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Monday, May 10, 2010

Easy Steps On Raising Tilapia

Tilapia are a hardy, fast growing fish with a good (less fishy) taste ideal for warm areas or indoor heated tanks. They are somewhat bony and can be slightly difficult to clean.

The most important thing to know about Tilapia is that there are many types, with wildly different characteristics. And even within one type of Tilapia, the nutritional value of the fish will vary wildly depending on what they were fed. For example, if they are fed primarily corn they will contain more Omega 6 (harmful) than Omega 3 (helpful) fatty acids. Fish grown on flax based feeds will be high in Omega 3s and low in Omega 6's. Even for one individual Tilapia, the ideal temperature and diet will vary over the fish's lifetime.

Every breed of Tilapia is different, but most Tilapia prefer temperatures of 77 to 86'F (25-30'C). Some may tolerate temperatures as low as 47'F (8 or 9'C) for short periods (overnight). In an area where the temperature, at least through the growing season, is high enough to maintain water temperature in the preferred range, they may be grown outside in a pond. Plant shade type water plants during very hot weather.
The size of the pond should be determined by the number of fish you want to raise. A good guide is 4 to 5 square feet of water per mature fish or 2-3 mature fish per square meter of water surface in a pond environment. A more crowded environment can help keep the aggressive males from becoming territorial. No fewer than 3 fish per 50 gallons, and up to 12 adult fish can be contained in a 55 gallon drum. The water depth in any environment should be more than 3 feet or one meter; never less than 2.5 feet (three-fourths meter) deep. The water should be still and not flowing so if a stream or river is used, the pond should be separated from the flowing water. Exposure to sunlight is very important both to maintain temperature and to promote the growth of green food such as algae.

Tilapia are tolerant of more ammonia in their water than most pond fish. No water filtration is typically required in a pond; water hyacinth can remove enough pollutants. Unlike many other fish, Tilapia can eat algae so green water is not a bad sign; some manure and sunlight can provide additional "free" food without damaging the fish. 
Before stocking the pond with tilapia, be sure to drain it thoroughly and remove the weeds and unwanted fish that may be present. Allow your pond to dry up until it cracks before refilling with fresh, clean water. Fertilize the pond one week before stocking. Apply chicken manure on the pond bottom with water depth of about 6 centimeters at the rate of one kilo for every lo square meters. Fertilize the pond once a month to insure good production of algae.


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