Seafood is one of the nutritious food that you need to consume, though it is not suggested to consume it in a great amount. Fish is one of the best seafood that is rich in calcium and iron. Fish can be eaten both in raw and cooked condition. Everybody knows that eating undercooked or raw fish might be risky of getting infected by some bacteria brought by the fish. So, most people prefer eating cooked fish to raw.
Tilapia fish is good source of niacin, phosphorus, selenium, iron and vitamin B12. It is also rich in protein and cholesterol while low in sodium. It can also provide omega-3 fatty acids which are highly beneficial to the brain.
You may also be interested to read about 15 Fast and Natural Treatments of Food Poisoning from Fish to get to know more about how to handle yourself from getting poisoned by fish.
About Tilapia fish
Tilapia is a tropical fish and its famous for its inexpensive price. Besides, it is neutral in flavor and known as the most sustainable fish. Tilapia fish is an omnivore as it is eating bugs, plankton and even plants.
Tilapia fish is originated from Africa and farmed firstly possibly by the ancient Egyptian. Now, tilapia fish can be easily found in Latin America, China and Indonesia as they are farmed there.
Most Chinese or Asian restaurants will show you this tilapia fish swimming in their aquarium. Tilapia fish is commonly sold as skinless fillet in the market, but others will sell it alive.
One thing strange about this fish is tilapia fish is almost tasteless. Though it is rich in protein, but it is not as flavorful as tuna or anchovy. Some people said that tilapia fish does not taste like fish!
Fish is also one of the Foods Containing Vitamin B12 With Benefits.Read it to know more.
Why is it dangerous to consume undercooked tilapia fish?
Every food that you consume might be dangerous if it is not processed well, so does tilapia fish. Farm-raised tilapia fish is considered not good to be consumed, especially when it is raw or undercooked. Here are the reasons why undercooked farm-raised tilapia is not suggested to be consumed:
- causing inflammation
- rich in parasites
- containing toxin
- low level of nutrients
Risks and dangers of eating undercooked tilapia fish
Undercooked food always have their own risk. So, it suggested to avoid this kind of food if you do not want to get any health risk. Here are the risks and dangers of eating undercooked tilapia fish.
Tapeworm is one of the parasites you might get while consuming undercooked tilapia fish. Tapeworms might lead you to have anemia, pain and low energy. You will never know whether your fish is free of parasites, won’t you? So, instead of eating it in an undercooked condition, you had better cook the fish to kill the parasites.
2. Causing inflammation
Most studies show that eating tilapia is worse than eating bacon. Tilapia fish is considered having high level of inflammation. Serving of tilapia fish is containing more fatty acid than bacon. The higher level of fatty acid in tilapia fish might lead to cancer, heart disease and other chronic health problems.
Recent studies also show that the inflammatory potential found in tilapia is much greater than that you find in hamburger or bacon.
3. Feces fed fish
There was a study from US Department that show farm-raised tilapia fish are fed by feces of poultry. This feces fed fish is commonly coming from China and consumed in the US.
4. Alzheimer’s and cancer
Tilapia fish is believed carrying up to 10 times the amount of carcinogens. It happens because the food they use to feed the fish is feces, pesticide and industrial chemicals. As a result, tilapia fish might contain high level of arachidonic acid, which lead the consumers to Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Read How to Treat Cancer with Aloe Vera #1 Home Remedy to enrich your knowledge about how to treat cancer naturally.
5. Accelerated the growth using antibiotics
Antibiotics are used to feed most tilapia together with malachite green and methyl testosterone hormones. It is done to maintain the population and accelerate the growth of the fish. For your information, malachite green is already banned for food since 1983 as it is a suspected carcinogen.
Farm-raised tilapia fish are put in a space that is very crowded. This condition makes them become prone to diseases. That is why farmer put some antibiotics so the fish will be able to fight off the disease and will be stronger as well. Chinese tilapia are also given pesticides for killing sea lice.
Talking about antibiotics, it is also not really suggested for curing some health problems as elaborated in How to Cure Gonorrhea Naturally Without Antibiotics?
6. Rich in dioxin
There are some dangers of eating undercooked tilapia fish. Dioxin is a substance related to cancer progression and development. Most researchers have found this substance in tilapia fish because of the food the farmers use to feed them.
Undercooked fish can give you exposure to viruses. Norovirus is one of the viruses attacking people consuming undercooked fish. This virus is also contagious and dangerous as it can be spread from one person to another person. Once you are infected by this virus, you might have diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, fever, headache and stomach pain.
