There has been a large increase in demand for fresh fish, in recent years. To meet this increased interest, more businesses and individuals are getting involved in tilapia farming. Tilapia is a type of cichlid, known for their healthy size, hardiness and ease of care. They are a great fish to consider farming, if you are new to fish Aquaponics.
Learn more about fish Aquaponics and tilapia farming, with the following tips and suggestions.
#1 - Understand the Process of Raising Tilapia
The concept of fish Aquaponics farming is something that not everyone is familiar with. Essentially, it is the process of raising and harvesting fish. There are three major steps, in the raising of tilapia – the hatching, rearing, and harvesting stages. These three stages are directly a part of the farming process and not the actual life cycle of the fish.
The hatching stage is when new fish are bred. During the hatching stage, you will care for breeding colonies of tilapia. You are trying to induce spawning and may have to deal with egg extraction and nursery isolation. The hatching stage lasts until the fish have reached fingerling size.
Once the fishes have grown to fingerling size, you move on to the rearing stage. During this period, your goal is to raise the tilapia to their full size as quickly and economically as you can, while ensuring that the fish remains healthy. While rearing, you may have to test, sort, and weigh the fish.
The harvesting stage is when you move the grown fish to a finishing pond. They are then killed, using a humane method. The filets are then removed from the fish and properly processed.
#2 - Always Use Clean Water
Your tilapia is going to need clean water, in order to remain healthy and reach a good size. The water that you use for your aquaponic tank or aquarium should always be clean, quality water. Since you are harvesting tilapia as a food source, keep in mind that whatever ends up in their system will end up on people’s plates.
Using water from a clean private well or a municipal source that you know is safe, are good options. If your local water requires filtering before drinking, then the water you use for your tank or aquarium will require filtering.
#3 – Use Natural Food
If you want to keep your tilapia as healthy as possible, use natural food, such as worms or grubs. Both of these options can be used along with your media grow beds. When you feel that your tilapia are not reaching ideal sizes, then you may also want to introduce a high-quality fish food designed specifically for tilapia. This food should not contain any animal parts in it.
#4 – Use Separate Tanks
While it is possible to use a single pond for all your farming stages, it is incredibly difficult and more work than is really needed. Instead, use separate tanks for each of the stages. Have one tank for hatching and raising to fingerling size. Have another tank for rearing and a third one for harvesting. This will make some of the work much easier, especially the hatching.
#5 – Maintain Proper Breeding Conditions
In order to produce a large number of tilapia, you will want to maintain proper breeding conditions. Female tilapias are more likely to reproduce at temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees. They also tend to reproduce during the day, so if you farm indoors, use your light cycle to promote breeding.
You should also give your tilapia a suitable environment for laying the eggs. Create a gravel bed with flowing water to help give shelter to the eggs. The female tilapia lay the eggs, the male tilapia fertilizes them, and then the female scoops the eggs into her mouth. The eggs need to have a protective spot, where the female tilapia will not have a problem scooping up the eggs.
Tilapia farming can be a fun hobby, a business venture, or a large scale operation, depending on your goals and funds. Decide what size of an operation you are interested in. If you plan farming tilapia in your home, Aquaponics is a great option, as in this process by controlling all the conditions, you are ensuring that you are raising the best quality of tilapia.
Use these tips, if you plan on giving tilapia farming a try.