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DIY, Small-Scale Catfish Aquaculture
#530944 02/23/21 04:24 PM
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Steve_ Offline OP
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I've been tossing this crazy idea around in my head for a while, and I've been doing a ton of research on the breeding of Catfish (CC, BC and CCxBC) using Ovaprim, a synthetic, injectable hormone that will trigger ovulation in most fish species, and mature eggs to prepare them for stripping. Little did I know that you can't just take a male and female catfish, gut them, mix their eggs and milt together, and get baby fish out of it (except for Trout and Salmon, because that's exactly how they do it). The whole process "seems" simple, but I know it's probably not, but would it worth a shot? I can get a 10mL bottle of Ovaprim for around $60 online. Using the dosage rates on the bottle, I could get 3 uses out of it, if I used three 8-pound female broodfish.

The biggest hurdle after successfully getting a batch of fertilized eggs would be the egg and fry rearing. They require constant temperature and pH levels, as well as constant feeding of the newly-hatched fry (every 2 hours!).

Then, if all that goes well, I need to figure out where to put them to grow them out. I've seen people grow Tilapia and other fish in swimming pools, so that's one idea. My goal would be to get them to stocking size, so I could either sell them, give them away, or help stock my friend's newly acquired 6-acre pond. Either way, I'm very interested in aquaculture, specifically Blue Catfish, and I figured that even if it all failed, it would be a good learning experience for any future endeavors. We have no Blue Catfish suppliers here in NC, and I couldn't find any in any neighboring state either.

Has anyone tried this before? Just looking for feedback, and if you think this is a crazy idea that will never work, feel free to tell me that lol.

Re: DIY, Small-Scale Catfish Aquaculture
Steve_ #530946 02/23/21 05:01 PM
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I have made CC (female) x BC (male) hybrids. Males need to be injected as well, and more than on dose per fish. A lot of females are duds and you will have to kill male to get sufficient milt. You will need several fish of each sex to increase odds of a good spawn. If your first go at this, I suggest having pure channels spawn naturally in a small pond with only a few pairs of broodfish, then rear fingerlings there to get a handle on how to feed and otherwise manage them.


We have also incubated broods / egg masses by placing them in a shaded bucket which gets a steady flow of water pumped through it from a neighboring pond. Then fry are released into a tank getting similar flow where they are kept until ready to be stocked into a fishless pond.

We have Osage Catfisheries with BC in Missouri, although you will pay a lot more for shipping than you will for fish themselves, and you may have trouble getting 8-lb plus male BC needed.


Aquaculture
Cooperative Research / Extension
Lincoln University of Missouri
Re: DIY, Small-Scale Catfish Aquaculture
Jim Wetzel #530947 02/23/21 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim Wetzel
I have made CC (female) x BC (male) hybrids. Males need to be injected as well, and more than on dose per fish. A lot of females are duds and you will have to kill male to get sufficient milt. You will need several fish of each sex to increase odds of a good spawn. If your first go at this, I suggest having pure channels spawn naturally in a small pond with only a few pairs of broodfish, then rear fingerlings there to get a handle on how to feed and otherwise manage them.


We have also incubated broods / egg masses by placing them in a shaded bucket which gets a steady flow of water pumped through it from a neighboring pond. Then fry are released into a tank getting similar flow where they are kept until ready to be stocked into a fishless pond.

We have Osage Catfisheries with BC in Missouri, although you will pay a lot more for shipping than you will for fish themselves, and you may have trouble getting 8-lb plus male BC needed.

This is excellent information, thank you. Do the males need to be injected if you plan on strip-spawning the female? I was under the impression that the males stayed fertile year-round, and that you only need to inject the females to mature the eggs. If that's incorrect, then I may need to adjust my plan. The dosage rates are 0.5mL per 1kg (2.2lbs.) of body weight. A 6.6lb fish would need a dose of 1.5mL. Getting broodfish isn't a problem, I plan on catching them myself. The trouble I may have is catching some small enough to transport home, lol. This past weekend I caught 4 Blues... the smallest was around 7 pounds, and the others were 12, 18 and 28. I don't mind taking a few "eater" size fish home to experiment on, but I wouldn't want to take anything more than 10-12 pounds. A 10lb fish would need a 2.3mL dose of Ovaprim, which would still give me a few tries on other fish if it doesn't work. Blue Catfish become sexually mature at around 24" which is 4.7 pounds on the weight/length conversion chart. Channel Cats can spawn as early as 2 pounds, so maybe it would be wise to experiment on CC first, since it gives me better usage of the Ovaprim. I just really don't want CC since every fish supplier around here has them.

How successful was your first try? Have you done this type of thing before?

Re: DIY, Small-Scale Catfish Aquaculture
Steve_ #530948 02/23/21 06:09 PM
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Gold Kist Aquaculture was where I go my experience although I have induced spawning in several fish species. In all, more than one dose used, and males also injected to promote more milt volume.

What sex are your BC's?


Aquaculture
Cooperative Research / Extension
Lincoln University of Missouri
Re: DIY, Small-Scale Catfish Aquaculture
Jim Wetzel #530949 02/23/21 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim Wetzel
Gold Kist Aquaculture was where I go my experience although I have induced spawning in several fish species. In all, more than one dose used, and males also injected to promote more milt volume.

Yeah, I was reading about doing a "priming" dose of about 25% of the total dosage, and then the other 75% of the dose 6-8 hours later. Does that sound about right, or are you saying they need multiple "full" doses? And do you know if its mandatory to inject the male, or does it just give you more milt?

Quote
What sex are your BC's?

I currently don't have any BCs, as I'm only in the beginning stages of even trying this. From my research, it says to do the injection during the fish's normal spawning season, which around here, is anytime between May and July. My plan is to catch a few broodfish of multiple sexes, hopefully at least 2 of each, and keep them in a smallish swimming pool, that's aerated and filtered. I then plan on using the hormone on the broodfish, both sexes if necessary, kill the males, strip spawn the females' eggs into a bowl, extract the milt from the males, stick them all in my fiancé's new Kitchenaid Stand Mixer (just kidding), and if fertilization occurs, transfer the egg mass into an aerated, heated aquarium (78 degrees from my research) until they hatch into yolk-fry. When the yolks are consumed and they turn into swim-up fry, I plan on either feeding them for a few days in the aquarium, or transferring them to a larger tank/pool where I will continue to feed them. A 7 pound female can lay 12,000-24,000 eggs, and I'd be happy if only few hundred actually make it to stocking size. Again, thanks for the discussion, I love this kind of stuff.

Re: DIY, Small-Scale Catfish Aquaculture
Steve_ #531368 03/02/21 03:53 PM
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Jim, I sent you a private message, when you get a chance. I know this forum doesn't necessarily have a great notification system to alert you to new PMs. I think you have to watch the tiny envelope icon next to your login name.

Re: DIY, Small-Scale Catfish Aquaculture
Steve_ #533024 03/29/21 04:36 PM
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I'm going to bump this thread in hopes of getting some more advice and/or information regarding the procedures for hormone-induced spawning of CC, BC and BCxCC hybrids. I sent Jim Wetzel a PM, but I don't think he's seen it.

What I have so far:

I have constructed a tarp "pen" that will be used to hold my broodfish until they are seasonally ready to spawn. I've already purchased a bottle of Ovaprim (a hormone used to induce ovulation in many fish species, and the final step in maturing fish eggs), syringes, water filter, etc.

I've read nearly every online document from various Aquaculture Centers around the country but I have a few questions to fill in the gaps, since most of these online "how to" documents are quite dated. Any assistance would be much appreciated.


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