What to eat instead of tilapia fish?
Fish is actually a good source of nutrients for our health, but when it comes to pollutant and other chemical substances for feeding the fish, it is not good for our health anymore. Most studies and research show that wild-caught fish is lot better than the farm-raised one. Regarding to the food the farmers give to the fish, it is rich in substances that might lead to cancer and other chronic diseases.
So, what should you eat instead of tilapia fish? Go consuming salmon, but make sure the wild-caught one. It has proven more health benefits as it is rich in healthy fats that help you to stimulate your brain, joints, muscles and skin.
Besides, salmon is also rich in astaxanthin that is more powerful as antioxidant. It is very beneficial for absorbing free radicals.
So, when you are eating fish in a restaurant, please check whether the fish is wild-caught or farm-raised.
Tilapia fish is not really recommended to be consumed due to its health risks. However, if you still want to consume fish, you may consume other fish just like what I mentioned before. Consuming undercooked fish is also full of risk, so instead of raw or undercooked fish, you had better cook it. By cooking your fish to the proper temperature, you will have one step preventing negative risks for your health. Thus, be careful with the dangers of eating undercooked tilapia fish.
So, start thinking about your health now. Eating unhealthy food might be very tempting and delicious, but you will regret it later if you are not aware of the risks of eating those food. Always be aware and thoughtful before eating!
Raising tilapia at home is not as complicated as most people think. Personally, I used to think that aquaculture could only be practiced in a place with flowing water, but later I came to realize that this was not true.
I came to know that I didn’t need flowing water or a large pool of water to do tilapia farming at my home. The little water I trap from the roof was enough to practice aquaculture. Another thing I came to learn is that I didn't need to have a large field to keep this aquatic animal. The small space in my backyard was enough to breed this type of fish.
In case you didn't know, Tilapia is the third most farmed fish in the world. It is a good source of protein, always in high demand and quite profitable.
The fish is tolerant to a variety of living conditions. It can survive in a pond with a high stocking density, and relies on cheap feeds, such as cereals and vegetable diets. In addition, it grows fast and takes a few months to be ready for harvest.
In this article, I will teach you how to farm tilapia in your home backyard. If you are already carrying out the practice and you think you are not doing it correctly, this article can help you get it right. If you are just starting up, read on to learn how to construct a good pond, maintain proper levels of water, feed the fish and more.
How to Farm Tilapia in Your Backyard
- Construct and prepare a pond
- Add and maintain water
- Do stocking
- Provide right temperature, lighting and aeration
- Provide feed
- Prevent and control parasites
- Prevent, control and treat diseases
- Protect tilapia from predators
- Maintain and manage the pond
- Harvest your talapia
Before reading further, I want to introduce you to this practical manual on Tilapia farming. I'm happy I found this guide earlier before I started fish farming. It tremendously boosted my knowledge about aquaculture, allowing me to kickstart the activity with great confidence. It has everything a fish farmer needs to know, from pond construction and water management to fish care and harvesting. If you are serious about starting tilapia farming, then you should first of all get this manual. If you are already farming the fish and not seeing good results, probably you are missing this guide. You can get it and go through it (it's easy to understand), and you will definitely take your farming to another level.
1. Construct and Prepare a Backyard Pond for Raising Tilapia
Select the best site to construct your fish pond. Ensure the site is easily accessible to facilitate free movement to and from the structure. The site should be receiving enough sunlight, which is good for algae growth. This micro-plant is a great food for tilapia. Also, choose a place that is free from floods to avoid dirt water getting into the structure.
Consider the size of your backyard or garden to determine the size of the pond. Consider also the amount of fish you need on a monthly basis to come up with the right size. This size can get you started: 8 feet long, 4 feet wide and 2.5 feet deep. You can increase or decrease it, considering these two factors, but ensure one mature tilapia has a water space of 1 square feet or 0.5 cubic feet of water.
The next thing is to choose the type of fish pond that suits your specific needs. You can choose from earth ponds, kiddie pools, lined plywood troughs or fiberglass hot tubs. Earth ponds are preferred in places with soils that retain a lot of water and with low infitration rates. These types of ponds can also be constructed anywhere with the help of lining materials such as nylon paper sheets. They are easy to construct, but require a lot of maintenance work.
pond with nylon paper sheets
The other pond types are a bit expensive. You will need to buy their construction materials and hire an expert to install them for you. The best thing about these structures is that they require little maintenance work.
