First Steps in Tilapia Farming

Ordering the fish

My previous aquaponics systems have all run off of goldfish. They're easy to find, they produce a lot of waste, and they're pretty hardy. On my new system I'm looking to eat the fish I raise, so goldfish were no longer the natural choice. The most common fish for this application is tilapia, so I decided to go with what's known to work. I live in Connecticut and was looking for them locally but couldn't track any down. After searching around I found Allied Aqua who had great reviews. They had a number of strains of tilapia, and I went with blue tilapia. My tank is in the basement so I wanted a strain that would still grow well at lower temperatures and the blue tilapia are one of the hardier types that exhibit strong growth.

The shipping process

I've brought fish home from the pet store and it already seems traumatic enough for them, so I had no idea how it was going to be coming in from Missouri. They arrived in a styrofoam container with some insulation and a plastic bag on the inside. I had ordered 25 but around 35 ended up coming in. There is a slow acclimation process to get them adjusted to the tank water. They were all skiddish at first but now they are fully settled in.

Introducing them to their new home

In another post I'll go over how I got the tank water to begin the cycling process before adding the fish. They've been in the tank for two weeks and the water is almost cycled so they have definitely made it through the toughest part of their journey. The tank is 150 gallons and there's 35 of them so it will be tight if they all grow out to 1.5 pounds, but I'll be harvesting them in the process. Aquaponics does a great job of filtering the water so technically some people say 1 pound of fish per 3 gallons of water is feasible but it's really pushing the limit so I plan on keeping it closer to 1:5 at the most once all the fish are grown out. That's still six to nine months out so in the meantime they have plenty of space to call home.