Tilapia are mainly freshwater fish inhabiting shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes and less commonly found living in brackish water. Historically, they have been of major importance in artisan fishing in Africa and the Middle East and are of increasing importance in aquaculture and aquaponics.
Tilapia can become problematic invasive species in new warm-water habitats such as Australia, whether deliberately or accidentally introduced, but generally not in temperate climates due to their inability to survive in waters cooler than about 21 °C (70 °F).
But before one stocks tilapia in the pond, there are several things one needs to know to ensure the fish perform well.
- Tilapia needs a temperature of between 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit or 28-30 Celsius. If your area experiences cold seasons, you need to have water heater for the tilapia.
- A female can produce 100 little fish in a week. Having one cage for your tilapias is insufficient. It may cause competition for food and space, affecting the growth of the fish.
- After eight months, the female tilapia is able to produce 100 young fish per week and 1,000 fish in three months. They carry the fry in their mouth.
- Most of the fish die because of insufficient oxygen. Using filters could help your fish sustain the right amount of oxygen they need. However, sometimes because of harsh weather, it can affect fish cages in lake areas and that kills fish.
- Fish need gasses and certain nutrients to survive. In natural water bodies like lakes and rivers, these conditions occur naturally. However, in constructed ponds, the farmer has to create them by, for example, dropping the feeds there for the fish.