Fish farming requires some space, material, effort, ongoing maintenance and dedication in order to successfully-grow and harvest quality products. However, if you are are in a position to take advantage of this option, you could theoretically provide yourself with an inexhaustible supply of healthy protein and other essential nutrients. You may also be able to use your fish as an opportunity to barter or make money as well. Let’s take a look at a few species that are popular among backyard and small-scale fish farmers.
Tilapia are one of the most popular fish to farm. They are hearty, easy to care for, love warm temperatures and can grow to maturity in around three months. They are also inexpensive and can feed off of almost anything. If you are considering farming your own fish, think about starting with tilapia, as they will most likely be the most forgiving. They are also meaty and mild, which means they can be tolerated by those who don’t have a strong taste for fish.
Catfish are also warm water fish, very meaty, easy to feed, and certain species can grow very large. However, they also grow at a slower rate than tilapia, taking more than a year to mature. This is probably the biggest drawback, and it requires a lot of planning in order to develop a good hatchery schedule. The good news is that the catfish market is profitable at the moment. This means that if catfish are popular now, chances are that they may be an excellent bartering/trading tool during a crisis. Catfish are also sturdy and resistant to a lot of diseases that could decimate other fish populations.
Carp are among the most popular fish to farm worldwide. They can thrive in a wide range of temperatures, they are omnivorous, and they grow fast and big compared to catfish. In fact, in the first year, a carp can grow to be almost a foot, and growth rates can be as high as 1½ feet thereafter. Carp are also more tolerant when it comes to poor water quality. They can do well under a wide range of pH and salinity levels, and they don’t need a lot of aeration as they can gulp for air from the surface.
Trout fishing is more common than you may think. They grow well in cooler waters, which makes them an ideal breed to raise in more temperate climates. They also grow fast, and healthy trout can weigh in at over 6lbs in less than a year and a half. Trout love insects as well as eating small fish. They are also one of the healthiest fish that we can eat due to their high protein but low fat content. They also don’t absorb a lot of heavy metals, which makes them safer to consume in larger quantities.
Water and Feed Quality
No matter what type of fish you choose to raise, the nutritional content and overall healthiness is directly related to the quality of food and water that you feed them. Keep in mind that everything the fish absorbs or ingests will ultimately end up on your table. A good rule of thumb to follow is that you shouldn’t put water into a pond or tank that you wouldn’t drink yourself. In other words, if the tap or well water you are using is not potable, filter it before giving it to the fish.
It’s also important to keep their diet balanced and as natural as possible, as fish “are what they eat” just as their human counterparts. If you want fish with high nutrition content, feed them good food. If you feed fish hot dogs and chicken manure (yes, it is common), then they will not be as healthy. Make sure that you are optimizing the diet according to the species that is being raised, and that you are using the best food possible.
These are just a few examples of common farm fish, but you can raise dozens of different species as well. Fish farming isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth learning more about just in case you’re ever in a position to use it to your advantage.