Breeding Cachamas in small spaces
The cachama is a fish from the Amazonian rivers and the Orinoco basin, whose meat is highly prized. Since the late 1960s it has been farmed in Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and Colombia, in ponds or artificial lagoons.
Given that its size can reach up to 1 meter and weigh more than 30 kilos in its natural state, the fact that it supports high planting densities and accepts concentrated food has caused many farmers to take part of their farmland for the construction of artificial ponds whose water is also used for irrigation of vegetables.
On a large scale it is a lucrative business and on a small scale it is used to cover food needs and to obtain money for subsistence, for this reason the breeding of these fish is possible to find them even in areas close to the cities.
The important thing is that the water circulates so that the oxygen is maintained at acceptable levels, for that reason the water inlets are placed at a certain height so that the fall of the liquid generates it.
Naturally there are three types of this fish identified by their color, the black, red and white, but it has become more popular to breed a hybrid species resulting from the crossing of the black and the red, which are of a dark golden color and have been given the names cachamay, cachamoto and tambacú.
Whoever plants in small spaces such as ponds or tanks, introduces the Alevines, so called the fish that has passed from its larval stage to the alevin stage, since from this moment it begins to form and develop its organs, which it has purchased, since this fish does not reproduce in captivity, in water, at a calculated rate of 4 per square meter.
These will be fed twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon, and the food will be changed according to the growth stages of the fish that goes from fry to the stage of growth and fattening that makes its weight reach 500 grams in 6 to 8 months. This is an average weight for those who breed in small spaces but it multiplies when it is in larger extensions.
Many farmers supplement the fish feed with products of their own harvest, such as lechoza or papaya, guava, avocado, banana and grated yucca, among others.
According to the time of the fish, the protein content of the concentrated feed is reduced so that the first 20 days should contain approximately 45%, from 21 to 63, 38%, from 64 to 98, 32% and from 98 onwards only 24%, this is the fattening stage.
The fish are marketed directly or sold to markets, fresh from the ponds. The fish loses approximately 8% of its weight when it is serrated and weighs 500 grams or more, but up to 13% if it weighs no more than 300 grams.
It has gained a space as an alternative for family feeding and given the fish's ability to adapt, many even breed them in very small spaces such as plastic or concrete tanks where only a few dozen of them can fit.
Another characteristic of the cachama is that it can withstand altitudes up to a certain limit, which is why in the Andean Cordillera there are cultivations of them, as well as the fact that it can be bred with other species of fish.
Every day more and more people are venturing into the breeding of this fish in small spaces in Venezuela.