Wednesday, February 28Food Security Matters

Eel Farming in the Philippines: How to Grow Igat

Eel farming is a profitable and rewarding, yet complex process that requires careful planning and execution to ensure success. In this article, we will explore the step-by-step guide to farming eel (Tagalog: Palos or igat), from breeding, growing, and feeding to harvesting in the Philippines. Learn how you can start your eel farm and reap the rewards of this lucrative industry!

eel-farming
Indoor eel farming

Introduction to Eel Farming

If you’re thinking about starting to farm eel, there are a few things you should know. In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide to breeding, growing, feeding, and harvesting eel.

Eels are a type of fish that can be found in freshwater or saltwater habitats.  This fish is called igat or palos in Tagalog. They’re popular in many cuisines around the world and are considered a delicacy in some cultures.

Eels are relatively easy to breed and grow. They don’t require much space and can be fed a variety of food sources. When harvesting eel, it’s important to use proper techniques to avoid damaging the meat.

The Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica) is the most popular species of eel that are farmed in Japan and South East Asia including the Philippines but there are also other species like Longfin eel (Anguilla reinhardtii) and the Shortfin eel (Anguilla australis) which are both farmed in Australia and New Zealand.

If you’re interested in learning more about farming eel, read on for our step-by-step guide.

Breeding Eel

Eel farming is a process that requires great care and attention. If you’re thinking of breeding eel, there are some things you need to know before getting started. Here’s a step-by-step guide to farming eel:

  1. Breeding eel is best done in captivity. This ensures that the young eels are not exposed to predators and can be properly cared for.
  2. Eels reach sexual maturity at around 2 years old. When ready to breed, males will develop white spots on their fins and bodies. Females will become plumper as they mature.
  3. To encourage breeding, eels should be kept in tanks with plenty of hiding places. Plants can also be added to the tank to provide shelter for the eggs.
  4. When mating, the male will wrap himself around the female and fertilize her eggs internally. The female will then lay her eggs in a safe place, often amongst plants or in a cave.
  5. Eggs hatch after around 10 days and the young eels (called elvers) will immediately start feeding on small insects and crustaceans.
  6. As they grow, elvers will need to be fed increasingly larger food items such as worms, small fish, and shrimp.

Spawning

Eels have a very interesting spawning process. The female eel will lay her eggs in a secluded, dark place in the water. Once the eggs are laid, the male eel will come over and fertilize them. After the eggs are fertilized, they will hatch into a larva called leptocephali. These leptocephali will float around in the ocean for years, growing and maturing until they finally transform into adult eels.

Rearing 

Eels are a popular seafood item in many parts of the world, and farming them can be a lucrative business. If you’re thinking of getting into eel farming, there are a few things you need to know. In this article, we’ll go over everything from breeding to harvesting eels.

Eels are typically bred in captivity, as they are difficult to catch in the wild. Once you have your broodstock, you’ll need to set up a suitable environment for them to breed in. This means having tanks or ponds with plenty of hiding places and a good filtration system. The water should also be well-oxygenated.

Once the adults have spawned, the eggs will need to be incubated at a temperature of around 22 degrees Celsius. After they hatch, the young eels (known as elvers) will need to be kept in freshwater tanks with a constant flow of water. They’ll also need to be fed often, as they have a voracious appetite.

As the elvers grow, they’ll need to be moved into larger tanks. Eventually, they’ll be ready for harvest and can then be sold live or processed for their meat. Eel farming can be a rewarding business, so long as you’re prepared to put in the work!

Eel Farming: Growing Eels

Eels are a type of fish that can be found in freshwater rivers and streams all over the world. They are a popular choice for aquaculture, as they are relatively easy to breed and grow. In this article, we will take you through the process of farming eel, from breeding and growing, to feeding and harvesting.

Eels are typically bred in captivity, in either man-made ponds or tanks. The adults can then be transferred to larger growing facilities once the fry have reached a suitable size. It is important to maintain water quality and temperature when growing eel, as they are sensitive to changes in their environment.

Eels are carnivorous fish, and their diet should consist of live food such as worms, insects, small fish, and crustaceans. As they grow, they will need more food, so it is important to increase their feeding accordingly. Eels can be harvested at any time of year, but they are typically caught during the winter months when they are fattest.

Eel Farming: Feeding

There are a few things to consider when it comes to feeding your eels. First, you need to provide them with a high-quality diet that is rich in protein and fat. Eels are carnivores, so they will do their best on a diet that includes live food, such as worms, insects, and small fish. You can also offer them frozen or freeze-dried foods, but these should be used as supplements rather than the mainstay of their diet.

It is important to remember that eels are escape artists, so any tank or pond you keep them in must be secure. If you are keeping them in an aquarium, make sure the lid is tight fitting and there are no gaps that an eel could squeeze through. In a pond, you will need to put a net over the top to prevent them from getting out.

