How To Raise Tilapia

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Native to Africa, Tilapia are freshwater fish that are fairly easy to breed. They tolerate most water quality and can even adapt to living in the salty seawater. They reproduce easily (and a lot), are resistant to most diseases and can eat a wide range of food. These characteristics make the Tilapia a favourite among fish breeders in most developing countries. You can successfully raise and breed Tilapia in your own back yard.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Fry or fingerlings
  • Pond or large fish tank
  • Water heater
  • Aquarium
  • Ceramic ornaments
  • Sand

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  1. 1

    Obtain for Tilapia fry or fingerlings from a reputable seller. If you don't have a place to buy fingerlings locally, there are online sellers such as (see Resources). Avoid adult fish, as they are expensive.

  2. 2

    Place a heater in your pond. Depending on the size of your pond or fish tank, you may need a 1,500-watt heater for large outdoor ponds or a submersible water heater for smaller fish tanks. The pond or fish tank should have a constant supply of water. Tilapia are warm water fish, so keep the temperature is between 25.5 and 30.0 degrees C, because any colder can make your fish stop growing or die---any hotter and your fish can also die.

  3. 3

    Carefully place your fingerlings in the heated pond or fish tank.

  4. 4

    Set up a breeding aquarium with a few small ceramic or clay pots laying on their sides and with sand on the bottom. Place a ratio of one male to five female tilapia in the tank. You can determine the sex of your Tilapia when they grow to about 4 inches in length. Placing them in a separate clear tank will allow you to view when the females start brooding.

  5. 5

    Watch the females' mouths for eggs. The females hold the fertilised eggs in their mouths. The females will release the fry in the water once they've grown a bit. When you see more than one female brooding, separate the other fish in your tank to prevent the eggs or fry from being eaten by the larger fish.

  6. 6

    Separate the fry from the female Tilapia once you see them start swimming on their own. You can feed them a variety of nutritious food like trout and catfish chow, goldfish or koi chow flakes or even earthworms and grass clippings.

Tips and warnings

  • Feed the tilapia daily, morning and afternoon.
  • Check and clean your pond or tank water weekly to keep your fish healthy.
  • There are a lot of tilapia varietes, as well as hybrids and crosses, it's up to you what type of tilapia you want to raise.

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