Setting up a small fish business.
Setting up a fish business doesn’t require hundreds of thousands as it’s imagined and made to seem in literatures, with just N40,000, you can setup a fish pond business. Follow this simple process.
The major requirements for raising fishes are land and source of suitable and dependable water supply. The land issue can be solved by building a wooden pond to house the fishes. To culture 100-200 fishes, you’ll require a 8 ft Length x 4 ft Breadth x 3 ft High wooden pond, the interior should be covered by a white tarpaulin. The pond should have stands and a slight slope (2-4cm) allowed. Provide water inlet and outlet pipes for the pond if your source of water is a pump driven well, but outlet pipes only if you are to be filling the pond manually. The source of water should be dependable and portable (but not chemicalised, such as tap water). Well water is an advisable option.
After the pond might have been constructed, rub every part of the tarpaulin interior with palm oil (3 milk tins of palm oil is enough), leave for 3days and wash afterwards with soap and disinfectants (such as IZAL).
Of all the culturable fishes, the cat fish Clarias gariepinus (Commonly called Clarias) is advisable for this type of pond. It’s strongly advised that you start rearing them from the “juvenile stage”. Get your stock from a respectable fish farm in your locality, go to the farm with a container, on the farm, request that the container be filled with water to 1/3 of its capacity. The water should contain between 2 tablespoonfuls of salt. Time your journey to arrive in the evening, lower the container into the pond which you have earlier filled to 2/3 of it’s volume of water, wait for 5 minutes and up, then turn the remaining fishes into the pond. It is advisable to place your pond under a shade. Do not feed your fishes that evening, start feeding them the following morning. You can use feeds like Coppens, Dirante or Multifeed.
1.2 Feeding Schedule
|Week||Feed size (mm)||Quantity (Milk tin)||Time of the day||Remark|
|Day 1||–||–||–||Starve the fish|
|Day 2-4 Weeks||0.8-1.2||2||MAE||M=Morning (6-7am)A= Afternoon (11-12pm)E= Evening (6-7pm)Afternoon ration= Morning ration divided by 2. Morning=Evening
3 with supplements or 4 tins without supplements
Table 1-Feeding schedule table for 150 fish
It is advisable to spend at least N110 for each 150 fish, we need to budget N 16,500.
1.3 Management tips
1. Change the water every week or whenever any green spot is noticed in the pond or whenever the water becomes foul. It may be necessary to wash the pond with soap and disinfectant.
2. Change the water early in the morning, do not feed before or after you might have changed the water. On such days, feed in the afternoon and evening only.
3. For the small sized feeds, it is advisable to buy big sized feeds like 2mm and grind it to sizes like 0.8mm or 1.2mm, this is synonymous with ‘’lebo” and ‘’gari’’ sizes.
4. Feed supplements like chopped bread, biscuits and “kuli-kuli” can be fed to the fishes as from 9 weeks, but this should not replace the normal feed, it should only act as supplement and it should be in moderate quantity in order to prevent water fouling. Feed these only in the afternoon. Choose feeding spots (preferably at the edge).
5. Do not store your feed for more than a month; always check the expiry date of the feed before purchase. After each use, tie the tip of the feed tightly to prevent nutrient escape.
6. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with the colour and scent of the feed you are using-so as to easily detect when it’s expired.
7. Insist on juveniles as a first timer and book beforehand so as to prevent being given unhealthy juveniles.
8. Observe your fishes everyday for their condition, if anyone is lying at the bottom of the pond, disturb it, if it wakes, swim and relax again, then something is wrong. In addition, if anyone is gasping on the water surface, disturb it but if it comes back to gasp, something is definitely wrong. If white spots appear on their skin or the fishes fail to pick their feed, it is advisable to consult an aqua-culturist. But as a first aid, administer moderate dose (say 8-10 tablets) of grinded coloured vitamin C on the surface of the water.
9. Keep record of all activities particularly financial ones-in order to know how much the business gulps and vomits.
10. Inform your prospective customers before harvesting.
1.4 Harvesting and sales.
For total harvesting, harvest on the 14th week and dispose off. But for retail harvesting, you can start harvesting from the 3rd month.
To harvest, drain all the drainable water and use scoop net to collect the fishes into a large basin for disposal.
Apart from selling them fresh, you can also smoke, sun-dry or prepare pepper soup both for sales and consumption.
In an economy where the gap between the poor and the rich widens with every passing second and the hope of the poor diminishing with every breathe, the only succor lies in the use of one’s hand to yeast a tin full flour to a basket full of bread and one of the way is fish cultivation. It is the aim of the writer that if the given advices are properly followed, the dream of making it in life will become a reality before long in life.
By: Omofaye Moses Amos
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