Starting Fish Farming In Nigeria

Interested in small fish farming in Nigeria ideas? If YES, here is how to open a fish farm business with no money and no experience. How much does it cost to start up?


Fish Farming in Nigeria  – Because of its unique taste and high nutritional value, fish delicacies have become increasingly popular in Nigerian homes, restaurants and hotels. In recent times, the demand for it is a lot higher than fish farmers can supply thereby making fish farming in Nigeria a profitable investment to launch into.

Fish Farming Nigeria – Catfish Business Nigeria
Starting A Fish Farm in Nigeria is one of the guaranteed way to make millions of Naira annually. If you are armed with the right knowledge, commercial fish farming business is a lucrative investment that can spin money at any time of the year continuously.

Raising fish in Nigeria one of the most profitable areas of agribusiness. It is also important to know that not all Nigerian fish farmers are involved in grow-outs (table size fish) production. I have written this post to expose the basics of starting a fish farming business in Nigeria as well as the numerous fish farming opportunities.

Fish farming business is a money spinning venture as you will start generating 100% return of investment.

However, the fish business requires knowledge, skill, together with time and effort to make it successful (knowledge + skill + time + effort = success). This is because if any of these values is neglected, it is easy to run into losses. The good news is that if you follow the simple fish farming guidelines mentioned in this article, you will be guaranteed a stable and steady income throughout the year as it is not a seasonal business.

How To start A Fish Farming Business

Below, I have listed some hot areas to look into if you are interested starting fish farm business in Nigeria.

How To Start Catfish Farming Business in Nigeria – Areas Of Production

  • Grow-out Production (Raising catfish to table size)
  • Fingerling production (hatching catfish and selling at fries, sales of fingerling, post-fingerling or juvenile fish). Running a lucrative fish breeding business Nigeria needs extensive technical know how.
  • Production of smoked Catfish (packaging and sales of smoked catfish)
  • Offering consultancy services in hatchery design, fish pond construction, spawning/hatching, melange and grow-out production, fish feed formulation etc
  • Sales and installation of mobile fish ponds, construction of concrete fish ponds, digging and bagging of earthen ponds and constructions of wooden fish ponds


Fish farming in Nigeria as a business can be started with as much amount of money as you have. In fact I recommend you start on a small scale and then grow with experience. As time goes by, you will become accustomed to tackling the risks involved in the business. Initial capital is needed for the construction of the pond, for acquiring land and buildings if it is not self owned, labour, licensing and equipment. Running costs includes cost of feeds, getting fingerlings, fuel/electricity.

How To Rear Catfish In Nigeria

Construction Of Fish Pond And Its Management – Type Of Fish Pond In Nigeria

Starting/setting up a fish pond in Nigeria requires careful planning. With about #100,000, you can get construct an earthen pond of 10ft by 10ft with a dept of 4-5ft. This should contain an average of 1000 fishes to adult size.

Constructing an earthen pond should be done after your have carried out extensive soil analysis. Make sure the earthen pond is bagged firmly and converted with a net. Concrete pond construction in Nigeria comes in two different models and designs. You can decided to construct with pure casting or hollow cement filled with concrete. 9-inch block is used for concrete fish pond construction in Nigeria.

Construction of Ponds

Depending on the capital available, you can construct any of these ponds;

  • Earthen Pond:  This is digging up the soil (usually clay) to create a pond.
  • Concrete Pond: Here, blocks are used to construct the pond above the ground level, using cement, gravel and sand.
  • Fibre Pond: These are fibre tanks (e.g. GP tanks). The advantage of this pond is that it can be moved from place to place.

How To Start Fish Farming In Nigeria
Stocking your fish should be done after you have disinfected and treated your pond. You can disinfect with Blagdon Antibacterial and Antifungal. Fertilizing your fish pond with help balance it’s organic and ion concentration. You can use poultry dungs suspended in sacks or banana leaves for this purpose.

The following should be put into consideration when constructing your pond for your fish business

  • Availability of constant water supply – This can be achieved by digging a borehole or well. Rain water can also be channeled into tanks
  • Depth of the pond – Depth affects the oxygen level. The ideal depth is 4 to 6feet.
  • A minimum of three ponds should be constructed in the area. Each pond for different sizes of fishes.
  • The pond should be close to steady power supply.

