Tilapia Fish Farming

Tilapia fish farming is a very profitable business and popular throughout the world. It is a very common fish species throughout the world, and it is economically most important species.

Tilapia is actually the common name for nearly a hundred species of cichlid fish from the coelotilapine, coptodonine, heterotilapine, oreochromine, pelmatolapiine and tilapiine tribes.

Tilapia fish generally have laterally compressed, deep bodies. Like other cichlids, their lower pharyngeal bones are fused into a single tooth-bearing structure. A complex set of muscles allows the upper and lower pharyngeal bones to be used as a second set of jaws for processing food, allowing a division of labor between the “true jaws” (mandibles) and the “pharyngeal jaws”.[1]

This means they are efficient feeders that can capture and process a wide variety of food items.

Mouth of the tilapia fish is protrusible, usually bordered with wide and often swollen lips. The jaws have conical teeth.

Generally, the tilapia fishes have a long dorsal fin, and a lateral line which often breaks towards the end of the dorsal fin, and starts again two or three rows of scales below. Some Nile Tilapia fish can grow as long as 2 feet.

Currently, tilapia fish is available throughout the world. They are able to adapt themselves to a very wide range of conditions.

In the year of 2002, tilapia fish was the fourth-most consumed fish in the United States. Main reasons of such popularity of this fish includes; low price, easy preparation and mild taste.

And the tilapia fish has become the third most economically important fish in aquaculture after carp and salmon. Worldwide production exceeded 1.5 million metric tons in the year of 2002, and increases annually.

Because of the high protein content, large size, rapid growth rate and palatability of tilapia fish, they are the focus of major aquaculture efforts. Currently, commercial tilapia fish farming is a very popular business in most area around the world.

Health Benefits of Tilapia Fish

Tilapia fish is a lean source of protein and also a good source of various vitamins and minerals. In a serving of 100 grams, it packs 26 grams of protein and only 128 calories.

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Tilapia is a great source of some minerals and vitamins. It is rich in niacin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, selenium and potassium. However, a 100 grams serving contains the following:

  • Calories: 128
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Protein: 26 grams
  • Fats: 3 grams
  • Niacin: 24% of the daily recommended amount
  • Vitamin B12: 31% of the daily recommended amount
  • Phosphorus: 20% of the daily recommended amount
  • Selenium: 78% of the daily recommended amount
  • Potassium: 20% of the daily recommended amount

However, here we are trying to describe more information about the health benefits of consuming tilapia fish.

  • Tilapia contains much less omega-3 than other fish like salmon. It’s omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is higher than some other fish and may contribute to inflammation in the body.
  • If good practices are followed for tilapia fish farming, then it can be a great fish that you can enjoy regularly.
  • The omega-3 fatty acids in tilapia fish have been linked to lower risk of heart diseases.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are also good for the brain.
  • Consuming tilapia fish is good for bone health, because it contains good amount of phosphorus.
  • Tilapia fish is high in the antioxidant selenium which has many health benefits.
  • However, you can enjoy fresh and safe tilapia fish if you start producing of your own.

Advantages of Tilapia Fish Farming

Tilapia fish farming is very common throughout the world. It is a very profitable business. However, there are many advantages of starting tilapia fish farming. Here we are trying to describe about the top advantages of this business.

  • The main advantage of tilapia fish farming is the easy process of this business. Raising this fish is very easy.
  • Tilapia fish has very good demand in both domestic and international market.
  • Tilapia fish can adopt themselves to a wide variety of climatic conditions. You can start raising some tilapia, even in your unused backyard small pond.
  • Tilapia fish grows very fast. It is also another reason many people are growing this fish.
  • In the year of 2002, tilapia was the fourth-most consumed fish in the United States. And currently, it has become the third most important fish in aquaculture.
  • Tilapia fish is very nutritious and tasty.
  • You don’t have to worry about marketing tilapia fish. Because this fish has very good demand in the market.
  • Commercial tilapia fish farming is very profitable, and you can start either commercial or small scale production.
  • And commercial tilapia fish farming can be a good business for the unemployed educated people.
  • Tilapia fingerlings, feeds and all other required things and facilities are available throughout the world. So, you will not face any problem if you start this business.
  • Consuming tilapia fish has many health benefits. And you can enjoy fresh tilapia if you start growing of your own.

How to Start Tilapia Fish Farming

Starting tilapia fish farming is very easy and simple. Tilapia is a fast growing fish species, and diseases or other problems are relatively less.

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You don’t need much knowledge to start this business, even the beginners can also start growing them. However, here we are trying to describe more information about commercial tilapia production.

