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Yes, You Can Do Fish Fish Farming In Tanks!

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The common practice in Uganda is to grow fish in open ponds. However, for those with no land on which to excavate ponds, fish can actually be grown in tanks or bunkers. 

This is a unique system of keeping fish, practiced at Kampiringisa. Fish here is kept in concrete tanks, using recycled water from another water reservoir.

There are 21 tanks in number, each with a capacity of carrying 250 mature fish.  In total, they can carry at least 4,000 fish.

The tank fish model is being practiced through Uganda’s Green Growth Incubation Programme (UGIP), with a farm-site at Kampiringisa village in Mpigi district, some 56-kilometers West of Kampala.

The site, which sits on 100 acres of land was provided by the Government of Uganda through its Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

“The tank fish farming system is gradually being embraced by Ugandans, however, many of them are not doing it properly,” explains Pamela Mbabazi, the Field Supervisor at the farm. 

The farm also trains other farmers in adopting this kind of practice.

Mbabazi says those who visit to learn can pick vital practical lessons from the farm about fish farming. “As you see, these tanks do not even occupy 15decimals of land, however, the harvests if fully stocked are good,” Mbabazi said.

If each fish is sold at sh10,000 after 8 months of management, the farmer can earn sh40m, from the investment. The water from the tanks is used to irrigate the crops.

How the technology works

The tanks are constructed using bricks and concrete and then plastered in and outside using waterproof cement to avoid leakages.

The new bunker takes two weeks to dry before the water and fingerlings are deposited.

The circular or rectangular bunker also has a set of outlet for emptying the overused, contaminated water, whenever required.

If there is no source of water, the farmer, in case of replacing the contaminated water, can hire a water tanker truck or any other means to supply fresh water.    

The farmer needs to have a standby water tank, such that when the need arises, freshwater is applied to replace that which is contaminated water.      

Before fingerlings are applied, the ponds are ‘fertilised’ using lime which helps create organisms that fish feed on. The fingerlings are then applied before the feeding and surveillance start.

The stocking numbers of fish depends on the volume of the tank size and water capacity.

Farmers can use chicken droppings, fresh animal blood, and include other living organisms like plant leaves, potato vines, etc, which are recommended for fish consumption.

Fish care

Fish can be fed on organic feeds including soybean, snails, sugar molasses, chicken droppings, potato vines, and avocado leaves, etc. You can also feed them on processed fish feeds that are available from the various feed dealers.

The tanks save the fish from predators (monitor lizards, snakes, birds, etc) but precautions should be taken to ensure that children don’t sneak to the bunkers, lest they drown.

To avoid such incidents, metallic rings can be welded around the bunker.

Once cared for well, the fish grow in 6 months, translating to two harvests per year.    

The number of bricks, cement, crushed hardcore stones for the slab, the labour, among other things, depends on the size of the desired bunker. It can last for over ten years.

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