How does stocking of catfish ponds in Nigeria work? How many catfish can be in a pond? What is the best catfish to put in a pond? How do you make a catfish pond? How deep should a catfish pond be? Should I put catfish in my pond? Do catfish need running water to reproduce? Do catfish fight harder than bass? How many catfish can you have in a 1-acre pond? When should you stock a pond with catfish? What size of a pond can contain 1000 fish? How long can a catfish live in a pond? Will catfish make a pond muddy? What do pond catfish eat? How big should a catfish pond be? How deep should a 1-acre pond be? How many fish can you have in a 1-acre pond? How many catfish can you put in a 1/4 acre pond? What should I stock my 1-acre pond with? How deep should a pond be for a fish to survive winter? How fast do catfish grow in a pond?
How To Stock A Pond With Catfish
There are 3 species of catfish with which you could stock your ponds and they are Clarias Gariepinus, (the African species of catfish also known as Clarias), Heterobranchus (otherwise known as the giant catfish mostly found in wild freshwater bodies of Lagos and most southern states) and Heteroclarias (a hybrid catfish derived from the crossbreeding of Claris Gariepinus and Heterobronchus).
But for various reasons, which we shall be considering shortly, Clarias Gariepinus is most favoured for stocking by most corporate and private fish farmers.
Meanwhile, we have to first consider the difference between Clarias Gariepinus and the other species.
How To Differentiate Clarias Gariepinus From Other Species Of Catfish – Heterobranchus And Heteroclarias
It is very easy to differentiate between Clarias Gariepinus from Heterobranchus as well as Heteroclarias by using their dorsal fin. Clarias Gariepinus dorsal fin runs from immediately after its skull and continues uninterrupted to its tail.
The Heterobranchus dorsal fin runs from immediately after its skull and continues towards midway its full length, where it breaks off and continues again uninterrupted to its tail.
The Heteroclarias has its dorsal fin running from immediately after its skull and continues uninterrupted towards its tail, but breaks off at 80% its full dorsal fin length before its tail and later continues uninterrupted to its tail.
Why Clarias Gariepinus Is Most Widely Stocked By Farmers
They are most commonly stocked by farmers because of their commercial value which is a result of their relative faster growth, heavier weight and maturity within a short time between 5 to 6 months when compared to Heterobranchus and Heteroclarias.
Clarias Gariepinus are more tolerable to the environment. They perform well in cube concrete, earthen or other pond systems when compared to Heterobranchus and Heteroclarias.
Clarias Gariepinus perform relatively better than other species within a restricted space and as such you could stock more of them within a given space than others.
Though Heterobranchus and Heteroclarias grow to a very large size too, it’s not until they are from their 10th to 16th month of stocking.
Heterobranchus and Heteroclarias perform better in large spaces as well as in earthen ponds. The contrary is the case if they are raised in small spaces and in concrete ponds. Except that when raised in concrete ponds, the stocking density is very low say 2 to 3 per square meter and the pond water depth is not less than 5 feet
Heterobranchus and Heteroclarias are voracious feeders and as such, they cost more to feed.
Heterobranchus and Heteroclarias are commercially more viable than Clarias Gariepinus when harvested not earlier than the 12th month of stocking because, by that time, they should have grown very big and averagely weigh between 1.5kg and 3kg or even more, if properly fed and managed.
Heterobranchus and Heteroclarias growth are mostly enhanced by natural feeds.
Clarias Gariepinus is more rugged than Heterobranchus and Heteroclarias and it is more preferred by large scale buyers (market women) since it takes them some days to sell off the fish after harvesting, they need rugged fish that can stand the rigours of their handling.
That’s all on stocking of catfish ponds in Naija. You can take a look at my other topic where I wrote about how you can harvest Fingerlings and Juveniles.