Tilapia in Aquaponics

October 07, 2021

If you’ve heard about aquaponics then you’ve heard about Tilapia! It’s no surprise that we had to introduce Tilapia as one of the Meet the Fish series members. Tilapia is probably one of the most commonly used fish in aquaponics system around the world. As promised, we will be discussing tilapia in aquaponics and if they are the best fish for your system.

Tilapia belongs to the Chiclid fish family and they are freshwater fish that usually enjoy inhabiting water bodies such as shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes. The Oreochromis and Coptodon Tilapia families are the most commonly farmed and they’re extremely tasty.

Friendly Tips for farming Tilapia in Aquaponics

Tilapia are versatile and are fairly easy to care for. They are quite a hardy species, making them a great choice for first time aquaponic farmers. Make sure to check the required permits needed to legally farm Tilapia in your area. But don’t worry, we can assist you in getting all the correct paperwork in place, check out our page on permits for some useful information.

Oreochromis Tilapia

These mouthbrooders are probably the most widely researched and 99% of all farmed tilapia belong to this particular family.


The Nile Tilapia are mostly herbivores but some tend to be omnivorous. These fish are quite cost-effective and can tolerate cooler water temperatures. However, in optimal conditions of temperatures of 25°C or higher, the Nile tilapia can grow from fingerling to 500g in just 6 months.

CO2 DO °C NH3 NH4 NO3 Salinity
< 45 ppm > 4 ppm 20 – 30 < 2 < 2 < 200 ppm < 20ppt


The Mozambique Tilapia or blue kurper is native to South Africa and is a great alternative to farm in areas where the Niloticus is not permitted. This species is more tolerant to cooler water but does have a slower growth rate. For a fish to reach 400g in weight, it could take between 9 and 12 months at optimal temperatures.

CO2 DO °C NH3 NH4 NO3 Salinity
< 45 ppm > 4 ppm 15 – 30 < 2 < 2 < 200 ppm < 20ppt
Tilapia in Aquaponics

Coptodon Tilapia

The Coptodon family are substrate layers which means that they lay their eggs on the floor of the tank as opposed to mouthbrooders that hold their eggs in their mouth.

Coptodon Rendalli

We think the Rendalli is a fantastic fish to use in your aquaponics system. With a much larger fillet to mass ratio of 50%, the Rendalli are a great choice for budding entrepreneurs. They are herbivorous which makes feeding a lot easier as you can use alternative feeds such as lettuce, duckweed and comfrey. With its natural diet, the Rendalli is one of the few commercially farmed fish that contain natural omega 3’s that add to its buttery texture. It can take between 9 and 12 months to reach 400g.

CO2 DO °C NH3 NH4 NO3 Salinity
< 45 ppm > 4 ppm 10 – 30 < 2 < 2 < 200 ppm < 20ppt

Coptodon Sparmanii

This species is one of the only Tilapia that can tolerate extremely low temperatures. The Sparmanii can tolerate temperatures down to 2°C. The downside to farming this species is that it will not grow much bigger than 100g. So this fish is ideal for aquaponic farmers who wish to focus more on their fresh produce than their fish.

We will always recommend Tilapia as a great option for aquaponic farmers. If you have any further questions regarding Tilapia in aquaponics, make sure to book a consultation with us.