How to Start Fish Farming in Nigeria (2023)

Fish Farming in Nigeria
Fish Farming in Nigeria

Are you thinking of starting a farming business in Nigeria that is lucrative? You should consider starting a fish farm. Although the business needs time before you can start making money, the profits in the farming business are massive when it is harvesting season.

In today’s article, if you are really serious I am going to be sharing with you the step-by-step guide on how to start fish farming in Nigeria and different ways you can make money from the farming business in a country like Nigeria.

Types of Fish Farming in Nigeria 

There are two basic types of fish farming in Nigeria. We have:

1. Catfish Farming

This is the most popular type of fish farming currently in Nigeria. It is more lucrative because you can make more money exporting it.

2. Tilapia Farming

Although not common, many Nigerian farmers still do this type of fish farming on a large scale. They sell their produce to market women and restaurants majorly.

Is Fish Farming Profitable?

Fish farming is a profitable business in Nigeria for many reasons. Whether you are going into tilapia or catfish farming the business is profitable because Nigerians love fish. The old eat fish because it is the only healthy source of meat from the sea.

Nigerians love catfish in particular because they can either use it to make pepper soup, stew. Catfish can also be smoked or dried. There is a huge market for catfish both locally and internationally. 

You can make money selling your dried catfish to provision stores, supermarkets and you can sell your fresh catfish to bars and restaurants. To export your dried catfish you have to meet up with the export standards.

Capital Needed to Start Fish Farming

Due to the current cost of feed and other materials and equipment needed to start catfish farming the capital to start fish farming is intensive. To start a small scale fish farm you will need a capital of #2,000,000 and to start a large scale farm you will need a capital of #5,000,000.

This capital will be majorly used to buy fish feed, trampolin ponds, and treatment.

Things Needed to Start Fish Farming 

Below are the things you need to build a successful fish farm in Nigeria.

1. Clean Water

When I mention clean water I do not mean that the water has to be clear and transparent. The fact that water is clean does not mean it contains the right properties. Catfish thrives in freshwater but they can also live in brackish water so also for tilapia fish. 

You have to test the water you will be using for your fish farming if it is already available. If you are just going to dig a borehole you need to make sure you get your water from the right source. There are people who specialize in this. You can consult them.

2. Quality Feed

There are many opinions on the kinds of feeds you should give your fish. While some farmers feel that local feeds are good enough and you do not need to buy foreign ones. Some feel that the foreign ones are the best because the quality of nutrients are good enough.

From experience I will say both of them are good, it just depends on how you use them. For example; it is best when you use foreign feeds raise your fish from fingerling stage and when the fish get to juvenile you can start using local feeds. This technique helps you to reduce the cost you spend on feeding.

3. Spacious Pond

When it comes to ponds for your fish, there are majorly three types of ponds in Nigeria. 

A. Earthen Ponds

Earthen ponds are cheap to make as long as you have a swampy land. They create the best environment for the fish to grow and thrive. The disadvantage of earthen pond is that it can be difficult to harvest your fish when it is harvest period and some of your fish can be eaten by predators that live in the soil as well.

It is important to treat your soil before starting your fish farm to avoid this.

B. Trampoline Ponds

These kinds of ponds are expensive and hard to manage. With this kind of pond you will spend money regularly changing the water and you will also need to wash your pond once in a while this could be immediately after every harvest. 

Original trampoline will last you for 10 – 15 years. You just need to cover them slightly to reduce sun rays on them.

C. Concrete Ponds

These are ponds built with bricks and cements. These kinds of ponds are also reliable because they last. However, it is not easy to maintain. To build a concrete pond you do not need a bricklayer you need a professional – someone who specializes in building fish ponds.

4. Pumping machine

Whether you are using an earthen or trampoline pond you need a reliable source of water. This is where you need a pumping machine. The pumping machine will help you move water from underground to your ponds. There are different types of pumping machines.

These are electric and Petrol powered pumping machines.

How to Start Fish Farming in Nigeria

Below are steps you need to take to start fish farming in Nigeria. 

1. Conduct a Market Survey

Fish farming in Nigeria is a risky business despite the fact that people like fish. You need to conduct your survey for your fish farming business if you are really serious about running the business for a long time with minimal loss. There are different guides on how to conduct a survey for a new or old business.

