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Farming Milkfish In The Philippines: How to Grow and Raise Bangus

Farming Milkfish is a profitable and growing industry in the Philippines, with the potential to offer a lucrative income to those with the proper knowledge and resources. This ultimate guide will provide a comprehensive overview of farming milkfish, from site selection and stocking to maintenance, harvesting, and even marketing and selling. Read on to discover everything you need to know to get started with your successful milkfish farm!

Farming Milkfish Step 1: Equipment Needed for Milkfish Farming

When farming milkfish in the Philippines, having the right equipment is essential for success. You’ll need a large pond or body of water, feeders, incubators, and water pumps to get started. You’ll also need a net and other tools to monitor and maintain the health of the fish. Lastly, you’ll need to have a source of fresh, clean water as well as a reliable source of food for the fish. All of these items can be purchased online or in local stores. You’ll be well-equipped to start growing milkfish in the Philippines with the right equipment.

1. Fish Pens or Cages

Fish pens or cages are the most popular structures used in milkfish farming throughout the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia. These structures are built in a large circular shape, usually with a mesh-like material forming the walls, and oftentimes partially submerged in water to prevent predators from entering. In the pens, milkfish are separated by size and weight and are regularly fed a diet of high-protein food pellets and other nutrient-rich sources. The pens also help protect the milkfish from disease and parasites and provide a secure growing area. Fish pens are invaluable in milkfish farming and are often used with other techniques for optimal growth.

2. Fish Feeders

When farming milkfish in the Philippines, using fish feeders is essential. These feeders use pellets to deliver nutrients to the fish, helping them to stay healthy and grow. Several types of feeders are available, including manual, automatic, and remote-controlled feeders. Each provides a different way of delivering food to the fish, allowing a farmer to adjust the amount and frequency of feeding. Fish feeders are an important part of the success of a milkfish farm, and it is important to select the right one to meet the needs of the fish.

Harvesting milkfish

3. Floating Feed

Floating feed is one of the most popular methods of growing milkfish in the Philippines. It is one of the country’s most efficient and cost-effective ways of raising milkfish. With floating feed, farmers can provide the optimum nutrition to the fish and ensure that the water remains healthy. The feed is typically made up of a combination of different small fish, shrimp, and other small organisms. It is carefully balanced to ensure the fish have access to all the nutrients they need to grow and survive. Furthermore, by controlling the amount of food available, farmers can ensure that the fish can be fed to their fullest potential.

4. Aerators

Aerators are essential for milkfish farming in the Philippines. They are responsible for circulating and aerating the water in fish ponds, which is necessary for increasing growth rates and producing higher-quality milkfish. By improving water quality, specifically oxygen levels and temperature, aerators can provide better conditions for milkfish. Without aerators, milkfish farming would not be possible. They allow larger quantities of milkfish to be stocked in a pond, increasing efficiency and productivity. To optimize milkfish growth and production, proper aerator maintenance is essential.

Farming Milkfish Step 2: Process of Farming Milkfish in the Philippines

Farming milkfish in the Philippines requires a few steps to ensure a successful harvest. Firstly, farmers will need to set up their fish ponds in a low-lying area near the coast or an estuary. This ensures a natural source of salt water and the right conditions for growing milkfish. Secondly, the ponds must be stocked with fingerlings or juvenile milkfish, which can be purchased from a local fish hatchery or supplier. Thirdly, the farmers need to feed the fish regularly with a high-protein feed, such as pelleted fish food, to ensure the fish grow healthily. Lastly, the harvested milkfish can be sold fresh at local markets. By following these steps, Filipino farmers can successfully grow and harvest milkfish for a sustainable income.

1. Site Selection

When growing milkfish, it is important to select the right location and environment carefully. Milkfish prefer warm and brackish waters, so sites with access to these waters, such as ponds, coastal areas, and estuaries, are ideal. It is also important to have a good water source and an adequate food supply, especially if you are growing milkfish for commercial purposes. In addition, the site you select should have good drainage and oxygen levels and a healthy ecosystem for milkfish to thrive in. If you have identified the ideal location, you should contact the government agency that governs the area to ensure you have all the necessary permits before starting milkfish farming.

2. Stocking

Stocking is one of the most important aspects of successful milkfish farming in the Philippines. Milkfish can be stocked as fry, fingerlings, or juveniles, depending on the environment and the desired results. Fry is the most common form of stocking, usually bought from suppliers in the local market. Fingerlings and juveniles, however, can also be obtained from hatcheries or by growing them from eggs in an on-site tank. In any case, it is important to ensure that the stocking rate is sufficient for achieving the desired results. Careful monitoring is also necessary to ensure that the desired number of fish is harvested.

3. Maintenance

Maintaining a successful milkfish farming operation in the Philippines requires great diligence and effort. Milkfish require regular monitoring to ensure their environment is optimal and they can grow and thrive. A few key steps to maintaining a proper milkfish farming environment include regularly testing the pond’s water quality, providing adequate nutrition and feed, and managing the stock density. Additionally, controlling the infestation of parasites and other organisms is key to a successful milkfish farming operation. Finally, disposing of dead or diseased milkfish is important to maintain a healthy dairy fish population. With proper maintenance, milkfish farmers in the Philippines can reap the rewards of their labor and have prosperous businesses.

