How to Start a Catfish Business: From Business Capital to Harvest

Admin BFI
16 May 2022
How to Start a Catfish Business: From Business Capital to Harvest

Catfish farming is one of the most sought-after types of business by entrepreneurs who have limited capital. Because, it is true that the catfish business requires capital that is not too large, but can generate large profits. The opportunity for catfish cultivation in Indonesia is still promising, supported by processed catfish, which is a favorite food for the people of Indonesia. Besides being delicious, let's say grilled catfish dishes have a high nutritional content. Reporting to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), every 100 grams of catfish contains 105 calories, 18 grams of protein, 2.9 grams of fat, vitamin B12, potassium, and other nutritional content. How? Interested in starting this catfish farming business? Here, the BFI Finance team provides tips for starting a catfish business, starting from the required capital until the harvest period arrives. Listen!


Catfish Farming Benefits

Here are the advantages of the catfish farming business when compared to other mina businesses.

Relatively Easy Maintenance

The first advantage of you cultivating catfish is that it is relatively easy to maintain. Catfish can be kept in a variety of containers and aquatic environments. You can place catfish in tarpaulin ponds, cement-based ponds, or soil-based ponds. If these three facilities are not possible, you can also make alternative places for catfish farming in rain-fed ponds, under chicken coops (mina-Ayam), cages, and floating net cages.

Catfish have additional respiratory organs called arborescent organs. This organ allows catfish to live in waters that lack oxygen. Catfish can also survive in water that is not changed too often. Thus, catfish is also suitable for cultivation in urban areas and areas with minimal water.

Catfish are classified as all-eating fish or piscivores. Starting from pellets, livestock waste, snails, trash fish, water hyacinth, plants, and leaves, can be used as catfish feed. The ease of choosing food, of course, can reduce production costs, especially feed costs.

Easy to Get and Cheap Seeds

The next advantage of catfish farming is that the seeds are easy to get and the price is not too expensive. You can look for catfish seeds in large-scale or home-based catfish commercials and cooperate with the Center for the Development of Freshwater Cultivation (BPBAT) in your area. Currently, there are also many online marketplaces that sell catfish seeds directly from the seller. So, there is no difficult word to get the seeds.

Then how much is the price of catfish seeds per head? Each size of catfish seed has a different price. The larger the catfish seeds, of course, the more expensive the price offered. The price of catfish seeds measuring 2-3 cm can range from Rp. 200, to the largest with a size of 9-10 cm can be priced from Rp. 470. Affordable, right? There are also catfish seed sellers who offer purchases per box. As for one box, usually, 3,000 to 8,000 catfish are priced starting from Rp. 1,200,000 to 1,320,000/box.

Fast Harvest Period

Catfish farming has a fast harvest cycle of 3 to 4 months. Usually, catfish that are ready to be harvested amount to 8 to 11 fish per kilo. You can get buyers or sell catfish harvests to food stall owners, supermarkets, collectors, to restaurants. With a fast cash flow, you can use this income to increase the number of catfish ponds, so that the catfish farming business and the profits you get are even greater.

Wide Market Share

Catfish can be used in a variety of menu dishes such as fried catfish, shredded catfish, mangut catfish, and others. Thus, the results of the catfish business have a broad and promising market share. The following is the target market for the catfish business:

  • Street Food Vendors (Pecel Lele, Warung Lamongan)
  • Market Traders
  • Manufacturer of Catfish-Based Foods (Lele Shredded, Catfish Nuggets, etc.)
  • Collectors
  • Restaurant
  • Supermarkets
  • Social Media/Marketplace

How to Start a Catfish Farming Business from Zero

Are you more interested in running a catfish farming business? Here are 8 ways to start a catfish farming business that you can apply.

1. Prepare Catfish Farming Business Capital

The first step in starting a catfish business is to prepare the required capital. To run a catfish business generally requires capital that is not too large. The following is the range of initial capital for catfish farming:

  • Construction of a tarpaulin pool or a concrete pool: IDR 1,000,000
  • Seedlings of catfish, size 5-7 cm, 3,000 fish: Rp 1.320.000
  • Catfish feed: IDR 600,000
  • Vitamins and medicine for catfish: IDR 100,000

Thus, the total initial capital required is IDR 3,020,000.

2. Preparing the Reservoir Pond

After you calculate and get the required capital, then you can start preparing to build a catfish pond. There are several types of ponds to accommodate catfish, namely:

  • Tarpaulin pool

To make a tarpaulin pool, you will need a tarp that is shaped into a square or circle. After that, support the surface of the tarpaulin using a rock or other heavy object so that the tarpaulin pool remains solid. Fill the tarpaulin pool with 30 to 80 cm of water.

  • Biofloc Pond

Biofloc ponds are fish farming techniques that rely on oxygen supply and the utilization of microorganisms that can increase crop yields. Biofloc ponds can also be formed with tarpaulins. What distinguishes it from other types of catfish ponds is the use of special materials that stimulate the growth of microorganisms which can later be used as value-added business objects. Ingredients for making biofloc include gross salt, quicklime, probiotics, and others. The advantage of this biofloc pond is the efficient use of water that does not need to be changed frequently.

