How to Start Fish Farming in Nigeria

Posted by: Darlinton Omeh on Sunday, November 10, 2013 Category:
There are so many information on the internet on "How to Start Fish Farming in Nigeria" but few are detailed enough to really assist aspiring fish farmer to get started. I will be endeavor to make this article as detailed as possible and hope that other experienced fish farmer will add to it as we try to answer people's questions through commenting. 

One of the most popular farming in Nigeria is fish farming and for good reasons. Gone are the days when the only means of getting fish is by catching it in the local rivers and ponds through trial and errors. Today, the modern farm practice has made it possible to grow fish in the farms and control the input.


If you are thinking of business to start now, I recommend you start CatFish Farming in Nigeria. If you are an existing farmer and you are looking for expanding your farm capacity, I'd encourage you add fish farming to your farm. Fish farming (especially catfish) is most compatible with poultry farming as you can use the poultry drops to make the feeds for your fish.

Benefits of Fish Farming

1. Fishery products is by far the most popular animal products in the market, constituting more than 60% of meat products in the Nigerian market.

2. Fish is one of the highest source of protein. Fish is a low-fat high quality protein that is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). Fish is also very rich in calcium and phosphorus and is equally a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.

3. Fish sells faster than any other animal products in the market and is relatively cheaper than meats, making it the number one choice when it comes to affordability.

4. Fish grows very fast as practices in fish farming makes it possible for farmers to increase the fastness of their fish growth by giving them certain feeds, ensuring that you harvest and sell within short period of time.

5. Fish is the biggest source of Omega-3 fatty acids which is extremely beneficial to human heart; Omega-3 helps to keep our heart and brain very healthy. Since bodies don't produce Omega-3 fatty acids, the only source through which we can get it is by what we eat, that is where fish comes to the rescue.

6. Fish farming is very profitable. With proper planning and good management, N3 million investment in fish farming could easily result to N4 million of pure profit within six months.

7. Fish farm does not cause any environmental hazard. Unlike poultry farming, you can setup fish farm anywhere, including residential areas. If you have a specious compound, you can easily setup a small fish farm within your backyard without any regulatory precaution.

Risks and Challenges in Fish Farming

1. Fish is very sensitive to manage and a slight mistake could result to degenerated growth of your fish or even death which may cause massive revenue loss.

2. Setting up fish farm is capital intensive, much more than that of poultry and snail farm. Setting up fish farm requires more careful planning and much capital input. A relatively small fish farm may take up to N500,000 to setup, while bigger ones takes millions of naira.

3. Due to the cost of production, fish produced from the farm is priced higher than those caught from the rivers and ponds by fishermen. Therefore, if there are good quantity of fisherman's fish in the market, you may find it difficult to sell as people would prefer the cheaper ones.

4. There is no byproduct in fishery unlike poultry where even the drop can be harvested and sold to other farmers and make extra profit. In fishery, all you get is the flesh

Types of Fish You Can Farm

Haven seen the benefits as well as the risks involved in fish farming, let's now proceed to decide which specie of fish we want to farm. Below are some of the most popular fish species that is suitable for Aquaculture.

1. Cat Fish - Even though Catfish is not the most popular fish in Nigeria, this fish species is by far the most cultivated in Nigeria. One thing good about catfish is that it is one of the easiest fish species to cultivate. So, people naturally flow to the direction of fish specie they found to be the easiest to cultivate.

2. Tilapia - Second most popular fish in Nigeria's aquaculture industry, Tilapia is a fish species that lives in fresh shallow water. Tilapia is very easy to cultivate and very popular in Nigerian market, it reproduces very rapidly and grows fast too.

3. Mackerel (Titus) -  This is by far the most popular fish in Nigerian market but so sad it's not farmed. All Mackerel Fish are "wild caught" but some farmer in Nigeria are considering the possibility of creating artificial salty water that will be similar to sea water where mackerel can only survive. Can this deep blue sea fish specie be cultivated artificially? Only time will tell but for now, you have to focus your attention to Catfish and Tilapia.

What You Need to Get Started

1. Secure a Land - Any location is good since fish doesn't cause any environmental disturbance. Look for land where you can get it cheap and buy. Depending on the capacity you wants to operate on, half plot of land is just good enough for average fish farm.

