Alfred Mulauzi (44) walks around his garden with pride, looking over his fish pond filled with bream. Mulauzi is an urban fish farmer and keen gardener who lives in Rhodesville with his wife and three children. He completed training in fish farming to improve his livelihood whilst providing a healthy and affordable source of protein to feed his family.
Mulauzi tends to his pond, which contains over 200 tilapia, with knowledge and passion.
“Fish farming is a very simple project to do. You don’t need a very big space – a person can build their own fish pond in their backyard or use an unused swimming pool. The pond must be at least 1.5 m deep because the surface water is quite hot because of the sun. It is the nice and cool water at the bottom which the bream like. They come up to feed early in the morning, go back down to the bottom in the middle of day and then in the early evening come back up again. You will never have problems with mosquitoes because they eat all the mosquitoes.” Mulauzi told Harare News.
“The fish also eat all the bugs at the surface. Also bees get water from the pond to make their honey, so you will discover that there is always a relationship between your fish pond and the bees. When you have a fish pond in your yard, bees will always be busy getting water from there to make honey.”
Tilapia eat algae, weeds, vegetable scraps and bugs. Mulauzi says, “My fish survive on algae. I develop algae for them using chicken manure. The algae colours the water into a rich shade of green. Once every three days I feed them crushed maize, but most of the time they survive on algae because the algae increases the food supply and results in larger and tastier fish.”
Harvesting is another important aspect of fish farming. “The pond will not hold more than two hundred fish so we have to harvest. It takes about two years for the bream to get to the size of an adult hand. What I recommend is that after a year you harvest some of your fish. By doing that, you are making more space for the bigger fish. Usually, fish are big enough to harvest after about six month so you can eat them with your family and you can also start selling them to earn an income. Harvest the fish early in the morning when it is cool.”
Mulauzi explains that the biggest challenge for fish farmers is adequate water. “In hot weather, evaporation leads to noticeable water loss in a pond and if you live in an area where there is not enough water, it can be difficult because you will need to top up the pond every three days.”
This story was sourced via an upcoming TV series called Urban Farming. Look out for their story in the next issue of Harare News.
Image: Alfred Mulauzi feeds his family with bream grown in his urban pond.
Image credit: David Reeler