Tilapia is very popular in the aquaculture industry because it proliferates easily, fast growing, tolerant to handling and wide range of environmental conditions and highly resistant to poor water quality as well as diseases. Also, consumers perceived tilapia as nutritious, palatable and marketable.
Tilapia are considered very hardy type of fish. In terms of water salinity, tilapia could tolerate 0-18 ppt, depending on the species. They can even tolerate less than 0.3 mg/L dissolved oxygen level but of course DO should always be maintained above 4 mg/L especially in a high stocking density cultivation. Optimum pH to grow tilapia is between 6-9 and ammonia level should be less than 0.05 mg/L.
Tilapia are omnivorous fish and depending on their life stages, they require 28-40% protein in their diet and could tolerate higher dietary fiber in their diet. The preferred method of feeding tilapia is broadcasting by hand. During feeding time, since they are active swimmers they would just readily swim to the direction where the feeds are being broadcasted. Feeding time is also a good time for fish farmers to assess the growth and condition of the fish.
Tilapia could be harvested through seine nets with appropriate mesh size so as not to include smaller sized ones. Be careful in handling and to preserve the freshness, farmers may opt to put the fish in the ice slurry after harvest.