How To Start Fish Farming Business In Nigeria (Complete Guide).

Fish Farming Business In Nigeria over the years has become a lucrative business in the agricultural sector of the country.

From the beginning of time, farmers have centred their production of agriculture on peasant farming, farms produce, plantation, livestock farming, (crop farming and animal husbandry). It is the basic and popular farming system in Nigeria.

Fish Farming Business In Nigeria

 Fish farming or pisciculture involves raising fish commercially in tanks or enclosures such as fish ponds, usually for food. It is the principal form of aquaculture, while other methods may fall under mariculture.

A facility that releases juvenile fish into the wild for recreational fishing or to supplement a species’ natural numbers is generally referred to as a fish hatchery. Worldwide, the most important fish species produced in fish farming are carp, tilapia, salmon, and catfish.

However, If you are thinking of  starting a Fish Farming Business In Nigeria or you are an existing fish farmer and you are looking to expand your farm capacity, we have created a complete guide to ease your  fish farming business.

This guide is concentrated to answer some fundamental inquiries or questions revolving around starting up a fish  farming (especially catfish) is most compatible with poultry farming as you can use the poultry drops to produce the feed for your fish.

So, are you scaling to know:

  • Types Of Fish Farming (Fish Species)
  • What Is Fish Farming Setup Costs In Nigeria?,
  • Fish Farming Business Plan In Nigeria?,
  • How Much Does It Cost To Start A Fish Farm In Nigeria?,
  • Cost Of Feeding 500 Catfish In Nigeria?,
  • Profitability Of Catfish Farming In Nigeria?,
  • Small Scale Fish Farming In Nigeria,
  • Complete Information About Fish Farming Business,
  • How To Start Fish Farming,

If the above listed is part of your inquiry about fish farming business then you are at the right place. Lets get started;

Types Of Fish Farming (Fish Species)

There are varieties of fishes that exist, but only a few of these fishes can be breed. There are three major fish species that farmers breed on fish farming.

1. Catfish Farming 

Catfish is not the most popular fish in Nigeria, this fish species is by far the most cultivated in Nigeria. Fish Farmers bank on this species of because of it, one major attractive part of this species of fishes that it is one of the easiest species to breed. So, People willingly move to this direction because of the natural ease they found in cultivating the cast fish, fish farming system.

2. Tilapia Fish Farming

Tilapia Fish is the second most popular fish in the Nigeria aquaculture industry. Tilapia fish species live in fresh shallow water.  It produces very rapidly and grows fast, also, it easy to cultivates and is very popular in the Nigerian market. The world aquaculture production of Tilapia Fish farming is 4.2million tonnes with an estimated value of about 3 to $ 3.5billion.

 3. Mackerel Fish Farming (Titus)

This is the most popular eaten fish by Nigeria and most demanded in the market but so sad it’s not farmed. Mackerel is the species of fish popularly known as Titus, All Mackerel fishes are ‘wild caught.’ How can these blue sea water fish survive? Some farmers in Nigeria are considering the possibilities of trying to create salty water similar to the seawater where mackerel can only survive.

Forms Of Fish  Farming

Fish  farming has two forms and they includes: Nursery Fish farming and Grown Out Fish Farming. These two can be operated separately or together.

 1. The Nursery Catfish Farming:

This involves the inducement of the female fish to lay eggs, which are then fertilized, incubated and hatched. Those little fishes are regarded as fries.

The fries are then nurtured into fingerlings in a space of three to four weeks. The fingerlings is the suitable size for use in the Grown Out catfish farming.

2. The Grown out Catfish Farming:

This is dependent on the nursery fish farming because it is impossible to grow fish without the nursery. In between the nursery and grow out operation is what we referred to as the primary operation.

It involves the nurturing of the three or four weeks within which they could grow into post fingerlings, mini juveniles and juveniles respectively.

These can then be nurtured for between four to five month into grow out or table size fish suitable for sale and consumption.

Step By Step To Starting  Fish Farming Business In Nigeria:

The following are the important steps you need to take when  Starting  Fish Farming Business In Nigeria:

1. Secure a Land

This is the very first step in starting this business. You need to acquire at least half plot of land in a suitable location.

In choosing the location, you need to put into consideration access to good road, closeness to market and labor. Once you acquire the land, you need to apportion spaces for the following:

#1 The ponds
#2 The farm house
#3 Water supply
#4 Drainage facility

2. Map Out a Plan.

You need to determine whether you want to go into small or big scale commercial catfish farming. Also determine the pond system to adopt; Re-circulatory system, Earthen pond or Concrete/plastic pond or both.

