Sat. Jun 25th, 2022
Start a backyard catfish farm

Grow Catfish Faster

Many people have asked me how to grow catfish faster hence this publication. I have been into catfish farming for more than 20 years with good results. Haven gone through the experimental stages to perfect my act. However catfish farming sometimes offers unexpected challenges like mass death of fingerlings, strange behavior in fish or rapid growth in catfish.

How fast do they grow?

Catfish generally grow almost all their life however the growth process slows with age. The rate of grow is relatively slow from fry to fingerlings before they attain juvenile stage.

However if the farmer succeeds in breeding them to juveniles he stands a good chance of success. Therefore I suggest that new catfish farmers purchase only juveniles for stocking. A good measurement for juveniles will be the size of the middle finger of an adult male person.

Catfish Farming

Grow Catfish Faster
phot of catfish from my farm

How to Grow Catfish Faster

Fish Selection

Success or failure starts right from the purchase of the fish. Always ask for juveniles and avoid purchasing fingerlings. This is because fingerlings die easily and are difficult to raise to juveniles. Only experienced catfish farmers should stock fingerlings.

Another reasons catfish farmers purchase fingerlings or fry is because of the relatively cheap price. The gain on buying cheap quickly reduces when most of the stock dies therefore buy only juveniles.

In fish selection another advice is to purchase shooters from the catfish breeder. Shooters are the fast growing fish hatched at same time in a stock. To identify them the fish farmer will notice some that are already twice the size of those in the stock. Shooters are more active and have the genetic markers for faster grow include good feed conversion rate.

Pond management

Before stocking the pond make sure it is conducive for fish growth. There are different types of ponds used in catfish production. There is the earthen pond, block pond, concrete pond, plastic pond, tarpaulin pond, cage pond.

In urban areas the best pond for better management is the block, concrete or plastic pond. Make sure the pond has an inlet and outlet for changing the water. Construct the outlet pipes in such a way to prevent fish from escaping while water is changed.

Treat Catfish Diseases

Types of Ponds

  • earthen pond
  • block pond
  • concrete pond
  • plastic pond
  • tarpaulin pond
  • cage pond

Water Source

Do you know that catfish bred in a river system grow the fastest to huge size? This is because of the free flowing fresh water and abundant food source. The water source is very important for rapid growth in catfish.

Best water source in commercial pond is borehole dug to appreciable depth to harness clean clear water. If in doubt of water quality test the ph. level or salinity of the water. Catfish grows in clean fresh water therefore avoid water sources from ocean or stagnant pools. To grow catfish to large size clean clear water is the number one condition.


Aeration is very important to grow catfish faster in commercial pond. Adhere to sensible stocking ratio so the fish has adequate space to grow and use the dissolved oxygenated air. If the pond is big enough with good clean water and good stocking ratio the dissolve oxygen in the water is adequate for fast growth

Quality of food

Once the famer purchase the juvenile buy appropriate feed size for the fish. The secret ingredient in pelleted catfish food is protein. Protein is the ingredient that boosts fish growth to achieve huge size. Luckily fish feed producers know this therefore early starter feed have from 40% to 45% protein. Once the juvenile fish eat heartily they will display rapid growth.

The size of feed starts from 1 mm -1.5mm – 2mm-4mm and so forth. Make sure to purchase the size the fish can easily eat without stress. A good way to test the right size is to drop a few into the pond if the fish easily swallows them they feed is adequate.

Basic Composition of catfish feed

The basic composition of catfish feed is fish meal, soybean meal, poultry byproduct meal. Others are hydrolyzed feather meal, wheat flour, corn fine grind. More are cassava meal, broken rice, rice bran, wheat bran, bone meal, fine fish oil.

Composition of catfish feed

  1. fish meal
  2. soybean meal
  3. poultry byproduct meal
  4. hydrolyzed feather meal
  5. wheat flour
  6. corn fine grind
  7. cassava meal
  8. broken rice
  9. rice bran
  10. wheat bran
  11. bone meal
  12. fine fish oil

Nutritional information of catfish feed

NutrientsMinimum percentage %Maximum percentage %
Crude protein42.0 
Crude fiber03.5
calcium 2.0

Moisture content in catfish feed is 8%

Live food

Some catfish farmers add live feed if available to boost the stock. Protein rich live feed include earthworms, maggots. Purchase live earthworms from bate shops or raise them in the garden here is an article on how to start a worm farm.

