Hatchery Set-up and Hatching Management

Hatchery Set-up and Hatching Management

Hatchery Set-up and Hatching Management is a free technique to help you make million in catfish production. Peruse through to gain some free Knowledge.  Furthermore, Get a Complete e book on how to own, manage and make millions from Catfish Production. In like manner, Contact Us for a Good Business Plan and Feasibility Report on any Agribusiness Startup. Peruse through our Table of content below to see what we offer.

Hatchery Set-up and Hatching Management Prerequisite 

Key components needed for Hatchery Set-up and Hatching Management

  • Firstly, Water
  • Secondly, Land
  • Power
  • Also, Feed
  • Personnel
  • Water Discharge point
  • Lastly, Market


  • Firstly, A flat Land
  • Secondly, Site Devoid of Rocks and Trees
  • Site Close to A Fresh water Source, e.g River, Stream
  • Furthermore, Site Close to ‘PHCN’ Power Lines
  • Lastly, Presence of Good, Abundant Underground water



  • Firstly, A Modular Design Consists of Sections
  • Likewise, rearranged them
  • Replaced, combined, or interchanged easily.
  •  Even if the funds are readily available, it is always
  • Wise to start small.
  • During the times of small,
  • Lastly, One will understand how best to grow big


Introduction to African Catfish hatchery set up and management African catfish (Clarias gariepinus)

In Europe, Clarias gariepinus was first introduced in the Netherlands in 1976. Likewise, the first brood stock originated from the wild from the Central African Republic. Commercial farming of this species started in 1985 in recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS). Much later catfish strains from Israel and the Republic of South Africa were introduced. These strains are crossed for the production of fingerlings. Furthermore, resulted in the currently cultured “Dutch strain” African catfish. On farmers level, brood stock selection is mostly done in a very uninformed way.

Another problem for the farmer producing African catfish fingerlings is to show his customer the benefit of an improved strain. Improvements in growth and feed conversion ratio of for example 5% are great achievements in the mind of a researcher, but for a farmer small differences are most probable not spotted without serious farm record-keeping. Practically, the market for African catfish fingerlings is first of all price driven. Next to this, hatcheries should focus on availability, size, uniformity and health status of the African catfish.

Selection of African catfish brood-stock

The first brood-stock came from the wild. In the Netherlands for example, wild African catfish was imported from Central Africa. Similarly, the first generation, the selection was based on growth. My personal opinion is that we were just performing selection of fish which were able to adapt to the intensive way of farming in warm water re-circulation systems. In the Netherlands the strains were not kept separate. As a result the “Dutch African catfish” is a result of 3 strains.

Meat quality and dress out percentage are very important parameters for the processing industry. Variation is noticed between the strains from different locations in Africa.

In the tropics the aspect of meat quality and dressing percentage are of less importance because the fish is consumed as a whole; no filets are taken from the fish and heads and intestines are not wasted.

Hatchery Set-up and Hatching Management

Hatchery Set-up and Hatching Management
Hatchery Set-up and Hatching Management

Hybridization of African catfish

Within the family of Clariidae (Siluriformes) intergeneric hybrids are produced through interbreeding between species from the genera Heterobranchus and Clarias. A well-known intergeneric hybrid is a crossbred between the Heterobranchus longifillis female and Clarias gariepinus male, the so called “Hetero-clarias”. Due to rearranging of genetic material from both species in the offspring, the intergeneric hybrids show characteristics of both parental species.

The filet of Heteroclarias is white in comparison with the pink/reddish colour of Clarias gariepinus filets and contains 30% more fat than Clarias gariepinus filets, which improves the taste. The gonads of hybrids are almost absent and not active. For this reason the dressing percentage is relatively high compared to Clarias gariepinus. The Heteroclarias fish filet 1s used alternative for white filets from marine fish species.

Hatchery Set-up and Hatching Management

Fingerling Production The Core Action For Hatchery Set-Up And Hatching Management

Fingerling production of Heteroclarias shows big differences in behaviour with the common African catfish. The Heteroclarias fingerlings grows more rapidily. Likewise,  severe cannibalism in nature. Especially when frequent grading is neglected. Furthermore, is easily stressed. After an age of 12 weeks, well graded fish show very equal growth and low mortality to the moment of harvesting at 1.4 kg.

In the tropics the Heteroclarias is superior over the Clarias gariepinus in growth in pond culture. Also, better growing fish.

Hatchery Set-up and Hatching Management

More On Hybridisation

For a fingerling producer hybridisation has a major benefit. Likewise, the hybrids are infertile and it is not possible for customers to continue breeding with those fish. The pure parent stock is kept on farm and is never shared with other farmers. The pure Heterobranchus longifillis strain matures at a age of 2 years, which is very late compared to Clarias gariepinus (1 year).

