Once you have found proper land space with a pond the next step is stocking your pond. There are two options when you want to stock your pond with catfish.
The first consideration is the size of fish you want to buy fry, fingerlings or juvenile catfish. Making the right choice depends on your proficiency as a fish farmer, duration, growth rate and risk factor.
The second option is if you want to breed the fish from eggs to grow out. To breed catfish from eggs you need to have the expertise, equipment and knowledge of breeding techniques.
The farmers should note that whatever his preference the smaller the fish the longer it takes to reach table size.
Whys to stock your catfish pond
Breading catfish to stock your pond
Fish farmers with the knowledge of breeding young fry prefer hatching their own stock. This is generally true with large fish farms and middle scale farms. Although many use this method a few prefer to concentrate only on growing the fish.
It is not advisable for small scale farmers to bother themselves with breeding the fish. Unless they want to sell the excess fish they hatch as a side business.
Breeding catfish involves retrieving the eggs from the female, then applying the male sperm. The fertilized eggs are then placed in a controlled environment to induce hatching.
A batch of egg from a single female can produces a astounding 30,000 fry. Many would eventually die but in the hands of an expert a lot of them would survive.
The fish farmer chooses mature male and female fish induces egg production then retrieves and mixes the blend to control the hatching process.
The fish farmer can buy fingerlings when stocking his pond. An inexperienced farmer should buy fingerlings that are about three inches long to prevent high mortality.
While an experienced farmer can by slightly smaller fish if he so chooses. But remember the bigger the fish you start with the less grow out time. Some farmers prefer buying juveniles because of this same time advantage.
When stocking your catfish pond we advice you to buy shooters, these category of fish are those that seem to grow faster that their mates.
Buying juvenile catfish
Although juvenile catfish are slightly costlier that fingerlings they are a better option. Juvenile catfish are more rugged, durable and grow faster than fingerlings. Buying juvenile catfish reduces the risk of loss through death of fish and they feed better.
Both shooters and juvenile catfish are the best option for farmers looking to turn quick profit and reduce growth time.
Buying young adult catfish
You rarely see young adult catfish up for sale because breeders quickly dispose of fingerlings and juvenile fish. It is not advisable to stock your fish pond with young adults because they more likely are old fish that grow slowly.
If you are compelled to buy young adults some will grow fast given certain conditions but the others will just consume your food without growing much bigger
Where to source catfish fingerlings for your fish farm
The quality of the fish you stock can make the difference between profit and loss. Sourcing high quality fish is very import because it saves time and money.
There a many places to source your high quality fish such as local fish breeders, and government organizations like institute of marine research. Other ways to source fingerlings is from advert in news papers and online resources.
Source catfish stock from abroad
It is possible to stock high quality catfish fingerlings from abroad if you are ready to pay premium price for your stock. The foreign breeder with a good reputation after receiving payment starts the process.
The country you reside is very important because the distance the catfish has to travel shouldn’t be more than ten hours. The breeder after receiving your order packages the fingerlings in specially sealed aerated bags.
The air in the package would keep the fish alive for a certain period but prompt delivery is essential. The cargo is then flown by air to its destination and should get their in the nick of time.
If the shipping process is handled efficiently the fish farmer can get his order with little causality. However, different countries have different regulation guiding movement of livestock across borders. Some governments regulate such cargo while other bans such imports.
Buy catfish fingerlings from local breeders
Buying catfish fingerlings from local breeders are the best and simplest way to stock your fish pond. Local breeders offer fry, fingerlings and juveniles for sale to fish farmers. The best option is to buy either the fingerlings or juveniles but avoid fry like a plague.
Only very highly experienced farmers can gamble with fry because they have a high mortality rate.
Sourcing catfish for your pond from nature
It is possible to source catfish for your pond from nature if you know where to get them. Nature has abundant resources so using them is just another alternative.
The biggest challenge is getting enough stock which in my opinion is a daunting task. You can use a wild catfish and cross bread them with domestic stock for healthier fingerlings as another method.
Different ways to stock your fish pond
1 Source wild catfish from nature to stock your pond
2 Cross bread wild and captive stocks to get stronger disease resistant stock
3 Source high quality stock from abroad
4 Buy fingerlings from local breeders
5 Breed the catfish yourself to stock your pond