How to culture/raise Milk Fish (Bangus)

Raising milkfish (Chanos chanos) in marine water became popular when finfish feed became available in the local market.

Also, the Philippines being an archipelago, it has miles and miles of coastline that gives big opportunity in raising bangus in the marine waters. Since raising bangus in bodies of water inland has limits, opportunities in the marine waters are now being explored.

To be able to have a successful bangus business, you have to have good facilities to grow the fishes in.

Your pond should be in good condition that holds clean water, and your people must know how to manage ponds and bangus farms. You can also take part in a cooperative which can be of financial support.

The bangus is also known as milkfish. It is a delicacy and is appreciated very well as sinigang, dried, or grilled.

A new way to raise bangus

There was a study conducted by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, to determine whether it would give better results if marine nets are used in raising bangus in marine water. The results are good. The production increased almost ten times using the nets, rather than fishponds.

These good results are due to the tidal currents. This will allow putting as many bangus fish in an area without crowding them, thus creating bad effects in their growth.

However, it required money for feeds. You have to be totally dependent on artificial feeds.

Production strategy

Since milkfish fry nursery is difficult to manage in marine net cages, only fishes that are 30-45 days old are places in the net cage. Transport fingerlings from the nursery to the cage using oxygenated bag. The number of fishes per bag should be from 40 to 100, depending on the distance to be traveled.

Once you arrive at the cage site, adjust your fish to the sea water temperature. During this time, the fishes can be sorted, sampled, and counted . After which youll place them in the formation hapa for the first 45 days of culture, following the feeding scheme.

Milkfish weighing 30-45 kg are transferred to the grow-out cage where they are fed grower or juvenile pellet during the first month. Feed them finisher or adult pellet from the second month onwards.

For you to be able to monitor the growth of your fishes, sample at least 50 fishes every 15-days.

Clean your cages once a week and check for broken nets. They are harvested after 4 months of culture.

Feeding Schemes

By brackish water ponds

The milkfish can live on natural food like lab-lab, lumot, and plankton grown by fishfarmers using some techniques. You can grow lab-lab by drain the pond completely and dry it for 1-2 weeks until the soil cracks.

1. Don’t expose it ot the sun too long, because it will make the soil hard and powdery. Destroy unwanted organism by spreading tobacco dust over the moist bottom, or by using ammonium sulfate fertilizer and lime.

2.Apply chicken manure at 2 tons/hectare. Floor to a depth barely covering the whole bottom and spread urea (45-0-0) at 15 kg/ha 2-3 days later. This will make the chicken manure breakdown faster.

3. Increase water slowly over a period of 1 months, at 3-5 cm each time until it reaches 30-40 cm deep. A sudden increase in water level will make the lab-lab float.

4. To increase lab-lab growth, apply inorganic fertilizer (16-20-0 or 18-46-0) at 50 kg/ha every 12-15 days. Get rid of snails by using molluscicide applied at 300-400 kg/ha, or collect snails and burn them. These snails destroys the lablab.

Grow-out operation

Transfer fingerlings to the pond as soon as it is ready for stocking. You can buy fingerlings from suppliers, or you may want to have a stunting pond nearby for enough supply of fingerlings all-year round. These fingerlings are normally held in hapa nets few before putting them in the pond, or stocking. If your stunting pond is nearby, you can transfer the fishes to the stocking pond through a canal, where there is flowing water, directly to the stocking pond.

For long distances, put the fingerlings in oxygenated bags. Stocking should be done at the cooler time of the day.

There can be around 5,000 fingerlings/hectare.


When the lab-lab start to decrease in number, add water to the pond to a level of 80-100 cm. Apply inorganic fertilizer (16-20-0) at 50 kg/ha every 1-2 weeks.

Coincide fertilizing during spring tide cycles. Replace about 1/3 of the amount of water every application of fertilizer. In hot months, you will need to put water more often in your pond because evaporation takes much of the pond water.

In rainy months, drain water from the top to preserve the saltiness of the water.

In the middle of the culture period, the lab-lab may be totally used up. At this point you can turn to artificial feeding. Give artificial feed at about 5% of the average body weight per day using commercial feed.

If your milkfish is stressed, they would swim in circles at the surface, and they appear to be gasping for breath. This stress can be caused by not enough dissolved oxygen.

Refill water at first opportunity. Splash it in a piece of wood to add oxygen. Be on the look out for bad weather conditions. Storms in the middle of hot months will cause changes in the temperature of the pond which may cause fish kills.

Harvest and post-harvest

To gain the highest profit, culture period must be 60 days. The harvest is up to 2-2.5tons/ha.

The most common and undisputed technique in harvesting is the pasulang method, wherein the fish are made to swim against the current. Gather the fishes in a catching pond and use drag nets to collect them.