However, you may go for something bigger like full plot or two if you can afford it probably for convenience sake. If you already have a compound with leftover space you thing can accommodate two or three ponds, you may use it.

2. Construct Ponds - You need to engage the service of expert pond construction engineer or you go to another fish farm to get the specification and construction requirements. The plumbing work must be properly done to ensure proper drainage.

Example of what fish ponds looks like. You need to visit fish farms to see it

3. Dig a Borehole - Adequate water supply is the lifeblood of fish farm and lack of it may result to disaster because water need to be changed on regular interval. Naturally available sources of water such as borehole and river water is the most suitable. Rain water and tap water from chemically treated source is not recommended for fish cultivation. 

4. Overhead Tank - This is the water reservoir from which water is supplied to your ponds. This tank has to be connected to your ponds through plumbing system to make it convenient for water to flow into your ponds when needed. 

5. Juvenile Fish - Get your juvenile from another farm that specializes in supplying it. You need to go for the high yield specie of catfish or tilapia and make sure you are getting it from a healthy farm.

6. Get Training - Not the kind of training you get from one day seminars; you need to get attached to a fish farm for proper apprenticeship. For you to properly learn this trade, you need at least two months training on this. 

Remember that your investment is at stake, trial and error is not good in business except you have unlimited funds to experiment with.

Feasibility Study for a Standard Fish Farm

I found the analysis below from Kings Way Agro Services and decided to add it as sample case study you can follow. 

"This feasibility study prepared for a catfish farm capacity of 10,000 and fingerlings of high breed catfish where to be stocked. The expenses from pond construction to marketing is considered. The farm is to have 10 concrete ponds of flow through system and each pond is to contains 1,000 stocked catfish.

Cost of constructing each pond is as follows.

Each pond is 3m x 2.5m by 1.4m, each pond consumes 210 blocks and each bag of cement for 30 blocks. Hence 210 x 10 = 2,100 blocks. 2,100/30 = 70 bags of cement needed. 2000 x 70 = 140,000 naira.

4trips of sand used =7,000x4 = N28,000 

2trips of gravel = 32,000x 2 = N64,00 

Cost of labour = N150,00 

Cost of plumbing (inlet and outlet facility) = N100,000.

Cost of bore hole = N150,000.

Cost of treatment = N50,000.

Cost of high breed fingerlings 30x10,000 = N300,000.

Cost of feeding from day one to maturity stage is 200 bags of foreign feed = N1,000,000.

After the average weight of the fish was 1.7kg. And it was sold at 800 naira each. The output was 800x9800 fishes, due to 200 mortality. 800 x 9800 = N7,840,000.

Input is N3.25'million. The profit is N4.59 million after six months of culture." Following this cost analysis, you can easily invest N3 million and expect a massive turnover of N4 million with six months it will take for you to harvest and sell.

There is no doubt that fish farming is very lucrative and profitable in Nigeria. You need to get it right by drawing complete business plan and following it to the later. You need to apply good management skills and follow the acceptable standard. If you do all these, you are sure to make good profit from your fish farming business in Nigeria.

Ask questions or share your opinions with us by dropping us a comment below.

+Darlinton Omeh on Google+


am a Cameroonian just want to know if catfish and tilapia do well in my country?


Why not, can do extremely well your country and if the farmers there are few, you may just have hit a goldmine. Make sure you do your research well before starting


Pls I want to know this, after the fishes are fully grown how do I get the market to buy how and where do I go to get the market.


Fast foods people, restaurants, hotels, point and kill beer palours, market women, frozen food sellers, these are all your market. Reach out to them and market your fish. Thousands of metric tons of fish is marketed this way every months

Lawrence Melford mod

Thank you so much Mr. Darlinton.i'm a corp member at the moment but i have interest in Agro-Allied business,specifically Poultry,Fish farming and Piggery.this aticle will be of great help to me.
Do you have other articles on piggery and poultry? That will be helpful too...


thanks for this. i will be back


This is a great opportunity for people. I strongly believe in Agriculture. It's one sure way to make money in life


Pls where can I get more insight on fish farming


Can't see cost of buying or leasing the land in your analysis


hello sir
i disagree with you on the cost of feeding 10,000 fishes
it cost about 4million niara to feed 10 fishes at a cost of 400naira per fish for 6months


Fish farming is my ideal biz.


