How to start a Catfish Business: The Hidden Truth
I have read articles about how lucrative the business is and how to invest and reap millions.. All I do is just to laugh on reading such article.. All they want is just for u to buy their manual and make money.. Surprisingly most of them don't have a farm of their own, they are computer farmers who don't have any experience whatsoever in the business..
I know of farms within my area who have shut down their farms due to frequent loss over the years.. I was also considering shutting down my own after I lost a reasonable amount of money, but after diligent study which took about a year I decided to give it my last shot..
I had to seek help from other farmers, but every farm I went to I noticed they where all also running at loss.. That was when I decided heading to songhai farms at benin repurblic.. At songhai I learnt all what I was suppose to know concerning fish farming, from how to hatch( spawning) to management, feed formulation and what have u..
I came back full of wisdom and found out what I did and did not do for for the failure of my farm.. First off if you have never started hatching on your own,my brother u have not started yet..so I carefully built my own hatching ponds and with what I learnt I gave it a shot and it was successful, I nurtured them to fingerlings stage and I got over THIRTEEN THOUSAND FINGERLING at my first try..
I selected the best 4000 fingerlings for stocking for the next 5 months and sold the rest.. Dis is one aspect for the failure of fish farmers.. Most hatchery selects the best (shooters)for themselves and sell runts to farmers, And we constantly feed these runts without attaining a reasonable wieght thereby loosing our hard earned money and waste our precious time..
IDENTIFYING RUNTS AS FINGERLINGS
If u still buy fingerlings from other farms please my brother follow the guidelines below so your investment does not go down the drain..
1. Only buy fingerlings from recommended farms, especially those who specialise in the production of fingerlings and juvenile..
2. Runts head seems to be whitish in colour, their body is thinner and is not proportionate in size to the head,they are like unfed children..
3. Buy fingerlings or juveniles only from farms who use male and female fishes (brood stock) equal to or above 1.5kg..
Like I said earlier on I sold the remaining 9000 fingerlings which I sold for 7 naira each and made 63000 naira hereby stocked the best 4000 (shooters) and I started raising them for the next 5 months..
Before I stocked the pond I disinfected it with "BLAGDON ANTI FUNGAI AND BACTERIA" by doing this u have clared the pond against any fungai or bacteris present in the pond.. Sometimes u may stock and after a while they start dieing due to an outburst of disease present in the pond, so I advice all farmers to disinfect there pond using the afor-mentioned drugs..
After two weeks of stocking I started to sort them into sizes Big, medium and small.. My brother sorting is one essential activity u MUST do to save ur investment.. If u don't sort only less than half of your fish will grow well and be ready for sale when most should be ready.. This is because its only the big and aggresive ones that will be eating most of the time and they are usually less than half of the entire stock you have in the pond.. But when u sort regularly most of the fishes will be of regular size and they can compete with themselves for food.. So they can all grow at the same pace.. PLEASE DONT TAKE SORTING LIKELY..
Sequel to these I stocked my pond with a thousand fish into four ponds ie I had four pond and stocked them with a thousand fish in one pond to make up for the four pond (4000)..
One other thing that makes us loose money is overstocking of your pond.. Your fishes will not grow.. Because the water gets polluted easily and this will cause the dissolved oxygen to be depleted in the water.. And when this takes place the fishes wount eat well their appetite for food will be lost.. So I guess a farmer should measure his pond well before stocking..
FEEDING YOUR FISH
You know feeding takes 70% of the total cost and there are no cut corners in feeding your fish..I tell farmers that "What you give to them that's what they will become" and that's a fact.. I have seen farmers that give their fishes Eba and the likes for them to gain weight, and its no surprise to me when they sell at a loss..
As long as you have right fish (like shooteers) and u sort and don't over stock my brother you can go ahead and feed them very well.. Let me tell u one deep truth when u stock the right fish(shooters) they can even eat less and yet grow bigger..
Now there are all sort of feeds available in the market from coppens,durante,multifeed,zeigler,aqua feed, ranan,vital feed etc.. When I started back then I was using coppens and there was a time I even bought a fake of it (coppens) but for some time now I have been using zeigler and I must say that I prefer zeigler to coppens.. I know most farmers will be raising eyebrow now but that's a pure fact.. Infact I had a client that sells vale viva feed back then the company did an experiment of coppens, zeigler,multi feed and durante, she told me that ziegler came out top,but I wasn't suprised because I had done my own finding too.. Coppens is just about the name, they are living on past glory.. Don't get me wrong coppens is a very good feed but I find zeigler to be the best feed what so ever..