2. Add and Maintain Clean Water for Healthy Tilapia
Get water from a safe source, and the water should be clean. If you can’t use the water for drinking purposes, then it is not suitable for tilapia. You may have to filter and soften any water from a source that you don’t trust. If you are using a municipal source, ensure it is free from high levels of chlorine & nitrates and doesn’t have ammonia.
Use a suitable container to fill your pond. Do not use a hose to transfer water to the pond because the force of the flowing water can damage the structure, especially if it’s earthy or made of weak materials.
Some soils or pond materials can have harmful chemicals. Test the added water for any chemicals. Some chemicals that you should test and remove from the water include: mercury, lead and cadmium. Use detoxifiers to remove any toxic or heavy metals.
Ensure the water is at the right pH level. Tilapia survives in the 7-9 pH range. Test the pH and adjust it if it is not in this range. Use alkaline or acidic products to correct the pH.
Tilapia is a freshwater fish which means that it finds it difficult to survive in saline conditions. The salt levels should be below 18 parts per thousand (PPT). If you have to add salts to help with situations such as population control, keep them at lower levels.
Tilapia is a common seafood staple that can be seen from America to the Philippines. Amongst the numerous kinds of seafoods: from bangus (milkfish), crab, shrimp, to octopus, the tilapia has gained popularity for its relatively cheap price as dinner.
Reasons why it might it is as cheap as it gets is because of how easy it is to farm, making it inexpensive as far as fisheries are concerned. However, there are a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t eat tilapia such as:
1.) Less favorable amounts of omega-3 Fatty Acids
Compared to mackerel and salmon, tilapia has a lower amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 acids are an important anti-inflammatory agent that is critical in the development of the brain, and its cognitive function.
Furthermore, tilapia is said to contain unhealthy amounts of arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid, which while it plays an important role in repairing damaged tissue in the body, it has been linked to development of diseases.
Omega-3 balances omega-6 by preventing illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes. However, omega-6 does the opposite in higher dosages, and is responsible for promoting inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease.
2.) Unfit farming conditions (Being fed fecal waste)
Most farm-raised tilapia in China have been said to have bad farming regulations. One such practice is to use livestock waste on fields as fertilizers or even use it as feed for the fish (such as tilapia).
Tilapia is known as one of the hardiest types amongst consumable fish, and eat virtually almost anything it can set its teeth in. This makes it cheaper to feed them, which is why farmers save money on them as they feed them a diet of poop.
3.) Carcinogenic than other fish
As mentioned above, the tilapia is fed an unhealthy diet of fecal waste from livestock such as cows and pigs. Not only that, they are given pesticides. These conditions make them a potential threat to health as they can carry up to ten times the amount of carcinogens versus other types of fish raised in the farm.
4.) Genetically-modified farming
Since you have been reading this article, have you ever wondered why they ever produce as fast compared to other types of farm-raised fish? The answer to that is that they are fed antibiotics. Antibiotics such as methyl testosterone and malachite green are hormones that allow the tilapia to develop faster at a safe pace!
However, since 1993, malachite green is banned for commercial use in food because of the amount of carcinogenic properties found within it. Also, the Food and Development Authority (FDA) have found that tilapia fed with the antibiotics have an unhealthy amount of carcinogens inside them because of the hormones injected.
Word to the Wise
Eating tilapia is still a safe thing to do in moderation. Practicing proper cooking, supporting local farming with good food farming standards ensures that you will not be susceptible to the danger of eating bad fish!
Is Tilapia Bad For You?
When people think of healthy food options, fish is often near the top of their list. Over the past decade or so, one particular fish has had a bit of a public opinion nightmare. Tilapia is a highly popular fish, but there has been some studies and other reports that have caused many people to think that it is not good for you.
Tilapia’s Health Concerns
Much of the worry stemmed from a study that came out in 2008 from Wake Forest University of Medicine. The study reported that tilapia has an unwanted ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids. Lots of popular seafood’s, such as salmon, have a very healthy balance of these two types of fatty acids. Having the right balance allows the body to function properly. When there is too much Omega, it can cause inflammation, which can lead to a wide range of health problems.
When the study was published, the fatty acid ratios were compared to those of pork bacon. Of course, news agencies latched onto this little piece of the study and began reporting that eating tilapia was as bad for you like bacon.
In addition to this report, tilapia is also questioned because of where it comes from. 95% of the tilapia eaten in America is imported, and the vast majority of that comes from tilapia farms in China. This is because the climate is ideal for tilapia in that region, and China has built up quite a large fish farming industry. Unfortunately, many of these fish farms are located in areas of high pollution, and some of them are even fed with the feces from created by other animals.