There are also different types of surveys. We have compiled all this in an all-in-one article on how to conduct your own market survey especially as a newbie in the business world. Read the post for more guidance on how to go about it.

2. Write a Business Plan

If you have been in the business world for a while you will have heard about business plans and why it is very important in starting new businesses. If you want to go into fish farming on a large scale or medium scale, it is important you write a business plan.

We have written a complete article on how to write business plans in Nigeria. You can click this article to read and create a business plan for your fish farm but if you do not have the time and you need a professional touch, you should contact us via our email

We can write a perfect business plan for you within 3 – 5 working days. It is better for you to spend a little money to do a business plan than for you to lose huge money because you do not.

3. Get your Required Capital

You need a starting capital as it is impossible to start a business like this without it. You need money to do over 80% of the things in the business. You will need capital to build your pond, buy fish and fish feed. You need to source for funding if you do not have the money.

Here is an article on how to get funding for your business in Nigeria. No matter what, make sure you do not borrow from micro-finance or commercial banks to start. The interest on these loans will drown your business from the first day.

4. Register your Fish Business

For your business to be legal in Nigeria, you need to register your business. You need to register your business under the Corporate Affairs Commission. There are benefits you stand to gain when you register your business as an entity in Nigeria. 

We have shared how you can register your business name in Nigeria. Just click the article for further reading. 

5. Buy a Farmland

Not everybody that goes into fish farming actually needs a farmland. If you already have a compound or space where your fish can stay without disturbance you do not need to acquire a land. The size of the land you need totally depends on how big you want your fish farm to be.

Do you want to rear 5000 fish or 20000 fish? All this plays a vital role in the decision. Farmland comes at different prices. Some are cheap while some are expensive. You just need to go for the ones you can afford. To save money on cost you should consider buying lands far from federal roads.

6. Acquire Equipment and Materials

You need to buy all necessary equipment and materials you will need to run your fish farm successfully in Nigeria equipment like nets, sorting table, bowls, brush, and more. Some of the equipment will be used to wash your pond while some will be used to catch and sort fish.

You may not buy all the tools immediately but buy them gradually. You can buy your equipment from the market or around you. It depends.

7. Buy your Fish

The quality of fish you buy to start your fish farm determines how much you will succeed in your cat fish business. If you buy sick fish you can lose all of them to death within a week. For this reason, it is important you buy quality fish from a trusted farmer.

Look for a fish farm in your area that has a good recommendation and order your fish from them. When they arrive, sort them by separating them according to their sizes, and then acclimatize them. The biggest fish should be in a pond, while the medium should be in another pond and the smallest in another. 

This means that you need a minimum of 3 ponds to start.

8. Feeding and taking care of Fish

For starters like I explained earlier, you should use both local and foreign feeds for your fish. It is best if you use foreign feeds from the beginning of the lives of your fish to the end but since this technique is too expensive you should use the method I explained at the beginning. 

There are few things you need to note when feeding your fish. 

1. You need to feed your fish on time and regularly. Failure to do so will result in cannibalism. This will make you lose revenue because your fish will start eating themselves.

2. Do not overfeed your fish. Doing this will make them sluggish and lazy. 

3. Floating feeds pay better as they help your fish feed faster.

4. Change your water once every 3 – 5 days to reduce algae and pneumonia and increase oxygen in your ponds.

9. Harvesting your Produce

Harvesting season is the best season as a farmer. At this time, your fish has gotten to jumbo sizes and they are ready to be sold to retailers and consumers. At this time, you need to start advertising your fish to family and friends for patronage.

They might not buy much from you but it still goes a long way. You also need to inform restaurants and bars businesses around you that you have fish to sell. If possible send proposals to them. We have written how you can write proposals in Nigeria.

All you need is to click the article and follow the guide laid down there.


Fish farming in Nigeria is a profitable business you can venture into if you have the capital. The risk in the business is also minimized as long as you have quality water and fish. As a fish farmer, you are a millionaire in the making. Check out 5 other ways you can make money from fish farming in the video below.



Ralph Bamigboye is an Accountant. He is the brain behind blog and Finance Naija YouTube Channel. He has helped many individuals to start their businesses and make money online. How can he help you?

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