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There are many decisions to make before deploying your first aquaponics setup, and choosing the right fish breed will likely be high on your priority list. While there are many fish breeds to choose from, using Tilapia in aquaponics gardens is a great choice.
Tilapia is one of the easiest fish to care for thanks to their hardiness, and they make an excellent fish for any aquaponics garden. They also grow quickly, are easy to breed, and can thrive in even the poorest water conditions. This fish is also very disease-resistant and can tolerate most forms of bacteria very well.
Now that we’ve taken a brief look into the benefits let’s explore ways of caring for Tilapia in aquaponics gardens.
Choosing Tilapia For Your Aquaponics Garden
There are several varieties of Tilapia that are ideal for keeping in your aquaponics garden:
Hawaiian Gold Tilapia
Hawaiian gold tilapia are recognizable by their yellow color and continuous dorsal fin. They can live in water temperatures of between 75°F and 98°F and do well even if water quality and oxygen levels are poor.
White Tilapia are hybrids of the original Blue Tilapia and are incredibly fast growers. The big difference between this breed of Tilapia and others is that it can handle temperatures as low as 50°F. When the water temperature is low, these fish tend to enter a state of hibernation, so if you want lively and active fish, it is best to keep the temperature higher.
Blue Tilapia are typically identifiable by their pink belly and is a slower grower than other varieties. In fact, compared to White and its Hawaiian Gold relatives, the Blue Tilapia can take three times as long to grow.
Getting the Tank Size Right
The size of the tank you choose will largely depend on the plants you want to grow, and the fish you want to keep. Most people start with a tank that is at least 500 liters.
With a minimum tank size of 500 liters, you should have enough room for between 20 and 40 adult tilapia. Try not to overstock your tank, as this could cause a host of other health or fish quality-related issues within your aquaponics environment. You can always expand your tank or move some fish to another tank if you decide you want more.
Feeding Your Tilapia
One of the most important elements when providing adequate care for your aquaponics system Tilapia is maintaining the water temperature and feeding them. In the wild, Tilapia eat plenty of algae. However, algae can be an enemy in your aquaponics set up and so you won’t want to encourage growth. Instead, consider purchasing organic fish food that is specially created for Tilapia or related breeds.
Breeding Your Tilapia
Tilapia are quite easy to breed, but they must have the right conditions to do so. Keep the water temperature in the higher 70s and keep the tank dark. You should select the fish that you want to breed and put them in the same tank or area. You may need to increase the water temperature a little more before the fish begin the breed. Adding a substrate to the base of your tank will give the female a safe place to lay her eggs. Gravel is a good option.
You may not know that breeding has been successful until the fry appear. When they do, remove the adult fish and put them back into your main tank or another area away from the fry. This will allow the fry to grow without being preyed on.
They Are Delicious, Too!
Don’t forget that Tilapia is an edible fish, too. So if you are looking for a fully sustainable aquaponics garden that gives you fish and vegetables to harvest, Tilapia makes the perfect variety. Caring for Tilapia in aquaponics gardens is also very straightforward and perfect for the beginner just starting out on their aquaponics adventure.