  • Concrete Pool

A concrete pond for catfish farming is a pond that is formed using cement, sand, and an iron frame which aims to create a solid place for cultivation. You can develop with a rectangular or rounded pattern. If you decide to use a concrete pond as a catfish farm, you must be diligent in cleaning the pond so that it does not become a nest of disease for your catfish because concrete pools are susceptible to the growth of moss and make the water cloudy.

  • Bucket Pool

An alternative to choosing a pond for catfish farming is a pool using a bucket. Not just any ordinary bucket, you have to prepare a bucket that can hold large amounts of water. It is recommended to use a bucket with a water capacity of 80 liters and a diameter of 50 cm. This type of pool is probably the cheapest and most flexible among other types of pools. Clean a catfish pond made of buckets at least once a week.

3. Selection of Catfish Seeds

The third step to starting a catfish business is to choose good catfish seeds. The superior quality of catfish seeds will determine the sustainability of your catfish farming business. How to choose superior catfish seeds? Here are 5 criteria for superior catfish seeds:

  • Try to select seedlings that are 2 weeks old and about 7 to 9 cm long.
  • Physically perfect, no body parts are injured, missing and the size is uniform
  • Healthy catfish have agile movements
  • Slightly light color
  • Agile and aggressive when fed

As an illustration, a pond with a size of 2 x 3 meters can be filled with 1,000 catfish seeds.

How to spread the seeds into the pond must also be considered. So that catfish seedlings can adapt easily and are not easily stressed, place the container containing the seeds in the pond at an angle for 15 to 30 minutes. Ponds for seedlings must also be separated from adult-sized catfish. Ponds for seedlings are usually shallower which aims to make it easier for seedlings in the process of feeding and breathing. Try to spread the catfish seeds in the pond in the morning or evening because the catfish seeds tend to be calmer at that time.

4. Feeding Catfish

The thing that is no less important in managing a catfish business is feeding. Catfish are eaters of everything and can eat certain meats and plants. Feeding must be adjusted to the age of the catfish. Catfish seeds will be fed with a smaller size according to the size of the mouth compared to adult catfish.

Usually, pellet food is the main food for seedlings and adult-sized catfish. However, there are other alternatives as main food and substitute for catfish, such as:

  • Snail or golden snail that has been boiled
  • Trash fish
  • Fish that have been crushed
  • Fine bran
  • Water hyacinth
  • Azolla plants
  • Fly maggots
  • Earthworms
  • Poultry
  • Tofu dregs fermentation

Feed catfish every 3 times a day, with an interval of 8 hours. Feeding is also just enough to avoid food debris that will make the pool even dirtier.

5. Separation of Catfish According to Age and Size

Catfish are cannibals or can prey on other catfish. Therefore, it is important to separate catfish according to age and size. Separate catfish aged < 20 days from those > 20 days. In addition to avoiding cannibalism between catfish, this aims to maximize the absorption of food by catfish aged < 20 days.

6. Prevention of Catfish from Various Types of Disease

To produce the best catfish products from your catfish business, it is necessary to monitor the health of the catfish and the cleanliness of the pond. Changing pond water regularly is important to do to avoid catfish from various types of diseases. Change the water in the catfish farming pond if it rains or if it smells bad. The correct technique for changing catfish culture pond water is to replace 50% of the total volume of water in the pond. Try to replace the lowest part of the water in the pond, because that part contains toxins that are harmful to catfish. Before changing the water, fast the catfish from 12 to 24 hours. This aims to prevent catfish from stress. Because if the catfish is stressed, it will vomit the food that has been given.

Oxygen circulation in the pond also plays an important role in the growth and development of catfish. It is recommended to provide a blower (fan), and aerator so that the oxygen needs of catfish can be met to the maximum.

In addition, you can also buy medicine and vitamins for catfish that are available at fishing shops so they are not susceptible to disease.

7. Harvest Process

Generally, the cycle of catfish cultivation from seed to ready to be harvested or marketed takes 3 to 4 months. Usually, one kilogram of ready-to-harvest catfish contains 8 to 11 catfish.

Before harvesting, fasten the catfish again for 24 hours. This is so that it can empty the contents of the catfish's stomach and can survive during the shipping period. Next, throw water in the pond until only catfish are left. This is to facilitate the process of taking catfish.

8. Marketing and Promotion of Catfish Harvest

The final step in this catfish farming business is to market the catfish harvest to those in need. As explained above, you can market your crops to food stalls, especially Lamongan and pecel catfish stalls, supermarkets, collectors, and others. You can also take advantage of social media and marketplaces, BFI friends. This is so that your catfish farming business is increasingly recognized by the wider community.


Such is the understanding of the catfish business, starting from the preparation of the required capital until the harvest period arrives. If you need capital to start this catfish business, you can always apply through BFI Finance, BFI friends! With the guarantee of BPKB Motor, Car, and House Certificates, we will process your business capital loan application quickly and of course with a low-interest rate offer. Starting a business is not easy, in addition to requiring in-depth research and a superior business model, commitment and consistency are required in running it.


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