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Red Nile Tilapia, Oreochromis Niloticus
The Red Nile Tilapia is a relatively large cichlid fish. The Tilapia is the most populap fish species used in Aquaponics due to their ability to easily breed, fast growing, and can withstand various water conditions. Tilapia is also the most popular fish for home and commercial projects that are intended to raise edible fish. Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines traditional Aquacuculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish in tanks) with hydroponics cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. They can feed on algae or any plant-based food, which makes them important in aquaculture. Red Tilapia work great in aquaponic systems as they serve as a natural biological control for most aquatic plant problems.
Adults can reach up to 24 inches in length and up to 9.5 pounds. The Red Nile Tilapia can live for up to 9 years. They can tolerate brackish water and survive in temperatures between 55 and 108 degrees. In general they thrive on warmer temperatures. The Red Nile is an omnivore, feeding on plankton and well as aquatic plants, algae, duckweed and typically feed during daytime hours. To obtain the necessary nutrients, night feeding may also occur due to competition for food during the daylight hours.
Typical of most fish, the Nile Tilapia reproduces through mass spawning of a brood within a nest made by the male. With the proper environmental conditions, tilapia can easily reproduce and provide ample fish for home consumption or for grow out for commercial farms.