4. Harvesting

When it comes to harvesting milkfish from a pond, timing is key. The recommended size for harvesting milkfish is 8-14 inches in length. If the milkfish are smaller, they will not be ready to harvest. Depending on the size of the fish and the pond, the harvesting process can last anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks. Generally, it will take about 4-6 weeks before the milkfish are optimal for harvesting.

The most efficient way to harvest milkfish is to use a dip net. This method involves wading in the pond with a long-handled dip net and scooping the milkfish swimming in the water. Care should be taken to remove all milkfish from the pond. The milkfish should be handled gently, as mishandling can lead to injuries or death. After harvesting, the milkfish should be transported to a storage tank or live holding facility.

Harvesting milkfish can be challenging yet rewarding for the farmer. Responsible harvesting practices will ensure a successful harvest and help ensure that the milkfish are of the highest quality.

Farming Milkfish Step 3: Marketing and Selling Milkfish in the Philippines

When marketing and selling milkfish in the Philippines, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, it is important to find a reliable source for the milkfish, such as a local fish farm or distributor. Once the milkfish is procured, it is important to ensure that it is high quality and stored properly. Secondly, it is important to consider the various methods of selling milkfish. It can be sold in local markets, supermarkets, or online stores.

Additionally, marketing must be well-considered to ensure the milkfish can reach the intended customers. Utilizing social media, website creation, and other forms of digital marketing is a great way to reach potential customers. Finally, when it comes to pricing, it is important to consider the milkfish’s value compared to the production cost. Doing this will ensure the farmer maximum profits while still providing a good price point for the customers.


Milkfish farming is an exciting and challenging endeavor with the potential for great returns on investment. With the proper equipment and knowledge of the right techniques, you can easily and successfully farm milkfish in the Philippines. Selecting the right site, stocking, maintaining, harvesting, and marketing milkfish is the key to a prosperous business. With the right knowledge, implementation, and effort, you can make a big impact on the local economy and make a rewarding livelihood from the vast resources of the Philippines.

Questions Related to Farming Milkfish in the Philippines

How long does it take to grow a milkfish?

Milkfish take about 3-5 years to mature sexually and spawn under marine conditions. For a start, about 100 juveniles can be stocked in a 1000 m2 pond, 10 m diameter cage, or 200-ton tank. They are harvested after three to four months.

Can milkfish grow in freshwater?

Milkfish are euryhaline, stenothermic fish. They occur and can be cultured in freshwater, brackishwater, and marine waters, but only in the tropical and subtropical Indian and Pacific oceans (they are rare in the eastern Pacific from southern California to Peru) where the temperature is >20°C.

How many days does Bangus grow?

The hatchlings are grown to marketable sizes in larval ponds in 18-21 days. They are fed with a mixture of plankton and commercial feeds during the growing period. Bangus are harvested after three to four months.

How long can a Bangus live?

The milkfish can grow to 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in) but are usually no more than 1 m (39 in) in length. They can reach a weight of about 14 kg (31 lb). and an age of 15 years.

How many times a day should milkfish breeders be fed?

Grow-out feeds are generally broadcast 3 times a day at 08:00, 12:00, and 16:00 at fixed pond areas. Automatic and demand feeders are loaded with feed two times a day (09:00 and 14:00). Supplemental feed is fed to fry and juveniles in modified extensive systems at 3 percent of biomass/day.

How do you breed milkfish?

Natural spawning occurs annually in milkfish reared in floating net cages or concrete tanks. Spawning usually occurs from midnight to early morning following chasing and violent splashing behavior. Eggs are collected and reared in the hatchery for fry production.

What is the advantage of raising milkfish?

Rural communities can benefit from milkfish farming, as the fish provide a cheap alternate source of protein to remedy the rampant malnutrition that occurs due to the lack of protein in rural diets.

What is the best food for milkfish?

The major feedstuffs used as protein sources are fishmeal, shrimp meal, meat and bone meal, and copra meal; soybean meal and other pulses are used as protein and energy sources.

Where is the Bangus capital of the Philippines?

Dagupan City, known as the “Bangus Capital” of the Philippines, celebrates its annual Bangus Festival, which features bangusine (Bangus cuisine), street dancing, Bangus grill, deboning, day and night variety shows, trade fairs, beauty contests, sports fest, cook feasts, medical missions, visual arts, and band concerts.

How many eggs do milkfish lay?

Female milkfish can lay up to 5 million eggs during the spawning season.

What is the process of raising milkfish in the Philippines?

To develop broodstock under captive conditions, large juvenile milkfish may be stocked, fed, and maintained in floating sea cages in protected coves or in large, deep, fully saline ponds (as practiced in the Philippines), or in large deep concrete tanks on land (as practiced in Indonesia and Taiwan Province of China).

Is milkfish farming profitable?

Milkfish (Chanos chanos), locally known as bangus, is an important food fish among Filipinos not only because it is the national fish of the country but mostly because it belongs to the very top of their diet, regardless of one’s social status. As a livelihood, milkfish production is a profitable source of income.

How do you harvest Bangus?

The most common method of harvesting milkfish is the ‘pasulang’ method, whereby fish are induced to swim against a water current (induced by tidal exchange) and are gathered in the catching pond or canal system and concentrated using a seine net.

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