Types of Fish Ponds being used in Nigeria: which one is the best choice ?

akinfish and tarpaulin wooden ponds

The four most common types of fish ponds in use are concrete ponds, mobile tarpaulin fish ponds, earthen ponds and tanks. How do you know which one is best for your specific needs ?

Most of the fish farms in existence today use either of earthen ponds, concrete ponds, tanks or tarpaulin ponds.

But you have to think of it first as a business.

What is the objective of the farm ?

We’ve created a complete guide to earthen ponds, mobile tarpaulin fish ponds, concrete ponds and tanks to help you decide which type is right for your farm.

5 Key Questions to help you decide the best type of fish pond to use.

  • Does the farm want to make smoked or process fish for 3 months and sell ?
  • Does the farm want to raise big fish for 9months plus to sell to people in buses and in tones ?
  • What is the water source ? Borehole or Stream or River ?
  • Is the farm a big farm with over 50,000 fishes and adequate trustworthy staff ?

4 types of fish ponds

Earthen Ponds : This are when we dig the ground in swampy areas. We bag them for structural integrity and they need a constant water source like stream or river beside to ensure the water is always clean. Nowadays , people even line the ponds with liners in places where the ground doesn’t retain water.

Earthen Pond farm
Earthen Pond farm

Concrete Ponds : This is the use of blocks, concrete, iron rods and cement to make fish ponds. They are semi permanent structures and cost a lot of money to do. A problem is that they almost always leak. Almost every concrete pond I have seen ends up leaking one way or another. The final solution I have seen now is for tarpaulin liners to be put in the concrete ponds. So if you were going to put tarpaulin in, why didn’t you just use tarpaulin right from the start ?

Lady T at the concrete pond farm
Lady T at the concrete pond farm

Tarpaulin ponds : This is the use of HDPE liners (we call it tarpaulin so you understand it) with frames such as galvanized iron, wood or pvc pipes to create articficial ponds. They are mobile so can be moved, dismantled to another location, theya re durable and economical.

tarpaulin fish ponds
tarpaulin fish ponds
akinfish and tarpaulin wooden ponds
akinfish and tarpaulin wooden ponds

Tanks: This is the use of plastic and fibre glass tanks to create fish ponds. Most times we notice the fish always hangs in tanks. I think this has to do with the surface area. Fish always hangs in tanks and subsequently this affects their performance. 

Bamidele at the farm learning how to use tanks to farm
Bamidele at the farm learning how to use tanks to farm

Arranging Fish Ponds by Efficiency

Earthen ponds: As this is the closest to the rivers that God made for fishes, fishes do best in Earthen ponds.

Tarpaulin ponds: Im ranking this one as second because, even though the performance of concrete ponds is the same as tarpaulin ponds, it is cheaper than concrete ponds.

Concrete ponds: Performance of fish is the same as in mobile tarpaulin fish ponds.

Tanks: this is the last in efficiency when compared with other ponds. Fish always hang, they don’t convert the feed they eat well because they don’t have the space to swim well and grow.

Arranging Fish Ponds by Cost (most expensive to cheapest for value)

Earthen Ponds: This is a permanent structure. IT has to be your own land and a land you know you wont use for any other thing. It also takes a very large space. The land we would use for an earthen pond for 5 thousand fish, would take other ponds of 20 thousand fish. A Swamp land as well.

Concrete Ponds: Using the right balance of concrete and Iron rods to make a good concrete pond is quite expensive. It is also a permanent structure. You cant move it. You cant build it in a rented apartment.

Tanks. A 5000 litre tank would take about 300 fishes, it currently costs 165 thousand naira. Yet the fishes would still hang. Bigger tanks cost more money.

Tarpaulin Mobile Fish Ponds: a 10*7*4 ft pond would take 8000 litres of water and support 500 fishes. This costs 100k to setup. They can be dismantled and moved from one location to another.  Thus comparing it to tanks, concrete ponds or earthen ponds, tarpaulin ponds represent best value for money.

What is the best type of fish farming ponds for your farm ?

Tarpaulin fish ponds are the best type for small to medium farms sitting on less than an acre of land (6 plots). 

Seeing as earthen ponds are best in swampy or water logged lands, this are not readily available in urban environments. Tarpaulin ponds present the best mix of  value across economic and efficiency considerations. When you make a choice of either wooden or galvanized iron frames you can embrace sustainability, low maintenance and efficiency for your farm. But if you have the large land space, you have a huge water body or flowing stream, theres nothing quite like an earthen pond.

Other Factors to consider besides fish pond type 

There are two things we here at asher ponds think are more important than fish pond type when starting your fish farm.

Availability of water: Water in fish farming is non negotiable. Its like rationing oxygen for a human being. It cant work for the long term. You also need a place to drain water to. I have seen a lot of fish farms that have closed down because there was no gutter or drainage to drain water to. Don’t believe those people that tell you to dig a suckaway to drain the water. It wont work for the volume of water that  you would need to be changing almost every day.

The Angle of fish business you want to attack: Fish Farming is a business. Think of the market you want to supply your fish and plan for it. If you want to supply pepper soup joints and fish mongers in your area, you would need smaller ponds than 1 big pond, so you can harvest and sell when you want to in smaller quantities.

But if processed or smoked fish is what you are after, you can setup your farm differently.

I hope I have been able to shed more light on fish ponds and how to make your choice.

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