Fish Farming: Types and Feasibility

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fish farming

Demand is increasing for fish and fish protein worldwide. If you want to start a Fish farm, want to know its types and feasibility, this is a perfect guide for you.

Aqua Culture often termed Aqua Farming is the farming of fish, mollusks, aquatic plants, algae, and other organisms.

It involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under certain conditions.

The aquaculture industry is different from Fish Farming as it involves harvesting wild fish in a controlled environment.

Particular kind of aquaculture industry includes fish farming, shrimp farming, oyster farming, algaculture, and cultivation of ornamental fish.

According to the United Nations, the amount of fish consumption has increased over a few years. People are consuming more fish that is harvested than catching them in the wild.

Fish Farming

Fish farming is often termed pisciculture. It involves raising fish commercially, in tanks or enclosures as ponds for food.

It differs from aquaculture i.e. farming of aquatic animals such as fish, crustaceans, mollusks, seabass, and so on.

The most important type of fish produced in fish farm is carp, tilapia, salmon, and catfish.

Overall, China provides 62% of the world’s farm fish. 50% of seafood is produced in aquaculture according to a study conducted in 2016.

In the period 2000-2018, the average growth of aquaculture was 5.3 percent reaching a record 82.1 million tonnes in 2018.

Some common fish farms have the following species.

  • Carp fish
  • Tilapia
  • Catla
  • Salmon
  • Bluefin tuna
  • Sea Bass
  • Milkfish etc.

Categories of Fish Farms

Aquaculture makes use of local photosynthetic production (extensive) or fish that feed with external supply (intensive).


Let us first discuss the difference between extensive and intensive fish farming.

Extensive fish farming refers to fish farming that you can conduct in large size ponds or water bodies.

The fish productivity relies merely on the natural productivity of the water which is slightly or moderately enhanced.

The input of external supply is at a limit, costs are kept low, the capital investment is less, therefore, and the quantity of fish production is less.

feeding them

Intensive fish farming, on the other hand, is the production of fish in large areas. Production factors such as feed, quality of water.

And the quality of stock fingerlings is controlled which overall increases the production of fish.

You can steadily monitor the production cycle in this type. Learn more about our blogs here.

Let us now discuss The Categories of Fish Farm in detail

Extensive Aquaculture

In this type of aquaculture, you can limit the growth of available food, commonly zooplankton that feed on pelagic algae or benthic animals.

Tilapia filter feeds directly on plankton which makes the production of this fish higher.

With adding artificial fertilizer mixtures, photosynthetic production increases such as potash, phosphorus, nitrogen, and microelements.

Algae grow exponentially when nutrient supply and sunlight are optimal for their growth.

But when it depletes, the oxygen level in the pond decreases, and algae start to decay.


Moreover, it blocks the sun and pollutes the water with organic and inorganic solutes resulting in massive loss of fish.

Alternatively, a wetland system can be used in commercial farms in Spain.

You can choose the fish species that occupy different places in the pond ecosystem to tap all available food sources.

For instance, you can choose a filter algae feeder such as tilapia, a benthic feeder such as carp or catfish, etc.

A number of fish farming industries use this method despite its limitations. In many countries, you can use natural and semi-natural ponds for harvesting carp and trout.


Intensive Aquaculture

In this type of farming technique, a number of factors like the acidity of water, amount of various elements like cadmium, calcium, and chloride, etc, gas supersaturation are controlled by the farmers.

This system, therefore, increases the production of fish in the controlled environment.

Water purification systems integrate with the fish farm to ensure massive water purification. The cost of inputs per unit of fish weight is higher as compared to extensive farming.

Aeration of water is essential for the survival of the fish. This is done by bubbling, cascade flow, or aqueous oxygen.

In high population density, the risk of infections by parasites increases, however, animal husbandry is a more and technologically mature area that solves this problem.

To minimize stress on fish, this aquaculture has to provide adequate water quality. This additionally helps to control the pathogen problems in the fish farms.

Types of Fish Farms

Within intensive and extensive categories of fish farming, you can choose specific times of fish farm; each has its own benefits and application unique to its design.

The types of fish farms depend on the availability of the space to farm fish, the expenses, the type of fish the farmer wants to breed, and other factors.

Let us discuss these types in the following stages:

Cage System (Net Pens)

You can locate the net pens in a pond, bayous, lakes, rivers, or oceans to contain and protect fish until they harvest.

This method is also termed off-shore cultivation or net pens.

Until the fish reach market size, they are kept in cages, artificially fed, and harvested.

The advantages of using this type are you can place the cage in different bodies.

Different types of fish are raised and they can co-exist with sport fishing and other water uses.

You can choose amongst various types of net to form cage-like copper alloy nets, irrigation ditch or pond systems, etc.

Integrated recycling systems

This technique involves the usage of large tanks instead of cage systems.

You can control the quality of water, pollutants, diseases like sea lice, and pollution in these systems which results in an increase in the production of fish.

If you properly administer this system, it produces a more edible protein in more unit areas than any other.

