June 9, 2013 | Comment

Thinking about sustainable living? Try Tilapia.

Tilapia are probably the most common fish for aquaculture and aquaponic systems in North America. Tilapia are prolific breeders, tolerate extreme water conditions, and live in a broad range of water temperatures.

Having talked about the durability of Tilapia, don’t sweat it if you lose a few fish. Likely it will be from a pump being turned off or a tank unexpectedly draining.  While we never want to lose a fish intentionally, it will probably happen at least once or twice in your fish growing efforts. Accept it. Learn from it. Move on!

Probably one of the best traits of Tilapia is their ability to thrive in a hot, algae filled tank, tub, or pool. If fact, if your water is so green that you can’t see your fish, expect to have a bounty!

The most important things to watch for when raising Tilapia are the Ammonia levels and Oxygen levels. Tilapia need as much oxygen as they do food. And remember, all that green stuff floating in the water IS food! It’s hard to starve a Tilapia, but easy to smother one without enough oxygen.

In the South, Water Hyacinth and Duckweed are the preferred foods for Tilapia. If your Tilapia counts are really high, a bag of floating catfish food will help quell the fishes hunger pangs! But remember, adding floating fish food can rapidly lead to an Ammonia spike in the water. Don’t feed your fish more than they’ll eat in about 10 minutes.

In optimum conditions, you gan grow a pound of Tilapia in a gallon of water. That over 250 fish in an average hot tub or IBC tote. Notice the word optimum? When starting, don’t try to exceed 1 pound of fish for ever 5 gallons of water. Once you have everything under control and have the proper tools (like a Dissolved Oxygen meter) you can increase the fish density. Given that a fully grown Tilapia can bredd up to 800 baby fry, increasing the numbers won’t be hard at all.



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