Fish Farming: Building a Productive Pond

Fish Pond

The nutritional value of fish is higher than meat from cow, pig or goat. Fish provides a good source of high quality protein and contains many vitamins and minerals.

It may be classed as whitefish, oily fish, or shellfish. Whitefish, such as haddock and seer, contain very little fat (usually less than 1%) whereas oily fish, such as sardines, contain between 10-25%. The latter, as a result of its high fat content, contain a range of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and essential fatty acids, all of which are vital for the healthy functioning of the body.

Research has shown that the nutrients and minerals in fish, particularly the omega-3 fatty acids found in pelagic fishes, are heart-friendly and can make improvements in brain development and reproduction.

This So if anything, more fish farms should be build around the country and any Nigerian that is enterprising enough can tap into the unending resources that could be generated from a fish farm when it is properly managed.

Setting up a fishpond can be very easy and feasible with the right tools, materials and of course – technical know-how. The most cost effective way to construct a fishpond is to make one locally at your own back yard.

Digging of the fishpond and every other necessary step can be carried out by you and your friends, no need to pay for manual labor.

Step 1: Set up a Space

FM Fish pond 3

The construction of a fishpond requires a specific area of your farm or land in your back yard. Begin by marking the area where the pond will be, say, (7m by 10m rectangular area). This area is large enough for the fish to roam and small enough to stays on your land.

Avoid placing the pond in areas where water runs off after a heavy rain. You run the risk of contamination if unwanted elements from the environment wash into your pond. If weed killers get into the pond they may also kill your fish.

Dig up a 7m by 10m hole on the designated area, about 2ft to 5ft deep and cover up with a mixture of cement, sand and gravel (this is done to prevent water from leaking away to the surrounding soil. The edge of the pond should have a slight rise to keep out rain run-off. Make sure it looks nice and natural.

The surface and the surrounding of the pond can be decorated to your taste.

Step 2: Put in Wet Land Plants

FM Fish pond 2

Fishes eats wetland plants in their natural habitat. To anchor them without damaging their roots, take the roots in your hand and make a ‘beak’ with your fingers around them. Sink your hand into the bed and then open your fingers. This will make the roots spread out before the cover settles over them. Arrange them strategically so that the fish would have good hiding places.

 

Pond plant helps to effectively oxygenate the water, create shield for fishes, regulate the temperature of the pond and makes the pond look similar to their natural habitat. If you know how to identify this pond plant, you can pick from a nearby fishpond. There are about three kinds of pond plants.

  1. Submersed or oxygenating pond plant: These plants include Lotus and water lilies; they grow and blossom in the pond totally submerged including the leaves, attaching their roots to the bottom of the pond. These plants generate oxygen from the leaves for aquatic life and also create cover and a spawning environment for the fishes. It blossoms when fertilized with fish safe fertilizers.

 

  1. Floating pond plant: This kind of pond plant floats on the surface of the pond; it provides shades for the fishes on a sunny day and helps in regulating relative temperature. Examples of this plant include Water Hyacinths and Water Lettuce, these pond plants could be collected from the surrounding of a river and artificially planted in your own pond.

 

  • Deep Water Plant: This kind of plant grows out of the surface of the water, they have their roots often attached to the bottom of the pond with its leave right above water, and it beautifies the ponds, creating a sort of security for the smaller fishes.

All these plants are necessary when it comes to fish farming and building a pond that would sustain aquatic life. Introduce the pond plants and allow the pond for a period of a week or more.

Step 3: Water Supply

There are 2 things that you can do for this, the first is waiting for rain to come and fill up your hole or you can take the option of using your hose or a bucket to fill up the hole with water (you can fetch from a nearby stream). Most tap water has chlorine in it to kill germs, but it also kills the good bacteria needed.

Be sure to check the alkaline level if it is the same with their natural habitat, it is very necessary to fill up and drain the pond two to four times to remove chemicals accompanying the cement.

To keep the bottom cover (sand, gravel, etc) from being mussed, aim your hose into a bucket. Don’t forget to tie a long rope to that bucket; you probably won’t want to dive into muddy water for it when the pond is full.

Step 4: Let the Water Settle Before Putting in the Fish

Make sure you have species that won’t kill each other right off, and that are all edible. Include cleaners such as crawdads (crayfish) to keep the bottom clean; make sure they have plenty of rocks to hide under.

Before you put any fish into your pond, acclimatize them to the new water. Do this by putting them into a bucket with their original water, then gradually adding your pond water until they are breathing almost pure pond water. Then net them and gently dump them into your pond.

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