Scoop, wash, and stun the fishes in chilling tanks of boxes. If there are fishes lleft at the bottom, pick them by hand, and after stunning them by chilling, pack them in wooden or metal tubs (baeras) or baskets, or Styrofoam boxes filled with ice and transport them to the market of to dealers.

Bangus can be sold fresh, dried, smoked, deboned, pickled, or they can be sent to canneries for processing.

Housing Facilities

Choose a good site to raise the bangus. Choose a place that it not polluted. It should also be free from floods, and is protected from strong winds and typhoons. The water should not fall below 1m in during low tide. An ideal temperature is 26-30C.

It will be extra help if the place is easy to access. This will be helpful once you start marketing your bangus.

Cage design requirements

Net cages are the most economical to use. Sizes that are easy to manage are as follows:

10m x 10m x 2.5m = 100 sqm

15m x 15m x 2.5m = 225 sqm

20m x 20m x 2.5m = 400 sqm

25m x 20m x 2.5m = 500 sqm

The cages you have to use are the formation hapa, and the grow-out cage.

The net cage may be pegged to the mud bottom by wooden bamboo posts, or they can be floated at the water surface by bamboo raft or by plastic buoys. It should also be covered with nets to prevent the fishes from jumping of the cage.

Here are some related videos:

Sources:Milkfish Cage Culture in Marine WaterBFAR National Brackishwater Aquaculture Technology Research Center; Semi-intensive Milkfish Culture in Brackish water ponds: SEAFDEC/AQD; Paggawa ng Tinapang Isda leaflet by BFAR-NIFTDC;; photo from

Posted by BizTechs (116 Posts)

A budding entrepreneur engaged in various small businesses; and community development work/projects in Asia.

8 thoughts on “How to culture/raise Milk Fish (Bangus)

  1. Rinus

    Julie, 1:66 meter is not so short and for a runner a good size!.
    And why the people in Holland so large?, i think the food like cooked potatoes in hot water, vegetable, fruit and (raw)fish and milk product!.
    Some time's kale borecole(boerenkool), potpourri, carrot (hutspot) , sauerkraut(zuurkool) and endive!.
    And a good breakfast like brown bread.
    You also see more fast food and Chinees,Italia,enz food.
    Thats not always good ;-).
    And i think the government in Holland concern about the people!.
    So, food from Holland is not so bad it all!!.

  2. Omar Hassan

    Dear Carlos

    Sorry for the response delay. Thank you very much indeed for giving me this opportunity and to be involved in the discussion on “Help shape an emerging proposal for a livestock and fish Mega Program” the proposed CGIAR mega project which is very important as diagnostic process, and for intervention for each region and country. Although I sent it as requested in step 1. But for confirmation my feedback on the four questions was as follows:

    1. It was well presented that the Mega Program will address complete value chains. The four Centers (ILRI, World Fish, CIAT, and ICARDA) will focus their research capacity in a limited set of high-potential meat, milk and fish value chains in specific countries. It is excellent to focus on fieldwork for impact. But what about lessons to be learned from previous experiences such as the IGAD LPI project in the IGAD member states (2007-2011) – pro-poor policy process and assisting in the PRSPs- and the IFAD/ILRI/ICARDA in the NENA Region (Near East and North African countries; Sudan, Tunisia, Syria, Jordan) (2003-2007) the project was small ruminant’s health and market access for poor farmers. The issue is why projects efforts fade away after the project ending? Sometimes the impact is clear and providing evidence based information such as the efforts and applied research done by ICARDA for Awassi sheep in Syria, increasing productivity of milk and sanitary measures for marketable milk for poor farmers and it was successful and rewarding to poor farmers. Other projects could not have impact such as the IGAD LMI S, The IGAD Livestock Market Information System, which faded away because there was no homogeneity between the data on prices of livestock in the IGAD region; there was no price differentials of the different breeds, e.g. the sheep in Sudan is not the same quality of sheep in other countries in the region etc.. Then the Underway the IGAD LPI (Livestock Policy Initiative, Pro-poor policies) process. The Sudanese SIFSIA (FAO/EC) project linked with (from Ghana) and developing for the Sudan by using SMS cellular telephone messages sending livestock markets price information. It doesn’t have an impact on the trade or for the poor. Then The Turkish experience in benefitting the rural poor by establishing big abattoirs (e.g. Itage)and the communities will participate in production of poultry (for meat) and feed lots operations; calves fattening and they exported the poultry offal’s to China and meat to the EU countries. Would that be of any help to the orientation of the programme? Also more focus could be given to Transboundary Animal Diseases (TAD) which is one of the major shared problems in our countries and the postharvest fish production. One of the possible ways to increase livestock productivity is the disease control (diseases of production) and export diseases for livestock exporting countries.

