Fish Farming: Fry Care and Feeding
DIY Fish Farming - Feeding & Caring For The Fry
By Vin Haynes
The DIY Fish Farmer must protect his fry from hungry aquatic and airborne predators. Just like people, fish are susceptible to disease and need to be kept healthy. Keeping these tiny little fish safe, cared for and well fed is the main job of the farmer.
By this time, your fish are all hatched and their yolk sacs have disappeared. Now the little fish are called fry. They're growing rapidly and will require frequent feedings, usually four times a day.
Fry require a good variety in their diet to be healthy. Although processed food pellets are available, it's wise to add natural foods as early as possible.
Some of the best foods for fry are water insects and crustaceans like fresh-water shrimp. They provide an excellent food source, but will need to be ground to a very fine consistency for very young fish.
Fine muslin can be made into a sort of tea-bag that food is wrapped in. Setting the bag in the water will release tiny pieces, easy for young fish to eat. of course, as the fish grow larger, they can handle bigger pieces of food.
When feeding your brood of fry, it's important to remember that smaller amounts are best. If you have several rearing ponds set up, start at one end, give a little food and work your way to the other. Then, start at the beginning again.
Regardless of how careful the DIY fish farmer is in feeding, some of the food will sink to the bottom. This can lead to problems with decay and should be dealt with on a regular basis.
One very simple way to deal with the potential of decaying food on the bottom of your ponds is by adding earth. It not only acts to cover up and deodorize the decomposing food, but it is also beneficial to the young fish.
Earth should be added to the ponds by first mixing it with water to form a thick mud. This can be done in a bucket or other container. The resulting mixture should be poured directly into the rearing boxes. The water should be so thick with mud that the neither the bottom of the box or the fish can be seen.
Soon, your little fry will be ready to wander out into larger waters. It is important to consider how the little fish will be protected in the pond. Netting can be used to cover the water, to keep birds and other predators out, but they'll need to be checked often.
At this stage, the DIY fish farmer will continue to feed his stock on the daily schedule. As the season comes to an end, in August or so, the feedings can be reduced to as little as twice a day. If the pond has been properly stocked with food species, the fish will be more than well-fed.
In order for the fish to move onto their next life-stage, good monitoring of the ponds and fry is of utmost importance. Very small fish should be removed from the larger ponds to keep them from being eaten. Dead or diseased fish should obviously be taken care of immediately and doses of earth should be added at regular intervals.
In the next report of this series, we'll be covering the insects and other critters that cause problems for and help the aquaculturist.