Once the pond has been dug and the farm area has been developed, your money can’t be refund. Hence, you need to extensively evaluate before you invest your money.

3. Know What You Need To Raise Fish
  • You will need a piece of land where you can build a pond, or suitable water areas to build pens or keep cages;
  • You will need a supply of water,
  • Baby fish to begin and food for your fish.
  • You will need time to build a pond and to care for it regularly.
  • Pens and cages can also be used for raising fish from the time they are babies until they are big enough to eat or to sell.
  • If you have a stream, river, lake or reservoir nearby, you may want to build a pen or a cage and raise fish there.
  • If you already have a fish pond, you may want to put in a cage so that you can raise more fish than you could in the pond alone.
  • If there is a fish culture station near where you live, you may be able to get help from an extension agent.
  • If there is no extension agent you will need to learn many things by yourself.
  • You will need to know the type of soil best for your pond,
  • How to dig your pond, how to fill it with water, and how to fertilize it.
  • You will need to know what kind of fish to rise,
  • How to put the baby fish into your pond,
  • What to feed your fish and how to feed them,,,
  • You will need to know how to take care of the pond,
  • How to drain it,
  • How to harvest the fish and how to use your own baby fish to start again.

How Large Should Your Fish Pond Be?

  • It is good to start with a pond greater than 300 square meters. Such a pond will produce enough fish for food. It will also produce fish for sales and additional cash income.
  • For example, if you build a pond 20 by 20 meters, the pond will measure 400 square meters.
  • A square or rectangular pond is easiest to build, but your pond can have a different shape to fit the size and shape of your land.

How To Build a Good Fish Pond

  • First mark out a big square on the site you have chosen, about 26 by 26 metres. Mark the corners with pegs and run a string between the pegs to show where the outside of the banks will be.
  • Clear the big square of all trees, bushes and grass and take away as many big roots as you can.
  • Now mark out a smaller square inside the big square, about 20 by 20 metres. Mark the corners with pegs and run a string between the pegs to show where the inside of the banks will be.
  • Take away about 20 centimetres of topsoil from all over the square. Put the topsoil aside. Later you will put it back on the top and outer sides of the banks.
  • The bottom of the bank in the shallow part of your pond and along the sides should be about 1 metre from the upper end and sides of the small square.
  • The bottom of the bank in the deepest part of your pond should be about 2 metres from the lower end of the small square.
  • Now mark out a third smaller area in the centre of your pond, about 17 by 18 metres. We will call this the central area. Mark the corners with pegs and run a string between the pegs to show where the bottom of the banks will be.
  • Be sure that all the pegs and strings marking the 26 by 26 metre square, the 20 by 20 metre square and the central area are set up as shown in the drawings.
  • Now you are ready to begin digging out soil from inside the central area to build the banks of your pond.
  • Ask your neighbors to help you dig your big pond. Then you can help them dig their ponds in turn.
  • Shared work is lighter work. When we work together with our neighbors, the work is easier and faster.
  • Begin digging inside the central square at the upper end of your pond. Dig about 20 centimeters deep. As you dig towards the lower end, dig a little deeper. When you get to the deepest part, at the 2-metre string marking the central area, you should be digging about 30 centimeters deep.
  • As you dig out the soil, put it between the lines marking the 20 by 20 metre square and the 26 by 26 metre square, where the banks will be. Put it nearest to where you are digging. This way, the banks will be higher and wider as you move toward the lower end.

Important Tips About Good Fish Pond:

1. Inlets to let water into the pond
  • Simple inlets
  • A better inlet
2. Outlets to let water out of the pond 
  • Simple outlets
  • A better outlet
  • Another kind of outlet: the monk
  • Improving your pipe outlet
  • Using a siphon to drain your pond
3. Bringing water to your ponds 
  • Raising the level of your water supply
  • Digging a supply ditch
  • Digging a return ditch
  • Building a sluice to control the water flow
4. Controlling the water in the pond
  • Overflow
  • Controlling trash and fish: screens
5. Preparing your pond 
  • Before filling the pond
  • fertilizing the water
  • How to make plant compost
  • How to make animal compost
  • Building a crib
  • Putting fertilizer into the crib
  • When is your pond ready?
6. Stocking your pond with baby fish 
  • Growing your own baby fish
  • Feeding the fish in your nursery pond
  • Using your baby fish
  • Transporting your baby fish
  • Putting baby fish into your pond
7. Taking care of your fish 
  • Feeding your growing fish
  • Providing good water for your fish
8. Harvesting your pond 
  • Harvesting without draining the water
  • Harvesting by draining part of the water
  • Harvesting by draining all of the water
  • Harvesting fish when you have a monk
  • Harvesting inside the pond
  • Harvesting outside the pond

How To Start Fish Farming Business In Nigeria

1. Get a Proper Training

Not the kind of training you get from one day seminars; you need to get attached to a fish farm for proper apprenticeship. For you to properly learn this trade, you need at least a month training on this.

