Feed Ingredients

Best Feeding Method for Channel Catfish for Better Yield


Feeding catfish is capital intensive and occupies 75 percent of the total cost of production. The methodology that goes into feeding channel catfish impacts either positively or negatively on its growth rate. It is important knowing the Best Feeding method.

The feeding method, type of feed, stocking and water quality also impact on the food conversion ratio which dictates if a fish farmer is going to make huge profit or loss.

integrated fish farming system

Best Feeding methodType of feed

The type of food you feed your catfish is very important for fast growing fish. The feed should have balanced nutrients include 28 to 35 percent protein content

You have the option of feeding your fish either floating pellets or a mixture of floating and heavy pellets. Feed them twice daily in the morning and evening and only the amount of food the can handle.

Younger fish like fry and fingerlings require feed with high amount of protein than older fish. Feed manufacturers are aware of this and load feed 0.5 and 1 with more protein.

You can use feed that has lower protein of about 28 to feed your adult fish. Protein is responsible for nitrogen waste in ponds and fish food with lower protein is more beneficial to adult channel fish.

Avoid excess food in the water because it will contaminate and dirty the pond.

Body weight feeding

When you want to do body weight feeding you need to take into consideration water temperature. This method of feed is predicated on knowing the exact collective weight of the fishes in your pond.

Degrees Fahrenheit Feed –percent BW Feed Period
50-60 0.5-1.0 Sinking feed daily
60-70 2 Daily
70-85 3 Daily
90-95 0.5 Every Three Days

Growth and conversion

The good news is that channel catfish food intake decreases while food conversion ratio increases rapidly as the fish grows. Different stages from fry to adulthood have different BW and FCR. The table below clearly shows the different stages and their food conversion ratio.

Stages of Food Conversion Ratio and percent Body Weight

Fish size ibs 1000 fish FCR Daily percent  BW
60 1.1 4.5
100 1.3 3.75
600 1.7 1.5
1000 1.9 1.1

Stocking your pond

We do not like multi batch production this is when you put both adult and fingerlings in the same pond. Try this and you might lose your entire stock of fingerlings.

This method is possible in a huge natural pond were the small fish has many hiding places. Avoid overstocking and go for accurate stocking or under stocking.

Adjust your feeding rate to temperature changes by reducing to half at temperature of 60f to 70f. At a lower temperature of 50f the fish farmer is at liberty to feed every other day.


Captain Brad Durick is a United States Coast Guard licensed catfish guide located on the Red River of the North in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He has spent many years studying channel catfish to learn more about how they adjust to changing conditions that Mother Nature throws at them. Durick has been featured in many media outlets for his channel catfish prowess. He has appeared in In-Fisherman Magazine and Television, Game and Fish Magazine, Outdoor Life Magazine, G3 Sportsman Television, Catfishing America Television, and many other local, regional, and national media outlets.

Feed Table for 1000 Channel Catfish fingerlings

(lbs) Time


Total Weight


Daily Feed Ration  (lbs)
0.1 0 100 4
0.12 7 120 4.6
0.15 14 150 5.4
0.19 21 190 6.6
0.23 28 230 7.5
0.29 35 290 8.9
0.35 42 350 10.2
0.43 49 430 11.9
0.53 56 530 14

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