How To Raise Your Own Fish

Raising your own fish in a farm pond for business or for pleasure is fairly easy if you know the basics.

Stocking and raising fish in a farm pond is not difficult. To ensure a thriving fish population first you need to know some information about the species you want to raise. You can raise catfish, bass, bluegill, crappie, white amur grass carp or other species. There is no perfect fish for fish farming.

There are two fundamental requirements for raising fish. You have to have level land that is above the flood plain and a good supply of high quality water of sufficient quantity. The size of the pond will determine the amount of fish you can have. Most ponds have a few different species of fish.

If you want to make a business of raising and selling your product remember these things when choosing a fish species. Your fish should have these qualities.

1. They lay eggs that survive easily

2. The larvae is hardy and strong

3. Have fast growth

4. Adapt to supplemental feeding

5. High survival rate

6. Easy to handle

7. Easy to harvest

8. Easy to transport

9. Resistant to disease

10. Resistant to parasites

11. Not be cannibalistic

12. Not be territorial

13. Be in demand at the market

14. Easy to process

15. Can easily catch them

16. They reproduce in a farm pond

Catfish are very popular in farm ponds. Catfish are generally known to be the best food species in the pond. They are fast growers, they are clean and durable, and they do not eat smaller fish of other species. There are many different species of catfish, including channel, bullhead and others. Channel catfish are the most popular. Learn to handle catfish correctly to prevent injury.

Catfish feed on insects mostly. They also eat frogs and minnows. Catfish can grow up to one pound a year without any extra feeding. The average life span of a catfish is about 6 years.

One drawback for raising catfish is that they generally do not reproduce in farm ponds. This is because of a lack of habitat that is right for laying their eggs. If you provide the habitat such as tree stumps and rock ledges, you will encourage reproduction.

There are fish farming costs to take into consideration when having a farm fish pond for business.

Your capital costs are the land, aerators, oxygen meter, nets, feeding equipment, the pond construction and more depending on how extensive you get into farming fish.

Your operating costs will be the fish, feed, utilities, transportation, fuel, labor, phone bill, taxes, insurance and more.

Flathead minnows are the forage base for any species of fish you raise. For every acre of pond you can raise 200 channel catfish. Other species are stocked in different amounts. For these 200 catfish you will initially need to stock 10 pounds of flathead minnows, that is if you are supplying supplemental feeding. Your goal in effective stocking is a balanced fish population. Adhere to proper stocking ratios for your species and stock all species at the same time.

When you first put the fish in the pond they must be able to adjust to the temperature of the pond. This is called tempering. If this is not done properly you will lose many fish.

Whatever container you receive your fish in, it is a good idea to temper them in those containers before introducing them to their new environment. Add about 1 quart of pond water to their container they were shipped in. About every five minutes add another quart of pond water. When the water reaches the temperature of the pond, then the fish are ready for their new home. Release the fish easily and gently. Don't ever throw or dump the fish into the pond. Lower the container into the pond and let the fish swim out on it's own.

Fingerlings should be introduced into the pond where there are brush piles. This gives them protection from the more mature fish. It is a good idea to sink small trees (such as cedar trees or an old discarded Christmas tree) into the pond in different areas.

If your pond is small and used for personal use keep a record of the number of fish you catch, the size of the fish caught, the species and number restocked. Also keep a record of the amount of commercial food you fed your fish.

Most fish species can be stocked year round. Maintaining a proper balance of fish in the pond is important. You can determine the balance by just going fishing.

If you are feeding your fish supplemental floating food you must wait for the water to reach approximately 65 degrees. During the cold, winter months fish are less active and stay deeper in the water. They will not seek out the floating food at that time. So, during the winter you can feed them food that sinks. Remember to restock your flathead minnows for their forage base every six months. It takes about 250 minnows to weigh one pound. Depending on your supplier will determine the price you pay for the minnows.

Catfish and other fish can be trained to come to floating food. Start out by putting a metal pipe into the water and tapping on it with a hammer. Then start broadcasting the food onto the water. Do this for a few days in a row and the fish will come and find the food. They will feed actively so try to feed them all they can eat in about fifteen minutes. When you call your fish, try to feed them in the same place and at the same time every day.

The only thing that may pose a problem for your pond are turtles. They can eat a lot of the food and take up a lot of the oxygen as well. Just get a turtle trap and catch them. Release them somewhere they won't harm your pond.

Whether you have a farm pond for business or just for your pleasure, you will be fascinated seeing them feed and thrive in your pond. There is nothing quite like a meal of fresh fish after a tug of war with that fish.

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