Farming tilapia profitably

Low intensity RAS via Aquaculture Production Units is the entry into fish farming. High intensity RAS is for larger scale businesses.

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Industry Experts

William, Donovan, Hugo, Ross and the engineering team have many combined decades of experience in aquaculture and in business development. We're a powerful combination.

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Proven Systems

We use the same systems we sell. We know them backwards, inside and out.

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What is fish farming?

Fish farming is the art of growing fish in water bodies with the intended sale for consumption of said fish. It falls under the broad church of aquaculture. 

In our case we specialise a little further down to species level. Our preferred fish farming candidate is tilapia – but our systems are not limited to tilapia only.

Some numbers…

One ton of fish. At R65/kg that’s R65k per year income. You will need to allocate feed costs of around R18k, electricity costs of around R3.5k, water costs of around R2k and around R6k worth of fingerlings to your direct cost of production. Variable costs of labour, processing, marketing and sales and so forth you’ll need to work out.

Looks good doesn’t it? If your math is like ours a gross nett of R35.5k isn’t bad.

Now, all we need to figure out is how to get there – and we try to address exactly that one question for you: How?

Farming fish can be done in several ways. You can go extensive – large ponds, cages in lakes, flow through systems etc. Or you can go intensive – Recirculated Aquaculture Systems (RAS).

We opt for RAS for two important reasons.

1. Because you can scale it. Anywhere.

Extensive systems can only be located where there is water. Lots of water. And land. Lots of land. This constrains the scale of your operation. RAS we can install anywhere. Like us, in a downtown warehouse in the middle of the city. Or on your own plot of land. In your garage. A shed…

2. Because you can control it.

Control over the fish production environment is key.  Extensive systems put you at the mercy of a continually fluctuating environment. This means you have continually fluctuating production. And who of us has 100% faith in the quality of water available these days, much less in 5 or 10 years time?

RAS gives you complete control of all aspects of production. No-one else can cause you problems beyond your control.

So what do you need to get started?

A RAS production system is a great start.When we began RAS systems were super expensive, requiring several million rands and a lot of very clever people to install and operate. Several people tried and either ran out of money before commercial levels of fish production began, or they had catastrophic technical failures (poor design etc).

We decided on a different approach. To minimise the risk we opted for a low intensity RAS system that is not as delicate to operate as a finicky high tech high intensity (and hence expensive) system. We use off the shelf parts to keep the cost down and you can replace any component at any time quickly and easily.

We also made it much smaller. We set on 10kl to keep it manageable, but still meaningful.

We kept it standalone. We did this so that you can scale to any size farm you want to, and you can start off at any scale you feel comfortable with.

We kept it SIMPLE. Just follow the rules and anyone should be able to farm fish successfully. The intention of the system is to provide you with a tool, the tool that you will use to LEARN how to farm fish successfully.

You will note that we do not give you ROIs, because without detail it’s just a guess.

Of course we will consult with you as needed. Note that to develop a full business plan will set you back around R100k. It takes time and it is not easy.  There are many, many variables to be considered in each situation.

What we can tell you is that one of our systems, operating at PEAK production (in other words, when you are truly in mastery of how to get the maximum out of it) will yield around one ton of fish per year.

You’ll need a system. We call them the Aquaculture Production Unit, or APU. These cost R30k ex VAT and you’ll need somewhere flat to put it in which you keep the temperatures stable at around 28C. How and where is up to you.

The key here is that you will also need to be at full production and this doesn’t happen overnight. It will take you at least 6 months, but long before you get to ramp up to this scale we recommend that you start at only half production so that you don’t run into the problems of trying to run before you can walk.

Even better is to start at 1/4 production and build on that over the next few months as you go. There is a massive LEARNING CURVE to undergo and we urge and encourage you to make it as easy on yourself as you can.

As we have said, our Aquaculture Production Unit (APU) is the perfect tool to get you started. Master an APU and you can pretty much master anything fish production related.

You can start with your own APU in literally under two hours. This is what it looks like. It costs R30k ex VAT, or R65k ex VAT for the two APU sytem using a side channel blower upgrade.


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