Select A Good Location

First of all, you have to select a very good location for your farm. It will be better if the selected land is far from residential area. Selecting a calm place which is free from noises will be good.

Determine Production System

After selecting a good location, determine the systems of growing tilapia. You can start growing tilapia in a variety of conditions. You can start growing tilapia fish in ponds, cages, raceways and also in tanks.

Currently some people are also growing this fish in trash cans. But for commercial production, you have to choose either ponds or tanks.

Exact number of the ponds or tanks for commercial tilapia fish production depends on your budget. It can be one or several tanks or ponds.

Pond or Tanks

You can start growing tilapia fish either in earthen pond or in tanks. The tanks or pond can be of any size or shape depending on your budget.

In case of growing tilapia in earthen pond, the size can be any. But the depth should be around 1.2 meter.

Contact with an expert in your area if you are willing to start growing tilapia fish in tanks.

Ideal Conditions

Naturally tilapia fish can be found in ponds, lakes, marine habitats, watercourses, estuaries and seafaring conditions. They generally grow well in tropic conditions with water temperature ranges between 25°C and 30°C. Some varieties can also tolerate cold temperature down to 8°C to 9°C.

Controlling water quality is very important for commercial tilapia fish farming business. Tilapia fish can survive in dirty water. But you don’t want to produce harmful or poisonous fish in your farm, right?

Bacteria, viruses, pathogens and other infectious organisms are harmful to the human body. So, you should avoid dirty water. Always ensure fresh and good quality water.

Best Tilapia Species

There are numerous tilapia species available throughout the world. But all of these species are not good for commercial production. Some common, popular and economically important tilapia fish species are;

  • Abbassa & Akosomb: Hybrid from Nile tilapia
  • Andersonii: Very tasty. Actually the best tasting species with a small head.
  • Blue Tilapia: Reach body weight between 2 and 4 pounds within a year.
  • Monosex Tilapia: It’s actually a hybrid. It grows very fast, you can grow twice a year.
  • Mozambique Tilapia: These tilapia can’t grow in cold or salty water. They can reach over 2 pounds in a year.
  • Nile Tilapia: It’s growth rate is good. The fishes approximately reach between 1 and 2 pounds after five to seven months.
  • Rendalli: It’s an attractive species for the fish farming industry and is largely herbivorous.

Stocking Density

How much fish can I stock in my pond? It’s a very common question, especially for the people who want to start this business. Let us explain this.

Suppose, you have a pond measuring 40 meter long and 20 meter wide, and a water depth of 1.2 meter. Such a pond can hold around 960 cubic meters of water.

Now, you can stock around 10 tilapia fish per cubic meter. So, your 800 square meter pond with 1.2 meter depth is ideal for stocking and growing 9600 tilapia fish.


Feeding the fish with very good quality and nutritious food is very important. Exact amount of food can vary depending on species, growing conditions and many other factors.

On an average, for commercial production, 1.7 kg food is required for producing and harvesting 1 kg of meat.

Currently, there are many companies available producing commercial feeds for the farmers. You can use such commercial feeds for better production.

Although, you can feed the fish with homemade pellets. You can use rice bran, oat groats, corn, canola meal, alfalfa meal, linseed meal and some vegetables.


Tilapia fishes are naturally very good breeders. They will breed easily and produce fingerlings if you give them the scope to do so.


Taking good care of the fish is very important for proper growth and maximum production. Along with feeding them good quality food, always try to take good care of them. Try to maintain water quality. And also check their health on a regular basis.


You can expect to harvest fish when they reach harvesting weight. It’s actually not possible to tell the exact time, it’s actually depend on the species and some other factors.

For large species, you can start harvesting when the fish reach around 400 grams body weight. You can use common harvesting methods for catching all fish.

After harvesting, sort the fish depending on their size. And try to sell as soon as possible. Live tilapia fishes have very good demand.


Marketing tilapia fish is very easy, because it has good market throughout the world. So, you don’t have to worry much about marketing. Probably, you will be able to easily sell your products in the local market.

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These are the steps and ways for starting and operating a successful tilapia fish farming business. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck & may God bless you!

Frequently Asked Questions

People ask many questions about tilapia fish farming. Here we are trying to list the most common questions about this fish farming business. Hope you will find your answer. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have more questions.

Is tilapia farming profitable?

Yes, tilapia fish farming is a very profitable business. You can make good profits from this business. Although, you have to ensure good marketing facilities for getting maximum profits.

How to start tilapia fish farming business?

