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A Guide to Grow Tilapia Fish for Starting a Small Scale Business [A-Z]

By Adam Travison March 12, 2018

Nowadays tilapia is one of the most popular fish to cultivate. From the ancient age, people grow tilapia fish on their farm. This farming is known as a commercially successful business. As like grass carp farming this farming can change your fate. There are several methods to cultivate this fish. Here we tried to focus on the most beneficial process which will improve its productivity.

How to start a tilapia fish farm:

To begin with, it is necessary to have an adequate design of the ponds or tanks. This allows the efficient management of water.  In this farm, there should be drainage for harvesting and maintenance of the fish container. The quality of the feed will allow the fish culture to grow well.

The culture of tilapia is currently very profitable farming business. There are two types of breeding that are the most important: intensive and hyperactive intensive.  We discuss the whole process below.

How to start tilapia fish farm || Grow Tilapia

How to start tilapia fish farm

Best tilapia species:

Tilapia can be discovered in lakes, ponds, marine habitats, watercourses, estuaries, and seafaring conditions. They favor tropic conditions with water temperatures in the 25-30 ºC range. Some varieties can tolerate cold colds down to 8 or 9 ºC.

Name Short Description Reason/ Whether
Nile Tilapia The ancient species from Egypt. After five to seven months at approximately 1-2 pounds. Anywhere,

Water type: Fresh lake water.

Blue Tilapia Gain 2-4 pounds in a year. Northern Africa and the Middle East, USA, Part of Asia. Grow in cold temperature also

Water: Fresh and Saltwater

 Mozambique Tilapia Can reach over 2 pounds in a year.  Can’t grow in cold or salty water.
Andersonii The best-tasting species with a small head.  Suitable for cool-water culture.
“Abbassa’ and ‘Akosomb’ Hybrid from Nile Tilapia Grow 30% faster.
 Rendalli  Largely herbivorous Attractive for the aquaponics industry.
Monosex Tilapia Hybrid. Grow very first in the pond for twice a year. India, Bangladesh, South Africa, USA

Everything you need to know to grow tilapia [Guide]:


Everything you need to know to grow tilapia

The basic and advanced things you need to know before starting to harvesting is pointed down. Learning about this will help you to be a successful tilapia fish farmer. We try to discuss all the materials you will need to acknowledge. Let’s start by learning the basics…

Where to Grow tilapia fish?

Grow tilapia fish possible in a variety of conditions, including fish ponds, cages, raceways, and tanks. Residential producers have even started growing them in trash cans.

But if you like to grow tilapia fish for profit you need a set of ponds or tanks. Depending on your budget it could vary from 8 to 12 tanks or even more.

How fast tilapia grows:

It takes about eight months which is thirty-two to thirty-four weeks to reach 450-600 grams. Though, organic farming depends on many factors like food, weather, and care.

How to secure the profit:

In order to secure the profit firstly, you have to understand the problems related to these farming methods. This is so important for starting up successful commercial farming. In fact, we have some issues on our farm.

So we decide to talk to other successful tilapia fish farmers. As Soon, The modern farmer's blog reaches to those farmers they help us to write the best tilapia fish farming article. The common causes of failures are:-

  • To much fingerlings: The tilapia fish is very productive in terms of breathing new baby fish. Which create an unwanted situation. The female spawn about 200-1000 eggs after every 4-6 weeks. Do you afford that? to feed or grow?

There is a solution to this- Monosex Tilapia Farming Method. Which allows us to farm only male tilapias.

  • Lack of nutrition: Generally people do not have the proper knowledge of age-based nutrition. We will give you the proper guideline on that.
  • Sell related Problems: Again this is a very commonly done mistake that most of the farmers misunderstood. As with any other fish, the tilapia fish have a quick growth stage and slow growth stages.

Let's think that,

You have some fish in your pond. Now they will require foods and spices. If they don't grow weight any time soon. But you are feeding them. As they are not growing weights your foods are being wested. So what can you do? Read Catching / Harvesting [ How & When].

Ensure the quality of water and nutrients:

Water is one of the most important things. As you know tilapia can survive in dirty water. You don’t want to produce poisonous fish in your firm.  Bacteria, viruses, pathogens and other infectious organisms are harmful to the human body. So it will be wise to provide fresh water to your pond or tanks.

What’s about  nutrients:

General Food Cart for Tilapia. Divide the total amount of food needed with serving time. Make sure you don’t waste any feed.

