8 Reasons to Choose Tilapia for Aquaponics System

Many people choose tilapia in aquaponics because of the hardiness of this fish and the ability to grow in any soil condition.  The fish requires very low maintenance, making them friendly for beginner aquaponics farmers. If you’re a beginner or an experienced aquaponics farmer, there are more than enough reasons you should choose tilapia and not any other fish.

This article discusses eight reasons to choose tilapia for your aquaponics. We’ll also talk about some basics you need to know about tilapia aquaponics.

Why Choose Tilapia Aquaponics

Here are reasons why both beginners and experienced hydroponics gardeners choose tilapia.

1. They are Hardy Fish 

Tilapia is one of the hardiest fish in the world and can withstand a wide range of temperatures and water conditions. They can breed in water temperatures between 1 to 30 degrees Celsius. This makes them ideal for aquaponics systems which can be unpredictable at times.

2. They Grow Quickly 

Tilapia are fast growers and can reach harvest size in as little as six months. In aquaculture, they are typically grown to harvest size in about 6 to 9 months. They can grow even faster in the wild, up to 1 pound per month. 

If you want to get a quick return on your investment, the tilapia aquaponics system is the way to go. This is even much better if you’re growing tilapia for the market because you’re going to make a lot of money quickly.

3. They’re Good For Your Plants 

One of the reasons people do fish aquaponics gardening is so that their plants can get fertilized. Both plants and fish benefit from each other by providing the nutrients they need to grow. The fish waste is full of Nitrogen and Phosphorus, which are essential for plant growth.

4. They Don’t Need Much Space 

Tilapia are perfect for small aquaponics systems because they don’t need much space to grow. You can even raise them in a fish tank in your home if you want to. This makes it a perfect option for people who don’t have a lot of space to work with.

Tilapia Aquaponics Fish

5. They’re Good For Your Wallet 

Tilapia is a relatively inexpensive fish to raise and can be sold for a good price. They have a very high market value, making them a good investment opportunity. 

6. Thrive in Different Oxygen Levels

Oxygen is essential for both plants and fish, but they thrive at different dissolved oxygen levels (DO). In general, fish do best in water with a dissolved oxygen level between 5-6 ppm. On the other hand, plants prefer lower DO levels, around 2-4 ppm.

The great thing about tilapia is that they can adapt to different oxygen levels. This means that they can live and even thrive in water with lower DO levels, making them the perfect fish for aquaponics.

7. They’re Delicious and Nutritious

Tilapia is the best-tasting fish you can ever have. They’re delicate, mild, and slightly sweet. They have a flaky texture that melts in your mouth. Tilapia is not only delicious but it’s also packed with nutrients. It’s a great source of protein, potassium, and vitamins B1, B2, and B3.

8. Tilapia are Easy to Breed

Tilapia are easy to breed, making them the perfect fish for aquaculture. They have a short breeding cycle, and they can reproduce in captivity. This means that you can easily and quickly increase your tilapia population. Apart from breeding, they’re also straightforward to care for as they can adapt to different water conditions.

Can You Eat Tilapia for Aquaponics

Thanks to their excellent benefits, tilapia makes the most grown aquaponics fish. But can you eat tilapia grown from an aquaponics system? 

The answer is yes! Tilapia in an aquaponics system grows in a controlled environment. You can be sure they’re free from chemicals and pollutants. Moreover, you’ll be eating tilapia that you’ve raised yourself; you’ll know what goes into their diet. This will give you peace of mind knowing you’re eating healthy and delicious fish grown by no one else.

Tilapia is Omni-gastric, meaning they will eat anything. Their diet consists of bugs, algae, and other smaller fish in the wild. However, when growing tilapia in aquaponics, you can feed them various food, including pellets, vegetables, and even chicken manure. The important thing is to make sure that their diet is well-rounded and contains all the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong.

Whether grown in a hydroponics system or not, you can prepare tilapia in several delicious ways. You can fry, bake, or grill tilapia, and each method will give you a unique and tasty dish.

Like tilapia grown in the wild, aquaponics tilapia are also very nutritious. They contain high levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals. All these nutrients are essential for your health and general wellbeing.

How Fast Do Tilapia Grow in Aquaponics?

If well-fed, tilapia can grow very fast in aquaponics. They can gain up to 1.5 pounds or 0.68 kilograms within six months. However, the average growth rate of tilapia is about half a pound or 0.23 kilograms per month.

Tilapia grow so fast in aquaponics because they have access to an unlimited food supply. In the wild, tilapia have to compete with other fish for food. However, tilapia aquaponics is the only fish, and they can eat as much as they want.

As a result, tilapia can reach its full potential in terms of growth. If you want your tilapia to grow even faster, you can supplement their diet with commercial fish food.

However, you have to be careful how you feed your adult tilapia because they can grow to the point of danger. They can even outgrow the bio-filter in your aquaponics system. When it reaches this point, the young tilapia will have to find refuge in the tank next to it.

Tilapia Species to Grow in Aquaponics

There are many tilapia to grow in hydroponics, but you must consider availability,  climate, growth rate, legal status, and other factors. Here are some common species for growing tilapia in aquaponics.

Nile Tilapia

Nile tilapia is the most common fish for aquaponics farming.  It is also the largest and fastest-growing of all tilapia. It is a tropical fish that prefers water temperatures between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nile tilapia can grow up to three pounds in six months. But most farmers harvest them when they reach one to two pounds.

The main disadvantage of Nile tilapia is its aggressive nature. It can be very territorial and may attack other fish in your system, even fish much larger than it is.

Tilapia Aquaponics

Red Tilapia

Red tilapia is another popular choice for aquaponics farmers. Like Nile tilapia, it is a fast-growing fish that can reach up to three pounds in six months.

Red tilapia is less aggressive than Nile tilapia, making it a good choice if you are worried about fish aggression in your system. Red tilapia is also a good choice if you’re looking for a fish with a higher market value.

Blue Tilapia

Blue tilapia is another species that grows very fast.  It can reach up to four pounds in six months. Blue tilapia is less aggressive than the Nile and red tilapia, making it a good choice for aquaponics farmers worried about fish aggression.

Blue tilapia also has a high market value making it a good investment.

White and Hybrid Tilapia

White tilapia is typically a hybrid of blue tilapia and another tilapia species. Farmers often use white tilapia in their systems because they are very hardy and grow quickly. White tilapia can reach up to four pounds in six months.

While white tilapia is a good choice for farmers, it is not as popular with consumers as the other two types of tilapia. This is because white tilapia has a milder flavor than the other types of tilapia.

FAQs About Tilapia Aquaponics

What is the best tilapia for aquaponics?

Many tilapia species can do well in hydroponics thanks to their hardy nature. But the best choice of tilapia for aquaponics is blue tilapia. This is because blue tilapia grow quickly and have a high market value.

What are the disadvantages of tilapia aquaponics farming?

The main disadvantage of farming tilapia in an aquaponics system is that it requires large space. This is because tilapia can grow up to 3 pounds or more. It’s also not the best fish for colder climates as they prefer warm water.

Our Verdict

Growing tilapia in an aquaponics system is very beneficial in many ways. Tilapia aquaponics grows very fast, are easy to care for,  and have a high market value. Your plants will also benefit from the nutrients that tilapia waste provides. 

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Hello! We are the Johnsons and the faces of The Aquaponics Guide. We have been avid gardeners for many years and growing our own food is one of our key priorities. We have found sustainable Aquaponics farming to be a life changer, which is the reason we have created The Aquaponics Guide.