African catfish are a particular species of fish that are farmed for both commercial and leisure uses in ponds or other enclosed spaces.
They are a popular choice for aquaculture because of their quick development rate, resilience, and ability to adapt to a variety of conditions.
African catfish are typically gray or brown, although they can also have black or white patterns, in fact, these days, black and white patterns are becoming even more popular thanks in part to the breeding of hybrid catfish across the Africa.
They can reach lengths of up to 3 feet and weights of up to 25kg, they are usually harvested when they are smaller for human consumption. The typical weight for table size human consumption is 1 kg, nonetheless, catfish are often smoked at weights far less than that.
The weight for which the fish is harvested generally depends on the needs of the customers.
Customers who smoke fish for low-income areas, generally prefer the smaller sizes compared to those who serve high-income areas. This distinction would play a critical role as you proceed in your catfish farming adventure.
As your farm takes off, you would soon identify which of these groups best serves your financial interest.
African catfish are omnivorous in nature, they consume both plants and animals.
African catfish feed is composed of materials like soybean meal, fish meal, and corn, other alternatives include, the use of worms, duckweeds, or maggots which help the farmer to drastically cut down the cost of production.
To maintain the fish’s optimum growth and health, a balanced diet is crucial. Catfish feeds are generally higher in protein. From the fry stages, protein levels up to 45% can sometimes be required, however, as they grow, these protein needs begin to decline to a minimum of 30% of the diet,any lower than that and you stand to get stunted growth in your farm.
They can be discovered in a variety of African waterways, including rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.
A large portion of the African continent, including nations in West, Central, and East Africa, is home to the African catfish.
They may thrive in a variety of habitats, including those with changing salinity, pH, and temperature of the water.
They can live in a range of aquatic settings because they can withstand low oxygen levels and high pollution levels compared to other fish’s like tilapia.
They can establish and maintain populations in various habitats thanks to their rapid growth rates.
However, just because African Catfish can withstand these wide arrays of conditions does not mean they are the best for them.
For now, keep in mind that they are easier to grow under these conditions which are native to Africa, we will deal with the details as we proceed.
Catfish is a common food in many nations, including the United States, where it ranks as the third most popular seafood.
Farmers have a dependable market for their product thanks to this high demand.
due to the fast growth rate of African catfish, farmers are able to harvest them in a short period of time, usually 6 months or less and sell them.
At month 6 the average weight of an African catfish should be above 1 kg if well fed, same can not be said of tilapia.
African catfish are quite simple to breed and use comparatively higher volumes of feed when compared to tilapia however, this voluminous eating habit, is often reflected in their sizes and prices, which then reflect in your profit margins.
The feed to weight conversion for African catfish is about 1/1.3 this means that you require 1.3kg of feed to produce 1kg weight of catfish.
Generally speaking, you can bring this down to 1/0.6 when you supplement with duckweeds or azolla.
Multitude of systems can be used to raise African catfish, including ponds, tanks, and cages. This allows you to choose the method that best suits your needs. Each of these methods have their own pros and cons, worry not, we would discuss it all in detail as we proceed to help you make informed decisions.
African catfish are in high demand in international markets, providing farmers with the opportunity to export their product and potentially increase their profits.