Fish Farming - Aquaculture on A Small Scale
Do It Yourself Aquaculture Amateur Fish Farming Made Possible On A Small Scale
By Vin Hayes
DIY fish farming can be done by nearly anyone with a little land, at home in their spare time. We'll explore the information and simple equipment you'll need to get started. You'll find out how to outfit yourself inexpensively and produce high quality fish with professional results.
My best friend has been an insatiable fisherman for years. Recently he's decided to start his own fish farm. Why you ask, would he become a fish farmer?
I'll tell you, he's been out fishing on many occasions to places where the fish were few and far between. At one time, these secret fishing spots were stuffed full of fish. Experts say that commercial and sport over fishing and environmental changes are the reasons for the fish disappearing.
Luckily, fish are relatively easy animals to farm. They need less space per animal than other kinds of livestock. Huge tracts of property, equipment and pole barns aren't absolutely necessary, making it less expensive than conventional farming too. That means that aquaculture can be done in more places.
Fish and fish protein are in great demand worldwide, and the need for more fish production is speedily growing. Since fish convert about 70-75 percent of what they're fed into meat, they make good sense. Dressed out, fish will generally provide about 60% of their weight in edible, lean meat.
Getting started with aquaculture requires a good body of water. Your lake must contain plenty of weeds, both in the water and around it. These plants not only provide protection and shade for your fish, but they'll also help you feed them. Many insects, small fish and other critters that fish devour on must have vegetation for their life-cycle. Take care of them, and you'll provide for your fish.
Once the water, plants and foodstuff sources have been established, it's time to introduce your fish. For amateur aquaculturists, the Rainbow Trout is an excellent species to begin with. They are well known to be a very beefy species. Eggs can be harvested and fertilized or, fertilized eggs, known as eyed eggs can be bought quite readily.
Fish eggs need gentle handling and care if they are to prevail. When the critters are underwater, eyed ova will handle a little gentle tumbling around. If they're tossed into the pond from even a little height the fall will surely kill them.
When first hatched out, newborn fish are called "alevins." At first, these tiny fish don't need any food. They feed off of their yolk-sac and will begin to feed on real food in about six weeks. Once they begin eating, they need tiny, processed food meals at least 4 times a day.
As they grow and become known as "fry", your fish will require more varied, natural diet that includes insects, small fish & crustaceans in order to grow big and healthy. Processed food can add to a natural diet, but it's no alternative.
After a few months, the fish will be ready to move into their new home. Some aquaculturists breed their fish to this point in rearing ponds away from the main pond and the fish will need to be moved. Others use hatching trays in the large pond and the fish are allowed to swim out when they're large enough.
Once your stock are living in the main pond, you'll need to keep tabs on the population. As the fish grow, they should be thinned out. Remove the small and weak ones, and put them in another area. Keeping the fish in the water with larger fish might mean they'll be eaten.
With a blooming population of farm-fresh fish in your lake, you'll have to keep up with feeding, protecting and thinning your herd. The work you put in will pay off you over and over again with hearty, strong fish.
DIY fish farming or aquaculture is an excellent way to provide ample fish for yourself and your family. With just a medium size pond, you could even begin your own hatchery, or sell fresh fish to shops and restaurants.
In the next report of this series, we'll talk about setting up fish ponds. We'll be covering stocking your waters with food and planting proper vegetation.
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