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How to Start Fish Farming Business in Nigeria

It is no news that a lot of people eat fish on a daily basis, making the fish selling business a big one. In this article, we will show you how to start fish farming in Nigeria.

It doesn’t matter the prior knowledge you had about the fish business, this guide will see you through the whole steps you need to get you going. In the case at this point, you still do not know what fish farming is, there is a simple explanation below.

What is Fish Farming?

Fish farming is simply the process of breeding fish for trading purposes. It involves creating a conducive environment for habitation (earthen, tarpaulin, or concrete pond), fertilizing the pond, nurturing the fingerlings in healthy water, and feeding them till they are big enough to be sold.

Key point: In as much as there are a bunch of fish species around the world, not all of them can be reared in Nigeria as well as be profitable.

If you are not familiar with the word Pisciculture, quickly take this definition, so when next you come across it, it doesn’t sound strange to you. Pisciculture is the breeding, rearing, and transplantation of fish by artificial means, mostly for commercial purposes.

Not all species of fish are suitable for fish farming in Nigeria. Among the thousands of species of fishes, only a few such as carp, salmon, tilapia, and catfish are ideal for commercial purposes, where catfish hand tilapia tends to be the most sold and eaten fishes in Nigeria.

Ways to Grow Fish

There are two ways to grow fish and do fish business in Nigeria.

  • Extensive aquaculture – This method requires you to grow fish under natural water such as streams and rivers.
  • Intensive aquaculture – This method requires artificial water to grow fishes, and in this guide, we will dwell more on the Intensive aquaculture as it is more profitable in Nigeria for commercial purposes.

Most Profitable Fish to Farm

Sea trout, cyprinids, pangas catfish, freshwater fishes, silver seabream, common carp, Catla, greasy grouper, bighead carp, Nile tilapia, grass carp are a few of the thousands of fish species in the world.

For those of you who are new to the Fish business or those wanting to venture into this business, you might be overwhelmed because of the number of species and trying to figure out which species will be profitable in the Nigerian market.

It’s correct to think that Catfish and Tilapia are the most profitable fishes to rear for commercial purposes in Nigeria for various reasons including, climate, growth, and the fish market in Nigeria.

The climate affects different plant and animal species in different ways; that’s the reason some fruits grow only in specific countries as well as some animals also exist in specific countries. For example, we can’t grow green apples in Nigeria.

Because we will be rearing fishes for commercial purposes, you will want a species of fish that grows so fast and can weigh heavy, so you make a profit and meet up with your business plan.

The fish market in Nigeria is limited to just two species of fishes and. It will be of no use for you to rear fishes that would not be sellable in Nigeria. Catfish covers about 70% of the market, and Tilapia covers about 10%, so it will be correct to assume that these species would be a win-win in the Nigerian market.

How Do I Start a Fish Farm Business in Nigeria

It doesn’t matter whether you are on a low budget or want to invest hugely into the fish market in Nigeria, the below steps are a proven method that has worked over the years and still works to date.

  1. Secure a good location for your farm
  2. Get a good and clean source of water
  3. Pick the appropriate fish pond
  4. Select the right species of fish for you
  5. Buy healthy fingerling or juveniles
  6. Understand fish feeds & feeding
  7. Start marketing your fish before they grow-up
  8. Be business-minded

Without wasting any more time, let’s get into details ASAP!

1. Secure a Good Location for Your Farm

Before you venture into the fish pond business, you will have to decide whether you are going in big or little. It depends on your pocket though, the amount of money you have at hand will determine the number of fishes you want to rear considering the space and feeding factor.

If you are going for a small-scale fish farm, you can build tanks at your backyard. But if you are going big, you’ll have to consider buying or renting either of the fish ponds (earthen or concrete ponds), this will cost you.

2. Get a Good and Clean Source of Water

Water is as essential to fishes as oxygen is to us. If there is no more oxygen, we will all die, the same thing applies to fish, if you take them out of the water they will die.

It doesn’t just end there; air can be poisoned, right? Of course, some water can also be poisonous to fishes as well. So you will have to get clean water for them.

NOTE: Water that seems suitable for human consumption might be dangerous for fish. For instance, water treated with chemicals for consumption will be harmful to fishes as they do not need those chemicals.