Thanks for all your education on fish farming. I have interest in this biz,but I don't have the capital. what would you advice?Also I have particular interest in that specie of fish that looks like a cat fish but with a pointed narrow mouth where and how can I get the fingerlings?
Mr.Pine Makurgi


Thanks for all the info. I have interest in this biz, I have enough land but no funds to commence. Do you have an advice to this? More so I have particular interest in that specie that looks like the cat fish but with a long narrow mouth. Where can one get the fingerlings from?


Great job!! please kindly aid me; a pound of 22mx22m and 1.66 deep, how catfish shall i put in to this pound while grow upto havest




do you have the ebook on cat fish farming


i want to know if you have the ebook on catfish farming


eBook is just for reading sake. it does not really give the knowledge needed for fish farming. you have to be on a farm and learn. i am a fish farmer.


No, we don't have any eBook on Fish Farming for now but may develop it later


This is really nice. Can I have ur mobile number for enquiry.




True talk. Besides, to get 1.7kg fish each, you need more than 4m may be 5.5m to feed. Who will buy your fish at 800 naira, except you want to hawk it.


This is very educative thanks a million, your type are very few. God bless u. From Mr Emma O.


Great job you are doing Darlington. But my candid advice to potential fish farmers is to plan their marketing strategy properly. Its the most important aspect to consider. Production is not really the challenge but the marketing is it. We were only two fish farmers in my local government yet i begged buyers even at 400 naira for a 1.5kg cat fish. the local government in question is arguably one of the oldest local government in Nigeria, so the population was there.


Wat is size of a pond that can take 1,000 fingerlings to table size


Really nice article,marketing your produce could really pose a big chalange.But we dnt need to give up


thanks a lot


This is really nice. God bless you.
Some parts of the country have well developed fish farming areas around the rivers. some of the ponds there are for rentals. so you can rent a pond there and enjoy the experience of other older fish farmers around. This is how I hope to start as I do not have enough capital to build my own pond yet. Also it is worthy of mention that you must not start with 10,000 fishes; 2,000 or less is also possible, especially if you are a newbie. God bless you for this.


What of the cost and material analysis for the concrete floor,flooring and the pond body work,like the plastering and finishing work -Andrew A. E.


What are the legal requirements?and licences as well? Please answer asap. Thanks for the article and the anticipated answer.


You must know about the business before investing, plz dont fall the same problem like me. There are many things to know and plz dont borrow money to start the business, use you own money first. but its a good business


can easily be marketed


Nice article. Very insightful too. However, I feel the cost of fish from the open sea is likely to be a lot cheaper than that from intensive care.... Stiff competition then..... I feel more time should be spent on cost effectiveness to combat competition...


This is very educative and detailed. You hardly find texts like this. great!!!.


i am interested in a tilapia breeding but not for commercial, just to meet my family needs. can i breed in a gp tank in my backyard and where can i get the juveniles to buy also can you do a write up on breeding snails. thank you. Irene Enitan


This is interesting


I live in kebbi where can I find a fish farm to train


That is correct. The price of 800 is what the hawkers sell the fish for after buying it at around N500 from the farm. besides the average weight is 1kg


Good write up. i'm interested in fish farming on a small scale for personal comsumption. Can the fingerlins do well in a bath, & how many can strive well in a big bath? thanks Joshua




Nice article, at least it gives u a direction and serves as guide. I believe there is wide market for fish in Nigeria and its a good business and can serve as additional source of income as it can be done as a part time business. very important to note is that starting small is best for beginners then after you have acquired experience and are ready to hit big, you can now look for money. Thanks once again for the article.


Nice Piece...Very Enlightening !


Please i would like to know precisely how long does it take for fingerlings to fully grow.


Thanks for the info on fish farming. I am actually interested in it, will like to go for training on it but don't know of any Fish farm where I reside in Enugu.


Thank you Darlinton and everyone who commented. God bless


nor nor, u have me as cousin try and reach out to me, galaxies reagan


Please the information shared here is wrong concerning producing 10, 000 fingerlings with 200 bags of feed.


thanks for this article it has really help me in my seminar work, this is a good one


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