How to build your catfish pond
Here is how to build your catfish pond. Once you have found adequate landed space, provided a good source of water the next logical step is the pond. The fish pond is another important aspect of growing catfish because the type of pond shows the farmers niche.
Hatcheries, nurseries and grow out ponds are entirely different in construction and functionality. Therefore the farmer need to determine the aspect of catfish farming that interests him.
The farmer could either concentrate on catfish breeding which is a very lucrative niche. Alternatively he can concentrate on grow out catfish for ready consumption.
Either of the two sectors of catfish farming needs specialized equipment, patience and knowledge. A catfish breeder does not necessary have to grow his stock while the other sector does not need to bread from eggs.
But large farms have the capacity to merge both sectors of catfish farming to their advantage. Both breading and grow out farming can be done in large or small scale depending on the farmer.
Now the important questions what type of pond do your need for your catfish farm.
Pond planning, design and construction
There are various aspects of planning, pond design, and government regulations before constructing your pond. At all times compliance with state and local government rules is important.
The first step is to explore the landscape quality type of soil, adequate drainage and other considerations. Other important things to determine are the fish ponds depth, pond capacity, hydro-logic grouping of soil and volume of storm runoff.
Rainfall can impact both positively and negatively on your pond especially if it’s a dugout pond. Such considerations as runoff curve, rainfall frequency peak discharge rate average watershed slop and flow length.
Types of ponds
When you have determined the aspect of catfish farming you like then you need to choose the type of fish pond that is functional and durable. There are three major types of ponds the above ground pond, embankment/watershed pond and the dugout pond.
All of the above get the job done especially when they are positioned right and well constructed.
The dugout pond
Things you need to determine when excavation soil for your dugout pond is the soil composition and spillway requirements. You should plan how to stack, earth fill and how the piping works.
Once all this are taken care of you need to plan the dugout pond site, use compaction, clay blankets, additives and waterproof lining to reinforce your pond. The pond after construction should be turgid and water proof so it retains water effectively.
There are recommended side slop for earth dams and discharge value for corrugated metal/plastic pipes. Dugout ponds should be built to complement the slop of the lad for better efficiency.
Checklist when constructing a dugout catfish pond
1 choose a good land area
2 determine the size of the pond
3 check out the soil composition
4 consider the method of excavation and filling
5 situate it near water source
6 work out effective in-let and out-let including major piping work
7 if possible have an aeration system in place
8 work out how you can maintain the dugout pond
Building your dugout pond
Your dugout pond should not be close to any septic tank, sewage lagoon, open discharge unit or waste disposal area. Contaminants will kill your fish so this is very important when choosing a site for your pond.
Ensure that your dugout pond has ready water supply and the area is properly weeded. The dugout water supply can be surface runoff, ground water, rain, or direct filling. High water table regions allow ground water enter you dugout pond which helps replenish the source.
The bigger your pond the more water it needs a 6/5/4ft dugout can easily accommodate 300 catfish. A small dugout pond could be rectangular shaped with a dept of 4ft and a length of 6ft.
Large fish farms can treble the length and breadth with a recommended depth of not more that 5ft. Work on the slop, internal lining structure of your pond, piping and aeration while securing the perimeter.
Types of lining for your dugout pond
There are various lining you can use for your dugout pond such as plastic lining, tapeline and polyester.
Another effective lining is polyethylene and compacted mud for turgidity. Lining can only be effective in low water table areas because high water table areas will ruin the job.
To aerate you pond use electronic powered air compressors and should be the diaphragm type. The disuse should be liner and located bellow for better distribution and effectiveness.
Dugout ponds are very durable and can last between ten to fifteen years with little maintenance. Always keep surface clean and prevent natural and man made pollutants or contaminants from getting into your pond.
An embankment pond is usually built across a stream or river where the topology allows free water movement. They are built in large corrugated tracts or by damming a stream or water way. They are good for large scale fish farming because of ready water sources.
Concrete ponds are durable and long lasting but not practicable for today’s fish farmer. The ponds solidity and rigidity makes them strong and durable but are difficult to dismantle and reassign.
There are two methods to building your concrete pond that work best. The first method is to make molds made with wooden shutters to receive concrete. Concrete is poured into the mold forming a sold structure when dry.
Another method is to use blocks and filling them with concrete for extra strength. The major disadvantage of concrete ponds is cracking because of the concrete substrate used in filling the pond.
Plastic ponds work well for both small scale and large scale fish farms. The tanks can be used both in=house and outside depending on the fish farmers preference.
The ponds come in various sizes and shapes and are easily maintained and cleaned. Although large scale fish farmers can use plastic tanks it is better suited for small scale farmers.
To install a ready made plastic pond you need to first build a concrete base that can withstand the weight of the water and fish. After the base has been constructed you make and inlet and outlet using pipes.
A mid sized plastic pond of about 6ft in length and 4ft dept can contain 500 catfish. Corrugated tanks work in similar ways but are prone to rust and extreme temperature changes.
Block ponds are very good and they maintain good temperature for your catfish. They are not rigid and maintenance on such ponds are easier that concrete ponds.
A well constructed block pond should have an inlet and outlet for easy water change. The same dimensions apply for both block and plastic ponds and they contain identical number of fish.
Block ponds don’t require much space same as plastic ponds and they allow the farmer easy control of his fish stock.