Fish farming is a very old method of agriculture which produces a steady source of protein. Maybe you have the potential to grow a wide variety of fish right in your back yard pond or fish tanks. The most common types of fish that can be easily raised for commercial or personal consumption are tilapia, carp, salmon, and catfish. Growing fish in your backyard or fish tanks can be fun as well as rewarding. It could also be a source of income for you if you wish to later sell your fish for profit.
Fish farming as a sustainable food production system
Growing and raising fish for commercial purposes in your backyard can be a sustainable method of food production if you mimic the natural relationship found in the ecosystem. You could easily dig a pond in your backyard, fill it up with water, raise several kinds of fish for commercial use, and benefit from it. The methods of sustainable fish farming are described step by step:
Step#1: Select a location
To start a fish farm in your backyard, you should select an appropriate spot for your pond. Your pond should be in a place that is naturally low in your backyard and it should be able to collect water naturally. Draw sketches of your pond and plan out the location with exact dimensions on a piece of paper. Doing so will help you figure out the actual shape and size of the pond and how well it will fit into your backyard. If you live in an area where the summers are hot and winters are cold, plan a deep area of 8-12 feet as part of your pond where fish can find shelter during hot summer or cold winter. Make sure to include plants in your plan. Your plan could also include fountains or waterfalls to make your pond attractive.
Step#2: Plan for digging your pond
Once you have selected a spot, consider the tools you will need for digging. Before you start digging, mark the outline of your pond. You may use ropes, garden hoses, or extension cords to mark the area. You can adjust the shape and size of your pond until you are happy with the shape and size. Your final layout should include plenty of plants and surrounding areas around you pond. If you plan to dig a large pond, you may need to rent a bobcat. Contact your local authorities first to make sure the area you are in permits such landscaping in your backyard. Also make sure that there are no utilities such as electric lines, gas pipes, and water or sewerage lines buried under ground where you plan to dig.
Step#3 Digging your pond
If you plan to dig a small pond you may use a shovel or rent a bobcat if you plan for a bigger pond. One good technique for digging is to dig at 16 inch depths at a time and pile the dirt nearby at the back of the pond where you can place your water fall. Dig deeper towards the center where you can place a pump for your fountain. Dig in steps and plan for plants to be placed on the steps at different levels of depth. Hand-dig the edges of the steps to make it look chiseled and use it for plant shelves. Make your pond at least 5 feet deep at the center.
Step#4 Placing the pond liner
Once you have dug a hole, fill it up with mason’s sand and rake it smooth. Cover the sand with a geo textile fabric. This will protect the rubber liner which you will place on top of the fabric. Your fabric should be big enough to cover the hole you made for your pump. Fold your rubber liner length wise. Unfold your rubber liner starting from the center of the pond. Press the liner firmly with your hand and feet over the center pit, and fill it with water to hold your liner in place.
Step#5 Placing stones
You want to handle stones as little as possible. It is best to have your stone delivered right at your pond or backyard. Start placing your stones in stacks, starting from the floor of the pond, the plant shelves, to the sides. The stones along the sides should be a foot wide. Place the pump and hose at the center of the pond on a flat rock and the waterfall at the side of the pond. Connect your hose and power cord to electric outlets.
Step#6 Adding fish
Make sure you choose the right kind of fish for your pond. Fish like trout need highly oxygenated water and need the water to remain cool throughout the year. Pumpkinseed or Blue gills are more flexible because they grow very fast and do well in almost all types of ponds. Large predatory fish such as perch or bass require more space and food. Bass also tend to eat all their relatives in the pond. When you order fish, they will appear in a small plastic bag. Make sure to add the water that they came in into the pond so that they adjust easily with the surrounding.
Backyard fish farming can be highly beneficial. The system of aquaculture and poly culture where several species of fish are grown together has been used in China and Hawaii for many years. Your fish will need regular supply of food to grow faster. Never over feed your fish because it will give rise to more problems such as bacteria, fungus, or predators. It is also important that you maintain an ecological balance and do not produce pollution or excessive nitrogen through your pond.
Source: WorldWide Aquaculture