A fish farmer should understand catfish hatchery techniques. African catfish breeding is the simple solution to re-stock depleting reserves in the wild. Breeding them domestically affords the farmer better control of the breeding process.
The first attempts in the early 80s where marginally successful. However with increased knowledge and simple techniques any farmer with the right knowledge and tools will effectively breed the fish.
The process of breeding
The process of breeding involves the production of fry from fish eggs in an artificial environment. The fry are barely visible tiny fish and quickly improves in size within two weeks. They later develop into fingerlings, juveniles before becoming adult fish.
Scientist previously used wild domestic stock to use in their breeding program. This was counter productive due to the prevalence of diseases and slow growing fish.
Using this technique was not economically viable for mass production. Therefore they developed their own stock and distributed to fish farmers.
This resulted in an exponential increase in fast growing fish and disease resistant animals. Other difficult sourcing wild stock involves long man hours and unsatisfactory results.
Advantages of artificial fertilization
There are many advantages of hormone treated breeding programs in artificial environments. The benefits of this technique involve better growth in stock and disease resistance.
Other factors include high survival rate against those in the wild feasted on by predators. They are grown in a favorable environment monitored by the fish farmer. Artificial propagation of fish presents better fertilization rate and hatching.
African cat fish are also subject to extreme weather conditions of heavy rains and drought. Feeding is also a serious challenge because food is scarce in the wild. Other factors are pollution from human industrial activity.
Advantages of propagation in Catfish hatchery
Better Growth in domestic stock in controlled environment
- An artificially controlled environment
- High survival rate
- No predators and loss in stock
- Artificial propagation
- Better fertilization rate
- Better hatching success
- Avoid extreme atmospheric temperatures
- Avoid food scarcity
- Are not subject to environmental pollution and flooding
Develop the technique
To successfully propagate catfish in an artificial environment you need to learn the breeding technique. Breeding catfish is easy if you know what you are doing.
To develop the skill through practical workshops, books, e-books, tutorials and videos. Attend seminars or become an apprentice to a fish breeder. Another effective way is to pay an expert to teach you the techniques in his farm or at home.
Steps in artificial propagation of catfish
The process is the same, however fish farmers employ slight variations to the process. The basic function of artificial propagation is to effectively simulate how they achieve propagation in the wild. Before starting the process you need to follow a few steps.
Steps to artificial propagation
Select the brood
You need to select he brood you want to breed. There are two ways to achieve this by sourcing from the wild or purchasing mature fish.
You could buy directly from a farmer, fish trader or a fish research institute. The best option is to buy from a fish research institute.
The reason is because the fish have been developed in strict conditions reducing the incidence of disease and producing fast growing fish.
Rear the brood fish
Another method is to buy juvenile and rear the broad fish. This method although effective requires patience and time.
Identify the male from the female
It is important to identify the male from the female catfish. The male features a distinct sexual papilla. The papilla is reddish in color, elongated and located behind the anus. Sexually mature and ready male’s papilla is bright red protrusions.
A sexually ready female fish features reddish genital opening. A female fish full of eggs usually have protruding stomachs, clearly visible from the sides. The swollen protrusion is visible signs of eggs.
The firs step before inducement is to weigh the female fish you want to propagate. The weight determines the quantity of hormone solution to administer.
Once you have procured the fish the next step is to select two male and three female catfish. Select large females for injection and inducement to ovulate. Inject the female with a pituitary solution readily available in the market.
Calculate the amount of solution to administer from the weight of the fish. The fish is administered the hormone solution into the body cavity.
The intra muscular injections are administered around the lateral line( please don’t inject on lateral line). Inject the selected females an hour apart for easier handling and striping process.
Weigh the female fish and calculate the amount of hormonal fluid to inject and administer. You could use natural hormones by harvesting the pituitary gland or purchase synthetic hormones.
Pituitary gland method
The pituitary gland method involves placing them in a small mortar. You can then grinding the glands with a small pestle to achieve a powdery consistency. You then add 1ml saline solution mix and collect the liquid with a hypodermic syringe.
Artificial hormone method
The synthetic hormone method is relatively easier and equally effective. Purchase the synthetic hormone and measure the correct dosage in your syringe and inject the female.
To handle the female in both processes first cover the females head with a small cloth. This calms the female and provides better handling while applying the injection.
Synthetic hormone manufacturers usually include the prescriptions and dosage based in the weight of the fish. New fish farmers can easily use this method with favorable results.
Once you have the measured solution in your syringe inject the fish several inches away from the lateral line. The midsection is a good place to administer the drug.
Inject at a 45% angle for easier handling and better results. While administering the drug make sure the cloth covers the head throughout the entire process.
Prepare the strip
The egg filled fish that was injected needs 12 hours incubation. The purpose of injecting the fish is easy extraction of the eggs from the fish.
An average 1kg fish can easily produce 35, 000 eggs. Although it is not mandatory to use two female catfish it guarantees success for you breeding program.
Once you inject the fish isolate for 12 hours, then bring out and wipe dry with soft cloth. Cover the head and strip by pressing the eggs out of the fish.
Once the hormonal injection is administered by the farmer the eggs should be harvested. Once you have squeezed out the eggs weigh them on a scale. This is not mandatory but a why to develop an idea of how many fry you achieve.
Prepare the male
The male fish you select should be about the same size as the female. Kill the male and cut open the belly in a straight line. The purpose is to remove the milt sac and cut the testicles to release the sperm.
Add saline solution
The next step is to add saline solution to the milt. Then pour the mixture of milt and saline solution by introducing it to the harvested eggs.
The saline solution is mandatory if you want to keep the sperm alive. Mix the milt solution and eggs in a plastic bowl.
Make sure they are well mixed to achieve better results. Stir the solution for 1 minute. Introduce clean water to start the fertilization process.
Then spread the egg in the incubator on a spawning sponge and completely immerse in water.
The spawning sponge is suspended or floats on top of the water. You can hold them in place using any crude method such as pegs or rope.
It takes about 24-35 hours for the eggs to hatch. The fry that hatch would have gone to the bottom of your bowl.
Remove the sponge and place in another bowl of water and shake. This process will reveal if there are any fry trapped in the sponge.
Some farmers discard the sponge without using this method and lose several hundred fish in the process.
Once all the processes are done you have your newly hatched fry good luck.