Fish farming is a lucrative business but most who desire to join it are challenged by lack of space and the cumbersome work of tending the fish.
Daniel Enebeli, the managing director of Protein Capital who deal in the Re-circulatory Aqua cultural System(RAS), says fish farming is possible in small spaces and still be profitable.
Using a sedimentary aqua poultry system, fish farming is made easy.
“We use one water body with and bio- filtrations for sedimentation. The sedimentation traps sediments or wastes whose gravity is greater than that of water so we get stock in the filtration system and pump the good water back into the tank that houses the fish,” he explains.
Enebeli says, with this system, all you need is one pump, consistent power supply, which is abundantly available in Uganda and one water body that can be used for almost a month. So, your household can run this system and produce at least 500kg or a ton of fish on a monthly basis.
“This can work in small spaces and you can stock a lot of fish in very high density which is actually the purpose of this system. You do not need a large expanse of land, but just a small area because the system has a small footprint. For instance, in one cubic metre of water, which covers one square metre you can stock up to 400kg of fish,” he explains.
Enebeli says the system is ideal for catfish. He reveals that, “Catfish is the most studied fish in the world and the second fastest growing. Besides that, Uganda’s environment is fantastic for catfish growers because there is a lot of organic waste, which produces food for the natural scavengers.”
Additionally, Catfish can be grown in very high density of up to 400kg per cubic metre.
“In fact in some situations you can have more fish than water in your cultural tanks and they survive. It is the only fish species that a can tap atmospheric oxygen so in huge densities where it is almost devoid of oxygen they still survive,” Enebeli says.
He says catfish is profitable too.
“We stock in such a way that after the first six months of wait you can start harvesting on a monthly basis. So, depending on the size of your tank, you can harvest 10, 5 or 1 tonne and it gives you a monthly stream of income and yet in a pond you can only grow 8 or 10 kilogrammes per cubic metre.”
Another advantage of the RAS system is limited need for manpower. He says only one person can run the system successfully.
“Even if you are employed elsewhere you can run it. You just feed them in the morning, lockup where they are housed and feed them again when you return in the evening. And because it is an indoor system, the pump runs itself so there is less work,” Enebeli says.
The only challenge you can face is if there is interrupted power supply. He explains that, “If your pump does not run due to inconsistent power there can be an overflow and sometimes the fish will be stressed because of the reduced water levels so we only deploy it in a places like Uganda that has consistent power supply at a cheap rate.”
On feeds for the catfish, Enebeli says most inexperienced farmers use commercial feeds all through and yet they are only required in the initial 2-3 months.
“This way the fish take some antibiotics and other protective nutrients that build their immunity to survive their entire life span. After that initial period, we switch to organic feeds which are in abundant in Uganda and they are free of charge from the markets. The end consumer gets an organic fed fish which is a safe, healthy option,” he says.
The tanks can be made from different materials depending on the budget.
“In some cases we use plastic containers or fiber glass tank, or bricks. We render the walls and seal them,” Enebeli adds.
This system can be used to grow tilapia but one would need more oxygenation because the oxygen demand for tilapia is higher than that of catfish.