There is no way you can be a successful fish farmer if you do not have a working fish pond management technique. This goes a long way to determine the productivity of a fish farm, its profitability, as well as the cost of loss due to death and diseases.
Fish pond management is a set of practices that ensures the fish environment and all factors that affects its survival are in place. It can be broadly divided into two main categories depending on the stage of the management, they are;
- Pre-stocking fish pond management
- Post stocking fish pond management
A pre-stocking fish pond management are practices that are put in place before the arrival of the fish to the pond. Normally, fish are usually stocked at the fingerling stage. This stage is very delicate as the tiny fish babies are still fragile and needs a very conducive environment to thrive.
Therefore, if the pond is not managed as supposed at this stage, your farm will experience a fatal and massive loss. The following are some of the practices that are necessary before the stocking of the fish;
1. Proper construction of fish pond
Pond construction is a very important topic in fish pond management. This is because every other aspect of taking care of your pond revolves around the type and the quality of your pond. When considering the pond construction, site choosing is of utmost importance.
A good fish pond is to have a very nice topography that will encourage drainage and water recycling. In addition, the source and quality of water to your pond should be considered when selecting a fish pond site. And finally, the type of soil for the pond helps to determine water lost due to seeping.
Again, for ease and efficient fish pond management, it is better you consider the advantages some types of fish pond have over others before choosing the type of pond to use. Example, the drainage of concrete fish pond is easier than that of earthen pond. However, earthen ponds have a rich vegetation and zooplanktons that mimics the natural habitat of fishes.
Read more on Fish Pond Construction And Types
2. Concrete Fish Pond Curing
After constructing your concrete fish ponds, curing should be the next thing in your mind. Normally, newly constructed cement ponds release excess lime into the pond water if not cured. These limes raises the pH of your pond water and become detrimental to your fishes.
Therefore, before stocking your fishes, it is important that you shed these excess limes from a newly constructed cement ponds.
One of the cheapest and easiest way of curing a concrete pond is to fill the pond with water and cover with plastic bag for weeks. Then flush the pond, refill again and check the pH. Repeat this process till you get the desired pH for your pond water.
3. Fish pond liming
Pond liming is a pond management technique that involves the use agricultural limestone, basic slag, slaked lime, quick lime and liquid lime to balance the pH of a pond. This is important because very acidic or basic pond is detrimental to the growth and survival of fishes.
Therefore, liming is an effective way of buffering the pond to ensure an optimum pH of the pond is maintained before stocking.
However, it is important to know when to lime a pond or not. Before liming a pond, it is better to collect random water samples from the pond and test the pH with an indicator. If the total alkalinity of the water sample is less than 20 mg/L, then you will have to lime your pond.
4. Fish pond fertilization
Another pre- stocking strategy for fish pond management is the pond fertilization. Fertilization of a fish pond involves the addition of either an organic or inorganic manure to a pond to stimulate the growth of phytoplanktons which serves as source of food and nutrients to the fishes.
These Phytoplanktons help to supplement the fish meal and provide additional nutrition. Again, fishes can as well absorb minerals from these organic matters that will help in their development.
Another advantage of fertilization is that it helps to regulate the Nitrogen balance of the pond. This is important because nitrogenous waste is one of the major contaminants of a pond.
Post stocking management
The post stocking fish pond management involves all the strategies that are put in place to make sure that the fish environment is safe and conducive for growth after stocking.
Population control management
The phase of fish stocking is important in the fish pond management strategy. This is because the stocking density varies with the feed competition, the rate of contracting and spread of disease, cannibalisms amongst the stocks, competition for space and pollution of the fish pond water.
In other words, overcrowded fish pond poses stress on fishes. Oxidative stress is the most significant of all and is caused by the competition for dissolved oxygen and suffocation.
Therefore, there is need to control the number of fishes per meter square of the pond. Ideally, For earthen pond, stocking density of 20-30 fish/m2 is recommended. While in concrete tank with adequate water 40-50 fish/m2 can be stocked. However, the stocking density in a re-circulatory system could be up to 100 fish/m2 .
