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SANF- Understand The Scope Of Integrated Fish Farming System

Integrated fish farming is a system of producing fish together with other agricultural/livestock farming operations that revolve around the fish pond. The integrated farming system is the need of the hour because of the decline in the condition of our Indian farmers due to reasons aplenty (failed monsoon, lack of access to water due to incomplete irrigation projects, and unfair pricing offered for their farm produce). The farming sub-systems e.g. fish, crop, and livestock are connected in such a way that the by-products/wastes from one enterprise become the valuable inputs to other systems and thus ensure total utilization of land and water resources of the farm leading to maximum and diversified farm output with minimum financial and labor costs.

In a proper fish, crop, and livestock integrated farming system, excreta and waste feed from livestock enterprise can make great manure and feed for fish as well as can be used as manure for cropland. On the other hand, by-product/wastes of crops can be used as feed, manure for the fish pond, and as feed for livestock. It’s a win-win situation for one and all (all the sub-systems in an integrated system), thus minimizing the production costs and resulting in varied outputs namely fish, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, fuelwood, and fodder which are the necessities of a farm family.

Small and marginal farmers can gain a lot of benefits out of the allied sectors of agriculture, the most important benefit being a steady flow of income throughout the year no matter what, which can help relieve their plight in more ways than one and ensure security at all times.

Fish farming advantages in India:

  1. Fish is a part of regular meals of more than 60 percent of Indians.
  2. The price of fish is very high due to its high demand in the market, thus ensuring good income. Due to its popularity as food around the world, there is already a well-established fish market, and you don’t have to worry about marketing your products.
  3. The subtropical and tropical climate of India makes it ideal for the growth and production of fish.
  4. It is very easy to procure fish and grow them on the farm because of abundant water sources in India like lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, etc.
  5. The process of growing fish in a farm isn’t laborious, and you can easily integrate it with other types of farming like poultry, vegetables, animals, etc.
  6. Since fish farming is not as arduous as other types of farming, you can very easily handle it with regular work.
  7. Some farm-raised fish species are more nutrient-dense in comparison to their wild brethren, which can be attributed to a huge range of protein and nutrient-enriched foods or pellets being fed to them on a fish farm, making them more nutritious than the wild fish.
  8. More than 1 billion people across the globe depend on fish as their primary protein source, making a fish farming business a profitable venture and a great source of employment. Fish farming creates a great income and employment source for the people, can be instrumental in lifting small and marginal farmers by boosting incomes.
  9. Easily fulfill your daily family nutritional requirements through small scale fish farming in tanks or ponds.

Fish farming:

Fish Production in Ponds

Fish rearing in a pond has some specific requirements, the most important requirement being the choice of site (before constructing a pond). It is important to choose the right type of site. A site must have a good water supply all year round and the soil must have a good water retention capacity- to ensure the success of a fish farm.

Pond systems are the most common method of fish culture, where you can maintain water in an enclosed area by artificially constructing ponds to rear fish under controlled conditions. You must construct the pond after proper site selection and can use canal water, rainwater, bore well water, or other water sources to fill it up. The climate, topography, water availability, and soil quality of the region will have a major influence on the character of the fish pond.

Setting Up Fish Pond- Start with a 6 m by 4 m size fish pond, you can also build a bigger one later once you gain some experience with the smaller one. When you construct your fish pond, the pond walls should be sloped and the bottom should have one deep end for draining. Maintain a depth of 0.5-1.0 at the shallow end, sloping to 1.5-2.0 m at the drainage end. It will also be wise to construct a collection pit (water is collected before flowing out) at the deeper drainage end, which can prove to be useful when you drain the pond to harvest the fish. Build the walls of the pond high enough to prevent water from overflowing over the edges, which can lead to fish escaping.

Some suitable pond fish species include Algae water, Sunfish, Koi carps, Golden Tench, Rosette, Goldfish, Golden orfes, etc.

Talking about digging when setting up your fish pond, you need to make sure to achieve the right level of deepness when digging the hole in the pond. Do not rush, and take your time to dig around the outer edge with a shovel to make the pond edges look more defined. Dig at depths of 16 inches at a time on the outer edges.

After you are done with digging a hole in the pond, use mason’s sand to fill it up and spread it evenly, and cover it up with a geotextile fabric, which will protect the rubber liner that you’ll place on the top of the fabric. When you are about to fill the pond with water, place a decent sized stone in the center to ensure the liner stays in place, which will keep the tarp from getting lifted and floating.

The next step is to introduce fish to the pond, which you should do after the water has settled. Then slowly begin to mix the pond water into the bucket water that you have fish in for 5-10 minutes, which will help them adjust to the new water pH levels. Do not add all your fish together, add a little at a time, and see how long they survive. If they last for the first two weeks, then introduce more, and if they die within the first week or so, then there’s something wrong with the water that would require immediate attention. Also, check the pH level. It is an area of concern since some fish need a set pH level to survive.

Selecting the fish breed- Once you’ve constructed the pond, now is the time to select the right type of fish for breeding, which depends on the type of water in the pond, resource availability, climate conditions, and market demand. You can choose from ornamental, freshwater, or brackish water fish to rear. For example, carp varieties of fish like Catfish, Rohu, Catla, etc. are ideal for the Indian ponds. If you wish to go ahead with ornamental fish, the most commercially important species include loaches, barbs, freshwater sharks, danio, goldfish, etc.

Feeding- Feeding the fish ensures maximum weight gain of the fish as per market standards within the shortest possible time. Maintain the water pH between 7 and 8 for optimal growth while feeding and rearing. The feed should offer essential nutrients for their growth, maintenance, and reproduction, and must contain essential nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fats in addition to other minerals in adequate amounts. Try and maintain natural foods in the fish pond, such as zooplankton, phytoplankton, insect larvae, etc. For example, you can add the wastes from organic farming to the pond such as poultry droppings from poultry farming, organic compost, etc to boost phytoplankton growth. Also, give floating pellets to fish that feed on top layers, and sinking pellets to those that feed on the bottom.

Fish Farm Maintenance- The most important precaution is to maintain the water pH, which must be maintained at neutral for optimal growth of the fish. Prevent the growth of pathogens by treating it with salt, potassium permanganate, etc. Also, consider water treatment at regular intervals to prevent viral attacks.

No matter whether you start a standalone fish farm or integrate it with other farming, in India fish farming is a highly profitable venture.

The economy of India is mainly based on the field of agriculture and software development in the area of Information Technology. SANF believes that the only way to achieve rapid progress in a rural area is by adopting natural farming techniques, which will help to conserve natural resources, enhance efficient use of resources, increase productivity and profitability, and improve quality and competitiveness through the reduced unit cost of production.

# fish farming

# fish culture

# Integrated Fish Farming System

# Fish farming in India

# Start a fish farm

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