African Catfish farming – part 2

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

African Catfish farming – part 1

Catfish farming as a livelihood


This fish is called African catfish or Clarias gariepinus said catfish breeder Berting Madlangbayan of Bayan Luma, Imus Cavite. “It’s flesh is as soft and delicious as that of native catfish. But this fish is larger than native catfish. If properly fed and stocked in ponds with well-managed water, it will grow to 500 grams in two and a half to three months.”

Madlangbayan has a commerce degree (1965) and is a  “farmer at heart.”  He has been a fishpen operator in Batangas where he suffered a  series of business setbacks , has worked at the Bank of Philippines Islands, and has attended a number of seminars on fish breeding , production and management. In 1990, he started the difficult task of inducing catfish to spawn, a highly experimental field where even many fisheries experts have failed.

Hard work, dedication and bold experimentation have paid off. He succeeded in developing a reliable method of inducing Clarias gariepinus to spawn.

For business reasons, Madlangbayan said he could give Greenfields readers only a general outline of the breeding method that he uses.

“I uses eight-month to one year-old breeder fish that have been stocked in tanks with clean, deep well water,” he said. “I can quickly identify ready to spawn female catfish from their distended or swollen bellies.

“Next, I inject a commercial spawning hormone that has been properly mixed with a culture medium into the testes or muscle of the fish. I use about 0.5 ml of this solution for every fish. The injection process is a delicate one: you have to hit the right muscle so that the hormone could be conducted to the pituitary gland of the animal this induces it to spawn. If done correctly the female will spawn 10 to 20 hours after the injection.

If hormone mixing and the injection are not done right, he added there will be delayed spawning or no spawning at all.

Madlangbayan said he could not reveal the precise details of the process (the correct mix of hormone with culture medium and other things) because he’s in business and every businessman should have a few trade secrets up his sleeve to stay ahead of competition.

We said we understood his position perfectly and did not press him for details.

The fry that develop eat their own yolk sac for five days and then are given a pure protein feed by Madlangbayan’s workers. They are then transferred to a nursery where, for five to seven days, they receive a high protein feed formulation.

Madlangbayan has perfected his spawning method and now produces about 500,000 catfish fingerlings monthly. He sells them to catfish farmers from Pampanga , Bulacan, and Laguna.


Milkfish (Bangus) Production Part 4

Do’s and Don’t’s in setting up and managing a fish pond.

  1. Avoid areas with problems of domestic, industrial or agricultural pollution.
  2. Ensure sufficient supply of clean water.
  3. Put up independent water supply
  4. Apply complete drying and if indicated liming of sediments.
  5. Always stock good quality fingerlings
  6. Practice right stocking density according to management capability and environmental conditions.
  7. Maintain high quality water supply
  8. Always ensure sufficient water exchange.
  9. Avoid adding large volumes of new water that may contain pollutants (setting of water in reservoir before use can improve its quality).
  10. Set regular water quality monitoring (e.g turbidity, water color, dissolved oxygen, ph, and temperature ) activities.
  11. Anticipate adverse weather conditions. Sudden rain or thunderstorms during hot day may present dangers as well as sudden changes in water temperature which may also result in some fish kills.
  12. Observe extra precaution to minimize the possibility of dike wash-out flooding and the like.
  13.  Apply controlled feeding and feed fish only  with high quality food.
  14. Monitor survival rate , biomass , growth and health .
  15. Quarantine new stock. Continue reading “Milkfish (Bangus) Production Part 4”

Milkfish (Bangus) Production Part 3

Production strategy

  1. Purchase the required fry once every year of operation, especially during the peak season in  May.
  2. Start  production in the nursery pond, then the transition pond, formation pond, and finally the rearing pond.
  3. Divide the grow-out process into two phases: formation and rearing phases.
  4. Allow the fingerlings to grow from a 20g fingerling size to a 50g post-fingerling size in the formation pond using natural food organisms as primary food for the stock.
  5. Transfer the post-fingerlings to the rearing pond. Milkfish will grow to the marketable size of 250g in three months at an average growth rate of 2.2g/day . Expect the milkfish to grow bigger during the dry season at an average growth rate of 3g/day.
  6. Provide supplementary feeds to sustain fish growth particularly during the wet season when lab-lab and other natural foods in the pond are depleted. A weekly feed conditioning is necessary to determine the attractability of the feed.
  7. Efficient feeds should be used. Unattractive feeds results in poor health of the milkfish.
  8. Eradicate snail pest called suso and bangungon. These pests destroy lab-lab mat and compete with bangus for lab-lab. Use alternative molluscicide, like tobacco dust, applied at 300-400 kg/ha. Or collect the snails by sweeping or handpicking and burn them with rice straw. Continue reading “Milkfish (Bangus) Production Part 3”