    2. The value chains for different producers groups such as Pastoralists or producers of livestock: of cattle, sheep, goats, camels, fish and poultry, and others such as pigs. Identification of the target beneficiary could be stated clearly. More focus to be given on cold-chain or/and postharvest fish production and Transboundary Animal Diseases (TAD) which is one of the major shared problems in our countries. Cross cutting issues between countries could be mentioned.

    3. Different countries in the region have different livestock and fisheries problems. Some countries are net exporters of livestock like the Sudan mainly sheep (consumers choice for domestic and export market in the Middle East). While in Uganda goats meat is the first choice for consumers (Dr. Augustus, the NTFP of IGAD LPI in Uganda). The issue of Coping mechanisms in the different countries is different. Vulnerable conditions such as drought, in Kenya could be handled by NGOs specialized in marketing of livestock and can purchase the affected animals at reasonable prices, while in other countries they sell animals – if they cannot move to another place- they let them die or sell their animals at a very low prices. Some countries are advanced in fish industry and aquaculture like Uganda and other countries still underway like the Sudan. Although Fish ponds for aquaculture were established in Khartoum in 1964. There are some similarities between countries in the region, in livestock production and marketing traditional systems under pastoralist’s conditions such as the Sudan and Ethiopia. So the value chain in one country will have similarities with the other country in the region. Also members of regional organizations (e.g. COMESA) or international organizations (e.g. WTO, like Djibouti and Uganda and the impact of the NEMA to the poor – small – fishermen (Non Agricultural Market Access). Also would there be any duplication of the efforts of COMPREHENSIVE AFRICA AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (CAADP) Of the AU/IBAR: Livestock in CAADP pillar Frameworks?

    4. Focusing in a selected value chain in one country – depending on the types or categories of ASFs –might have strong or limited impact in other countries of the region.

    All the best.

    Omer Hassan El Dirani- Sudan.

    The above comments weresent on the 31st July ,2010

  3. LynneVaughany89

    [WATCH]: Pinoy Recipe – Inihaw Na Bangus (Grilled Milkfish): Inihaw na bangus is quite popular where I grew up. …

  4. Christina

    The cheetah is fast, but they sleep a lot. The next fastest is the Pronghorn antelope.

    Actually, unless a person eats an organic meat diet, and most people don't or can't afford it, pesticides are dramatically and significantly higher in the flesh/tissue than on vegetables. Unless it's a root veggie, you can wash off much of the poison on a veggie.

    Not only pesticides but dioxins:
    Most of us receive almost all of our dioxin exposure from the food we eat: specifically from the animal fats associated with eating beef, pork, poultry, fish, milk, dairy products. — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    Eat local meat and dairy products to reduce exposure, or become a 50% vegan to reduce your exposure.

    Livestock production alone contributes to 18 percent of the global warming effect — more than the emissions from every single car, train, and plane on the planet. Though livestock production only contributes 9 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, the sector is responsible for 37 percent of methane and 65 percent of nitrous oxide, both potent greenhouse gases. (Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options. Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.)

    For vegans, b12 is found in Chlorella, Nutritional Yeast, in non-dairy milks (oat, soy, hemp, rice, almond) and the majority of commercial cereals are fortified with b12. A lot of things are fortified with b12 since b12 deficiencies happen in all diets, it's traced to lack of absorbtion and usually it's not dietary intake.

    Healthy EFAs are found in: flaxseeds, flaxseed meal, hempseed oil, hempseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, avocados, some dark leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, purslane, mustard greens, collards, etc.), canola oil (cold-pressed and unrefined), soybean oil, wheat germ oil.

    Yeah, it's working: 41 lbs in 6 months (slower because of the weight lifting. Your scale won't budge, but your clothes start fitting looser). Muscle takes up less space in the body, but weighs more.

  5. feartheseeds

    There's “sad” then there's “SAD”. Try introducing more vitamin D into his (and your) diet, Vitamin D is the serotonin booster or “the sunshine vitamin”. More fish, milk (1-2%), orange juice and mega multi-vitamins would help whether he's lower or upper case sad. Using mega-VD (no relation) for this season would be a good step before breaking out the 40,000Lux Lamps.


    - Canadian researchers say the benefit of supplementation may come in creating stores of this vital vitamin in the bloodstream to carry people through the dreary months of winter, when a lack of sunlight may lead to or worsen mood disorders — most notably seasonal affective disorder, the aptly acronymed SAD that affects some 11 million Americans.”

    - “About 90% of patients in my hospital are vitamin D deficient, and I put them on a vitamin D regimen, and it does improve their mood disorders,” says [Dr. John] Cannell [Staff psychiatrist at Atascadero State Hospital, a California psychiatric hospital].”


    RT rel=”nofollow” Apparently high-fibre cereals, fruit juice, milk and fish are now junk-foods. The good old Daily Mail –


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