How to Feed Catfish Fingerlings

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Feeding catfish fingerlings for optimal growth can be tricky.
Feeding catfish fingerlings for optimal growth can be tricky. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Feeding catfish fingerlings is a relatively simple process as long as you understand the basic concepts behind it. While there are several different rules that govern how catfish should be fed, understand that the body weight fed and the food conversion ratio changes as the fish grow. Also know that water temperature will affect how much food you feed the fingerlings. The warmer the water, the more the fingerlings will eat and can grow.

Things You'll Need

  • 32 percent protein catfish food
  • 30 percent protein catfish food
  • 28 percent protein catfish food
  • Water thermometer

Calculate the food conversion ratio. In order to ensure that you are feeding your fingerlings the optimum amount of food to trigger growth without wasting feed, you need to calculate their food conversion rates. Assuming the temperature of the water is between 70 and 85 degrees F, catfish fingerlings that are 6 inches in length should be offered 1.1 lbs of food a day to produce 1 lb. of weight gain. A 15-inch fish should be given 1.9 lbs. of food a day to net the same result.

Offer high protein-based foods. Because fingerlings are constantly growing, they need a higher concentration of protein in their diets. Catfish fingerlings should be offered a well balanced diet of catfish food that contains 32 percent protein for the first two months of stocking them in your pond. The next two months should see a reduction in the protein content of the food to 30 percent and the remainder of time the fish is in your care, they should receive a 28 percent protein diet.

Determine whether floating pellets are adequate or if sinking pellets should be supplemented. If your pond contains only fingerling catfish, floating pellets are adequate to ensure they receive enough feed. However, if larger fish are present, fingerlings are often crowded out during feeding times and may not receive adequate feed to promote health and growth. Sinking pellets can be used to help ensure your fingerlings receive enough feed.

Take into account seasonal temperature fluctuations. Early spring and late fall tend to be cooler than late spring, summer and early fall. Catfish fingerlings are more active feeders during warmer months and should be offered more food during these times. Catfish fingerlings should be offered approximately half the amount of feed they would receive when water temperatures are 70 to 85 degrees F when the temperature drops to 50 to 60 degrees F.

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