It takes know-how and long hours to manage a fish farm. A good farming background that includes operation and maintenance of equipment is important. Fish farmers must also be comfortable with the close attention and stress that goes along with managing an intensive agricultural operation. Like any other animal in a crowded feedlot situation, catfish are susceptible to sickness and poor production if poorly managed. The manager must closely watch how the fish are feeding and the condition of the water both by test equipment and color. During summer, nightly rounds to monitor oxygen levels and aerate ponds are the norm, not the exception. On the positive side, catfish farmers have the satisfaction of watching the fish grow from fingerling to harvest size and knowing that it is directly due to their management.
Introduction to Catfish (Ikan Keli)
Catfish (order Siluriformes) are a very diverse group of bony fish. Named for their prominent barbells, which resemble a cat's whiskers (though not prominent in all members of this order), catfish range in size and behavior from the heaviest, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia and the longest, the wels catfish of Eurasia, to detritivores (species that eat dead material on the bottom), and even to a tiny parasitic species commonly called the candiru, Vandellia cirrhosa. There are armour-plated types and also naked types, neither having scales. Despite their common name, not all catfish have prominent barbels; what defines a fish as being in the order Siluriformes are in fact certain features of the skull and swimbladder. Catfish are of considerable commercial importance; many of the larger species are farmed or fished for food. Many of the smaller species, particularly the genus Corydoras, are important in the aquarium hobby.
A Note to Non-Farmers
residents. Most farmers were born and raised on a farm. Very few learned how to farm as an adult. This puts the non-farmer at a considerable disadvantage.
Non-farmers will need to go through a period of on-the-job training. Are you the kind of person who does most of the maintenance and repair work? Can you put up with outdoor work during bad weather and odd hours? If so, great - these are skills and tolerances you will need on a fish farm. If not, you may wish to reconsider before getting into fish farming. In addition, farming today requires much more than just being able to produce a crop. Successful farmers must have a sound understanding of the economics of their operation, keep good records and work to find the best markets for their product.