These use irrigation ditches or farm ponds to raise fish. The basic requirement is to have a ditch or pond that retains water, possibly with an above-ground irrigation system (many irrigation systems use buried pipes with headers.)Using this method, water allotments can be stored in ponds or ditches, usually lined with bentonite clay. In small systems, the fish are often fed commercial fish food, and their waste products can help fertilize the fields.
In larger ponds, the pond grows water plants and algae as fish food. Some of the most successful ponds grow introduced strains of plants, as well as introduced strains of fish.Control of water quality is crucial. Fertilizing, clarifying, and pH control of the water can increase yields substantially, as long as eutrophication is prevented and oxygen levels stay high. Yields can be low if the fish grow ill from electrolyte stress.