Starting tilapia fish farming commercially is relatively easy and simple. You just have to prepare your pond or tank, select good quality fingerlings and feed good quality and nutritious food.

How long do tilapia take to grow?

Depends on numerous factors. But generally most of the tilapia fish reach marketing size within their 8 months of age.

What makes tilapia grow faster?

Good quality nutritious food and availability of adequate oxygen helps the tilapia fish to grow faster.

How much space do tilapia need?

Depends on your production purpose. You can start as small as in a tank or in a large pond.

Which tilapia is best for farming?

Male tilapia is best for farming. Because, male tilapia grow faster than the females.

How many years can tilapia live?

Tilapia is a very hardy fish and their average lifespan is around or up to 10 years.

How many times do we need to feed tilapia?

Feeding the fish twice a day will be very helpful for faster growth of the fish.

How many months that tilapia will harvest?

You can start harvesting tilapia as early as after 3-5 months. But most of the fish will reach good size within their 8 months of age.

Does tilapia need oxygen?

Yes, sure! Clean water, oxygen, food, light and room to swim are the five basic needs of the tilapia fish.

What kind of food do tilapia fish eat?

Tilapia in the wild feed on algae, but on farms they are reared on corn or soybean meal. Today, commercial feeds are available for the tilapia fish.

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What type of water does tilapia grow?

Tilapia can grow and reproduce at salinity concentrations of up to 36 parts per thousand, are highly tolerant of low dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations and ideal growing temperatures are usually between 22C (72F) and 29 C (84F).

Is tilapia easy to grow?

Yes, growing tilapia fish is very easy and simple. They grow fast and breeds easily in captivity.

How many times do tilapia lay eggs?

Mature female tilapia lay eggs every three to four months. They lay their eggs in nests made by the males, then carry the fertilized eggs in their mouths until they hatch.

How many eggs can tilapia lay?

Depends on the species. The blue tilapia can lay between 160 and 1600 eggs.

What is tilapia called in English?

In English, it is sometimes known by the name “St. Peter’s fish”, which comes from the story in the Gospel of Matthew about the apostle Peter catching a fish that carried a coin in its mouth, though the passage does not name the fish.

Is tilapia saltwater or freshwater fish?

Different species of tilapia available which can survive in saltwater or freshwater. But most of the tilapia fish are raised in freshwater.

Can tilapia survive in saltwater?

Yes, some species of tilapia can survive in saltwater.

What is the best fertilizer if you want to raise tilapia?

You can either use commercial fertilizer or organic matter like manure, compost, ipil-ipil leaves, etc. If you do not have organic matter, apply every month one-half kilo of urea and one half kilo of 15-15-15 for even, 100 square meters of water surface.

How much do you feed tilapia?

Depends on the weight of the fish. You have to feed your fish between 1-2 percent of their body weight.

How big is tilapia in 6 months?

In most cases, a male tilapia will reach 400+ grams in 6 months.

How many tilapia do I need for a 1/2 acre pond?

You can stock around or up to 20,000 tilapia in a half acre pond.

What temperature kills tilapia?

Tilapia fish can’t tolerate excessive cold temperature. Cold temperature below 55° F will kills tilapia.

What temperature do tilapia live in?

The recommended water temperature for most types of Tilapia is 82˚ to 86˚F if you want a faster growth rate.

Do tilapia eat insects?

Yes, sure! They actually love to eat insects.

How deep should a tilapia pond be?

Ideal depth of a tilapia pond is 4 feet.

How do you tell if a tilapia is male or female?

Male tilapia have a tapered shape below the anus, whereas the female have a more rounded shape with a triangular indentation in the center. Male tilapia have a tapered shape below the anus, whereas the female have a more rounded shape with a triangular indentation in the center.

Do male or female tilapia grow faster?

Male tilapia fish generally grow faster than the females.

At what age do tilapia lay eggs?

Most of tilapia fish start laying eggs within their 3-4 months of age.

Which country is the largest producer of tilapia in the world?

China is the largest producer of tilapia followed by Indonesia and Egypt.

Is tilapia healthier than meat?

Tilapia offers more omega-3 fats than other animal foods, such as red meat and poultry.

Is tilapia healthy or not?

Tilapia is a healthy addition to any meal.

Is tilapia good for diabetics?

Yes, tilapia fish is good for the diabetic patients. It is great for diabetics because it has no carbohydrates and it is rich in fiber, which is helpful for diabetics in reducing the risk of arterial hypertension.

5 thoughts on “Tilapia Fish Farming”

  1. hey i am interested in starting up a fish farm. i need a contact person on this if you can. thanks bruce cook 228.990.0727

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