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Composite Fish Culture Information Guide

Composite Fish Culture Information Guide

Composite Fish Culture Guide:

Introduction of Composite Fish Culture:- What is Composite Fish Culture? It is nothing but mixed fish farming. Basically, it is a fish culture in which more than one type of compatible fish is cultured simultaneously. This method enables maximum fish yield/production from a pond through utilization of available fish feed.

Advantages of Composite Fish Culture:- composite fish culture is the most advanced & popular culture technique practiced in the country.

The main advantage of composite fish culture is high production by utilizing feed in the pond effectively. In this system , farmers can supply different species based on the market demand.

Fish Involved in Composite Fish Culture: – Depending on the compatibility & feeding habits of the fishes, the following varieties of fishes of India as well as Exotic types have been identified & recommended for the composite fish culture system.

Composite Fish Culture
Composite Fish Culture
  • Indian Major Carps:
Rohu Omnivorous Column feeder
Catla Zoo plankton feeder Surface feeder
Mrigal Mrigal Bottom feeder
  • Exotic Carps:
Grass carp Herbivorous Surface, column and marginal areas
Silver carp Phytoplankton feeder Surface feeder
Common carp Detritivorous/Omnivorous Bottom feeder

Technical Parameters of Composite Fish Culture:-

  • Selection of Pond: The following technical parameters should be considered in pond selection.

a) Cleaning of existing ponds.

b) Deepening of shallow ponds.

c) Excavation of new ponds.

d) Impoundments of marginal areas of water bodies.

e) Construction / repairs of ponds.

f) Construction of Inlets / Outlets.

g) Any other item like civil structures, pump sets water supply arrangements / electricity supply arrangements.

  • Pond Management: The following technical parameters should be considered in pond management. Pond management plays major and critical role in any fish farming before & after the stocking of fish seed. Fish farmers should consider various measures in pre and post stocking of fish seed mentioned as below.
  • Pre-Stocking:- In case of new ponds, pre-stocking activity starts with liming and filling of the pond with water. This liming will balance the pH and increases the soil resistance and kills the parasite. The required dose of lime is 200 to 250 kg/ha. However, the actual required dose depends on the pond soil pH value. It is very important to go for soil pH testing before starting a new pond culture. In case of existing ponds, cleaning of the pond and removing the weeds by chemical, manual or mechanical means should be carried.
  • Soil pH Lime (kg/ha)
    4.5 to 5.0 2,000
    5.1 to 6.5 1,000
    6.6 to 7.5 500
    7.6 to 8.5 500
    8.6 to 9.5 Nil

Organic manure: Cow dung @ 5000 kg/ha or any other organic manure in equivalent manurial value can be applied. This can be applied after 3 days of liming.

Fertilization/ Manuring in Composite Fish Culture:- Fertilization of the pond in fish farming is an important task for intensifying fish culture by increasing the natural productivity of the pond. The fertilization schedule should be made based on the quality of the pond soil. Organic and Inorganic fertilizers can be used for best results. The fertilizer application should be suitably modified depending on the growth of the fish in the pond, feed reserve in the pond and climatic conditions.

In-organic manure: This should be carried after 2 weeks of organic manuring. The following chart shows the details.

Soil fertility status Ammonium Sulphate Urea
1. Nitrogen(mg/100 grams soil)

i) High (51-75)

ii) Medium (26-50) 

iii)            Low (up to 25)




2. Phosphorus (mg/100 gm soil) Single super phosphate Triple super Phosphate
i) High (7-12)

ii) Medium (4-6) 

iii)              Low (up to 3)





Stocking in Composite Fish Culture:- The pond will be ready for stocking after 2 weeks fertilizer application. Fish fingerlings of 50 to 100 grams of size (approx) should be used for stocking the pond at the rate of 5000 per 1 hectare.  The present model of stocking is a advanced fingerlings & rearing for 10 to12 months. Depending on availability of fish seed & market condition, pond stocking can be of 3, 4 or 6 species combination in the below ratio mentioned.

Fish Type (Species) 3-Fish Combination 4-Fish Combination 6-Fish Combination
Catla 4.0 3.0 1.5
Rohu 3.0 3.0 2.0
Mrigal 3.0 2.0 1.5
Silver Carp 1.5
Grass Carp 1.5
Common Carp 2.0 2.0

Post stocking in Composite Fish Culture:-

  • Supplementary feed: Generally, a fish needs more food than what is available naturally in the pond. Fishes in the pond can be fed with a mixture of rice bran & oil cakes in the ratio 4:1. Farmers can use Cotton seed oil cake which is comparatively cheaper than Ground nut oil cake. The fish feed can be placed on a feeding tray or in a feeding bag and should be lowered to the bottom of the pond or feed can be dispersed at the corners of the pond. he recommended feeding rate is 5 to 6 % of the body weight up to 500 gram size of fish and then reduce to 3.5% of body weight from 500 to 1000 gram size. 
  • Manuring: Organic manuring should be done in monthly installments @ 1000 kg/ha where as inorganic fertilization should be done at monthly intervals alternating with organic manuring. However, the monthly rate of fertilization will depends on the pond productivity & the growth rate of the fish. Make sure that the fertilization should not exceed than the required, otherwise it may result in eutrophication.

Harvesting and Yield in Composite Fish Culture:- Fish can be harvested at the end of first year, when the fishes attain average weight of 500 grams to 1.50 kg. With proper management and care a production of 4 to 6 tons/ha can be achieved in a year. Harvesting is done by partial de-watering and repeated netting.

Increasing Fish Production in Composite Fish Culture System:- A number of techniques being followed by fish farmers to increase the per hectare fish production. The following are some of them.

  • Stocking ponds with advanced fingerlings / yearlings.
  • Heavy stocking and multiple harvesting after the fishes attain a size of 500 grams.
  • Multiple stocking and multiple harvesting and use of aerators.
  • Integrated fish farming with dairy, poultry, piggery or duckery to get daily organic manuring in the pond.

Generally, it is possible to increase the fish from 7 to 10 tonnes per ha per year with the above methods.

For Murrel Fish Farming : Read here.

For Catla Fish Farming :  Read here.

For Tilapia Fish Farming: Read here.

For Sheep & Goat Farming : Read here.

Last Updated: April 7, 2018
Author: Jagdish


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