Tilapia Fish Farming

A great business opportunity for people looking to breed with fishTilapia Fish Farming

Tilapia Fish Farming

Tilapia Fish Farming - The Basics

Tilapia Fish Farming has seen quite a growth spurt during the last few years. This can be contributed to Tilapia fish being well-suited for farming on a small-scale. Tilapia fish is very easy to grow, and it does not require the same intensive care as other fish species. America is the foremost importer of tilapia fish, and tilapia falls just behind the importing of salmon and shrimp.

What is Tilapia fish?

Tilapia fish originated primarily in Egypt, but it is not one specific fish breed. It has been part of Egyptian diet for more than 3,000 years. Having a buttery flavor, they are a firm favorite with many fish eaters. They are low in calories, fat and carbohydrates while being high in protein and vitamins.

Tilapia consists of almost 100 breeds, and they are extremely suited for small-scale farming, even for those who want to breed for a hobby. Red and black tilapia are favored by breeders, mostly because of their rich colors. These fish are not very big, being about 1 to 2 pounds in weight, but what makes them so effective is their growth rate. Tilapia can be marketed within 6 to 12 months after being spawned. With the correct conditions, these fish can be intensively bred with up to 10 fully grown fish per cubic feet of water.

Tilapia is so effective at breeding that some larger operations use hormones to determine the sex of the fingerlings. A mating pair can produce up to 100 fingerlings per week. This can quickly lead to overpopulation since young females are able to breed their own young three months before being markable size. Breeding mostly young males lessens this. It has also been found that males grow up to 40% faster than females, reaching market size quicker.  For small-size of hobby breeders this should, however not be a big problem. Most breeders keep a breeding pair in a separate aquarium and transfer all fingerlings to a larger pond as they are spawned to grow to market size.

Feeding Tilapia

Tilapia fish are omnivorous and they eat a wide range of foods. Food range from algae, plankton, benthic organisms, detritus and other decomposing organic material. Lots of commercial feeds are available, but some breeders prefer to mix their own feeds. For the beginner or hobbyist, the commercial feeds will probably yield the best results.

Keeping Tilapia fish

Tilapia can be kept in almost any type of tank. They are quite resistant to fluctuations in water temperature, but prefer warmer water. Keeping the water between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit will improve breeding. Tilapia is very effective at tolerating levels of dissolved oxygen at lower than 0.5 mg/l. Most fish species would die, but for breeding it is better to keep the oxygen levels as high as possible. As the number of fish grows towards 10 fish per cubic meter, attention should be given to oxygenating the water.  Care should be taken not to have more than 10 market size fish per cubic meter of water.

An effective water filtration system is also important to remove ammonia, nitrate and nitrite buildup. This can easily be achieved by building a simple aguaponics system that helps break down fish manure. Lots of information is available on how to build one of these. Some breeders even turn this into a second source of income by selling the fish manure as fertilizer.

Tilapia fish farming is very scalable and this makes it a great operation to start with. Keeping fish in ponds offer the cheapest route to start farming. As production grows, the breeder can upgrade to more expensive raceways and tanks.