Many people were very concerned with this when the news of it began to come out, and for good reason. While many animals eat the feces of other animals, tilapia would consume this much of it in the wild. Also, the feces are not always healthy because it is sometimes contaminated with salmonella or other troubling organisms.
Health Benefits of Tilapia
So, it is clear that there are some significant health concerns associated with consuming tilapia. That can be said of most foods so let’s look at the potential health benefits as well. First, like almost all seafood, tilapia offers a high amount of protein compared to the number of calories per serving. This makes it an excellent option for those who want the healthy protein without the excessive calories that are found in many other types of meat.
Another benefit is that it is very affordable. Compared to most other fish and many other types of meat, tilapia is quite cheap because it is much easier and less expensive to farm. While the price is not a health benefit, people can afford it more often, so they will get the advantages of eating fish on a regular basis.
It is also important to note that the tilapia farming issues that China had in the past are starting to improve. More and more farms are using fewer feces as food, and adding in other higher quality nutrition sources for the fish. While it is far too early to say that the problem is fixed, it is certainly on the right track. Seafood Watch has even listed Chinese-raised tilapia the ranking of ‘Good Alternative’ which means it is good to wild caught in most cases.
Consume Tilapia in Moderation
Most experts today agree that tilapia is not a fish that you want to eat every day. There are certainly some health concerns with it, but there are also significant health benefits. While it is typically not possible to easily figure out where farm raised tilapia came from, most of it is going to be fine to eat once in a while.
Consuming any fish in moderation is a good idea because almost all types of seafood have the potential for some issues. Tuna and salmon, for example, are prone to having high levels of mercury. For those who want all the amazing health benefits of seafood, but want to avoid the health risks, the best bet is to diversify what types you are consuming.
Having seafood or fish such as tilapia, salmon and lobster once a week or less is a great way to protect your body from any potentially harmful effects, while still benefiting from all that fish has to offer. When you work in other protein sources like beef, chicken, and pork, you will be on the path to a healthy diet that you can follow for years.
This article provides a quick guide to breeding males for tilapia farming and best practice for hatchery, grow out and slaughter, writes Lucy Towers, editor of TheFishSite.
The most common breed of tilapia farmed around the world is the Nile tilapia, which accounts for roughly 75 per cent of farmed tilapia.
Tilapia is a popular fish for aquaculture as it is very versatile and is tolerant of a variety of aquaculture environments; it can be farmed in brackish or salt water and also in pond or cage systems.
As an omnivorous animal, tilapia will eat diets composed of both animal and vegetable origin as well as algae/plankton. Tilapia will cope with a relatively low feed quality, making them a suitable species for feed of a lower nutritional value than might be neccessary for some other aquaculture species.
Most farmers choose to keep only male tilapia in the grow out stage. Male tilapia have proved to be more profitable as they grow bigger and are more time and energy efficient. Female tilapia tend to waste energy and time due to breeding.
Due to the rivalry nature of male and female tilapia, most farmers try to keep only male tilapia in grow out. Various techniques are currently in use to try and produce only male tilapia offspring. A few of the genetic advances in this area are listed below.
Methyltestosterone technique (MT)
This method involves adding methyltestosterone to the juvenile diet. This effectively makes females develop as males whilst the males are left unchanged. No residue from the chemical is left in the fish at harvest as it disappears after 30 days, but this technique still faces ethical and safety issues. It has been reported that this method can cause a degree of liver damage to the fish.
To try and reduce the use of MT, other methods have been developed such as, the YY method.
This technique produces YY chromosome males.
The first generation fry are treated with estrogen so that all XY females are produced. These are then mated with males that are known to be XY. This generation are then mated with XX females.
From this, it can then be determined which breeder fish are YY ‘supermales’ as they will only produce XY male offspring.
These fish can then be kept as YY breeding males.
For best hatchery practice it is sensible to stock one male to three females. In order to prevent the females from incubating their eggs orally, the eggs should be removed. This allows for better control of hatching and allows for the female to produce the next batch of eggs.
Pond, or hapa, rearing can be used for large numbers whilst a spawning tank for smaller numbers.
Jar hatching has also been found to be a good way of hatching larger numbers with little supervision.
For creating the best health conditions and for having the most control, tray hatching can be a more affective method to use. However the drawback of this is that it is very labour intensive and therefore not the most cost effective technique.
Once hatched, fry are then collected and moved to grow out ponds.
