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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Farming with fish

Are you in the right place? fish-farm.co.za is aimed at people wanting to become fish farmers! It’s hard work that takes years to get right and it’s not easy – there are good reasons why there are not many fish farmers around.

However, persevere and the rewards are off the clock, both financially and in satisfaction. This is our story and how we’re doing it as best we can, with what we have, where we are right here right now.

We chose a species, in this case, the Nile tilapia for cogent reasons. We then looked at how this species is farmed elsewhere in the world and what the species needs to grow as optimally as possible.

We concluded that the Nile tilapia cannot be farmed successfully in South Africa without a RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) that will allow optimum growing conditions. That’s our conclusion. There will be others that tell you differently. They are, of course, wrong 🙂

We also concluded that the only way to build a business big enough to make it worth our while was with RAS systems (both here and abroad). This is simply because in order to make decent money you will need to produce large quantities of fish. The logistics behind handling these large numbers mean that to scale your operation to a large enough level will mean that not using RAS means you will need truly massive access to water, land and labour. This is not practical and beyond a certain point, very hard if not impossible to scale to. RAS, being small and compact, allows a far bigger business to be built almost anywhere because of it’s vastly smaller footprint and vastly smaller water requirements.

Yes. RAS is more expensive. It is more technically difficult to master.

So what?

If this is your only realistic option to build a business that will make money, those are the cards you are dealt. You have to play them. The upside is that once you have mastered RAS you’ve pretty much nailed fish farming in general.

Naysayers will say that RAS failures are hard to prevent with disastrous consequences. That technical support is too far away. That Africa is not suited to high tech sophisticated operations. Nuts to them is what we say.

The facts are simple. If you build your system properly and you understand it, failures that occur are entirely predictable. If you fail to cater for them, it’s your own fault. Technology when used is powerful, but it does not mean you can switch off your mind and hope that it does the work for you. Used correctly your life will be easier. Used incorrectly and there are consequences.

So we’ve built you a system to do just that. It’s called the Aquaculture Production Unit and we use it to grow tilapia in. If you run it correctly, then you can grow tilapia in the same way that we do. Stands to reason, right?

Of course there is a steep learning curve. One does not just wake up one day and decide to become a fish farmer and start producing fish a week from now. This is FARMING! It takes time to learn, to gain experience and to understand the nuances and intricacies involved. It takes grit. It takes money.

This is not a get rich quick scheme. This is a learn what the hell you are doing first scheme and then expand into making it bigger and bigger until you are really very rich indeed.

In other words

You are investing in making YOU a fish farmer. The skills you will require cannot be learned in a week or a month. They will take you the best part of a year to acquire during which process you will come to answer the questions of what the business of farming fish involves. You will begin with perfecting growing them from small to large and formulate answers to the ‘what now’ questions post growing out your fish.

As we have said, our Aquaculture Production Unit (APU) is the perfect training tool to get you started. It is a semi intensive RAS system that allows you control over the production process but also offers you the flexibility to change and test. It is a tool that you can use to learn what you need to know before rushing out and spending millions on an aquaculture operation that promptly fails because you have no idea about what you are doing.

APUs are great for training centres, they are great to get you started in small scale production. They are scalable, portable and will always be used in your operation no matter how big it gets (an APU can be used for nurseries, spawning, quarantining, purging, conditioning etc.).

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.

Since the 2016 Green City Startup Project, we’ve firmed up relations with UJ, developed our own filter system for the Aquaculture Production Unit that is now a self contained moulded unit, added research, developed production system frameworks and expanded. We have feed coming on stream and the interest continues to pour in. We won the Nedbank 702 Business Accelerator and went to GrowCo in New Orleans in 2018. What a ride it continues to be be!

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