The health and development of African catfish are significantly influenced by the nutritional component of the feed you provide them.
Not all feeds are created equally, some are of higher quality than others.
It is hard for a new farmer to make this decision on their own, however, you can take a survey from other established farmers to make an informed decision.
The size of feed you provide your fingerlings depends on their age and size and their nutritional needs.
African catfish generally double their feed intake every 2 weeks, corresponding to increase in their size.
After introduction of fingerlings into the pond, you can proceed with 2 mm size feed
When introducing the next stage of feed, mix the current feed, with the next stage of feed for 2 days to give the fish an opportunity to acclimatize themselves with the new feed you are about to introduce.
Introducing a new feed without gradual acclimatization can lead to mortality of some of your catfish.
Stages of African Catfish Development and the type of feeds required.
The dietary needs of African catfish vary depending on their stage of growth.
These phases are broken down below, along with the suitable feeds for each stage:
The fry stage, which normally lasts 1-2 weeks after hatching, is the first stage of development for African catfish.
The fry are extremely small at this stage and need a high-protein, fine-grained meal to sustain their quick growth.
Starter feeds, crumbled feeds, and finely crushed dry feeds are popular feed alternatives.
The catfish will need a little larger and more nutrient-dense meal as they get older and reach the fingerling stage (around 3–4 inches in size).
These feeds should have a protein content of 35 – 40% and can be in the form of crumbled feeds or extruded pellets, with sizes ranging from 0.1 mm to 1mm.
Juvenile stage: The African catfish will continue to grow throughout the juvenile stage (about 5-6 inches in size), and they will need a feed with a greater energy content to maintain their development.
These feeds should have a protein content of about 30–35% and can be in the form of floating or sinking pellets.
Adult stage: The nutritional requirements of African catfish change after they reach adulthood (diameters of 8 inches or greater).
To support their maintenance and reproduction, these fish will need a more well-balanced diet with a lower protein content (about 25 -30%) and higher calorie content.
Supplementary Meals for African Catfish
Catfish are voracious feeders, cutting cost of feeding is crucial to your profitability as a catfish farmer. To this end, there are various supplementary feeds you can use to cut down the cost of your production by as much as 50%.
Here are a few to consider;
Dangers of Over Feeding
Accumulation of waste: Overfeeding can result in excessive waste production, which can impair the quality of the water and raise the risk of illness.
Poor feeding habits: Overfeeding might make African catfish less motivated to eat, which has the effect of causing poor feeding habits.
Cost increase: Overfeeding may result in higher feed costs, which may have an effect on how profitable a catfish farming enterprise is.
Pollution: Extra feed that the African catfish don’t eat can decompose and contaminate the water which may end up killing them.