Assumed-size of fish Amount of Feed per day /per fish Approximate Time after stoking Times a Day
5-40 g 1g 1-2 month 3-4
40-100g 2-3g 2-3 month 3-4
100-400g 3-4 g/fish 3-5 month 3
400+ 4-5 g/fish 5 months + 3

Tilapia pond design [Make circular Container]:

tilapia fish pond

tilapia fish pond

In an ideal farm model, you require eight circular ponds/tanks. In the cultivation systems, there are two types of aeration. These are vertical and the horizontal. The first vertical creation goes from the bottom to the surface. This type of aeration gives us by an apparatus. That is aquaculture called blower. This system used in the first stages of cultivation.

Since you see the fish until they weigh 45 grams. So, this stage can store 180 to 200 tilapia fishes per cubic meter of water. And, It is representing 14 to 16 thousand tilapia fishes per pound. This weight he will require two additional tanks to the first one. In the second stage, between 85 and 100 animals handled per cubic meter. This is where the horizontal aeration type is required.
Note: Circular tank pond is recommended, not essential.

Divide the container for better production:

For the commercial cultivation, this is essential to ensure the fastest growth of tilapia. If you have eight containers, with four them, you could have a constant, uninterrupted production. So you can be steering profits approximately every month. So, start with half of the pond/tank then another month start another half in another and so on. If you tried to increase the number of ponds, Still, it is in multiples of four.

In tilapia, farming system, the fish depends entirely on feed. In this system, you do not need external aeration systems. Only an efficient water exchange when required. A very important point is that any of the two farming systems. It is very important to have a monosexual tilapia. Therefore, there is an unwanted reproduction. Since the tilapia is very early and after two months. They begin to reproduce and could leave the producer far from profitability.

Standard tilapia fish tank/ pond size:

Now, in a pond should be of 20 by 40 meters. The standard size is 800 square meters. The depth that we are going to have is 1 meter 20 centimeters. It represents 960 cubic meters of water.

If we handled 10 tilapia per cubic meter, 9600 fish would be stored in this pond. The most important when growing tilapia fish is the balanced feed. It estimated that 1.7 kilograms of food would give to harvest a kilogram of meat. It is important to know the ideal weight of harvested tilapia is 500-600 grams. In the standard pond, we estimate to produce 4800 kg. That means a total of 9600 of tilapia that are, 4800-5500 kilograms of product.

Note: The adult tilapia fish weight is in between 1kg-4 kg. To achieve adulthood it requires 2-3 yr naturally.    

Primary Cost:  starting a small-scale business – Aquaculture tilapia farming

This small-scale or bigger business depends on the production system. If it is floating fish cultivation, it requires a lower investment. The cost of the building calculates one hectare in a floating area. The production capacity for 20 tons of Tilapia the cost per year corresponds to 5 thousand dollars.


A floating cage for continental water conditions of 20 meters in diameter. Three in-depth has a cost of 4 thousand dollars. It produces 60 tons of biomass per year. That the distribution of the cost as follows: 55% for a balanced feed, 8% for fingerlings and 37% for production and administrative costs.

Homemade organic tilapia feed

Homemade organic tilapia feed:

To grow tilapia fish you either buy feeds from the local market or made feeds in your house. As they eat frequently everything. Homemade pellets are one of the best for feeding. It made with  Rice Bran, Corn, Oat Groats, Canola Meal,  Alfalfa Meal, or  Linseed Meal, along with vegetables.

You can give those feed directly in your tank.  It will damage the water very quickly. So we suggest buying feeds for tilapia until they are 4 months old.

Feeding methods for a Small Tilapia Fish Farm

The average survival of the fish determined by 99%. The growth of tilapia fish around 960 grams per organism. To achieve this result, the researchers modified the way of feeding the organisms. The amount of food determined by the percentage of biomass.

Our recommendation is to give a balanced feed to the fish. This should be floating composed. It is mainly of flours of vegetable origin. It can be soy, corn, and wheat-soybean oil and fish, vitamins, and minerals.

This  is the deal:

As the fish increase in size, the level of protein in the food decreases. This is going from 38% for small fish, to 24% for commercial size fish.

For an entrepreneur, the best seasons of harvest and Commercialize are Lent and Holy Week. Aquaculture production should increase by 40% by 2030. The innovations in genetic improvement outlined. In this workshop is an important step towards achieving these ambitious objectives.tilapia feeding procedure

Make Appropriate Food ratio

There are several types of balanced foods. That used during the cultivation. Initiating food is expensive. It is close to 20 pesos per kilo. The rest of the food consumed costs around 10 pesos. Therefore, the average price during the whole tilapia is 12.50.

Another cost is that of the animal, depending on the laboratories. That sells them can vary from 60 to 75 cents per fish.

