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Tilapia Fish

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Tilapia Fish and Tilapia Farming
William Berg

Tilapia is a large cichlid genus that contains more than 100
species. They are naturally found in Africa and in the Levant
region in the Middle East. They are today present in a large
amount of waters around the world as a result of Tilapia farming
around the world. Tilapia farming has been an important food
source in some areas for more than 2500 years.

Tilapia is especially well suited for farming since they are fast
growing and hardy. This has made Tilapia a very important protein
source in some poor areas. Tilapias did as an example play a very
important role for the survival of the people in Taiwan after
World War 2. Many hope that Tilapia farming will be able to play
an equal large role in ending hunger in poor areas today. The
most common Tilapias in tilapia farms are not really Tilapias but
rather fish of the genus Oreochromis. The genus Oreochromis and
Sarotherodon are called Tilapia in many languages including
English but are not tilapias in the true sense since they donít
belong to the genus Tilapia. This said, true tilapia fish are
appreciated food fish in many countries.

The food values of Tilapia fish have meant that they have been
introduced to many waters around the world. They have established
themselves in even more areas after escaping from farms. Tilapia
cichlids can establish strong population in a very short time
span if the conditions are right and many biologists fear what
these newly established populations can do to the native fishes
in the area. The fear is especially large in florid where the
fish now is prohibited as a result of several populations
establishing themselves in the state. Australia is another area
that are especially sensitive to the intrusions of these fish and
are already suffering from the effects of many other species that
have established themselves on the continent.

But thatís enough general information about Tilapia cichlids.
Tilapia are easy to keep in aquariums if you can offer them an
aquarium that are large enough for them, The smaller Tilapia
species requires an aquarium of at least 40 gallon / 150 L while
the larger species requires an aquarium of at least 70 gallon /
250 L. They prefer slightly basic water but can without any
problem be kept in water with a pH of 6-8.5. Some Tilapia species
are aggressive while other is rather friendly. They are best kept
with moderate aggressive fish of similar size. Donít keep them
with fish that are unable to stand their ground against the
Tilapias. Suitable companions include non-territorial cichlids,
large catfish, garpikes and tinfoil barbs. Most pleco type
catfish are also suitable companions.

The aquarium should be decorated with a rocks and plants. The
bottom is best covered with relatively fine gravel and some flat
rocks. Tilapia cichlids should not be kept with sensitive plant
species but rather with hardier species like Anubias, Amazon
swordplants, crinum and java fern.

They are very easy to feed and will accept just about anything
you feed them. They can without problem be kept on a diet of
pellets but it is preferable to give them a more varied diet that
includes vegetables. This said, Tilapia can be kept and breed on
nothing but pellets and will usually do very well on that diet.

Some tilapia species are mouth brooders while many other species
are substrate spawners that lay their eggs on a flat rock or in a
pit they dug. Many true Tilapia species are quite productive
since the survival rate of the fry is low in their natural
habitat. Oreochromis species are mouth brooders and usually
produce quite small fry batches. They are very easy to breed and
will breed without that any special consideration needs to be
taken. The fry of these species will have to be removed once the
female finally released them since they will have a very low
survival rate if they are left in the same aquarium as their
parents. Oreochromis species are best breed in harem groups.

Substrate breeding tilapias protect their eggs and fry during the
first few weeks. All tilapia fry can be feed newly hatched brine
shrimp from day one and the fry of many species are large enough
to accept mashed pellets. It can sometimes be hard to find new
homes for Tilapia fry so you might want to take this aspect into
consideration when you decide how many fry to raise.

This is only a short introduction to Tilapias. Read more about
Tilapia fish & Tilapia Recipe or you can read more about Tropical
Aquarium Fish

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