Unlike other fish, tilapia tend to be hardier against poor water quality. Best practice states that the dissolved oxygen level should be around 4mg/l. Low oxygen levels in water often lead to mass fish deaths but tilapia can cope in dissolved oxygen levels under 2mg/l, however it is not advised to let the quality reach this low as it will affect the growth performance, quality and health of the fish.
In terms of pH, tilapia can tolerate a wide wide range but a pH over 6.5 is good for algae growth which is useful as feed for the fish.
Temperatures around 25ºc are most favoured by the fish.
Tilapia can be stocked at densities up to 60 kg/m cubed (depending on water and management conditions). However, high stocking densities may have a negative impact on growth performance and health status. Low stocking densities, however, can often lead to aggression between the fish.
Despite its drawbacks, ice slurry is still the most common killing method used. This raises several welfare concerns regarding delayed loss of consciousness, adverse reactions and pain. Although the fish may become motionless, it may still be conscious for many minutes. Using ice can also lead to the fish meat quality being reduced.
A preferred method, when used correctly, is electric stunning. These systems are effective at killing instantly and maintaining fish meat quality. However this killing method needs to be carefully controlled to prevent flesh quality problems such as blood-spotting and heamorrhages.
Lets look at how to start a tilapia farm in your backyard. Tilapia grows nicely in the tropics and is hardy, easy to grow and has a high commercial value. The fish is a delicacy in West African countries like Togo, Nigeria and Ghana.
Ghana imports several metric tons of the fish monthly to satisfy the local consumption. Owning a Tilapia farm is a very lucrative business venture and may people are starting this new business.
The fish is a bony fish with white fillets and an oblong flat shaped body.
The delicious fish is good to eat and served in restaurants, bars, hotels and other outlets. The fish attracts a good price in the open market and when sold wholesale.
The backyard Tilapia farm is not capital intensive but strict provisions for the care of the fish is important.
Unlike catfish that can breath atmospheric air because of a crude lung. Tilapia will die if exposed to atmospheric air for a short period.
However, to successfully grow Tilapia in your backyard you need a lot of fresh water and a good pond.
Why grow Tilapia at your backyard
The size of the Tilapia farm depends on the purpose and capacity of the fish farmer. Backyard Tilapia farms need little maintenance or monitoring and are fun.
Tilapia fish are much more difficult to grow than catfish because they require constant monitoring and perfect conditions to grow. Tilapia fish farming can double as a form of recreation, leisure or business venture.
Have a business plan
The business plan should have provisions for finance, location, source of water supply and electricity. Other issues are feeding, stocking, cost of building your ponds including security.
The budget is to get a true picture of the cost implications of starting the business.
Once you have decided to go into Tilapia fish farming you need to set your priorities. The first step is to build your fish pond and install additional equipment.
You then find a fish breeder and buy some fast growing Tilapia fingerlings. The easiest and most efficient type of pond to stock your Tilapia fish is the above ground pond.
The size of the pond dictates the amount of fish you want to stock. You can also learn grow out and breading techniques to enhance your farming experience.
Financing your project
You need to get adequate finance for your Tilapia farm project. The cost implication involves price of acquiring the fingerlings, feeding them, electricity, pond construction and availability of water.
Building your pond at your backyard eliminates the cost of landed space. You can source finance from friends, colleagues, soft loans and personal savings.
You also need to draft a budget that takes into account all these variables.
It is important to know government regulations concerning fish farming in your area. The rules differ from country to state and even local government areas.
Luckily in Africa government encourages private initiatives and farming business. Some countries even have special research institutes that have high quality stock and training programs.
Tilapia is invasive specie so great care is necessary if introduced to an existing habitat.
Equipment needed for your Tilapia farm
The first and most important equipment is the pond or fish tank. The tank can be made from blocks or a ready made plastic pond.
The fish farmer can choose either an above ground or earthen pond for your Tilapia farm. The pond is constructed to retain water with a PH level of 7 and an inlet/outlet. It should be fitted with an aeration device and is deep enough for the fish to grow.
Some other equipment’s you might need are bio-filter, aerators and a good pumping machine. Other considerations are fish nets, fish feed and a generating set.
The business plan dictates the type of equipment you buy. You can choose to go into grow out Tilapia or Breeding business.
Setting up your Tilapia Farm
Tilapia will grow in different types of confinement which include dugout ponds and above ground ponds. Other types of ponds are glass tanks, plastic tanks, cordoned stream and immersed cage system.
For easy handling and efficiency use a plastic tank or block tank to grow your fish. Make sure your tank is properly aerated and has an inlet and outlet.
