Fish farming, no doubt, is a lucrative venture with ever growing market within Nigeria and a greatly untapped market internationally.
Haven been in the business of raising fishes for up to five years now, I would like to use this piece to share some tips that has to do with running a lucrative fish farm using collapsible mobile tarpaulin fish ponds without having to break the bank.
Quite frankly, running a highly profitable fish farm involves good thinking and the ability to make smart decisions that can help to save you costs.
It starts with the choice of fish pond, which I am going to dwell on in this article.
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Over the years (hundreds of years I guess), various types of fish ponds have evolved with newer types having improvements over their predecessors.
Earthen pond used to be the main deal, but it had limitations that needed to be done away with.
It easily got flooded from rains or from river overflow (for those sited at river banks).
Also, since earthen ponds are difficult to site in enclosed locations, owners suffered losses from poachers and thieves.
Concrete ponds came on-board and became quite popular for use in rearing fishes.
But again, concrete ponds still had some challenges associated with them.
The evolution has been on like that and we are finally in the era of tarpaulin ponds, which currently constitute more than 80 per cent of the ponds in my farm (have been making the switch from concrete to tarpaulin ponds since year 2016).
If you are thinking of buying or using mobile tarpaulin fish pond for your fishes, I would give you a go ahead but here is some advice for you (some 6 mistakes you should avoid)
1. Insist on “reinforced tarpaulin”.
This is the most important factor that you must put into consideration before you decide to use mobile tarpaulin fish pond for your farm.
There are different types of tarpaulin that have been in the market.
There are the normal ones used in making tents (like semi-permanent church/fellowship and other event centres), there are the ones used in making canopies (that people rent for traditional marriages) and there
even other types used in making car parks.
They are all of different qualities and serve different purposes, and the one used for fish pond is the “reinforced tarpaulin”. Fish ponds that are made with the other type of tarpaulin usually break in two or three months, or even earlier.
Simply put, if it is not reinforced tarpaulin, don’t buy!
You can go online on Google and search for “reinforced tarpaulin fish pond”, and then find some sellers.
However, since it is still possible for desperate sellers to brandish their products as “reinforced tarpaulin”, I will endeavour to recommend my own trusted online seller at the end of this piece.
2. Avoid Buying from Online Marketplaces
Online market places may be good for other products like clothing, electronics, furniture, etc., but definitely not for collapsible mobile tarpaulin fish pond because of the ease of buying substandard (the unreinforced quality).
Most of the complaints about fake tarpaulin ponds that I have received from members of various fish farming cooperatives that I have coached are from people who bought their tarpaulin fish ponds from online marketplaces like Jiji, Nairaland, Jumia, Konga, etc.
It is usually easy to create account and join those marketplaces, so they can be crowded with every tom, dick and harry.
3. Buy the fish pond tarpaulin and set it up yourself (it is way cheaper this way).
Now this may sound a bit more stressful but what you get to save at the end is worth it.
I am a DIY (Do It Yourself) person and I have never bought tarpaulin fish pond from vendors who have to transport both themselves, the tarpaulins and the galvanized pipes (or wood, bamboo or other materials used that can be used for the tarpaulin fish pond framework) all the way down to my location to set everything up. There is no need for such unnecessary cost and logistics.
From the experience of a few persons I know that initially tried patronizing such vendors in the past, you get to save roughly N10,000 to N15,000 per pond if you buy the tarpaulins and set them up yourself.
What I would recommend is that you buy the tarpaulins (this can be done online on Benuwatts website) and engage an average road-side welder (or carpenter) around you to set them up for you.
To serve as an easy guide to you and your welder in setting up the tarpaulins, you can find a lot of pictures and videos on the Gallery Page of Benuwatts website.
4. Buy more and try to negotiate for discount if you are buying in bulk
When buying up to five or more fish pond tarpaulins, it is good practice to ask for a discount. From my experience with Benuwatts, they almost always gave some sort of discount or bonus whenever we (I
and my cooperative members) bought in bulk.
If you intend to really raise fishes, you will need more than one tarpaulin pond after all, so why not buy them at once and negotiate some cut. Even if it is 1 per cent discount, it is something.
5. Smaller can be better
If for example, you wish to raise about 1000 catfish to maturity and need tarpaulin fish pond for that, you can go for a tarpaulin that has the capacity to house 1000 table-size fishes.
However, it is always advisable to have two or even three ponds when starting out in order to have the opportunity to sort (or separate) your fishes on the basis of their sizes.
Else the shoot outs (the fishes that quickly grow bigger than others) will begin to feed on the others.
So, instead of buying just one large 1000-capacity tarpaulin to house all your fishes from fingerlings/juvenile to table size (adult size), you should buy two or three smaller tarpaulins so that you can sort into the other tarpaulin ponds as the fingerlings/juveniles grow.
Mind you, the more space the fishes have to swim around, the better the results you will get in terms of size and weight of the fishes within a set period of time.
6. Buy from a trusted supplier
I have tried to discuss this point in more detail in my other article titled “Disadvantage of Mobile Tarpaulin Fish Pond”. You can simplyGoogle that up to find the article.
The thing is that, of recent (from around late 2016), lots of people have been flooding the market with fake tarpaulin ponds, and with that have come lots of complaints about mobile tarpaulin ponds (hence the disadvantage).
There are several people who have complained of how they bought tarpaulin ponds from several vendors only for the ponds to break up in about two months.
I knew about mobile tarpaulin ponds since year 2012 when it was pioneered by Benuwatts Tarpaulin Ponds. But like is typical of Nigeria, any good product soon gets overrun by imitations peddled by desperate, unruly or just naive individuals.
If you truly want to use mobile tarpaulin pond and enjoy it, do yourself some favour and avoid fakes.
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