Another important factor in pond population control management is Sorting. This is the separation of different categories of fishes like male and female, mature and immature, different species etc. Sorting is done to prevent big fishes from eating small ones or for reproductive purpose.
Water quality control
The water medium means everything to fishes. Therefore, improper management of the pond water is synonymous to disaster in a fish farm. Consequently, there is need to often monitor the change in optimum water quality of the pond.
Quality water for fish pond should meet a standard necessary for survival of fishes. Meanwhile, there are 6 water parameters to test to ensure that the fish water is still safe. As a matter of fact, i advice every farmer to have a complete fish water test kits to always detect any irregularity early and handle it.
The 6 water parameters to monitor in a fish pond includes;
- Dissolved Oxygen
- Pollutants and Fish wastes such as Ammonia, Nitrogenous waste and Carbon dioxide.
- Microbial load
To learn more about pond water quality regulation and monitoring of these 6 parameters, read our post on Ways To Test, Monitor And Manage Fish Pond Water Quality.
Fish feeding management
To ensure optimal growth and development of the fishes, you must learn the proper feeding technique. This means that you do not just go and deposit feed in water and expect to get the best result in your farm.
So, there are things to consider when feeding your fishes. These includes;
- Management of feed ration: This involves the calculation of the amount of feed proffered per fish or fishes in a pond. Feed ration is important because it helps you to avoid wastage of feed or improper management of resources. It also helps to decrease the deterioration of water quality due to decay of excess feed in the water. As a result, helps saves cost on disease management due to pond water quality.
- Feeding frequency and timing: There is no iron clad rule on the number of times you feed your fishes a day. But note that, neither under feeding nor over feeding is good for your fishes. Therefore, It is recommended that fish should be fed regularly, at least twice daily at specific times (usually 10.00 am and 5.00 pm). Improper feeding frequency will affect your production outcome.
- Fish feed nutritional composition: Another important feeding management strategy is knowing and manipulating the nutritional composition of your fish feed. There are 3 different types of feed for your fishes; Natural foods, Supplementary foods and commercial feeds. As a matter of fact, it is best to make sure that the nutritional requirements of your feeds are achieved. This can be done by either producing your own feed, using natural feeds or adding supplements to your commercial feeds. If you properly manage what your fishes eat, there is high probability of you getting your desired fish sizes.
- Feeding method: The feeding method goes a long way to determine the feeding habits of your fishes, prevents wastage and deterioration of water quality. In addition, it helps you to also spot fishes that are probably sick because of change in feeding habit. The broadcast method of feeding is usually applicable as it tells the farmer when fishes are no longer coming up for feeds.
To learn more about Fish Feeding and management. Read our post on: Catfish Feeds And Feeding | Types, Nutrition, Ration And Method
Disease monitoring is of core importance in a fish pond management plan. This will include the measures put in place to prevent disease outbreak. The best way to do this is to prevent factors that can cause disease in your farm. Example, proper water management will prevent infectious diseases such as bacterial and fungi infections.
On the other hand, some factors around the environment such as stress and nutritional deficiencies can also be an implicating risk factor in your farm. Some of these risk factors includes;
- Ammonia intoxication
- High stocking densities
- High pathogen load
- Reduced oxygen level
- Lack of proper water management
- Transference of disease from another farm
Therefore, the best technique for managing disease in a farm is to prevent these diseases from developing. Vaccination, Fish bath, water management etc. are adopted to prevent an outbreak.
For further reading on Fish Disease And Management, Follow this link.
Prevention of predators
It is important to also know that you are not the only animal that loves fish. Therefore, you are to do everything possible to make sure that you are not running a charity organization for other animals.
You can do this by proper fencing of the pond, covering the pond with a net and clearing any bush around that can harbor a predator.
Fish pond management is of core value when running a Fish farming Business. It entails all the Pre stocking and post stocking activities that ensures the safety and thriving of a fish in a pond.
Improper of poor fish pond management leads to unnecessary cost on diseases, death, lost and waste. Therefore, every farmer should adopt these methods to ensure productivity.
Subscribe to our email list for more of these techniques and click the share button too.