What are the types of fish ponds in Nigeria? Before we talk about fish ponds it is reasonable that we first talk a little about fish, there importance, and why fish ponds exist at all in the first place.
Fish, as we have mentioned in the preceding article to this, is food obtained from the water. That is to say that fishing is just like hunting, only that it is done on the water. Fish as a food source offers so many benefits: it is high in protein and other nutrients, and low in oils and cholesterol. This has made fish an immensely popular feature of the diet of the world’s population. Fish is not just a delicacy but a staple food that people in every corner of the globe have come to rely on for their daily nutritional requirements.
The world’s waters can no longer sustain our demand for fish. Over-fishing has resulted in the barrenness of large parts of the oceans and rivers, and the rapid depletion of many fish species. This means that we (humanity in general) must take responsibility for our own needs when it comes to putting fish on the table. That necessity is what brings us to the topic at hand: Types of fish ponds in Nigeria.
Fish ponds and aquaculture as a practice is as old as time and has seen many strides from the early days before becoming what it is today. However, what is good in Canada may not necessarily be good in Nigeria. In this post, we will talk about the types of fish ponds that are practical for Nigeria, and also give you some useful tips and insights that can help you succeed in this very lucrative and sustainable business venture. Let us begin!
Types of Fish Ponds in Nigeria
1. Earthen Ponds
Earthen Ponds are more natural than the rest of the types of ponds that we will discuss. In this type of pond you take advantage of the natural qualities of the earth, you just excavate the ground, allow it to fill up with water, and raise your fish in the pond that you have excavated. Some people site this kind of pond in swampy areas, allow natural water to fill the pond, and regulate it by letting out the excess water to prevent the water from going out of control, thereby flooding the pond- a thing which can lead to severe losses. Even if swamp water is not available, you can do well by pumping water via an electric pump, and ensuring that you have a way of draining the pond of any excess water, which can come about by factors outside your control, such as rainfall, etc.
The shape and size of the pond should fit in with the topography of the land: the water inlet should be at the higher side, while the outlet should be at the lower end, this will help you avoid flooding. You must, however, ensure that you can control the water level.
If you are going to construct more than one pond, it is better to have an independent water supply (inlets) to each pond and also separate drainage lines (outlets). By this, it would be possible to drain the water from each pond without affecting the other pond. This is especially useful when harvesting. You can, therefore, harvest each pond whenever you want, without having to drain the other pond. Technically, they call this a parallel pond system.
I may be cheaper to construct a single large pond, although smaller ponds are easier to manage than larger ones. Also, it could be easier on your schedule to stock, feed, and regulate water to a single large pond than to operate several smaller ponds.
Ponds can vary in depth and still be good. Depth can vary from 1 to 2 meters. However, Ponds should ideally not be too shallow or too deep. Shallow ponds can easily be made muddy by a few days of bad weather and flooded by a few hours of rain. Such ponds also will easily expose the fish to be eaten by their natural enemies.
On the other hand, ponds that are too deep will pose management problems to farmers especially during the harvest period. The farmer will have to work extra hard to get the fish that he has been feeding for several months.
Pond construction can be done manually or mechanically. In the end, there is no major difference whether the ponds are dug by hand or excavated by machines. Every individual farmer must consider his own pocket before making any decision.
Construction Estimates to build an Earthen Pond usually depends on the following:
- Cost of land acquisition (Sometimes a lease can also be practical since you will not be building much on the ground.)
- Cost of labour to excavate the land, to the required depth. It does not matter whether it is dug by hand or by machine, the farmer will still have to pay for it to be done.
- Cost of construction of pond well. What we mean by this is that you may need a water source such as a well, especially if you a locating your pond in an area where there is no natural water source like a stream or swamp.
- Cost of fencing material: This can simply mean that you put wire net around the pond to prevent animals from coming to hunt in your pond.
- Cost of plumbing materials and accessories: Inlets and outlets are simply pipes that you have installed on your pond.
- Cost of fertilization of pond (fertilizer/lime/manure): You do not just dig the ground and put fish in there. Fertilization will help the pond feel more natural to the fish as the natural environment is full of natural components.
2. Plastic Tanks:
Plastic Tanks are another kind of pond that you will find in Nigeria. This can be operated singularly in a system in which the plastic tanks are kept in a farmhouse with a roof over them, and are fitted with intricate fittings of pipes which bring water in, and take water out, thus regulating water quality, and easing the process of harvesting the fish.
Plastic Tanks can also be used as part of a Recycling system: This method uses large plastic tanks that are placed inside a greenhouse or farmhouse. There are hydroponic beds (a kind of waterlogged bed for planting crops ) that are placed near the plastic tanks, and into which the water outlet runs. The water in the plastic tanks is fed directly to the hydroponic beds, where the fish feed waste goes to provide nutrients for the plants that are grown in the hydroponic beds.
Construction Costs for this type of Ponds include:
- Cost of building the green-house (Roofing materials and other things involved in building the structure)
- Cost of Purchasing the plastic (septic tanks)
- Cost of constructing the farm well or borehole to supply water to the tanks.
- Cost of installing the inlets and outlets to regulate the water quality of the ponds.
3. Concrete Ponds
This is perhaps the most popular kind of pond that you will find in Nigeria. These types of ponds are constructed with cement and are usually built above the ground with building blocks that are used to build houses for humans. Perhaps the reason why they are so popular in Nigeria is the fact most people who practice aquaculture there do it as a small venture to complement their income, and so they just raise fish in their house backyards or any nearby available land. They utilize the same water source they use for their homes in the ponds. The drawbacks are quite many: Concrete ponds are traditionally more expensive than earthen ponds, but very often produce less in terms of yield. They may also be more expensive to maintain.
Concrete ponds are traditionally built smaller than earthen ponds, although the designs are similar. The area of ponds should not be less than 20 meters square, but not usually more than 100 meters square. Keep in mind that larger ponds are usually difficult to manage especially during harvest.
Features of Concrete Pond Construction
- A well-drained upland area with a firm (not swampy land) is the best place to spot this type of pond. This ensures that the water drains easily, the pond walls do not cave in.
- Ideally, the ponds should not be too big, because really big ponds need reinforcement with rods at corners for support, and this could increase the cost of construction.
- It is beneficial to ensure that the builder you contract to construct the pond is familiar with the work, it would be beneficial if he was recommended by someone who has previously had a good pond built.
- The floor should be sloppy to one side, the inlet pipe should be located on the higher side, while the outlet pipes should be on the lower side. This will ensure that the pond is well-drained when the need arises.
- Fish Pond construction work should not be rushed. Even when the building has been completed the farmer still has to wait for 3 – 4 weeks for the chemicals in the cement to subside. Technically they call this: the ponds being cured.
- After curing your pond you can import water from available sources – well, river, stream, borehole. But it is a good idea to let the water age before stocking with fry.
- Construction estimates for concrete ponds depend on the size of pond you have in mind, but you may keep the following in mind before talking to your contractor.
Cost of blocks which will make up the walls of the ponds.
- Cost of cement, sand, gravel and fine stones: these will make up the base or foundation upon which the ponds will be built.
- Cost of plumbing and accessories: By this, we mean the pipes that will be inlets and outlets of the ponds, and also the taps that will control the flow of water.
- Cost of Labour: The farmer will not build or fit any of the above by himself, he will need to hire skilled workers to do these.
- Cost of fertilization of pond (fertilizer/lime/manure): This will help the ponds to have a natural feel to them, thus more conducive to the fish.
That’s all about the types of fish ponds in Nigeria.
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