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How To Feed Your Catfish The Right Way

Here's Absolutely Everything You Need to Know About Feeding Catfish.

How To Feed Your Catfish The Right Way
It’s no secret that feeding is the most important task in the production of catfish — aside from personal experience, studies even show this. So if you have catfish in your pond, be reminded that there won't be any gain without feed.

Here are some tips to help you decide on how to feed your catfish (or see if the feed you already have is suitable for catfish) and how to make sure your catfish get the best nutrition they deserve.

1. Choose the right type of food

There are many catfish feed, but you must choose the type of food that has all the necessary nutrients at the right levels and the energy the fish need in a water-stable, readily digestible form.

Find Food Rich in Protein, Lipid and Carbohydrate

Catfish need a diet comprised of protein, lipid and carbohydrates for maintenance and growth. As you select your catfish food, make sure that you choose feed rich in these nutrients.
  • Protein: the dry weight of fish muscle is made up of about 70% protein. So, you should try and give your catfish the type of food that is rich in protein. This will help in their growth and maintenance. Although feed that has 28-35% protein is suitable for catfish, you have to change the protein level as the fish and fish prices change so as to make profit in your business. But if you can afford a diet with the same amount of protein throughout the growing season, there's nothing wrong with that. The only thing you should guide against is feeding your catfish with a diet that is low in protein. This is because diets with lower levels of protein may increase body fat which may in turn reduce dressed yield and shorten shelf life of frozen products.
  • Lipids: most catfish feed contain lipids and their constituent fatty acids. Lipids play major roles as sources of metabolic energy for growth including reproduction and movement. They also supply essential fatty acids (EFA), help in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, and increase food intake.
  • Carbohydrates in the form of starch is also important to a catfish's diet. They help in providing the catfish with an inexpensive energy source. Many commercial catfish feed contain about 25% digestible carbohydrates.

Read the Labels on the Catfish Feed

If you want to buy a commercial catfish feed for the first time, try and read the label on the package carefully to make sure the brand is healthy. Most commercial catfish food brands are made with a combination of protein, lipids, and carbohydrates. They are also fortified with the vitamins and minerals your catfish need for overall health.

Look for ingredients that you know, such as fishmeal, poultry by-product meal, meat and bone meal, blood meal, catfish offal meal, etc.

Avoid food that contains a heavy amount of crude fibre (above 5%). This is because catfish have low capability to digest crude fiber.

Adjust the Food Type Based on Catfish Age and Size

If you want to feed your catfish the right way, adequate attention should be given to their age and size by matching the feed size to the fish size.

If you are stocking catfish fingerlings weighing 3-4g, the feed must be small enough so they can eat it. Feed with size of about 1.5mm will be suitable for catfish fingerlings weighing 3-4g.

If you have post-fingerlings weighing 4-6g, they should be able to eat any commercial catfish feed with size of 1.8mm.

Juveniles weighing 6-10g will need feed size of about 2mm, while post-juvenile will be comfortable with similar size of feed.

If you're feeding your catfish with floating feed, ensure that you adjust the size of the feed as they grow bigger such as below:

Fish weighing 10-50g should be fed with 2mm sized feed; 50-150g with 3mm sized feed; and 150-400g with 4mm sized feed.

If you want to switch to sinking feed after two months, ensure that catfish weighing 200-300g are fed with 2mm sized sinking feed, 300-600g with 4mm; and 600g-1kg+ with 6mm.

If the catfish in your pond consist of different sizes, use mixed feed sizes or use feed that can be eaten by the smaller fish.

2. Select a Method of Feeding Your Catfish

Once you've stocked a pond, you can select the time and frequency you want to feed the catfish by first figuring out how much food they need.

Figure Out How Much Feed Your Catfish Need

The amount of feed catfish need depends on several factors including their size, stage of growth, water temperature, water quality, size of food, palatability of feeding, the way you feed them, location of feeding sites, type of pellet used, floating or sinking, etc.

The best way to know how much feed your catfish need is to know their number and weight in the pond at any given time.

Remember that if the weight of catfish in a pond is underestimated, not enough food will be fed, resulting in poor growth, poor feed conversions, and increased time required to get the fish to harvestable size. On the other hand, if the weight of catfish in a pond is overestimated, the result will be overfeeding, poor feed conversions, and very likely, severe water quality problems.

If Possible Feed Your Catfish Twice Daily

Overfeeding or underfeeding your catfish can have negative impacts on their growth. Therefore, feed them twice daily for improved consumption and food conversion. This means that one-half of the daily allowance is fed in the morning, and the other half in the late morning or early afternoon.

Study has shown that feeding in the late afternoon increases the amount of fat deposited, and this can affect the quality of the processed fish. Since low oxygen concentrations are usually at their lowest in the morning, it is generally best to wait until 8 or 9 a.m. before feeding.

Also, it is best not to feed late in the afternoon to prevent the fishes' increased oxygen requirement from coinciding with decreasing oxygen concentrations in the pond.

Feeding daily can reduce production time by four weeks when compared to feeding only six times a week.

Choose The Right Feeding Site

Always endeavour to feed your catfish along the entire length of the pond and preferably along two sides. By feeding along two sides, more fish have a chance to get their share, thus resulting in better growth rates and feed conversions.

Pay Attention To The Behaviour of Your Catfish During Feeding Time

As a good farmer, never mess around and bungle the best opportunity of seeing your catfish feed. Don't also entrust this important task to inexperienced people because feeding time is the only time fish in the pond are seen.

When the catfish are coming up to feed, be observant and take note of their feeding behaviour. This will enable you to know the general health of the fish and the condition of the pond.

If your catfish are not feeding normally, there's a chance that a potential problem may be developing. So, act quick and report it.

Conclusion

If you want to be successful at raising catfish, you have to know how to feed them.

Although it might seem simple, feeding catfish the right way is hard for beginners and experienced farmers. You need to know more about catfish nutrition, diets, frequency of feeding and the general condition of your pond.

However, it's something you can learn and master through efforts and practice. 

Though there's no hard-and-fast rule on how to feed your catfish, I'll recommend that you feed them twice daily and according to their size. By so doing, you'll raise well-fed and stress-free catfish that will grow well and thrive in your pond, thus making more profit in your business.

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. So educative. Thanks so much. I learnt new style today and I will put it to practice. Love you greatly sir. This is my second time practice, I discovered my mistake here and I understood it correctly. Thumb up for you.

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    2. Thank you for the kind words🙏 It means a lot to me.

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