Tilapia fish farming has been around for thousands of years.
The ancient Egyptians definitely were the first farmers of Tilapia fish.
Tilapia fish farming is very popular in Africa and Asia both in domestic and commercial scale.
One of the most favoured ways of raising tilapia is through the pond culture.
If you are intending to commence tilapia fish farming whether in small scale or in commercial quantities,
this article is going to serve as a guide that will take you through the basics of all that you are expected to know to get you started on the right path.
So if you are ready lets get started.
Choosing The ideal Site For Tilapia Fish Farming
One of the key factors that will determine your level of success or failure in this business is the selection of your site ….
so I will take a little more time to explain in detail.
One of the key things you will need to take into consideration in selecting a suitable site for your tilapia fish farming is
your accessibility to water source through out the year.
Your fish farm will need plenty of water so it is vital that wherever you situate your farm that you can have access to regular and fresh supply of water regularly.
Without water …. there is no fish farm!!!
The site should also be well exposed to light (i.e. sunlight).
This helps to hasten photosynthesis in small aquatic plants such as algae which will be serving as the number one source of food for the tilapia fish.
You also need to site your farm in an area which is not prone to flooding.
The least thing you want is for everytime it rains for your fish to be swept away.
The soil of the area should be clayey in order for it to retain water and must not contain excess sulfur.
This can cause the water to become poisonous to the fish.
If you ignore this, you may wake up one morning after a heavy rain to see your fish all dead floating on top of the pond.
In choosing your tilapia fish farming site,
you have to put the following 7 recommended tips by experts into consideration:
The depth level of the pond must be lower than that of the sea or river to allow water to enter the pond level at low tide.
The bottom of the breeding pond must consist of about 16% lime or compost
The recommended optimum pH level is between 7-8.
In order to retain water, make sure the soil is clay soil
The pond site must consist of two outlets to ensure the entrance and outgoing of water.
In order to make your harvest easy, one part of the pond must be a little higher than the other.
Dig canals around 15 cm. deep around the pond for water to flow in. This will provide outlet for dirt and other things that may fall into the dike which must be high enough to protect from overflow during strong rain.
Choosing The Species
The species of Tilapia fish that you decide to go for is entirely dependent on your current desires and goals.
But through research, it has been shown that Tilapia hybrids are great alternatives for pure breeds.
There are 4 common breeds(Blue tilapia are known to have the highest growth rate in ponds) that you can go for each with its merits and demerits.
For example, If you desire fast growth rate, you can go for Blue tilapia or the Nile tilapia. they have the fastest growth rate amongst the four whereas if you are in very cold regions, it is better to go for Blue tilapia. It is more cold tolerant than Nile tilapia.
Culture Types For Tilapia Fish Farming.
In the 20th century the most common alternative pond culture types are tank culturing and cage culturing.
These are especially used in areas where there is shortage of land and/or water(which are the two major challenges in tilapia fish farming).
These two culture types make growing tilapia in very high densities possible and harvesting is easier when compared to the pond type, provided you can ensure very good quality of water.
Pond raising, tank raising and cage raising all have their own pros and cons and it is important to carefully assess the situation before you make any decisions.
The perfect species or hybrid for tank raising will depend on several factors, such as climate and availability.
For example, Nile tilapia grows much faster, but only when kept in tropical conditions.
If you want to be able to keep densely stocked cages, proper water management is of imperative importance.
Two key elements in tilapia water management is aeration and waste removal.
Whereas on the other hand, One of the big advantages with a pond culture is that it closely resembles the life of wild tilapia and
makes it possible for the fish to feed on naturally occuring food. This is a sure way to save you money.
There is also the problem of uncontrollable population explosion with new fingerling and fry competing for adult food.
Feeding In Tilapia Fish Farming
Feeding is by far one of the most important factors in tilapia fish farming,
if you desire to obtain optimal growth and help in boosting the immune system of the fish.
If you are operating the earth fish pond, it is not very expensive to feed the fish since they will be feeding on the aquatic plants (algae) in the pond.
The only thing necessary on your part is to fertilize the water to achieve maximum growth of the plants using manure from chickens, ducks and pigs.
This will increase production more than manure from cows and sheep
For fast maximal yield, you may consider supplemental feeding.
On the other hand if you operate tank or cage cultures, you will have to provide 100% of the feeding.
But you can take solace in the fact that your fishes will grow much more faster than your earth pond counterpart.
Harvesting Tilapia From The Pond
One of the most commonly used methods for harvesting pond grown tilapia involves both seining and draining of the pond.
It is hard to catch all the tilapias using only seining since theses fishes are skilled escape artists.
Diseases And Treatment
Across the world, parasitic diseases(e.g. trematodes such as Clinostomum spp.) are the most prevalent in tilapia fish farming. There are also bacterial and viral diseases.
There are certain measures you can do to reduce or out-rightly eliminate the tendencies of disease occurrence in your tilapia fish farm.
Keep your tilapia in a suitable environment
As much as possible Avoid overcrowding
Provide your tilapia with a suitable diet. This helps the immune else be prepared to make your Veterinarian's wallet fat when your fishes start dying.
Prevent parasites from spreading
Pay special attention to newcomers
Prophylactic treatment. Don't forget prevention is better and cheaper than cure.
Pay special attention to risky stages
Birds and snails.
You can apply by bath the following chemicals to treat parasites: organophosphates, hydrogen peroxide, potassium permanganate, formalin and salt.
In some cases, applying ordinary fresh water is the best form of treatment.
You will also find some additional materials to help you with starting up a tilapia farming business by clicking on the link below: