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Can Tilapia And Bass Live Together?

Can Tilapia And Bass Live Together?

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Throughout history, both farmers and gardeners alike have recorded many innovative solutions when it comes to raising various fish species through aquaponics. While some independent gardeners may raise only one type of fish in their setup, commercial growers, on the other hand, could benefit from raising a polyculture of fish by potentially harvesting more food, increasing profits, and generating more nutrients for crops. As a result, you will find most aquaponics farmers harvesting diverse species of fish in a single tank. With Tilapia and Bass, two commonly used fish used in aquaponics, many practitioners wonder, “can Tilapia and Bass live together?”

The answer to this question is, possibly, however, due to the eating habits of both fish, growers will need to segregate them by size. If a farmer wants to securely keep all species in one tank, the right approach is to keep the smaller ones in a floating cage to prevent the adult fish from eating them. While there are experiments in raising Tilapia in a mixed environment with other species like grouper, shrimps, milkfish, and even red claw crayfish, there is no conclusive research on the combination of Tilapia and Bass. Hence, to understand the viability of this tandem, we need to identify the specific characteristics of both species. 

In this article, we will cover the essential considerations when raising aquaponics fish, the specific requirements for cultivating Tilapia and Bass, and respond to the question “can Tilapia and Bass live together?”

Growing Considerations For Raising Aquaponics Fish

Growing Considerations For Raising Aquaponics Fish

In general, fish are vertebrate animals that are typically cold-blooded. This means their body temperature shift based on the water temperature of their environment. Almost all these species possess lateral lines, which allow them to feel fluctuations in water temperatures. Moreover, fish have remarkably developed organs that enable them to taste, touch, smell, and see.

You will see their skin guarded with protective scales. Interestingly, nearly all fish spawn eggs. Like aquaponics plants, there are several factors to observe when choosing a suitable fish to raise in your setup. Here are some of the criteria to consider when selecting your aquaponics fish:

Fish Tank 

The fish tank is an essential element of every aquaponic setup. When it comes to expenses, the fish tank basically accounts for 20% of system expenditures. Additionally, farmers should carefully select their container since this is where the fish will grow and reproduce. Some of the aspects to weigh in are tank size, shape, material, and color. 



Got Tanks?

Dissolved Oxygen 

Bacteria living in the system require sufficient levels of dissolved oxygen to keep up productivity levels. For optimal growth rate, consider maintaining 4-5 mg/liter of dissolved oxygen.  If oxygen levels drop below this number, nitrification will decline, and some other organisms can potentially grow, which can harm your system. 


Farmers need to observe the right water temperature required by their fish. Every fish has a specific optimal temperature requirement. Maintaining the correct levels will ensure speedy growth and efficient conditions plus prevent the likelihood of fish diseases.

In general, cold water fish favor temperatures of 10°C to 18°C, and tropical fish flourish at 22°C to 32°C.  It is more convenient to raise species accustomed to your local climate conditions. However, observing thermal isolation, and utilizing equipment such as water heaters and coolers will secure balanced temperature rates. 


An ideal spot to position your fish is a place with proper shading and indirect sunlight. Ensuring there is sufficient sunlight will help in combating algae growth and fish stress. Also, placing tanks in complete darkness will result in fish suffering from anxiety and fear when immediately exposed to light. 

Dietary Preference

Before choosing the suitable fish for your system, also consider their dietary requirements. Are they Carnivores or Omnivores? Carnivores prefer eating meat. These species have a digestive system that is inadequate to process or digest vegetables. You may see them swallowing plants; however, their bodies will fail in obtaining nutrients from these crops. And since they favor meat, they have the tendency to consume smaller or younger fish. 

On the other hand, Omnivores prefer eating varying types of plants and meat. While they likewise have the proclivity to eat other fish, these species are also known to consume alternative feeds. 

Now that we have identified the parameters to consider in selecting the right fish for your system let’s study some of the specific Tilapia and Bass requirements.

Caring For Tilapia And Bass 

Below are a few of the particular preferences of Tilapia and Bass:

Fish Edible Water Temperature Dietary Preference
Tilapia Yes 75°F to 90°F Omnivore
Bass Yes 82°F to 84°F Carnivore


Experts have yet to publish studies on the polyculture of fish in aquaponics. However, we can examine the required considerations for both the above species and see if they will thrive in the same environment. To start with, Tilapia and Bass are both hardy fish that can survive a broad range of water quality conditions.

These two delicious edible fish, based on the above table, prefer warm-water; however, they have different dietary preferences. Bass are carnivores, while the Tilapia are omnivores. Though there is conflict in their food requirements, one way to safely stock them in one tank is to isolate the young ones in a floating cage and keep mature fish with similar size on the other side. In following this process, growers can avoid larger species from preying on the smaller ones. 

When it comes to the fish tank, most farmers, on average, start out with 500 liters. However, growers will need to consider plant bed dimensions and the number of fish they want to cultivate before choosing a specific tank. 



Got Fish?

Conclusion: So, Can Tilapia And Bass Live Together?

Yes, Tilapia and Bass can live together based on their growing considerations. There may be scarce literature about raising a polyculture of Tilapia and Bass right now, however, applying specific techniques makes this combination plausible. With the potential benefits of aquaponics, simultaneously cultivating several fish can lead to added gains, whether the purpose of your setup is to solely produce food or generate profit. 

Finally, when you are ready to buy your fish, remember to purchase from credible suppliers to ensure you will be cultivating species in good health condition. Are you interested in knowing other warm-water aquaponics fish? Click here to find out more about the topic.

The Campbells love finding sustainable and fun ways to increase their independence from traditional brick and motor supermarkets. Aquaponics provides a full lifecycle food source for families and a great hobby. #aquaponicslifestyle

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