How to Build a Fish Pond

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Building a fish is more than just filling your dug with water as well as fish. You must know the different steps in building a proper fish pond to be able to earn money from it in the future. There are few things that you need to consider before starting to build a fish pond. Now, there are different types of ponds, some of the examples are:

  • Plastic fish pond OR otherwise known as mobile fish pond
  • Wooden fish pond.
  • Concrete fish pond 
  •  River/Stream fish pond: This is practiced by constructing a barrier to control the population and movement of the fishes in a particular area of a natural river or stream.
  • Earthen pond: This kind of fish pond is said to be the most preferred type by some farmers because of the presence of some micro-organisms which aid the breeding of the fishes. It is also known as the oldest form of fish pond in Nigeria. It is dug to an extent beneath the surface of the earth to allow the action of capillary water in the soil to take place, just like in the case of a well water system but must not become too deep must also have in enough space. This system should be shallow, preferably in a location close to a natural form of water like river or stream. Now let’s get started!

Conditions Necessary for Siting a Fish Pond

Availability of Water: Fishes are aquatic animals, as their life depends entirely on water. The water must be free from pollutants, colour, smell, and taste. The resources may be streams, rivers, boreholes or springs.
Availability of Fingerlings: The fingerlings to be used must be the fast-growing type. Moreso, they must have high feed convertibility. Ideally, the fingerlings must be ready to be harvested at about seven months from the time of hatching.
Vegetation of the Place: Light vegetation is ideal, preferably grassland. This will be easy to clear, sump and excavate before siting the fish pond.
Topography: The land must be flat, but must allow the gentle flow of water from a higher region to a lower region. The area must not be floody, but if floody, then construct embankment and other barriers early enough.

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Soil Particles: The floor of the area must contain clayey soils because this helps to retain water. Also the soil must be rich in order to survive the fingerlings.
Size and Location: The size depends on the availability of funds, and the type of fish farming to be practiced. Therefore, for commercial fish farming a large expanse of land is required. The  location can be either in the lowland or upland.
Availability of Feeds: Fishes are usually supplied with supplementary feed especially during the day. This includes kitchen products, vegetables, as well as manure and fertilizers which should be supplied to enhance the growth of planktons.
Location of the Hatchery: The hatchery should not be not be too far from the fish pond. Fingerlings are very fragile and die off easily, hence when released from the hatchery must be sent immediately into the pond.
Availability of Labour: The availability of labour should be considered. Fish pond should be in a place where labour supply is high, since the work is labour intensive, that is, clearing, stumping, excavation of the land, feeding of fish down to harvesting and processing activities.

Establishment of a Fish Pond

Before fish pond is established, certain operations must be carried out. They include the following:
Site selection, surveying of the land, clearing and stumping of site, construction of core trench, construction of spill way, impoundment of pond, pond fertilization, pond inoculation, liming.
I’ll briefly discuss those terms you might not be familiar with.

Construction of Core Trench:

  • This involves the removal of soil.
  • Soil can also be escavated.
  • Position should be at right angle to the dam.
  • Consolidated walls with stones and cement (concrete pond)

Construction of Spill Way:
·         Position at one end of dam
·         Use wood and fire-meshed screen.

Impoundment Of fish Pond
·         Filling of pond with water.
·         Done by opening the monk board of the reservoir.
·         Water released to flow and fill pond.

Pond Fertilization
·         Fertilization encourages the growth of micro-flora.
·         By pouring organic fertilizers such as poultry droppings, cow dungs or use of inorganic ones like N.P.K or super phosphate or liming.
·         Carried out 15 days before stocking pond with fish.

Pond Inoculation
·         Introduction of proper plankton species into the pond.
·         Obtain some water from a plankton-rich pond and pour into a newly fertilized pond.
·         Addition of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) powder to the sides and bottom of the pond to steal pores and prevent water loss.
·         It encourages the growth of planktons.

Features of a Standard Fish Pond

A fish pond should have the following features, viz:
Dam, Core trench, Monk, Boards, Distribution channel, Screen, Spill way. Also I’ll briefly discuss about these but not repeat some the terms again.
Distribution Channel
·         It helps to introduce water into the pond.
·         Water is being distributed to all the sections of the pond until it gets to a particular volume.
·         Fertilizers can also be mixed up with the water and distributed together.
·         It regulates water level automatically.
·         It helps in discharge of water from both the surface and the bottom.
·         It has the vertical lower and horizontal culverts or pipes and are made up of concrete.
·         Two pairs are provided which have clay materials in between in order to check leakages.
·         They are fitted at the center or middle of slabs at the gates.
·         They are made up of desirable wood
·         They regulate the flow of water.
·         They also hold water inside the pond.
·         They help to prevent the entry of undesirable species of fish into the pond.
·         They also help to regulate fish movement out of the pond
Dam – Slopes (inner And Outer)
·         This helps to regulate water movement into and out the pond.
·         It also ensures availability of water in the pond.
·         It is constructed at the beginning and end of the pond.

Stocking of a Fish Pond

 This is the introduction of fish into a fish pond. It also means the number of a particular species of fish a fish pond can accommodate at a time. If only one species of fish is stocked, this is known as monoculture while more than one species is called polyculture. The following species of fish are ideal for fish pond stocking:
·         The carp e.g cyprinus carpio
·         Cichlid e.g tilapia zilli
·         Milk fish e.g red mullets (mugil cephalus)
Cat fish (clarias lazera).

When filling the pond with the fingerlings, adequate care must be taken not to kill them. Them container from the hatchery should be placed inside the pond and the fingerlings allowed to swim out on their own. Do not pour them into the pond.

Maintenance of a Fish Pond

Fish supply from the pond should be the paramount interest of the farmer, therefore he will do anything humanly possible to stop anything that will bring sadness to him, hence he must carry out some or all of the following activities.
·         Supplementary feeding
·         Regular weeding
·         Removal of silt
·         Supply of air
·         Ensuring good and constant water supply
·         Eradication of pests and diseases
·         Application of manure and fertilizer
·         Regular harvesting
·         Control of predators.
Supplementary Feeding: This is very essential in commercial intensive farms. The feeds should be rich in vitamins, protein, carbohydrate and other food substances.
Weeding: Weeds tend to suffocate the fishes, pollute the water and introduce pests and diseases. They should be removed regularly either by allowing animal to graze on it or by spraying certain herbicides
like Sodium arsenite, Sodium chlorate, 2,4,D and Dalapon. Since herbicides are poisonous, it shoul be applied before stocking.
Silt Removal: Silt causes pollution, leads to dirtiness of the pond and reduces migration of fish, so it should be removed early enough from the pond.
Air Supply: in order for air to circulate freely, the pond should not be overstocked, weeds should be removed, manure and fertilizers should not be applied in excess.
Water Supply: Water supply must be adequate, the water should be slightly alkaline or pH of 5-9 and surface temperature should be between 21 degree and 32 degree C.
Pests and Diseases: They must be controlled by maintaining adequate stocking and application of necessary drugs like malachite green, copper sulphate, dipterex and bromex.

Manure and Fertilizers: These are essential in order to encourage the growth of planktons in the pond, thereby making food available to the fish.
Regular Harvesting: Fish normally matures as from seven months, so they should be harvested in order to avoid overcrowding, vices like cannibalism, disease outbreak and starvation. Use any rsecommended harvesting method.
Control of Predators: Predators like snakes, rats and birds should be prevented from entering the pond.

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