How to Make Money from Catfish Farming Business In Nigeria

Catfish farming business is a lucrative business that can never faze out in years to come. It’s very profitable, but like every other business you need to understand how it works before jumping into it, otherwise you’d run at a loss.

Do you know how many catfishes are being slaughtered everyday for pepper soup, barbeque and smoking? Do you know the quantity of dried catfishes being exported outside of Nigeria everyday?


Catfish farming is one of the most popular forms of aquaculture in Nigeria. The growth in popularity of catfish farming has been driven by the high demand for fish in Nigeria and the rising awareness of the health benefits of consuming fish.



The demand of this fish is far greater than the supply, the market is very big that anybody with experience can tap into it right away, so you have an opportunity right now to milk this market.

In this article, I will give you first hand information about everything you need to start and grow your own catfish farming business in Nigeria.


Requirements for Catfish Farming in Nigeria

The first requirement for catfish farming is access to water. Catfish can be grown in a variety of water sources, including ponds, tanks, and concrete basins. However, it is important to note that the water source must be free from pollutants and other contaminants that can be harmful to the fish.



The next requirement is the right fish breed. There are several types of catfish breeds that are suitable for farming in Nigeria, including the Clarias gariepinus, Heterobranchus bidorsalis, and the hybrid catfish.

The choice of breed will depend on factors such as the farmer’s budget, the size of the farm, and the market demand. [We’d discuss this further at some point in this article].



Another essential requirement is fish feed. Fish feed accounts for a significant portion of the cost of running a catfish farm in Nigeria. The feed must be of high quality and contain the right mix of nutrients to ensure that the fish grow well. There are different types of fish feed available in Nigeria, including pellets, extruded feed, and locally made feed.



There are different methods of rearing your catfish, these fishes can be reared in different environment. At the end of explaining these methods, I will tell you which of them is the best so you can make an informed decision.


The 3 methods involve using 3 different kinds of ponds, they kind of ponds available are;
1. Tarpaulin pond
2. Concrete pond
3. Earthen pond



1. Tarpaulin Fish Pond:


tarpaulin fish pond
As the name implies, this involves using tarpaulin to create the pond. First you have to create the wooden frame work that will hold the tarpaulin. Before you do this, you need to plan properly so you don’t make mistakes.

The tarpaulin would be neatly placed inside the wooden frame work. Ensure that the tarpaulin do not have leakages otherwise you’d end up loosing water all the time. I’d advice that you engage the services of a professional before you do this.



Most of the people that use these kinds of ponds are people who want to have their own fish pond in their houses. Some do this for personal consumption while others do it for both personal and commercial.


The tarpaulin pond usually has two openings, one of them is to allow for flow of water into the pond while the other outlet is for flushing out the water. Usually, these two openings should be covered with a mesh so the fishes [especially the juveniles] don’t find their way out of the pond.



Pros of Tarpaulin Pond:

  • It is flexible, water can adjust itself inside the tank.
  • Management of ammonia is easy to compare to cement tanks.
  • Very less amount of water needs to be rotated/replaced as compared to RAS.
  • Easy to develop bioflock.
  • Easy to harvest fish.
  • It is transferable.


Cons of Tarpaulin Pond:

  • It can easily tear
  • Because of its flexibility, heavy wind, rain/flood can quickly destroy the pond
  • Tarpaulin ponds can be disassembled and stolen easily



2. Concrete Pond:

concrete fish pondThis kind of pond is obviously made of concrete, the brick layers would have to lay the blocks to make a rectangular shape; the dimension depends on your space and what you intend to achieve.


The concrete pond is also designed in such a way that there are holes for inflow and outflow of water. The water in the pond has to be flushed at least twice a week to keep it clean and also for the health of the fishes.



Some people go ahead to tile the inner walls of the pond to make it look neater. The concrete pond is used by most people for personal product and also for public production. If you have your own house, you can create a concrete pond in it.

However, most people prefer the tarpaulin pond to the concrete pond for home production. The tarpaulin pond is an easily detachable structure while the concrete pond cannot be easily detached because it’s a casted structure.


Water Management

Both the concrete pond and the tarpaulin ponds require good water management. You need to have a borehole and electricity to pump water into the pond when required. This means that you’d be spending more money on electricity to run your ponds.


Without proper water management, you will have unhealthy fishes and more casualties. A good and experienced plumber should be able to set up the connections appropriately.

Now let’s talk about the last type of pond, I saved it for the last…


3. Earthen Pond:

fish farming business in NigeriaThe Earthen pond is a kind of fish pond where the fish exists in its natural habitat. Unlike the tarpaulin and the concrete pond, the earthen pond doesn’t need to much fabrication. All you need is to get a piece of land that’s close to a river or stream.


Then you dig the ponds with a depth of 4ft, once that is done properly water starts flowing in the pond. The pond can be protected by having wooden frames around it and a net above it to protect it from birds and other animals. The benefits of using an earthen pond as opposed to others are numerous. 


  • The earthen pond is a natural habitat.
  • Fishes that are reared in the earthen pond are usually stronger and more mature than those reared in the tarpaulin and the concrete ponds.
  • Depends on the size of the land, you can have more fishes per pond unlike the other two ponds.





The Farming Process

The first step in catfish farming is to prepare the fish pond. The pond must be cleaned thoroughly to remove any debris and mud. After cleaning, the pond should be filled with clean water to a depth of about 1.5 to 2 meters.


The next step is to stock the pond with fingerlings. Fingerlings are young catfish that are about 4 to 6 weeks old. The number of fingerlings that can be stocked in a pond will depend on the size of the pond and the breed of the catfish. Typically, it is recommended to stock between 1,000 and 2,000 fingerlings per acre.



Once the fingerlings are stocked, the fish must be fed with the right type and amount of feed. It is important to note that overfeeding can lead to poor water quality and disease outbreaks. Therefore, farmers must be careful to feed the fish the right amount of feed.



Catfish grow quickly, and within 4 to 6 months, they can be harvested. The size of the fish at harvest will depend on the market demand. Typically, catfish that are between 1 and 1.5 kilograms are the most in-demand in Nigeria. The fish can be used for peppersoup, barbecue etc. Some people even dry the fish and export them.



Challenges Facing Catfish Farmers in Nigeria

Catfish farming in Nigeria is not without its challenges. One of the main challenges facing farmers is the high cost of fish feed. Fish feed accounts for about 70% of the cost of running a catfish farm in Nigeria. The cost of feed is driven by the high cost of raw materials, such as soybean and fishmeal, which are used to make the feed.



Another challenge facing catfish farmers is the high mortality rate of the fish. Catfish are susceptible to a variety of diseases and parasites, which can result in high mortality rates. Farmers must be vigilant in monitoring the health of the fish and taking appropriate measures to prevent and treat diseases.



Finally, the lack of access to finance is also a major challenge facing catfish farmers in Nigeria. Many farmers do not have access to the funds they need to invest in their farms, which limits their ability to expand and grow their businesses.



Marketing is an important part of this business, if you don’t know how to sell your products then you will be stuck with the products. Yes, catfish is constantly in demand but if you don’t put the word out there about your business, then you will not make sales.



There are several ways you can market your business and they are:

  • Word of mouth
  • Partnering with “market people” who resell
  • Supply to bars and eateries
  • Social media advertising




Catfish farming is a lucrative business in Nigeria that has the potential to create employment opportunities and boost the economy. However, to succeed in this business, farmers must be knowledgeable about the necessary requirements and challenges of catfish farming. With the right investment and management, catfish farming can be a profitable venture for farmers in Nigeria.

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