2. Secure a Land

Any location is good since fish doesn’t cause any environmental disturbance. Look for land where you can get it cheap and buy. Depending on the capacity you wants to operate on, half plot of land is just good enough for average fish farm.

However, you may go for something bigger like full plot or two if you can afford it probably for convenience sake. If you already have a compound with leftover space you thing can accommodate two or three ponds, you may use it.

3. Construct Ponds

You need to engage the service of expert pond construction engineer or you go to another fish farm to get the specification and construction requirements. The plumbing work must be properly done to ensure proper drainage.

4. Dig a Borehole

Adequate water supply is the lifeblood of fish farm and lack of it may result to disaster because water need to be changed on regular interval.

Naturally available sources of water such as borehole and river water is the most suitable. Rain water and tap water from chemically treated source is not recommended for fish cultivation.

5. Install Overhead Tank

This is the water reservoir from which water is supplied to your ponds. This tank has to be connected to your ponds through plumbing system to make it convenient for water to flow into your ponds when needed.

6. Get Juvenile Fish

Get your juvenile from another farm that specializes in supplying it. You need to go for the high yield specie of catfish or tilapia and make sure you are getting it from a healthy farm.

Benefits of Fish Farming Business In Nigeria

 1. High Demand Of Fish

Fish sells faster than any other animal products in the market and is relatively cheaper than meats, making it the number one choice when it comes to affordability.

2. Fish is Source of Protein

Fish is one of the highest source of protein. It is a low-fat high quality protein that is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin).

Fish is also very rich in calcium and phosphorus and is equally a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.

3. Fast Maturity Rate 

Fish grows very fast as practices in fish farming makes it possible for farmers to increase the fastness of their fish growth by giving them certain feeds, ensuring that you harvest and sell within short period of time.

4. Fish Is a Source Of Omega-3

Fish is the biggest source of Omega-3 fatty acids which is extremely beneficial to human heart; Omega-3 helps to keep our heart and brain very healthy.

Since human body doesn’t produce Omega-3 fatty acids, the only source through which we can get it is by what we eat, that is where fish comes to the rescue.

5. Fish Farming is Profitable

Fish farming is very profitable. With proper planning and good management, N3 million investment in fish farming could easily result to N4 million of pure profit within six months.

How Cost Is Fish Farming Business in Nigeria?

Detail of Expenditure Cost Value (Naira)
Pond rentage for six months (for 1,000 juveniles) 15,000
Pond preparation (applicable to earthen pond only) 10,000
Netting (including workmanship) 5,000
Procurement of juveniles (N25 each; between 6 and 10 grams) 25,000
Feeds (floating; I recommend 100 grams per fish. That’s approximately seven bags at 7,000 each) 44,000
Local feed (1,700kg at N280 per kg). Note: At conversion ratio of 1.4:1. 392,000
Cost of feeding (assume N2,000 monthly for five months) 10,000
Cost of logistics (assume N2,000 monthly for five months) 10,000
Security (assume N1,000 monthly for five months) 5,000
Cost of Medication (optional) 2,000
Cost of Cropping 4,000
TOTAL 522,000

Challenges Of Fish Farming Business In Nigeria:

1. Capital Intensive

Setting up fish farm is capital intensive, much more than that of poultry and snail farming. Setting up fish farm requires more careful planning and much capital input. A relatively small fish farm may take up to N500,000 to setup, while bigger ones takes millions of naira.

2. Fish is Priced High

Due to the cost of production, fish produced from the farm is priced higher than those caught from the rivers and ponds by fishermen. Therefore, if there are good quantity of fisherman’s fish in the market, you may find it difficult to sell as people would prefer the cheaper ones.

3. No Byproduct

There is no byproduct in fishery unlike poultry where even the drop can be harvested and sold to other farmers and make extra profit. In fishery, all you get is the flesh.

4. Sensitive to Manage

Fish is very sensitive to manage and a slight mistake could result to degenerated growth of your fish or even death which may cause massive revenue loss.


  1. Divine Majesty.

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