Fish Farm Design
Aquaculture generally involves fish farming in ponds. Sometimes fish tanks are used, though. The fish ponds are designed to take advantage of water sources from boreholes, lakes, rivers or wells. However, designing a fish farm requires a grasp of aquatic ecosystem. Here is a look at some considerations to be made in designing a fish farm:
Fish Farm Design – Water System
The fish farm design should allow for water to pass through the pond gradually so that it is not perfectly still. Alternatively, a machine such as an aerator or an air pump can be used to stir up the water and keep up the levels of dissolved oxygen. For maximum production, only replace water lost through evaporation and percolation through the soil. A high rate of water replacement can result in wasting feeds and fertilizer which is not cost effective for fish farming.
Fish Farm Design – Size of the pond
A fish pond can be anything from 10 meters squared to several hectares squared. Usually, a smaller pond is great for spawning and fingerling production, but larger ponds are used to raise fingerlings.
Generally, a pond cannot be larger than 10 ha or fish farmers will have a hard time managing it. The considerations taken in to account in choosing the size of pond is the amount of money available, the equipment and the environmental conditions.
Fish Farm Design – The Location and Shape of the Pond
A fish pond has to always be located near a water source and on a gently sloping land. The shape is usually square or rectangular. But rectangular ponds are better for easy feeding, maintenance and harvesting. The pond has to have a dyke around it that protects the fish from being carried away by excess water flow. This also means pond should not be near a flooding river, as this will result in fish being washed away.
The gradient of the side slopes has to be either 2:1 or 3:1 to make sure that handlers can access the pond easily and also controls problems with soil erosion.
- Security Considerations
Fish farm design has to take into account security concerns because fish are an investment that cost time and money and need to be protected. Put up the pond somewhere you can easily monitor it, preferably on a daily basis. Secondly, stick tree branches into the water which will make it complicated for just anyone to come and fish with a net or a fishing rod. Bamboo poles are also good. Avoid having the fish pond covered by trees and bushes this will help reduce the predators like rats and snakes around. Putting a fence around the pond can also help. In order to reduce predation by birds, ensure that the water in the pond is not too clear. Very clear water makes fish visible and very easy for birds to catch.
- The Specific Breed of Fish
Generally, fish farmers in Africa culture catfish or Tilapia because they are popular and well adapted to the climate. Consider behavior and physiology of the fish before designing fish farm. Tilapia feeding patterns are different from those of catfish, and they have different demands. Tilapia for example, can survive with a lower dissolved oxygen level.
Other Article of Interest
- Tilapia Farming in Africa
- Making Money in Fish Farming in Africa
- Fish Farm Design
- Fish Farming in Ponds
- Fish Farm Equipment
- Fish Farm Hatcheries
- Fish Farm Feed
- Fish Care, Management, and Disease Prevention