Now if you don't feed your fish regularly they will not grow .. And u should know the size of feed you give to them at the right time.. Feeding should be three times a day but at the third month feed them twice a day while ate the last month u full feed once a day..
At the third month farmers tend to switch to local feed and they sort for a good local feed... Back then I used local feed, I had a good combination but I found out that most of the ingredient are adultarated, especially the fish meal.. And fish meal is the main ingredient to produce a good feed and for rapid growth.. Some farmers include blood meal but I bet that majority of the so called blood meal are not they are sometimes burnt tyre.. I know right now u may be wandering but yes that's the truth..Pardon me to use broken english abeg "dis my leg don waka because of this feed formulation wetin I see na only God know" Am not saying there aint no good ingredient out there but most of them are fake, and u feed your fish and realise that they don't grow as expected..
So I stopped using local feed and
I deviced a method that after three month I switch to VITAL feed.. If u compare the cost of vital feed and the local feed we spend time and energy on its not that big.. And truthfully vital feed is not an imported feed it is made here in nigeria so to me vital feed is also a local feed.. Some farmers may say we do local feed to reduce cost and I laugh at their ignorance.. It is better to go straight to the point than cutting corners and whereby you may still be cheated on the local feed.. When u have a good fish its better you feed them with quality to harvest quality..
CHANGE YOUR WATER
I have been to farms where the water is so polluted and stinks.. I wonder how such farmers reason.. Its just like putting 20 people in a single room and u shut the door and window what do u think will happen over time..
If u don't change the water as at when due the enviroment of the fishes will be too polluted to encourage good feeding.. The fishes urine,faeces and dissolve excess feed pollute the water and they wount eat well or digest the food because of polluted enviroment..
MARKETING YOUR CATFISH
At the fourth month my fish had attained an average of 1kg and 0.9 kg.. I was so fufilled because of the size and weight of the fishes.. I started contacting buyers and eatries and joints some adviced to sell at that time but I had a time of 5month.. Now, some farmers wait till harvest before they contact buyers and this is wrong because when the time of harvest has elapsed they keep feeding the fish and some may have depleted their money to feed the fished thereby allowing the fish to loose weight..
Some fish buyers " iya eleja" are gold diggers.. They are very smart people that what to reap where they did not sow.. Most fish farmers have fallen prey to there heinous act..
I have had some bad experince with these exploiters.. Years back when they come to buy some of them bring charms (JUJU) along with them.. It sounds rediculous but that's some hidden truth..
There was this particular time I wanted to harvest some fish buyerrs came to my farm(iya eleja) and one of them told me she wanted to pee so I instructed my worker to take her to d toilet but unknowingly she went to do some ritual right there in the toilet when she came out she said she wanted to look at the fish so I took her to the pond.. After I completely drained all the water. They said that they can't buy at the stipulated price again,I had to send them away but to my surprise when I wanted to pump water back to the pond guess what the pumping machine did not pump.. U may think its a coincidence but its not it was perfectly planned by them.. I began sourcing for water and I finally had to call them back.. Guess what as I was selling to them and needed water to add to there big bowls the pumping machine picked up..
I have heard so many stories by fish farmers about this women.. If u want to harvest look out for buyers before that time and check out the buyers in terms of character and composure.. Don't allow any dick and harry into your farm all in the name of sale.. Before the buyers come u would have catch a fish as sample to show them and negotiate the price before anytin else... All what am saying may sound strange to some but its one of the hidden truth in catfish business.. Its better to get one good customer than a thousand..
At the fifth month with hard work keeping to details I attained 1kg and above.. The fishes where healthy and strong but it was not easy my brother..
I spent roughly 650,000 on feeding alone.. And I sold all for about 1,800,000.. BOY!!! I was fuffiled and very happy that yes I made it this time around.. So my net profit was roughly 1,000,000 if u subract salary, fuel,drugs etc..
My fellow farmers and aspiring farmers fish business is no joke.. Its not what u toil with, its serious business.. Before u venture into it go and learn it practically.. Go to a good farm to see for youself.. Majority of the people that claim to be in the business are thieves.. They have sugar coated mouth to lure people into it and take their money...
I had to sqeeze out time to write this little piece for aspiring and practising farmers..
I am not here to sell any manual,books fingerlings and juvenile please.. Am here to answer any sort of question you need to know about catfish farming.. Feel free to ask me because I want the best for everybody,let's share ideas and make money together rather than exploiting people... So am all ears to your questions.. GOD BLESS YOU ALL..