Tilapia is widely farmed in the world and the reason is that tilapia farming is quite lucrative.
Also, tilapia is widely eaten as it is used to prepare various recipes and has numerous nutritional benefits.
Tilapia farming can be done on a subsistent level or commercial level. On a commercial level, here are certain things to put into consideration to succeed.
Set a plan and clearly state your objectives and goals
Just like in every other business, tilapia farming business requires you to clearly have in mind what you set to achieve. Begin by having a business plan for your tilapia farming business.
The business plan should consist of your goal, objectives, the scale of business, mode of operation, material resources, budget, market base, contingency plan, analysis of strength, weakness, opportunity, and threats (SWOT), opportunity cost, feasibility, and so on.
Having a clear goal and setting up objectives with which to run your tilapia farming business will serve as a guide.
For instance, the financial aspect of your plan should cover the cost of acquiring necessary resources such as farm equipment, fingerlings, pond construction, workers’ wages, and so on.
This should also include a contingency plan to cover unforeseen expenses.
Starting a business without a plan is planning to fail. Therefore, you must consider having a strategy with a clear goal and objectives.
Construct a conducive fish pond
This concerns the habitation of tilapia stock. It is very important should be done with serious consideration.
There are a number of fish ponds you can use to raise your tilapia stock. We have earthen ponds, concrete ponds, tarpaulin ponds, cage ponds.
You can opt for any of these mentioned ponds depending on your finances or what you set to achieve.
Tilapia can be raised in other settings like raceways and tanks. Reports have it that in some urban areas tilapia are raised in trash cans.
However, raising in a fish pond is the optimal method.
It is important you optimize the fish ponds by sourcing good water and making sure the pond is well aerated.
The fish pond should not be overstocked with tilapia as it may affect their growth, cause disease outbreaks and cannibalism.
Materials for constructing fish ponds vary, so depending on which fish pond you choose to have, get standard materials and make sure you construct a standard fish pond that will facilitate healthy cultivation of your broodstock.
It is advisable you start small and as your business flourish you expand.
Obtain your fingerlings
This aspect of tilapia farming requires serious consideration as they are the actual fish you are planning to farm.
It is strongly advised that you should be critical about where you purchase your fingerlings.
A poorly hatched or not-too-good fingerlings will result in not-too-good fish stock and eventually lead to poor harvest.
You should make sure you get your fingerlings from a reliable hatchery with a track record of producing good fingerlings.
Typically, fingerlings ranging from 0.75 to 2.0 inches should be purchased. You can also buy fingerlings of less than 0.75 inches but they need extra care.
Introducing your fingerlings involved gradual acclimatising them to the fish pond environment.
These include optimising certain factors such as temperature, oxygen level, water pH, and so on.
You need to make the environment easy enough for the fingerlings to adjust to.
As earlier mentioned refrain from overstocking your fish pond with tilapia.
It has adverse effects that can render your efforts fruitless thereby preventing you from achieving set goals and objectives.
Overstocking density should be avoided at all costs.
Cultivate your tilapia broodstock to table size
These involve maintaining a sound tilapia farming practices that cover proper feeding and optimizing the factors that make up their habitation.
The following are criteria for a standard fish pond for proper cultivation of tilapia fingerlings to table size:
The water in the fish pond should have a pH value of 7 to 7.5
The temperature should be between 80 – 100℉, with the optimal temperature being 85℉.
Note that at 75℉, the tilapia fish will begin to eat slowly, at 60℉, they will get weak and at 50℉, they will die.
There should be no ammonia instead of the total concentration of ammonia. Ammonia level of 2ppm (parts per million) can kill your tilapia broodstock and a level of 1ppm can affect their growth.
- The dissolved oxygen level should be 5-7ppm.
- Carbon dioxide concentration should be less than 20mg/l
- Nitrite concentration should be less than 0.3mg/l
- Nitrate should be 200-300 ppm
- There should be chlorine
Normally, tilapia farming takes eight months for the tilapia to grow into maturation, if cultivated properly through good feeds, medication, and provision of an optimal environment.
It is shrewd to raise your tilapia for both sales and breeding so as to make your farm self-sufficient.
You can keep some broodstock for the breeding of fingerlings.
You can use these fingerlings as seedlings to sustain the production cycle and you can sell to other fish farmers.
Harvesting and marketing of table size tilapia
This should take place eight months after stocking your fish farm with fingerlings.
Under normal conditions, a well-managed tilapia farming business should give a good harvest.
You can harvest your tilapia fish and take it to markets to sell to fish retailers or you can sell it directly to consumers.
Alternatively, you can have buyers buy directly from the market, it all depends on how you want to market your produce.
There are several fish sales outlets to choose from, you should opt for what works best for you.
However, it is advisable you start researching the fish market even before stocking your farm, hence, the need for a business plan.
And before your broodstock matures, you should source out buyers in your locality and beyond.
Employ the use of marketing or advertisement media to get buyers interested in your produce.
This will save you from the dreary situation of having mature broodstock without interested buyers.
The keynote here is to begin marketing before harvesting time.
There are factors to consider before kick-starting a tilapia farming business. These serve as guidelines with which to properly run a tilapia farming business and eventually make a profit.
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