Want to raise fish at home with your own DIY fish pond? Our list of freshwater fish farming tips has everything you need to know for raising healthy fish for food.
In this article:
- How to Make Your Own Fish Farm
Tips for Freshwater Fish Farming You Need to Know
How to Make Your Own Fish Farm
Farm-raised food. There’s simply nothing you can compare it to.
As preppers or homesteaders like you and I keep saying, “You can’t trust frozen food from the grocery and you have no idea how it was raised.”
Being able to grow or raise your own food is just one of the many rewards of being self-sufficient.
It is interesting to note fish farming is very affordable and easy to do. You would also be glad to know you can raise more fish compared to maintaining cattle for beef.
You can keep them in a backyard pond or in tanks. Later on, you have the option to turn it into a source of income. Here are some tips on how to start fish farming!
1. Make a Shallow Pond
“John Tavern, writing in 1600, recommends making big shallow ponds, keeping the ponds flooded one year and dry the next. When dry, plow, and seed their beds with clover and then graze with cattle.
“Their dung and stale together with the natural force of the Sunne… will breed flies and bodes of divers kindes and sortes,” which the subsequent fish will fatten on.”
Find out more about Freshwater Fishing and Starting a Farm Fish from Mother Earth News.
2. Preparing for a Farm Pond
“Look for some basic features to turn an existing farm pond into a fish pond. The pond should be at least one acre in size.
Smaller ponds can work but pose some difficulties in managing the fish population. Fish ponds should be at least 6 ft. deep, but no more than 12 to 15 ft. deep.
The water level should have a mechanism of control, such as a sleeved standpipe fitted with a cut-off valve at the bottom. The pipe and cut-off valve control water levels by allowing you to remove lower, unoxygenated water.”
Read on for more on how to manage fish-friendly farm ponds in this article from Hobby Farms.
3. The Ideal Fish for Freshwater Fish Farming
Although there is no “perfect” fish for farming, the following are desirable biological and economic attributes when selecting the best fish for farming. The fish species should:
- Be capable of reproducing in captivity
- Produce numerous and hardy eggs and larvae (young)
- Have well-known culture requirements
- Be adaptable to many types of culture systems
- Be adaptable to multi-species farming (polyculture)
- Exhibit rapid growth to a large maximum size
- Readily adapt to artificial feeds
- Be tolerant of crowding and high-density conditions
- Exhibit high survival (low mortality) rates
- Be easy to handle, harvest, and transport
- Be resistant to disease and parasite infestations
- Not be cannibalistic or territorial
- Be readily available like eggs, fingerlings, and adults
- Have a high market demand
- Have good eating qualities
- Exhibit high feed conversion rates
- Have good dress-out weight values
- Have a long shelf-life
- Be easy to process
- Have a healthy appearance and color
- Have highly regarded fighting abilities
- Be catchable
Learn more about freshwater fish farming and selecting the right fish to raise here.
4. Determining Your Ideal Grow Season for Fish Farming
“While every effort should be made to complete your grow out during the warmer months, this may not always be feasible. Since this is the case, some provision to heat the water should be made.
One good idea, if you can swing it, is to put your fish tank in a greenhouse. This will allow you to fully capitalize on any sunlight (in Missouri, it is mandatory for Tilapia to be raised in an enclosure of some sort, any way to prevent “escape”. Other states have similar regulations).”
Read the full article on raising fish for food and backyard fish farming for survival here.
“When the time to dig arrives, consider what is the best tool for the process of making your new backyard fish farming setup? If you have the room and plan to make a very large pond, or series of very large ponds then it may be best to use heavy machinery such a bobcat or backhoe.
Unless you are very experienced with earthworks, it is probably best to hire an experienced contractor. It can be very helpful to set aside the topsoil and replace it around the edge of the pond at the end.
This is to help encourage more rapid recovery of plant life. Turf can be used in the same way and can be helpful later on in the process to cover your liner edge.”
Follow more fish farming tips here to help establish your pond.
“All fish require oxygen, as air passes across the water, oxygen is infused. Pumps creating splash or spray will assist with this process.
Running an air pump with air stones is not critical, but it is definitely helpful, especially if you are using a flood and drain method or if your pond is sheltered, covered, indoors, or heavily stocked.”
You will find more tips on backyard fish farming for food here.
“If you want to maximize the production of your backyard fish farming pond, you may have to feed your fish. There are a variety of commercially available feeds.
Keep unused food frozen to maintain quality. Also, limit your feeding significantly during periods of cold weather as fish tend to be much less active.
You can also consider creating a habitat for the prey of your chosen fish species so there is a continuous supply of wild feed. In larger, well-designed backyard fish farming ponds, wild foods can provide much or all of the food needs of your fish.
This kind of setup does not, however, allow for a large amount of annual harvest.”
8. Water PH Levels
“Excluding bore water, concrete or earthen based ponds, PH levels will rise and fall over the course of the day and night, sunlight, fish, plants, fish food, etc. all have a bearing on the PH levels. Checking and trying to adjust the PH artificially is almost impossible.
If you are unsure about this suggestion, take a PH reading in the morning before the sun hits to water, for five consecutive days and calculate the average reading, this is your baseline PH for your system. If the reading is in the normal range you can confidently stop testing and worrying.
In the end, you want to be growing fish suited to the environment you can offer, rather than fighting it all the time.”
9. Taking Care of Your Fish
“Monitor your fish health regularly and see how much they are eating and their growth ratio. If they seem to eat less than usual, it could be caused by pathogens or parasites.
Separate any fish looking sick in your eyes. Adding salt (roughly one tablespoon of salt per gallon of water) and keeping your water slightly alkaline will discourage parasites and pathogens like bacteria and fungus from your pond.”
Get more tips here and follow the basic rules of pond maintenance given below.
- Maintain good fish nutrition
- Avoid over-crowding
- Maintain good personal hygiene
- Hand-washing with antibacterial soaps
- Disinfectant foot baths
- Live-haul truck disinfection
- Limit visitors
Learn the basics of building a fish farm/pond in this video from Howcast:
For survivalists and self-sufficient, we need not explain further the importance of fish farming. It simply means another reliable food source.
A true homesteader knows how to be entirely self-sufficient, and it means raising your own food. Along with fish, cows, goats, and pigs are great animals to raise for food and profit.
Do you have any fish farming tips of your own? Scroll down to the comments section and share!
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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 17, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.