Backyard Carp Culture

Carp originated from Canton, China, and in the island of Formosa now known as Taiwan. It was Dr. Alvin Seale who first stocked Lake Lanao with the fish in 1915. In the 1920's carp was similarly stocked in lakes Buhi, Bato and Bao in Bicol. The carp also found its way to Laguna de Bay and finally farther North, in Paoay Lake in Ilocos Norte.

Today, the fish is found almost anywhere even in marshes and ricefields.

Carp is robust fish, capable of muddying the water and tearing bottom vegetations. It prefers shallow bodies of water and feeds on almost anything found underneath like insects, shells, and worms. If cultured or domesticated, it can be trained to eat aquatic plants, kangkong, boiled camote, bread crumbs and rice bran. for higher yield, however, fish meal made from corn, copra and soybean is advisable.

Choosing Breeders.

Selecting breeders is important in maintaining a carp farm. It determines the regular output of fry and its quality.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has come with the following guidelines in choosing good spawners:

1) The body must be firm to the touch but not hard. The belly should be not wide .
2) The body's depth must be relatively high.
3) The caudal peduncle must be both broad and flexible.
4) The head should be small, the snout pointed.
5) The scales should be proportionately large and in straight rows.
6) The anal pore should be situated close to the caudal peduncle.Maintain appropriates sets of breeders to have a regular output of fry.


Because constant temperature and favorable weather conditions, carp spawns consistently all year round in the country.

This happens early in the morning when the water surface cools down to 18oC . The female carp swims near the water surface followed by the male carp. They rub each other's bodies until the female lays egg.

Three days after fertilization, the eggs begin to hatch. The newly hatched larva, about 5.5 mm long, is very delicate and transparent. It rarely moves, settling on the water's bottom or on any floating object. The second day, the larva starts to swim a little. After another day, the larva becomes active, swimming from the surface to the bottom. During these stages, the larva or fry lives and eats from the yolk sac. The sac disappears on the third day and the fry actively searches for food. Supplement fry feed with hard-boiled egg yolk or powdered milk spread on the water's surface.

Culture of carp.

A nursery pond has to be constructed where carp fry or larvae are initially grown. Common size of the nursery pond is 5 x 10 m, a depth of 0.5 m.

Before filling up the water, clean the nursery thoroughly. Get rid of harmful animals that may feed on the fry.

Stock the nursery pond with fry numbering about 1,500 to 3,000. Feed with milk, wheat flour or boiled eggs yolk by spreading them on the water surface. Supplement with rice bran, bread crumbs or fish meal. Feed them two times a day, in the morning at 8 o'clock and in the afternoon at 3 o'clock.

A rearing pond, where carp is cultured until it reaches marketable size, must be constructed with these dimensions: 15 x 50 m, 1.5 to 2 m deep. Just like the nursery pond, it should be first thoroughly cleaned before filling with water. This is done by exposing the bottom until it is thoroughly dry.

Next comes the application of fertilizer. This conditions and enriches the pond bottom, encouraging the growth of aquatic plants, moss and algae. These are important natural food and should therefore be abundant. Chicken dropping is the most commonly used being cheaper and more readily available in large quantities.

Initially apply the chicken manure to the pond bottom before filling up with water. Repeat application every other week.

When carp fry reaches a length of about 5 to 7 cm, they are transferred from the nursery to the rearing pond.

Harvesting and marketing.

Since carp can be cultured throughout the year, harvest can be scheduled. Harvesting can be done 6 months after the introduction of fry to the rearing pond.

Catch the carp using a gill net or seine

Retailers themselves buy the harvest and in turn sell them to household consumers. The harvest can also be transported to different markets for better prices.

Source: DOST, photo courtesy of

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