Although fish is a cheap source of protein and omega 3, many people avoid it since it is expensive. The establishment of a fish pond is one of the ways of ensuring a steady supply of the fish in every home and requires a straightforward point to point guide on how to do it, without omission or substitution of any kind. Therefore, it is possible to have fish as a source of protein and omega 3 in homes, rather than relying on food supplements, by building a basic fish ponds.
Selection of the right site is the first thing to consider before anything else. The success of the project depends on the wise choice of these factors. Some of the factors that should be considered include; climate, water supply, water quality, land, soil, environment, infrastructure and other social, related factors. The climate should be favorable for the fish in that; there should be enough precipitation to prevent excessive loss of water from the pond. The water temperatures and solar radiation should be standard for optimal growth of the young, delicate fish. A site that has regular supply of clean, well oxygenated water with low salinity is the perfect one. The water source close to factories, mines or sewage systems should be examined carefully to determine its purity or alternatively avoided. On the other hand, water from underground sources often lacks oxygen, and its temperature is too low for the warm water fish. Therefore, before usage of this water, thorough exposure to air to allow for aeration should be done. The optimum acidity or alkalinity for fish production water lies between 6.6- 8.5 PH. Fish are extraordinary sensitive to small changes in their ecological niche, and should be protected from any pollution and other hazards that may affect them. Having selected the appropriate fish pond site, then proceed with the construction.
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The shape and size of the fish pond largely depends on the extent of farming, climate and the availability of resources. For a family pond, identification of approximately three hundred square meters (300m2) area is the first thing. If it is to be larger than this, it is suitable to have a number of small fish pond rather than gigantic one. The advantage of having more than one pond is that the fish can be harvested more often. The pond should have water depth of thirty centimeters (30cm) on the shallow end and one meter (1m) at the deeper end. While digging, separate the top soil from the other types of soil. After that, the inlet and outlet with screens to prevent fish getting or out, follows. The screen also prevents the introduction of unwanted materials into the pond. In building a robust screen, anything that allows water to pass through only can be used. Then, use the top soil to build dykes around the pond.
When the building of the dyke ends, planting some grass on the dykes to protect the pond follows. This prevents any erosion of the dykes during the rains. The passage for the run off should also be built to prevent run off getting into the pond. After that, the fertilizer should be added to the pond to stimulate natural fish food production. The fertilizers that can be used include animal manure, compost or chemical fertilizers. It should be spread on the dry pond before filling the pond with water to the required depth. In addition, the fertilizer should be added time after time to allow for constant growth of natural foods. It is common for water to seep into the ground the first time. Therefore, water should be continuously supplied until seeping stops. After culturing and the end of seeping, the pond is ready for the fish.
The selection of the fish should be done with a lot of care. Fish selection should be done depending on their tolerance to water salinity, aeration, water temperature and their feeding habits. Parasites and other infections should be avoided at all cost. The most common parasites and worms that attack fish do it on its outer layer, either on the skin or the gills. The infected fish dart around in the pond trying to scrape the parasite off. If left untreated, these parasites spread remarkably quickly. These infections include the white spot, costiasis, and gill and skin fluke as well as fish louse infection. Few hardy fish to start with, should be selected first as they adapt to the new environment better, than the younger ones. The young ones can be introduced later when the fish production starts and culturing of water have reached the optimum.
In conclusion, the whole process of establishing a fish pond is not difficult as it might seem when done practically. This process is straightforward and would lead to a good source of the protein as well as some income, needed in many homesteads. Fish require minimal maintenance cost and have numerous benefits and thus, can substitute other forms of proteins in the society.