilogrammes of catfish flesh.

Method

You can choose to grow 1000 kg of catfish by:

  1. Growing 3000 pieces of catfish juveniles to average mass of 330 grammes in 3 months; or
  2. 2000 pieces of juveniles to average mass of 500 grammes in 4 months; or
  3. 1000 pieces of juveniles to average mass of 1 kg in 6 months.

Whichever method you choose from above, it is recommended that you grow with floating feed to 50% of body mass and complete with sinking feed for the remaining 50% of body mass.

 Cost of feed (as of March, 2020) for raising 1 tonne of catfish.

  1. 500 kg of bagged floating feed will cost roughly N220, 000 (two hundred and twenty thousand naira); and
  2. 500 kg of bagged sinking feed will cost roughly N185, 000.

Going by the above you can estimate that it will cost you N405,000 to grow 1 tonne of catfish flesh.

Thank you.

Email: info@divinefish.com.ng.

Estimate cost of growing 500 kilogrammes of catfish in Lagos, Nigeria for August – December, 2019

These are 8 weeks old juvenile catfish enjoying fresh water at Divine Fish Farm and Gardens. We intend to grow these fish for another 12 weeks (3 months) by which time they should average 500 grammes (g) per fish. At that size they will be ready for processing, i.e. smoking and drying.

These are 8 weeks old juvenile catfish enjoying fresh water at Divine Fish Farm and Gardens. We intend to grow these fish for another 12 weeks (3 months) by which time they should average 500 grammes (g) per fish. At that size they will be ready for processing, i.e. smoking and drying.

Here is a budget estimate for growing these fish.

The catfish in this pond number 1000 pieces. They will have an estimate total mass of 500 kilogrammes (kg) after 3 months. They will consume about 35 bags (15kg per bag) of extruded catfish feed at an estimate total cost of two hundred and forty-five thousand naira (N245,000).

The cost of hatching catfish fries and growing them through fingerlings to 1000 juveniles after 8 weeks is N35,000.

The operational costs of growing the fish is N55,000. The total estimate cost of growing the 1000 fish in this pond to 500 kg is N335,000.

Given this outlay at what price should the catfish be sold to recoup the investment? Remember that the farmer cannot ignore the market price of fish in deciding the price at which he or she will sell his or her fish. How much control does the farmer have over the price at which he/she sells his/her product? To which market should the farmer sell his/her product? Can the farmer take advantage of producing at scale to reduce unit cost of growing fish? How close is the farmer to his market?

The questions above are what every fish farmer should ask at the beginning of every fish farming cycle. A fish farmer should do his budget estimate at the beginning of every fish farming cycle. Intending fish farmers should also do this exercise so as to determine if the venture would be worthwhile.

Sadly, many catfish farmers in Nigeria do not do a budget analysis before engaging in the business of catfish farming and it often leads to unintended consequences. I will end with a tabulated estimate of growing 1000 catfish to an average mass of 500 grammes per fish.

Estimate cost of growing 500 kilogrammes of catfish in Lagos, Nigeria for August – December, 2019

SN

Item

Cost (N)

1

1000 pieces of juveniles

35,000

2

500 kg of extruded catfish feed

245,000

3

Operational costs

55,000

 

Total Cost

335,000

Sincerely,

Ugochukwu Ukwuegbu

Divine Fish Farms and Gardens

info@divinefish.com.ng, +2348077776861

www.DivineFish.com.ng

We delivered eight thousand juvenile catfish to brand new farmers in Lagos and Enugu

It is interesting times of sorts as more young Nigerians in urban centres are venturing into catfish farming. At the beginning of October 2018 we delivered three thousand (3000) juveniles to a brand new catfish farmer in Lagos and in the fourth week of October 2008 we delivered five thousand (5000) juveniles to another farmer in Enugu State.

We were impressed by the boldness of these two farmers considering that there is the somewhat conventional recommendation that first time catfish farmers start with growing 1000 juveniles.

We observed that the two farmers did their research before deciding on the relatively significant juveniles stock for starts. If they follow up the due diligence they have shown so far with commitment to good catfish farming practice and if they also take good decisions along the way they will get it right first time.

In the final week of October 2018 we assisted the farmer in Lagos to sort and count their fish. At the same time, we have been receiving updates from the farmer in Enugu and they are making good progress.

 

Note: You can source your catfish juveniles through us. Click here to find out how.

Click here to find out the prices of catfish fingerlings and juveniles in Lagos

Click here to find out how you can source your catfish fingerlings and juveniles through Divine Fish Farm.

Thank you.

Email: info@divinefish.com.ng, Phone: 08077776861.

 

Catfish Juveniles delivery to an earthen pond in Ikorodu, Lagos, Nigeria

In the first week of September, 2018 we delivered catfish juveniles to an earthen pond farm in Ikorodu, Lagos State, Nigeria.

First we inspected the state of the ponds to receive the fish, then counted the fish, and noted the count before introducing them into the ponds.

The first meal of the juveniles in their new pond will be given to them in the morning of the following day, about 12 hours after their introduction in their new home. They would need all the rest during the night to recover from the stress of transporting them from our farm to our client farm.

Before we left the site we observed that the fish were swimming actively in the ponds. The client was satisfied, we were satisfied, and before we left we advised the client to monitor the fish and keep us informed with their observations.

Below are pictures from the delivery.

Sincerely,

Divine Fish Farm

info@divinefish.com.ng, 08077776861

https://divinefish.com.ng/consultancy.php

 

Catfish juveniles taking a bath at DivineFish farm

Catfish juveniles taking a bath at our farm, www.DivineFish.com.ng.

Actually, fresh water is being topped into the fish pond.

 

You can consult with us for a profitable catfish farming experience. See: https://divinefish.com.ng/consultancy.php

 

Cost of feeding 1000 pieces of catfish fingerlings or juveniles to 1kg table-size fish in Nigeria

When feeding of catfish is done optimally, 1000 kilogrammes (kg) of feed will convert to 1000 kilogrammes of catfish flesh.

A good benchmark for budget planning to grow catfish is estimating the cost required to feed the fish till they reach market size. I recommend that every fish farmer does this at the beginning of a fish growing cycle.

When feeding of catfish is done optimally, 1000 kilogrammes (kg) of feed will convert to 1000 kilogrammes of catfish flesh.

Method

You can choose to grow 1000 kg of catfish by:

  1. Growing 3000 pieces of catfish juveniles to average mass of 330 grammes in 3 months; or
  2. 2000 pieces of juveniles to average mass of 500 grammes in 4 months; or
  3. 1000 pieces of juveniles to average mass of 1 kg in 6 months.

Whichever method you choose from above, it is recommended that you grow with floating feed to 50% of body mass and complete with sinking feed for the remaining 50% of body mass.

 

 Cost of feed (as of March, 2018) for raising 1 tonne of catfish.

  1. 500 kg of bagged floating feed will cost roughly N270, 000 (two hundred and seventy thousand naira); and
  2. 500 kg of bagged sinking feed will cost roughly N170, 000.

Going by the above you can estimate that it will cost you N440,000 to grow 1 tonne of catfish flesh.

Thank you.

Email: info@divinefish.com.ng.

 

Order your dried catfish from Divine Fish Farm and Gardens. Click to know how.
Order your dried catfish from Divine Fish Farm and Gardens. Click to know how.