African catfish brood-stock section


Preference is given to a re-circulation system connected to a water purification unit. The tanks, both fish tanks and tanks of the water purification unit, built of materials like glass fibre, polyethylene or concrete. The water purification unit consists of a sedimentation tank, a pump tank, a bio tower and a UV-system. The system should be placed in a confined area were the temperature can be controlled. Equipped the tank with good drains, for easy and quick selection of the brood-stock. Especially, before reproduction. Next to this system a number of preparation-recovery tanks should be placed (around 300 liters).


Similarly, the number of brood stock needed depends on the success rate of the spawning. For example one female can be used for eight spawning per year (in theory) providing 3.2 kg of eggs. This equals around 1.6 million eggs and with a minimal 10% survival till juvenile stage this results in a yearly production 160.000 African catfish juveniles.


African catfish brood-stock should be fed with good quality feeds. Special feed should normally be used for brood-stock, which has higher concentrations of proteins, fats, vitamins and certain amino acids than normal grower feeds. The difference between Brood-stock feed and normal grow-out feed is the ingredients used in the diet. For African catfish brood-stock feed the best quality fish meal is used, fat is provided only by fish oil (no vegetable oils are used) and micro nutrients are added.

Furthermore, the feed has been tested mainly in salmonids and in these fishes it improves the fecundity in both sexes, the hatching rate and decreases the occurrence of deformities in the fry (the addition of astaxanthine and Vitamin E to the feed prevents oxidative damage of young tissues by free radicals). The immune system of the brood-stock is boosted by the addition of beta glucans (immunostimulants) in the feed. Researchers suspect that this also will be transmitted to the eggs. The brood-stock could be fed about 4 times a day by hand.Even in the tropics I prefer to import expensive compound feed from a reliable factory in Europe instead of using locally produced and often unreliable feeds. I believe a good starting point is essential for a successful development of the offspring.

Life Span Of Brood-Stock:

In our hatchery we try to maximize the life span of the brood-stock, since replacements are costly. Males can be used 1 (if the male is killed) to 4 times (if the operation procedure is used), before it is being replaced by new, younger males. Old males (above 4 years) tend to develop testis with sponge like tissue and it is containing watery sperm with a low concentration of sperm cells. Females can be used for a long period and stay in a better condition for a longer time, especially when the females are used maximum twice per year. Females reach a higher weight and size than males (max. 15 kg and 1.30 meters). Growing the next generation of brood-stock should be done in a separate system.

Sperm Harvesting

Male Clarias gariepinus do not release sperm after treatment with hormones like many other fish species. The males have ripe sperm all year round. The fish should be at least 1 year old to have ripe gonads. A lot of variation seen between males of the same age in ripeness and size of testis. In practice farmers sacrifice males in order to dissect the testis out of the abdomen. By making incisions in the testis tissue the sperm can be collected. As a consequence new male broodstock needs to be added to the broodstock population sacrificing the males is a big constraint on genetic programmes.

Some farmers are using operation on the males. After tranquilizing the fish, a small incision is made in the belly of the fish and with a syringe with needle some sperm is taken out of the testis. Finally the incision in the belly is stitched using veterinary stitching material and the male is able to recover in 1 to 2 weeks. During this time the wound closes completely.

Unlike the sperm of mammals sperm of fish is not active, but will become active as soon as it is in the water. The sperm is active for less than a minute, so it has to find an egg quickly before all the energy has gone. This is the reason that during the process of sperm collection all materials, hands and the fish should be dry. Although these precautions are taken, the sperm can be activated accidentally. The sperm concentration of good males is more than a million per ml!

Cryo conservation of sperm has been done on an experimental scale and the method is quite successful. The problem of this method for farmers is that they have to be equipped with a laboratory and should have permanent availability of liquid nitrogen to keep the sperm preserved.

Fertilization of African catfish

The eggs and sperm are collected in a dry glass or porcelain bowl and a dry small glass or porcelain cup respectively. A simple but effective way of fertilization is to bring the eggs and sperm together in the egg collection bowl, mix it gently before adding water.

Adding certain fertilizing solutions during fertilization is reported as being very beneficial, because they are thought to extend the life of the sperm in order to improve the fertilization rate.

Artificial propagation of African catfish is a relatively simple procedure and many farmers are very skillful in doing it. Millions of larvae are hatched weekly in Nigeria. However there still is a shortage of good quality fingerlings and juveniles. Reproduction of African catfish is following a certain procedure, but farming the larvae for 1 or 2 months to juvenile stage comes down to the capabilities of the individual farmer.


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