Once your pond is ready the next step is buying the fingerlings. You can source your fingerlings from local breeders or government establishments.
You can either buy fingerlings or fry to stock your pond. Fingerlings are easier to handle and a little costlier than fry. Fry need expert tendering to grow only experienced handlers can manage them.
Placing the fish in the pond
After purchasing the fingerlings you can’t just throw them into the pond without getting them acclimatized. The temperature and PH level should be similar to the one the fish presently grow.
The fish farmer can place the container of fish in the water for about ten minutes before gently releasing them into you pond. Another method is to slowly add water from your pond into the container till they have similar temperature.
Clear clean water is the most important aspect of Tilapia fish farming. Unlike catfish Tilapia will die quickly out of water so correct water change is crucial for the survival of your fish.
Growing your fish
Tilapia grows best in temperatures ranging from 80f-90f degrees. Lower temperatures of 75 f degrees will have a sluggish response in your fish and poor food conversion.
Much lower temperature of 55f degrees can kill your fish. Other important parameters that impact positively on your fish are PH level of 7-7.5, Nitrite 0.3mg, zero chlorine and 5-7ppm dissolved oxygen.
With proper care and optimum conditions of good water and feeding they reach adulthood in seven months. Tilapia breed easily in ideal conditions but they are also cannibals and would likely eat their young.
Selling your grow out
There is a large market for Tilapia and market women can buy your stock. You can either sell wholesale or retail or both depending on your marketing strategy.
You can grow a small quantity for personal use and sell the remaining fish. Tilapia fish farming is good business and dedicated farmers smile all the way to the bank.
Tilapia farming at home is an easy and exciting way to put the freshest fish on your family’s table. Your own farm raised tilapia will be the best tasting fish you’ve ever eaten. It will easily take on any gourmet preparation that you choose, without adding that “muddy river bottom” taste to your meals. Best of all, your own tilapia won’t cost $3.99 to $8.99 per pound. In fact, with just a little extra effort, you can even feed your backyard tilapia for free!
Professional tilapia farming made simple
We are Lakeway Tilapia. A full service hatchery, supplying breeding colonies and tilapia fingerlings for commercial aquaculture and backyard tilapia farming. We are deeply committed to educating those interested in starting up new tilapia farming operations, as well as improving the yields and profitability of existing tilapia farms. Our main website, LakewayTilapia.com, is filled with all sorts of technical information about tilapia fingerlings and tilapia farming. We are very proud of the accuracy that we maintain on our sites, however this level of technical expertise can sometimes be a bit overwhelming for the average backyard tilapia farmer.
We created Backyard Tilapia in an effort to keep things simple. Plain talk and a little bit of irreverence are at home here. We’re only going to focus on the techniques that are easily repeatable at home. We will utilize materials that can be purchased locally and methods that allow for a lot of deviation. Of course, we will be mindful of your money too and will always take the path of lowest cost, provided that it doesn’t negatively impact the quality of your tilapia harvest.
Your tilapia farm is our mission
Our primary mission with Backyard Tilapia is to enable food independence for you and your family. We will show you how to raise hundreds of pounds of tilapia per year in your own backyard or garage. That’s more than enough edible filets to feed the largest family, with plenty left over for friends and relatives. We’re also going to show you how to do this on a very tight budget. If you’re like most of us, the whole point of tilapia farming at home is to save money and enjoy a more self-sufficient lifestyle. As a bonus, your own farm raised tilapia will be the healthiest, cleanest, and best tasting you’ve ever had; one hundred percent free of any hormones or genetic modifications, and completely organic.
There are many tilapia farming methods that end with a fish on your plate. Our goal from the onset of this website, is to make sure that anyone can do it, without making it a full-time chore or maxing out their credit cards. If you agree with what you read here, please tell everyone about Backyard Tilapia, if you don’t agree then please tell us.
Food independence is within your reach
Two hundred years ago, seventy percent of all Americans worked on the farm. Today, less than one percent of the population works in farming and only about one third of American homeowners are taking the time to do any vegetable gardening at all. The number of households engaged in animal protein farming is so low that there isn’t even a reliable statistic for it. Our modern way of life dictates that we are supposed to work at a job in exchange for money and then spend that money to buy all of the things that we need, including our food. The irony of this societal conformity is that we could have produced much of this food ourselves in just a few minutes per day and then used the savings to enhance our lives in other ways or possibly even worked a little bit less.
