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Catfish Farmer's Handbook

by the Fish Site Editor
01 June 2006, at 1:00am

By the Mississippi State University - This handbook gives the basic information new catfish farmers need to get through their first production season with minimum problems.

Click here for the full PDF

Introduction

Although there is no guarantee against a catastrophic loss, the new catfish farmer can certainly reduce the chances of such a loss by following the production methods outlined. The information is presented in outline form with few technical details on why something will or will not work. If you need additional or more technical information on a specific subject, refer to the section "Suggested Reading" for a list of books, articles, bulletins, and other publications on catfish farming.

Catfish farming is much more than just stocking a pond with fish, feeding them, and then reaping the profits a few months later. It requires a large investment and carries a high risk. Intensive catfish culture requires management almost 24 hours a day during most of the year, and unless you are willing to provide this type of management, you should look at another type of enterprise. The information provided in this handbook pertains primarily to the culture of channel catfish (lctalurus punctatus). However, much of it can also be used in the production of other species of catfish.

  • HISTORY
  • INVESTMENT REQUIRED
    • Investment per acre
    • Other information available
    • Items needed
  • SITE SELECTION
    • Soil characteristics
    • Topography
    • Geographical location
    • Pesticides
    • Water availability
    • Pipe and power lines
  • POND CONSTRUCTION
    • Size
    • Drainage
    • Levee width
    • Slope
    • Freeboard and depth
    • Shape
    • Orientation
    PRODUCTION OF FOOD FISH
    • Stocking rates, size and time
    • Feeding
    • Record keeping
  • WATER QUALITY
    • Physical properties
    • Oxygen
    • pH
    • Ammonia
    • Nitrites
    • Total alkalinity
    • Total hardness
  • FISH DISEASES
    • Types of diseases
    • Symptoms or clinical signs
    • Stress
  • DISEASE TREATMENTS
    • Methods
    • Calculations of treatment levels
    • Chemicals and drugs
  • WHAT TO DO IS FISH GET SICK
  • PROCEDURES TO FOLLOW IN CASE OF A SUSPECTED PESTICIDE-CAUSED FISH KILL
  • OFF FLAVOR
  • CONTROL OF UNDESIRABLE FISH SPECIES
    • Complete eradication of all fish
    • Selective removal of scale fish
  • AQUATIC WEED CONTROL
    • Methods
    • Steps to follow for aquatic weed control
  • HARVESTING
    • Custom harvesting
    • Farmer harvesting
  • MARKETING
    • Processing plants
    • Live haulers
    • Local stores and restaurants
    • Backyard sales
    • Fee fishing
  • SUGGESTED READING
  • CATFISH COMPUTER PROGRAMS
  • APPENDIX

Further Information

To continue reading this article, click here (PDF)

June 2006

the Fish Site Editor