You may not have heard of it, but aquaponics farmers have grown to love the humble Tilapia fish.
They are spiny-finned freshwater fish that is native to Africa and the Middle East and belongs to the Cichlidae family. Because of the traditional bible myth about Jesus feeding a huge crowd with two fishes and five loaves of bread, they are commonly referred to as St. Peter’s fish.
Tilapia is a common fish in aquaculture, which is the technique of cultivating aquatic species for food, such as fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and aquatic plants.
Temperature is Crucial
Water temperature monitoring is necessary for successful tilapia farming throughout the year. Temperatures between 82 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for growth. Below 68 degrees, growth will slow dramatically, and the fish begin to die as the temperature approaches 50 degrees. (There are over 40 different species of tilapia, and their temperature tolerance varies.) To have a sustainable operation in geographical areas with low temperatures, the farm should be built in a greenhouse, indoor site, or utilizing a water heater. As a result, the majority of commercial Tilapia farms are located in warm climates.
Why Are They So Popular?
The popularity of Tilapia in aquaculture stems primarily from their huge size and palatability. Their omnivorous diet lets farmers take advantage of naturally occurring food, making them one of the easiest and most successful fish to farm. They can also withstand high stocking densities, prolific breeding, and quick growth. (It takes 6 to 7 months to reach harvest size.) This makes them cheap to raise and helps to deliver large quantities of food in a small space.
About half a billion pounds of Tilapia is consumed every year in the United States, and its popularity is expanding due to its non-fishy flavor. When eating commercially raised tilapia, it’s best to stick with tilapia farmed in environmentally friendly systems in the United States.
Non-commercial tilapia farming is also growing in popularity as self-sufficient individuals adopt the activity to produce their own sustainable food supply. Tilapia are employed specifically in aquaponics, which is the science of growing fruit and vegetables alongside fish. Tilapia can also be raised with other seafood animals such as catfish, crayfish, and prawns, allowing for the production of a variety of foodstuffs from a single operation.
Tilapia, like other fish, is high in protein and contains several vital vitamins, including B3, B12, and selenium. There are also a plethora of tilapia recipes available online, most of them involve baking or oven frying the fish. Because of its mild flavor, tilapia pairs well with a wide range of seasonings, allowing meals to be served with a diversity of flavors, allowing people to eat tilapia on a regular basis without becoming bored.
Finally, tilapia is regarded as a noxious invasive species. If you’re planning to start your own tilapia farm, take extra precautions to prevent mistakenly releasing these fish into the wild, where they could harm native species’ growth and reproduction. As a result, tilapia is restricted or even prohibited in some areas. Check with the local authorities before starting your own tilapia farm.