The next time that you are at the grocery store, think about how many hours you had to work for each item that you put in the shopping cart. The cost of meat is outrageous and a big part of why so many people have given it up entirely and now the price of fish is going up too. The problem of rising prices isn’t being created by greedy farmers, it’s all of the middlemen including co-ops, processors, distributors, suppliers and the grocery stores themselves, who step in after the harvest. By farming your own fresh tilapia at home, you are literally eliminating everyone between you and your food. Instead of working at your job just to line the pockets of multi-national food conglomerates, you can keep your money for all of the things that you can’t make yourself. You will soon discover a secret that a growing number of people in America are getting to know. Growing your own food and farming your own tilapia requires far less of your time and effort, than the job you do to earn the money that you trade at the grocery store.
For tilapia to play a key role in food security, aquaculture feed and disease management are vital. A single disease (streptococcus) is responsible for about one billion US dollar annual losses globally. A newly detected pathogen, Tilapia Lake Virus, is threatening production in an increasing number of countries.
The IDH Aquaculture Program pilots projects as to learn how to reduce disease occurrences and to improve feed efficiency. We believe this can be done by strengthening partnerships and by adopting technology.
Project in Hainan, China
In China, IDH is partnering with China Blue, ProGift, Xiang’ Tai, Joann IT, Yu2Le, The Fishin’ Company, and the Hainan Tilapia Sustainability Alliance in a three-year project in Hainan Province. The aim of the project is to increase partnerships and implement the use of farm data to control diseases and improve feed efficiency. We build an information system that includes data from value chain players, as well as data from automated sensors placed in tilapia ponds. This data is analyzed by scientific institutions, and the value-chain players receive feedback and advice on how to improve feed and disease management. This leads to improved practices, and increased domestic and export market access. We link financial institutions to the project, so that they better understand risk levels of aquaculture producers.
Lessons learned in 2018
In 2018, the project strengthened collaboration and increased the use of data and technology. Farmers purchased a 24-hour sensor that measures dissolved oxygen levels and water temperature. The sensor is connected to an app in which farmers manually record daily practices, including feeding, water management and disease treatment. This reminds and warns farmers on whether the water in their ponds requires action.
A working group was established that conducted bi-weekly and monthly on-site inspection. The project convened 8 parties of the value chain on an agreement. All stakeholders receive performance and growth data. Such data help their business: the hatchery now knows how well its fingerlings grow; and the processing plant can reduce costs for sampling because they knew there were no antibiotics used.
The first year of the project was challenging. The Internet of Things system (the sensor and the app) did at first not fit the open and tropical environment in Hainan. Although the selected system was the best option available in China’s market the IOT system faced many problems: the sensor was too sensitive, the wireless connection broke and the unstable electricity led to failures. This discouraged farmers, as the data was not accurate.
We learned that technology company should not only train farmers on how to use their equipment, but also adjust their equipment to different circumstances, such as tropical storms and unstable electricity supply. Furthermore, receiving data on the water temperature and dissolved oxygen is one thing, putting this information into management actions that increase the health of the fish is another. This requires a translation of the raw data into practices on how to farm fish, and the technology companies did not necessarily have this knowledge available.
We also learned that this approach, although it was adopted to a limited number of farmers, led to results. The farmers involved in the project improved their feed efficiency from 1.55 to 1.35, and their survival rates increased from 65% to 84%.
Learning Event in November 2018
In November, a learning event was organized in Hainan which brought together stakeholders from the Hainan aquaculture sector, government officials, technology companies, and financial institutions, who discussed data-driven management for a sustainable tilapia industry. The participants showed a strong interest for data-driven management.
The conference showed that the problems in the project are common. Mr. Yang Honglei of the Hainan Seafood Alliance Trading Co., Ltd. underlined that the bottlenecks for the Hainan Tilapia industry to move towards a data-driven approach is the lack of well-developed sensors and a lack of interest from farmers. Professor Lin Shiwei of Hainan University said that the problems of the equipment for these technology solutions are widespread.
IDH introduced technology companies active in the aquaculture industry, to present their solutions to the Chinese participants to encourage cross-learning. The Canadian company XpertSea introduced their hardware and software, that uses artificial intelligence and integrates big data as to help farmers improve their farming practices. The Indonesian company JALA, which combines water quality sensors with a data platform for the Indonesian Shrimp industry, showed that overall yields of shrimp can be increased by 20%. FairAgora explained that trust of farmers remains critical for collecting data. The participants of the conference were inspired by seeing innovative services of technology companies outside of China.
