Agriculture-Animal Husbandry93 Comments

How to Start Fish Farming

There are so many information on the internet on how to start fish farming especially catfish farming 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.

Catfish Farming Nigeria Picture
Matured Catfish, Ready For Market |

If you are thinking of business to start now, I recommend you start Catfish Farming. 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 alone.

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 farming. 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 In Fish Farming

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.

Catfish Ponds For Catfish Farming
Example of local fish ponds in Nigeria

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 Standard Fish Farming

I found the analysis below and decided to add it as sample case study you can follow.

SEE ALSO: Feasibility Study On Poultry Farming For Beginners

“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 =7,000×4 = 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 30×10,000 = 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 800×9800 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 business 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, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa.

Ask questions or share your experience in fish business with us through comment below.

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93 Comments on this article

  • Asah Walters November 11, 2013

    very nice

  • Asah Walters November 11, 2013

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

    • Darlinton Omeh November 11, 2013

      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

  • Benjamin Ekejimbe November 13, 2013

    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.

    • Darlinton Omeh November 13, 2013

      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

    • Anonymous December 17, 2014

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

  • Lawrence Melford December 12, 2013

    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…

  • Anonymous January 10, 2014

    thanks for this. i will be back

  • Anonymous February 20, 2014

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

  • Anonymous February 24, 2014

    Pls where can I get more insight on fish farming

  • Anonymous February 27, 2014

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

  • Anonymous March 20, 2014

    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

    • MMJ FARMS June 2, 2014

      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.

    • Anonymous October 12, 2014

      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

  • Anonymous March 22, 2014

    Fish farming is my ideal biz.

  • iortyer pine April 14, 2014

    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

  • iortyer pine April 14, 2014

    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?

  • Anonymous April 27, 2014

    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



  • kingsley opule May 5, 2014

    do you have the ebook on cat fish farming

  • kingsley opule May 5, 2014

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

  • Gamonye May 12, 2014

    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.

  • Anonymous May 27, 2014

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



  • Anonymous June 9, 2014

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

  • Sage June 18, 2014

    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.

  • Anonymous June 24, 2014

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

  • abelite July 23, 2014

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

  • Anonymous August 1, 2014

    thanks a lot

  • Anonymous August 6, 2014

    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.

  • Andrew A E August 17, 2014

    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.

  • Anonymous August 26, 2014

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

  • Anonymous August 27, 2014

    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

  • Anonymous August 31, 2014

    can easily be marketed

  • Anonymous September 5, 2014

    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…

  • Anonymous September 9, 2014

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

  • Anonymous September 15, 2014

    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

  • Anonymous September 16, 2014

    This is interesting

  • Anonymous October 13, 2014

    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

  • Anonymous October 21, 2014


  • PROMISE October 26, 2014

    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.

  • Anonymous October 27, 2014

    Nice Piece…Very Enlightening !

  • Anonymous November 5, 2014

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

  • Lilian November 21, 2014

    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.

  • DK December 4, 2014

    Thank you Darlinton and everyone who commented. God bless

  • Anonymous December 17, 2014

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

  • CHAMPION MASO December 19, 2014

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

  • Anonymous December 22, 2014

    Hw do you care for you fish asin cat fish

  • Anonymous December 29, 2014

    Frm day 1 to what to be selling out. Do w need scale

  • Anonymous January 3, 2015

    I find this very encouraging. However, I do feel that you should have added that starters should do that with limited number of fish say…500, to test if their fish can survive in their ponds before increasing in number.


  • Fish Video January 3, 2015

    This is very informative, Sir Darlington. Thanks for sharing!

  • Anonymous January 4, 2015

    What is the correct number of bags/cost to feed 10,000finglings to maturity for what period of time?

  • Anonymous January 4, 2015

    What is the correct number of bags/cost to feed 10,000 fingerlings to maturity for what period of time?

  • Anonymous January 10, 2015

    Thank u sir

  • Anonymous January 14, 2015

    I have about 1.5m at hand and 2 plot of land. Would that be enough to get started?

  • Anonymous January 19, 2015

    Thank soo much Sir. I really learnt alot through this articule.
    Sir, I have a plot of land and likewise, I have a very Big compound too with a standard bore hole water system. My questions are: 1. How can I start the biz with d sum of 500k., pond moulding expenses excluded. 2. Like how many fingerlings or juvenile can I get with My little fiunds. 3. How much does each juvenile or fingerlings cost? 4. What could be the size or measurement of the ponds., assuming am projecting for 2 to 3 ponds in a row? 5. Where can I get to buy the fingerlings in Ekiti state? Meanwhile, the 500k will carried the feeding as well. Tnx

  • Adamu January 29, 2015

    Very insightful blog post. Would you agree that a lot of fish farmers in Nigeria fail due to poor farm sites? I've seen this many times where people invest in places with inadequate water supply, bad soils, and are located in remote locations that are not easily accessed by markets and/or supplies. This makes it difficult for them to trade their products.

    • Darlinton Omeh January 29, 2015

      Adamu, you are very right. Most business in Nigeria fails due to lack of proper planning and inadequate knowledge. A lot of people plan poorly and when the business fails, they blame it on the business.

  • Anonymous February 23, 2015

    to get some training on fish farming, is there any fish farm you know of in enugu? thanks for the info great work

  • Anonymous March 5, 2015

    nice work u re doing here mr Darlington

  • Yawar Nawaz January 19, 2016

    National Aquaculture Group (NAQUA) is one of the largest aquaculture operation of its type in the world and offers you the opportunity to enjoy products grown in our farms strategically located by the coast of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia.

  • Hussaina Abulfathi February 3, 2016

    This is wonderful, I have been waiting this day to come I want this business for along time. Thank you for your efforts and concerns. I will be asking questions whenever there is need God bless you.

  • temmy February 3, 2016

    I am learning on this site everyday! Thanks

  • PIPER March 3, 2016

    I have an acre of land somewhere in agbara and i want to start fish farming there.

    i will need good a good consultant to work with me in setting up my farm
    pls contact me

  • Evang. Ugbaga Ukpai March 7, 2016

    Dear Mr. Oweh,

    I would like to receive your periodic Newsletter on Fish Farming. I am a teacher on Fishery(Entrepreneurial Development).

    Your assistance will be of immense help.


    Evang.Ugbaga Ukpai
    c/o Aba General Post Office,
    Aba, Abia State.

  • Taymite March 7, 2016

    good projection and plan but you have left out the projection for manpower.

  • oluchi immaculate March 22, 2016

    for now i am not able to get a farmland for my fish farm,,, i was told i could use a big drum for a start,,, pls how does that work? is it possible?

  • oyas March 28, 2016

    Thanks Mr Darlington for this write-up. Pls l need your help.
    I am new in to catfish farming . About three weeks ago I discovered whitish substances on the head of my fishes and I administered antibiotics on them . Yesterday I went to the farm and saw about 100 of them dead and float. Pls sir what could be the cause? Thanks

  • Funsho March 29, 2016

    Thanks for this information. I would like to have your regular news letter on fish farming.

  • Bilhatu Yusufu April 1, 2016

    Thank you Mr Darlington for that write up. Please is the use of trampoline as ponds adviseable.

  • Marty Mamud April 5, 2016

    Hello can someone help me.

    I am looking for Artemia Shell Free feed. Can someone suggest places where I can get it at a good price

    Kind regards

  • Jb April 11, 2016

    Nice write up. At least this can give someone headsup!

  • Abdullahi April 16, 2016

    This is wonderful, may I have ur address here in Nigeria. Just interested on this farming

  • likinyo odunayo April 18, 2016

    Good writeup my bro.God blessed you with all your efforts in putting up this article

  • likinyo odunayo April 18, 2016

    Pls, is there any Govt grant on fingerlings and where if any, also can you send me your contact number tru my e. Mail address.thanks

  • Solomon bitrus April 26, 2016

    Good day sir,i will like to know where to get fingerling in plateau

  • Mr Maxwell April 28, 2016

    Great post Sir, quite insightful.
    Information is power!

  • Confidence April 30, 2016

    Thanks Ur Writeup Sir. Can I Start With 2ponds

  • Udechukwu Humphrey C. May 7, 2016

    Thanks for the analysis given above on Fish farming. I actually wanted to start but on a small scale of about 2000, using 2 not 3 X 2.5 X 1.4 (m) pond.
    My questions are as follows

    * Can I use 1.5 X 2.5 X 1.4 pond
    * Start with 500 in each tank
    * After 3 months , start with another 1000
    With this arrangement while selling off the batech, the second batch will mature next 3 months, while a new batch will be introduced. The cycle continues.

  • Sowunmi, Olatunde May 10, 2016

    Welldone for this write-up, it is a nice one . Some of ur type will hide all these information u have given freely here and ask prospective farmers to come and buy some not too well written books/CD for 5000naira. Thanks so much for sharing ur knowledge and experience with others. My question is on the “cost of treatment”. What kind of treatment are we refering to here. Thanks. ,

  • annonymous May 18, 2016

    Thank you for this article, but I bet you won’t be able to make much profit at first, but as you continue in the business, with good management skills you will make profit. Though hatching is capital intensive to start, but it’s more lucrative and less expensive to feed. But you require skills and experience for hatching. If everything is in place you will be able to make good profit when you combine both.
    Thank you

  • precious June 14, 2016

    thanks for the insight i love it please can i get this article in a mail cause i love it if i can get it i will appreciate it very much my mail address is thanks

  • NJO Eke June 20, 2016

    Thank you very much for your write up. I have heard people talk about “fertilisation in fish farming”. What is it really about and how is it done??

  • Gee July 4, 2016

    Mr Darlington’

    Weldone post you have up here. It’s educating but the cost of feeding is not quite correct and you made no mention of payroll.

    I am a prospective farmer and have just started digging my earthen ponds. Feeds is a major challenge; you need to emphasise that. Thanks.


  • Odz July 15, 2016

    How often should the water in the pond be changed.

  • Odz July 15, 2016

    How often should the water in the pond be changed. Can tarpaulin be used to construct ponds and any treatment required?

  • felicia agberagba July 20, 2016

    do you have the market for it? or how do you sell it?

  • felicia agberagba July 20, 2016

    how do you know the high species of catfish?

  • Amisy July 23, 2016

    wow this is really a great article. It not only encourages people to start fish farming, but provides effective how-to. thank you for sharing. besides that, people also can manufacture fish feed pellets ( to save cost!

  • Ensy August 28, 2016

    I need to get experience from a renowned farm where tilapia is raised. PIs where is the nearest to Akwa Ibom ?

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