How to Build a Backyard Fish Farm

With the growing popularity of backyard vegetable gardens, backyard fish farming is becoming another popular source of food. Start small by building a fish pond.


  • Step 1: Dig a test hole in your yard Dig a test hole as deep as you plan to make your pond. Then fill it with water from a garden hose and see how much water drains to determine the seepage quality of the soil.
  • TIP: Backyard fish ponds are typically 5 to 15 feet deep.
  • Step 2: Ask local authorities if permits are needed Contact your local government authorities and ask if permits are needed for building a backyard fish pond.
  • Step 3: Decide where your pond will be dug Decide where your pond will be dug. Locate it where it will be exposed to sunlight to promote algae growth and where children and pets won’t be attracted to it.
  • TIP: If you’re a beginner or on a tight budget, build a fishpond only in a warm climate. Colder climates require expensive heating and filtering systems.
  • Step 4: Hire a contractor to excavate a hole Hire a contractor with equipment to excavate a hole for the pond. Then fill the hole with water, spread 8-8-4 crop fertilizer in the water to grow algae, and wait 4 to 6 months.
  • Step 5: Stock the pond with fingerlings Stock the pond with fingerlings or young fish. Tilapia is a tasty fish that is easy to raise, and they tolerate a variety of environmental conditions.
  • TIP: It’s recommended that a fishpond be stocked with five to six fingerlings per square meter of surface area. Spring is the best time of year to stock.
  • Step 6: Wait until the fishes are full grown and harvest Wait for six months to a year for the fish to grow. Lower a dip net to the bottom of the pond, sprinkle a small amount of fish food into the water above the net, and lift the net to harvest the fish.
  • FACT: Fish farming, also called aquaculture, has been around for centuries and may have been practiced in China as early as 2000 B.C.E.

You Will Need

  • A shovel
  • A garden hose
  • Local authorities
  • A contractor
  • 8-8-4 crop fertilizer
  • A computer with internet access
  • Tilapia fingerlings
  • A dip net
  • Fish food

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