The financial sector showed their interest in the topic. China Pacific Property Insurance explained that insurance companies are facing high risks. They see the potential of data for developing better insurance products. The crowd was also inspired by a system applied in animal husbandry of Alibaba Cloud ET. This system uses big data to provide access to finance without using collateral. Zheng Wei, a senior commissioner at Hainan Bank mentioned that data can provide credit ratings.
These lessons will be integrated into the project in Hainan and elsewhere as to drive the aquaculture sector towards more efficient use of natural resources.
Tilapia is the second most farmed fish around the world, with commercial farming done in more than 85 countries. Approximately 98% of the tilapia produced every year are grown in farm-raised aquaculture environments. In the United States, around 9 million kilograms of the fish are produced by just 100 farms. With such concentration of the production in the hands of few commercial growers, for anyone looking to turn this into a business opportunity, it begs the question, “Is farming tilapia profitable?”
Farming tilapia can be profitable when done correctly. However, tilapia farmers still have to account for the rising startup and operating costs in the industry. A tilapia farm operators’ success will depend on how well they can keep their costs low without adversely affecting the health and growth of the fish. If you’re planning to start a tilapia farm, read on to learn about the essentials of tilapia production and some tips on how you can make your business profitable.
How Do You Start a Tilapia Farm?
Tilapia is one of the easiest fish species to farm because it grows quickly, and it can survive and breed even in less than optimal environments. Before you get started, decide how large your operation is going to be. It’s best to start small and then gradually scale up as demand rises or if you want to earn more profit.
- How big do you want your project to be? Are you planning to raise enough for your family’s consumption, or are you in it to eventually earn massive profits? Knowing how large you want your operations to be will help you more accurately identify your projected expenses.
- While tilapia farming may not be as costly as farming other fish species, you’ll still need to prepare a sizable budget to invest in the equipment such as tanks, hire manpower, spend on daily operating expenses such as feed, water, oxygen, and other fixed costs.
- Check your local and state regulations. Are you allowed to convert your land into a tilapia farming facility? Do you need to apply for a business license or permit to start your operation? What other legal requirements do you need to comply with to get started?
- Make sure you actually know what you’re doing. Learn the basics of tilapia breeding and farming. If you’re going into this venture blindly, it’s impossible to keep your business sustainable . Invest in short courses, read books, or check online resources about tilapia aquaculture.
- Set up your tank or pond safely. Get experienced technicians to help you out if you’re a novice at equipment installation. Always opt for high-quality materials that will last you for a long time. This won’t just save you money in the long run, it will also help ensure the proper development of the fish you’re growing.
How Do You Raise Tilapia?
After you’ve successfully set up your tilapia pond or tank, it’s now time to bring in the fish. Purchase only from reputable sellers, so you’re certain that the tilapia you’re going to raise is healthy.
Here are the steps to follow when raising tilapia:
Hatching refers to the process of managing breeding colonies, providing the right conditions to induce egg extraction and spawning, and ensuring the survival of the tilapia fry.
Rearing is also referred to as the grow-out stage. These are the activities you need to do after the tilapia “grows out” of the fingerling size. During this period, you’ll need to regularly test, sort, and weigh the fish you’re growing.
After about 8 months of proper care, your tilapia should have grown to anywhere between 450 and 600 grams. At this point, you can safely harvest your fish and sell them.
How To Improve the Tilapia Farming Profit Margin
Below are some useful tips to ensure and enhance the profitability of your tilapia farm:
● Make sure that your tilapia grows well into adulthood by providing the best breeding conditions. Make sure that the pond or tank is well-lit since female tilapia are more likely to breed when they get enough light. Pay attention to water quality and make sure it’s free from toxic or dangerous substances. Maintain the optimal temperature — remember tilapia are warm-water fish.
● Feed is the top operational cost for any type of fish farm. If you have a medium-sized or large farm, it might be more cost-effective for you to produce your own feed pellets instead of purchasing them. Just make sure that the feed you’re producing is customized to the exact dietary and nutritional requirements of tilapia.
● It might take you more than two production cycles before you see any significant profits from your business. Don’t get discouraged, and be prepared to eat up the costs in the early stages.
Conclusion: Is Farming Tilapia Profitable?
Because of their rapid growth and breeding rates, tilapia is one of the easiest and most profitable fish species to raise and farm today. While tilapia farming is not without its drawbacks and risks, it can be a profitable venture. With proper planning and investment in the right resources, you’ll eventually see significant success.
The Campbells love finding sustainable and fun ways to increase their independence from traditional brick and motor supermarkets. Aquaponics provides a full lifecycle food source for families and a great hobby. #aquaponicslifestyle
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