Equipment Needed

  • Pumping Machine and Pipes
  • Water Testing Equipment
  • Tanks
  • Baskets and Buckets
  • Seines  and Nets
  • Electricity Generator Set
  • Pond Aerators

Fingerling goes for about #12 – #18 while good quality juvenile is around #25 – #35. It is recommended that you learn how to hatch yourself. If you need to get quality seed, make sure you buy from reputable hatcheries that have good antecedents.

For your fish to achieve optimum weight, you need to feed them to satiation. In fish farm business in Nigeria, you can practice spot feeding but make sure you avoid feed wastage which will not only pollute your water but also increase your cost of production. The size of fish feed you will use will be determined by the size of fish mouth which depends on how fast your fish grow. Don’t change water immediately after feeding as this may cause your fish to vomit. Aquapro and livestovit are supplements that can prevent diseases and enhance fish feed conversion to flesh. To reduce cost of feeding fish, you can start with imported feed for the first one and half months to two months and then finish off with local feed.

Sorting is very important is fish farming. It helps reduce cannibalism, a situation where bigger fish eat smaller ones. Sorting involves grouping fish of nearly the same size into the same ponds. This will enhance growth as the fish can compete equally for feed, space and water. Managing water is one of the bedrock for success in fish farming. Access to clean water which is introduced to the pond every 2-3days or through flow-through system is essential. If you can feed your fish well and manage your fish pond water efficiently, you have succeeded in reducing risk of infection by 70pecent.

Fish can become sick when they are not properly managed. The cause of disease may be microbial (bacterial, fungi, viral), parasitic, nutritional or management. Also, pond water acquisition and disposal are some major problems of fish farming in nigeria

Several signs such as hanging, flashing, bruises and abrasion on the skin, eye popping out, swollen belly, discoloration etc can suggest that all is not well with you fish.

A lot of Nigerian fish farmers fail in fish farming business because they fail to carry out proper fish marketing survey. You should produce based on the size of your market.

Fish Production In Nigeria – Marketing
Research to find out what type of fish and stages moves fastest. Currently, the price of catfish in Nigeria stands at #450-500/kg in Lagos and other parts of southwest. Meet with other fish farmers in your area to know the available markets and look for additional areas yourself. Inform fish sellers that you are due for harvest your fish 2months before they are ready. If smoked fish sells in your area, you can decide to smoke and package your catfish. There are several designs of smoking kilns available in the market. Smoking your fish will add more value to it. Just ensure that the packaging is hygienic and attractive.

Before you invest in fish farming, it is important that you draw out a feasibility study or business plan.

This provides you information about which area of fish farming to invest in, what size to produce, how much the investment will likely gulp, how and where to market your fish and how to expand your fish business and expected challenges/problems and what to do to overcome them. Find examples a fish farming business plan and marketing plan fish farming and study them so as to enable you develop one for your fish farm.

Do you have questions you want to ask me on how to rear catfish in Nigeria? I have answered most question on small scale fish farming in Nigeria here:

Before starting the business, it is very important to draw out a good business plan. It should be comprehensive and detailed as the success of the business largely depends on it. As catfish takes 4 to 5 months to grow into table size, expenses to be made through out the period should be carefully laid out.

Contact me if you need a solid business proposal on fish farming in Nigeria. Here is a collection of feasibility studies and fish farming business plan.

Here are tips to help you successfully run your fish farming In Nigeria :

  • I will advise that a beginner starts with juvenile fishes instead of fingerlings.
  • Apply lime to the ponds before you introduce the fishes. Lime will kill all possible bacteria and reduce the acidic content of the water that can affect the fish.
  • Do not overcrowd the fishes. 1000 catfishes per acre is recommended.
  • Though fish can survive in a wide range of temperature, the ideal water temperature is 85°. The temperature affects the rate of feeding in fish. They eat more in warm temperature.
  • Overfeeding should be avoided as much as possible. Unconsumed feed will decompose and pollute the water thereby affecting the survival and growth of the fishes.
  • Feed fishes regularly as they tend to feed on themselves when they are hungry. At least twice daily.
  • fish feed should be bought from reputable dealers as only quality feed should be used.
  • The pond should be kept clean at all times. Only clean and clear water should be used. Impurities reduce the oxygen level in the water. The water should be changed regularly.
  • Proper marketing arrangement should be made before the end of the growing season. Harvest size is usually determined by the buyer.
  • The farmer should be observant. Sudden behavioral changes are tell – tale signs that something is wrong with the fishes.

These are key points to consider when starting fish farming in Nigeria

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