What you need to know about Tilapia Fish

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 favored 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.

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 throughout 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 every time 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,

Cage Tilapia fish farming

Raising fish in cages is a successful system used in many parts of the world. It has replaced the traditional fish-growing method of earth ponds. Its advantages are well recognized and it is widely spread all over the globe.
The first and most important advantage is the unlimited amount of water surrounding the cages. This unlimited water supply provides vast amounts of oxygen and running water which is necessary for productive fish farming.
Secondly, the financial investment in such a system is much lower.
This system of cages is simpler in daily operation in comparison to any other commonly used method of growing fish.

Site Selection and Placement of Cages

Large bodies of water tend to be better suited for cage culture than small ponds, because the water quality is generally more stable and less affected by fish waste. Exceptions are entropic waters rich in nutrients and organic matter. Small (1 to 5 acres) ponds can be used for cage culture, but provisions for water exchange or emergency aeration may be required.
Cages should be placed where water currents are greatest, usually to the windward side. Calm, stagnant areas should be avoided. However, areas with rough water and strong currents also present problems.
Cages may be moored individually or linked in groups to piers, rafts, or lines of heavy rope suspended across the water surface. At least 5 meters should separate each cage to optimize water quality.
The cage floor should be a minimum of 4 meters above the bottom substrate, where waste accumulates and oxygen levels may be depressed. However, greater depths promote rapid growth and reduce the possibility of parasitism and disease.

Total production

Total production in cages increases as the stocking rate is increased. However, there is a density at which tilapia become too crowded and water quality within the cage deteriorates to a point that causes a decline in growth rates.
In cages, production should be limited to 30 -50 kg per cubic meter. Tilapia continues to grow above these levels at gradually decreasing rates, but they convert feed poorly, and the risk of loss due to oxygen depletion or disease is greater.
For maximum turnover of marketable fish, it is best to limit production to levels that do not depress growth. The total number of cages that can be deployed in a lake and therefore total fish production, is primarily a function of maximum allowable feeding rate for all cages in that body of water.
The total feed input is related to number and size of fish in the cages (the biomass) and is limited by surface area of the pond.