Estimated feed required:

The most important matter to grow tilapia fish is the balanced feed. It estimated that about 1.7 kilograms of food produce a kilogram of meat. For every hundred tilapia it needs 170kg feed. Theoretically, the standard 100 fish weight is about 50-55kg.

The proper Types of cultivation methods:

Every producer should consider the basic principles of aquaculture quantity, quality, and continuity of water. We will see what is required of water to use in each pond. Know if all the time you have the same quantity and quality in the water.

Once you say with the quantity is with the continuity of the water. You can proceed to install your hatchery.

There are five ways to grow tilapia: extensive, semi-intensive, intensive, hyper-intensive, and industrial. There is profitability is in intensive and hyperactive intensive crops. The difference between these two systems one made in a land pond. Above all the other is in a pond of material.

Intensive cultivation

The intensive, the biologist mentions that with a pond on land. There have to be at least four pounds of approximately 20 meters by 40. This shape is rectangular to grow tilapia fish.

Another key point each one should have a slope. The floor should have a slope with an entrance and an exit separately. Stresses in this type of crop can handle 10 to 15 animals per cubic meter. It is to have the generalities mentioned.

Intensive Hyperactive Cultivation

The second method profitably is the hyperactive intensive. Here the ponds are circular. The system consists of a circular pond with a conical bottom. The ponds have a drain in the center. You should prepare ponds properly. Commercially there are four sizes of ponds.

The ideal is that which has 9.40 meters in diameter. It holds about 80 cubic meters of water. These ponds cost between $ 1200 and $1300.

Monitoring Procedure:

Monitoring ProcedureA great advantage is in the two profitable breeding systems. That is only one person needed to manage them. It requires monitoring the temperature, oxygen levels.

This essential to concentration levels of ammonia in the system. There are commercial companies that sell this basic equipment.

And if we want to recover the contained nutrients. You can execute in the hydroponic culture. And, this phase of the research we have just started.

Most Production of tilapia:

The majority of Tilapia production is concentrated in the Colombia Dam. This is a department of Huila. Their production reaches 35,000 tons per year.

The second order is the Villavicencio area. The rest of the production atomized in the other regions of the country. It corresponds to the first marine species to grow in Colombia.

This crop made in floating cages in the open sea. It expected to harvest about 400 tons this year. Export fresh to the United States market.

Monosex Tilapia Fish farming method:

Monosex tilapia fish farming is a method of only growing tilapia male fish. Female fish are reproductive. They give birth about 200 – 1,000 fingerlings and in every 4-5 weeks. Which take more than 6 months to become mature.

But the pain in the back is? If you have 100 female it will give birth to 2000-10000 fingerlings. You literally dump! The solution of that is Monosex tilapia fish.

Method of cultivation of Monosex tilapia:

Monosex Tilapia is cultivated in two stages. nursery and reservoir pond. It is possible to get more production from the same pond in less time.

The food and caring method are like above. You just farming only male fishes.

Catching / Harvesting [ How & When]

Catching or Harvesting Tilapia

Tips to grow tilapia fish faster and improve productivity:

  • When the fish reach 180 or 200 grams. Divide the fish into different pounds.  At this time, the fish will require more space to move.
  • You can repeat the same process when they are about 300 grams. In the end, to grow tilapia you will need eight ponds.
  • A diet adjustment is needed after two of those above steps. This is crucial for improving productivity.
  • When they gain weight about 400g put them into the separate tanks.

Catching fish for sale:

If you grow tilapia fish, you will notices that they grow very first. That’s why raising them is profitable.

  • Catching them for sale starts when they become 400g.
  • But we recommend Harvesting them when they become 500g. Because people found it more profitable.

Thanks. Please Add your valuable comment below. In this post, we tried to focus on many aspects to grow tilapia fish. Let us know if you find this helpful.

A die heart farmer. Loves farming and growing various things in his backyard. He is one of the founder member of Farming Method- The Modern Farmers Blog.

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26 comments on “A Guide to Grow Tilapia Fish for Starting a Small Scale Business [A-Z]”

    1. Highly enlightening!Knowledge and technology sharing is so important for nutritional security. Commercial scale farming in tanks can take care of the demand supply gap in India. Will be happy if complete solution can be provided at the most competitive cost.

  1. Singing worship songs are sweet but that?s not the one approach to worship.? Daddy stated, possibly to make Larry stop singing.
    ?There are lots of ways to worship.

  2. i like your website it is very amazing. But is it possible to get your website in french? Sometime the knowledge in english of some people is not really good so it sometime difficult to understand completely what is saying! thank you and congratulation to you!

  3. I grow tilapia naturally in a pond. I want to sell my fish, but the fish buyer says that I have to have a permit. Can you help me?

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