Eels are opportunistic feeders, so they will eat whenever food is available. However, you should try to stick to a regular feeding schedule so they can learn when to expect their meals. A good rule of thumb is to feed them once or twice a day, depending on how much food they can consume without becoming overweight.

Overfeeding is one of the most common problems with keeping eels, so be careful not to overdo it. Signs of overfeeding include uneaten food left in the tank or pond, fat deposits around the eel’s body, and aggressive behavior toward other eels.

Tank Size and Environmental Requirements

One of the most important decisions you’ll make when starting your eel farm is choosing the right tank size and environment. Eels are highly adaptable and can thrive in a wide range of conditions, but there are some key things to keep in mind when setting up your farm.

First, eels need plenty of space to swim and grow. A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 10 gallons of water per eel. If you’re planning on breeding eels, you’ll need even more space, as females can lay up to 1 million eggs at a time!

Second, eels prefer warm water, so your tanks should be heated to between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use an aquarium heater or a submersible pond heater to maintain the proper temperature.

Finally, eels need hiding places where they can feel safe and secure. Driftwood, rocks, and live plants all make great additions to your eel tank. Just be sure that any objects you add are properly cleaned and sterilized before putting them in the tank.

Harvesting Eel

Eels are a type of fish that can be found in freshwater environments. They are often harvested for their meat, which is considered to be a delicacy in many cultures.

Eels can be harvested using a variety of methods, but the most common method is to use eel traps. Eel traps are baited with live baitfish, and the eels are attracted to the baitfish and enter the trap. Once the trap is full, it is pulled from the water and the eels are removed.

Eels can also be hand-harvested, although this method is less common. When hand-harvesting eels, a fisherman will use a hook and line to catch the eel. The fisherman will then pull the eel from the water and kill it.

Once an eel is harvested, it must be properly processed to avoid spoiling. The first step in processing an eel is to bleed it by cutting its throat. The next step is to gut the eel by removing its intestines. Finally, the eel should be scaled and washed before it is cooked or frozen for storage.

Conclusion

Eel farming can be a rewarding and profitable venture for those who put in the time and effort to learn about breeding, growing, feeding, and harvesting techniques. With this step-by-step guide, you should now have a better understanding of what is involved in farming eels. Whether you are looking to start your own business selling eels or just want to explore an interesting hobby that could provide some extra income, learning how to farm these slippery creatures can help make it happen. Good luck!

Questions Related to Eel Farming

Can eel be farmed?

Eels are an ideal species of fish to be farmed because they are very tolerant of many conditions, including being kept in large numbers. After the fingerlings have been in quarantine, they can then be grown in ponds or in specialized tanks that recirculate the water.

How long do eels take to grow?

In the wild eels, can take five years to 30 years to reach maturity, but the cultured eels in tanks can mature from as little as seven months to two years.

Sustainable Eel Farming

Eel farming is highly sustainable, especially in the Philippines where elvers are becoming pests in the ricefields in Central Luzon. Ther is no short supply of rice eel (Monopterus albus) fingerlings(elvers) in these areas so eel farming is highly sustainable.

What do farmed eels eat?

Eels eat insects, fish, and crustaceans as part of their carnivorous diet. Eels eat fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. They are carnivorous predators that eat a very diverse diet, including just about any marine creature that is smaller than them.

Do eels need oxygen?

Eels require large amounts of oxygen if they are to remain active and grow at an optimal rate. Aeration can be supplied using paddlewheels or aspirators. Blooms of phytoplanktonic algae are encouraged as they produce oxygen and shield the eels from direct sunlight.

How long can eels stay on land?

They are truly remarkable fish, able to travel overland for up to 2 days by breathing through their skin.

Why are baby eels worth so much?

Limited supply and market pressure have helped to drive the outrageous prices for baby eels, but prices are also being inflated by their use in Michelin-starred restaurants, notably in Spain.

What do eels eat on eel farms?

Traditionally live tubificid (a worm of the Tubificidae family), fresh fish meal, or short-necked clam meat are used as starter feeds for glass eels or elvers. Tubificids seem to be the most favorable feed for elvers.

Is there a market for eels?

Because most of the world considers eel a gourmet item, and they are in high demand in many ethnic markets, this species could potentially be a high-value export and niche market product. In the Philippines, eels are very popular with Chinese customers.

Can eels survive in a pond?

It is very common to find eels in ponds while electrofishing. Once in the live, the pond owner usually says something like “I have lived here for years and had no idea eels were even in my pond.” Although they look and move more like a snake than a fish, they are just as much like a fish as largemouth bass.

How many eels can 1 square meter produce?

Although it is not advisable to have a small pond of 1 square meter, eels can produce 200 to 300 kilograms per square meter per year.

How much is the live eel price per kilogram?

The average price in the Philippine peso is PHP 137.81 per kg as per the 2023 consumer report. This can go up to P350 per kilo depending on the availability and location.

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