Don’t get it wrong, some fishes prefer rough water depending on the species, but it’s advisable to get clean water for fish.

If you are going small scale, you can open a borehole in your compound or a well; this will work. But going in big, you need more water and a storage tank as well in case there’s a situation.

3. Pick the Appropriate Fish Pond or Plastic Tank for housing Your Fish

Now you have made provision for water, and your fishes need a conducive home. The more comfortable they are, the better they grow. Whether you are using the backyard plastic tank or pond, you must make the conduciveness of their homes a priority.

It is advisable to start with the plastic tank in your backyard to learn how the business works before going fully into it.

Connect with people around you who are already into the fish business in Nigeria. Find feed sellers, fish farms, and experienced bricklayers who have built fish ponds before, ask them questions, you can gather a lot of information from them.

4. Select the Right Species of Fish You Want to Farm

As mentioned earlier, we have tons of fish species. Considering the climate, growth, and the Nigerian market, you will want to go for catfish or Tilapia on rare occasions.

Other species you can try in Nigeria include; Clarias gariepinus, Heterobranchus bidorsalis, Clarias X Heterobranchus hybrid (Heteroclarias) and Clarias nigro-digitatus or Heterobranchus.

But it’s good you know that Catfish and Tilapia are the best in the Nigerian market.

We have a post on how to start an importation business in Nigeria. You can check it out.

5. Buy Healthy Fingerlings or Juveniles

From the beginning of the fish life, we have the “fry,” this refers to the developmental stage of the fishes immediately after the larvae stage, basically less than a week after hatch.

After the Fry stage, the fishes grow into Fingerling, which is between weeks until three to four months of their life.

After the fingerling stage, we have the yearly with is from four months until approximately a year.

While you can buy fish at any stage, it is recommended that you purchase the juveniles to avoid so much mortality as you are just starting.

Juveniles are little fishes which you will be growing table-size.

Below are the most popular catfish species in Nigeria.

  • Clarias gariepinus
  • Heterobranchus
  • Bidorsalis
  • Clarias X Heterobranchus(hybrid)
  • (Heteroclarias) and Clarias Nigro-Digitatus

Get healthy juveniles. It is advisable to locate a reputable fish hatchery to avoid buying unhealthy fish. If you are interested in the fish hatchery business in Nigeria, we will put up a post soon on that as that is a broad topic on its own.

6. Understand Fish Feeds and Feeding

Living things generally have to eat in other to grow and be healthy. The better you feed your fishes, the bigger they become. Feeding isn’t limited to just quantity, but you have to also consider the quality of the feed you use for your fish.

There are a few types of feed for your fishes, which include;

  • Natural fish feed: This method has to do with fishes eating naturally. Fishes will eat things like worms, snails, bacteria, insects, and themselves.
  • Supplementary fish feed: This method involves fishes eating cheap materials, maybe from kitchen waste, terrestrial plants, agricultural products, etc. There’s no doubt that this type of feed might be good for your fishes but as a serious fish farmer in Nigeria, you will need a complete feed.
  • Complete feed: This kind of feed is made by experts who have understood the formula and what it takes for a fish to grow big. Every ingredient Is in its right proportion. It is the recommended feed for your fishes if you mean business.

How much will it cost me to feed my fish in Nigeria?

Materials vary from place to place. Like I said above, connect with people in the field already. Meet people who have established fish farms, people who sell feeds, etc. Make inquiries, and you’ll be guided for sure.

7. Start Marketing Your Fishes Early Enough

If you want to sell your fish easily, you will have to market your fish very well before time. If you feel like you need to get the right size before marketing, you are wrong.

This mistake is made by many newbies in the field, at the end of the day, they struggle to sell out. (Although fishes are not hard to sell though).

8. Be Business minded.

Fish farming, like every other business, requires strategy, business plan, and action. You must see your farm as a business. It is far beyond feeding your fish and selling them off. If you want to succeed in the fish farming business, you will have to approach it as a serious business.


The fish farming business is an excellent means to make money in Nigeria. All you need is a good guide such as this one to kick-start your business.

Let us know if you have any questions, and we will be glad to assist you. We wish you good luck in your fish farming business.

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