Anti-Stress Formula for Starter Fish


Vegetable protein is another good source for catfish feed. In the United States of America a key ingredient in American made catfish feed is soy.

Feeding technique

The best way to feed them for rapid growth is at least twice a day. Make sure the food is rich in protein and feed them in the morning and again in the evening. Make sure the fish pond has adequate shelter from the sun with good shaded areas.

Grow catfish faster with live food


How to grow catfish faster

To grow catfish faster purchase juvenile fish and make sure they are the shooters with good genetic markers. While stocking make provision for adequate space and avoid over stocking.

Next verify the source of the water by building a borehole and include an inlet and outlet for easy water changing. Purchase only quality feed with high protein content, use live bait, soy rich feed.

Feed them twice a day once in the morning and in the evening. Finally provide a shelter to keep them from the direct sun. Don’t forget to change the water regularly to ensure clean water in the pond.

Grow catfish faster

  1. purchase juvenile fish
  2. make sure they are the shooters
  3. avoid over stocking
  4. verify the source of the water
  5. include an inlet and outlet
  6. buy quality feed high protein
  7. use live bate
  8. buy soy rich feed
  9. feed them twice a day
  10. provide a shelter

Hope this has helped

By Femi

webmaster with passion for good content

22 thoughts on “How to Grow Catfish Faster Information Guide”
  1. The protein content is the main source of growth in catfish. Manufacturers generally include higer protein content in low mm feed for fingerlings and progressively reduces content in large mm feed. catfish feed with higher protein content are more expensive howeer the difference is negligible.

    1. I lost over 100 juvenile about 5 months ago due to poor stock. I was lazy and sourced them online instead of my regular source. This set we’re very poor breed and came with diseases. I later applied handful of salt to the water with one tetracycline and they recovered.

  2. Hi Tony
    your article are helpfull Im about to go on cat fish farming to the Congo my home
    still in south africa looking where a can get
    a training thank you God bless you

    1. I don’t know if catfish farming is popular in congo. If so you need to take advantage of this and start your own fish farm. All you need is a large plastic tank similar to your overhead water tank, then buy juvenile from catfish farmers. The only thing to do is buy catfish feed and try not to over feed them. Feed once a day and change the water once a day.
      For more resources on catfish farming subscribe to our channel and see some videos on catfish filmed on our farm.

  3. Thanks a lot sir…I really appreciate its really going to help me….GOD bless you more and more

    1. Amen. If you need any more info, l will readily provide. I sold my stock about two months ago and just recently stocked juveniles. Catfish farming is lucrative but be careful not to overfeed. I am currently experiment on a feeding technique if it works and reduces feeding cost I will let people know.

  4. Thank you for the helpful knowledge that you have offered sir. I’m an interested individual who wants to start up a fish farm with atleast 1000 juveniles for the start. Am in an urban area and would like to adopt the plastic pond but my question is; after how long is one supposed to change the water in the pond so as to ensure adequate freshness.

    1. Change the water once a day. If you observe that the water is clean then it does not require changing.

    1. Some people prepare blood meal from slaughterhouses. What they do is get the blood and boil till it coagulates, then they dry and cut into pieces. I have witnessed the technique, however I don’t recommend the practice. Instead feed them boiled organ meat for better protein intake

    1. That is a lot of fish, initial consumption as fingerlings is small however growing them to adulthood will consume copious amount of food

  5. Hello Tony
    Tanks for the guidelines so far, but I was advised to feed them 5time daily when I went to buy the feeds for the fingerlings. What do you have to say on this pls.

    1. Feeding 5 times a day is wasteful, it takes about 8 to 10 hours for catfish to digest food. You can feed them twice a day once very early in the morning and around 4 oclock

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