Catfish farming as a livelihood
According to him, catfish fingerlings should be stocked in grow-out ponds and given a daily fare of high protein feeds like trash fish, golden kuhol, and chicken innards.
“The amount of feed should be just about right for the fish population,” he said. “Give too much and you will pollute the water, As with other types of fish, the two most important things about raising catfish in grow-out ponds is maintenance of water quality and proper feeding. If you do these two things right, you can’t fail.”
Before we left his house in Imus, Cavite, Madlangbayan gave us the pamphlet which he distributes to the farmers who buy his catfish fingerlings. The pamphlet was in Tagalog. We have translated it into English and are reproducing it below for use as a guide by the country’s catfish farmers.
How to raise African catfish (Clarius gariepinus)
Preparing excavated ponds. The size of the pond depends on the operator, but the ideal size is 200 to 1000 square meter. The depth should be one meter or deeper. The dikes or embankment around the pond should be at least 50 centimeters wide. The sides should be surrounded by a fish net to protect growing catfish from predators.
Water should enter the pond from an inlet in a corner of the pond and should flow out in an outlet in the corner opposite the inlet. This will ensure the maintenance of good water quality. There should be a net at the outlet to prevent the escape of fish.
Preparing embankment or cement ponds. Cemented ponds need to be provided with an aerators to augment the oxygen supply of the water. Oxygen depletion is a common phenomenon in cemented tanks; hence, there may be a need to constantly add water to the pond. The operator should also add kangkong or water lily in the water to give fish refuge from intense sunlight.
All the other steps in excavated pond preparations should be followed.
Caring for the catfish. The stocking density should be 10 cat fish per square meter. The operator can increase this population if there is constant water exchange and replenishment or if the water quality is very good.
“The fish should be fed twice a day – once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The amount of feed depends on the size of the fish. On the average, 100 pieces of fish should receive one and a half kilograms of feed daily. Feed the fish on the same spot daily.
Do not overfeed the fish. Overfeeding may result in the deterioration of water quality and will make the fish vulnerable to parasites and diseases.
The following are good feed for catfish: fish(roundsead or galungong, dilis, etc.) trash fish, fish entrails, pig and chicken intestines, golden apple snails or golden kuhol, termites worms, and insects.
Changing the water in the fishpond should be undertaken gradually to avoid stressing the fish.
Polyculture of catfish and tilapia. You can grow catfish and tilapia at the same time in the same pond. The stocking density should be three catfish and two tilapia per square meter. Follow the feeding schedule outlined above. Tilapia multiples fast and the fingerlings they produce can serve as food for the growing catfish.
Other information about the African catfish. The price of catfish fingerlings depends on their size. The fish grow rapidly and are easy to raise and can be harvested two to three months after stocking in grow-outponds.
Depending on the water quality and management there will be tow to four pieces per kilogram of catfish at the time of harvest. Some farmers have harvested five kilogram specimens.
The flesh of the fish is soft unlike that of the Thai catfish or Clarias batrachus, which is tough and leathery.
The African catfish could be the basis for good and profitable livelihood project.
Source: Greenfields, April 1993