A large variety of plants can grow well in hydroponic beds.

As this system lives in a greenhouse, it adapts to almost all temperate climates. You can use Different propriety tricks to keep the fish healthy.

Classic Fry Farming

In this system, you can grow fish like trout and other sport fish.

In this system, the fish is raised from eggs to fry or fingerlings and then trucked to streams and released.

fish farming 1

You can raise the fry in long shallow, concrete tanks and feed it with fresh stream water. This fry receives commercial fish food pellets.

This method is simple and has been used for a long period of time.


Indoor Farms

This is an alternative to outdoor fish farming.

It uses a re-circulating aquaculture system (RAS) which is a series of culture tanks and filters that recycles the water continuously.

In this system, you can remove the particulate matter mechanically or biologically through the conversion of harmful chemicals into non-toxic ones.

This system reduces the chances of escaping fish through cages, water usage, and water pollution.

Feasibility of Fish Farm

The feasibility of a fish farm is actually the SWAT analysis which determines whether the construction of the fish farm in the area would be profitable or not.

Site selection, water, transmissions, and protection from diseases like sea lice and soil quality are important components for the construction of the fish farm.

Species selection has an impact on the success of your project.

It depends on the market demand, technical limitations, the local environment, food products, and the features of the site.

Before starting a farm, you should always consider the local practices among other farmer’s areas it will help you predict whether the water supply, feed supply, etc are available easily or not.

This also helps you to identify the availability of local species, seafood product type, the demand for seafood, food products requirement, and other factors.

Most often, with deciding on what the market demand and supply trends are, types of species in demand, you should also consider financial feasibility.

It involves the requirement of capital, unit production assumptions, production projections, operating expenses, etc.

You should consider the factors stated above as it helps you to clearly understand whether you can carry on with the farming of fish or not.

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Farming of Different Species

The techniques of fish farming are different for different species. Some of the techniques are as follows:

These include:

  • Catfish Farming
  • Tilapia Farming
  • Salmon Farming
  • Seabass Farming
  • Bluefin Tuna

 Catfish Farming

This species is easy to farm in warmer climates. You can feed them soybeans, corn, and rice and farm them in freshwater ponds.

These are the most sustainable fish for farming purposes. It is high in demand and has many health benefits.


Tilapia Farming

Besides the farming of carp and salmon is the most popular farming fish. Due to the high protein ratio, large size, and growth capabilities, they are very popular.

They require warmer water to survive and are resilient towards fighting off diseases and parasites which makes them ideal for farming.

They require a cereal-based diet and do not eat other fish but they are one of the most invasive fish species.

Salmon Farming

Atlantic salmon is a popular farming fish. To prevent diseases, they are first vaccinated, and on other occasions, they require additional medications.

To make salmon feed, you can use wild fish stocks.


Farming Other Fish

Seabass Farming

Seabass is cultivated in pen cages, or in tank systems.

Harvesting Seabass vary according to the scale of operation of the farmers.

However, during the harvesting of seabass, hygiene should be maintained and special care needs to take care of with regard to bird predation.

Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin tuna is raised in Japan from eggs rather than caught in the wild. This type of tuna has higher fat content than wild tuna.

However, the main expense of raising bluefin tuna is the cost of food.

For instance, one-meter tuna need about 15 kg of live fish to put on one kilogram of fat, and about 1.5 tons to two tons of squid and mackerel are needed to produce a 100 kg bluefin tuna.

Farming Supplies

After deciding on what the methods are for fish farming, deciding on the species and feasibility report, you need to make sure that you have the following farming supplies.

You need these supplies in order to make your fish farm a success.

The supplies range from feed and feeders, filtration systems, heating, and cooling systems to water purification systems.

Let’s discuss these supplies briefly

Feed and feeders: Feeding is important in fish farming, which helps in the growth and overall health and well-being of the fish.

Water Filtration System: to mitigate environmental impacts, water filtration systems are important. It involves the removal of waste products from the water as well.

It is important that you have a staging filtration system that ensures the most optimal results.

fish farming 2

Hatchery Supplies: This includes anything from fish gardens, shipping supplies to spawning and handling containers.

Predator Control: Usually physical deterrents can be installed to save fish from outside predators.

Fish Slaughter: It is an important part of fish farms. It is the process of killing fish after harvesting it in the sea or other forms of the fish farm.


Over the years, farmers have used inhumane methods to slaughter fish.

But with the passage of time, it has changed to more humane methods that include percussive and electric stunning.

However, most farmers continue to use methods like suffocation in air, carbon dioxide stunning, or ice chilling.


In some countries like British Columbia, there are over 100 open-net cage salmon farms however, they represent highly concentrated sources of waste, disease, and parasites that threaten other species.

With the growing demand for fish all around the world, many people are moving to fish farming practices. However, farmers need to practice environmental-friendly practices.

You can use different methods to harvest fish on the farm ranging from using freshwater to tanks. Various farm supplies are important to make sure that you have enough food and water supply to increase the production and growth of the fish.

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