Tilapia Fish Farming In BioFloc – A Beginners Guide

Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks

Tilapia Fish Farming in Tanks

Hello fish lovers, we are here with a new topic of “Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks“. Fish is the most easily digestible animal protein and it is obtained from natural sources for consumption. Fish farming has become the easier method of increasing fish production and its availability for consumption. Tank fish farming in tanks is a good alternative to pond or cage fish culture. Nowadays, Tilapia fish is one of the most popular fish to rearing in tanks. Tilapia farming in India has become a trend in the fish farming industry. The Tilapia fish is easily adaptable and it becoming one of the easiest ways to farming fish because it can be applied in various farming sizes.

Tilapia fish grows well at high densities in the tanks when good water quality is maintained. This is accomplished by aeration and continuous water exchange to renew DO supplies and remove wastes. Tilapia can be grown successfully in ponds, cages, raceways, and tanks. Urban farmers have even reported raising them in trash cans. Now, let us get into the details of Tilapia fish farming in tanks.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks

Guide to Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks
Guide to Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks (Image Credit: pixabay)

Tilapia fish farmers have been given two alternatives to pond culture that are tank culturing and cage culturing. Tank culturing fish rearing is utilized in areas where there is a shortage of suitable land and water. If you are using a tank for raising fish, you will need to purchase the materials required to set up these systems. If you are using tanks for raising Tilapia, particularly where the water is not being recirculated, you may need to condition the water for a few days before introducing your fish. So set up a cultural environment and it is probably best to start small and then evolve into a larger system, as your experience grows. Tilapia fishes are sensitive but they will help to keep your tank clean. Tilapia fish farmers need a costly energy source to maintain a tropical temperature range.

Different types of Tanks for Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks

Different types of fish mature at various rates, so your choices in the number and size of tanks change with the type of fish you plan to grow. At a minimum, you need a tank for newly hatched fish called fry, a tank for fingerling and at least one tank for raising fish to finish size. Depending on the water source you plan to use, you may need a tank for conditioning replacement water. If you plan to raise fish food species on-site, you’ll need a tank. Generally, plastic, concrete, metal, wood, glass, rubber, or plastic sheeting are all used as tank materials; your main consideration in selecting the material for any type of tank is its ability to hold water and remain non-toxic to fish. Select a smooth material that won’t scratch fish that brush against it for a healthier fish.

The Tilapia fish tank culture requires artificial feeds thus water management is critical. Rectangular concrete tanks are suitable for rearing fishes in limited areas. Fish tanks of size 20 to 500 square meters and 1.2 to 1.5 meters deep may vary in shapes. Tilapia farming in India is highly profitable.

Tanks come in a different range of sizes, but circular and rectangular are the most common types of tanks. Circular tanks are used for nursery purposes and are often used for growth. Different fish species like different water conditions. Then, to discover what condition the water is in, we will have to complete regular pH level testing.

Flow-through systems – For rearing Tilapia, the most durable tank materials are concrete and fiberglass. Other suitable materials but less durable materials include wood coated with fiberglass or epoxy paint, and polyethylene, vinyl, or neoprene rubber liners inside a support structure like coated steel, aluminium, or wood. Tank material must be non-toxic and noncorrosive.

For rearing fishes tanks come in different variety of shapes, but the most common forms are circular and rectangular. For Tilapia fish farming, circular tanks are popular because they tend to be self-cleaning. Rectangular tanks are very easy to construct but have poor flow characteristics. For Tilapia fish culture, circular tanks provide better conditions than rectangular tanks. Generally, the size of circular culture tanks can be as large as 100 feet in diameter and from 4 to 5 feet in depth. Though rectangular tanks are variable in dimensions and size, for proper operation raceways have specific dimension requirements. The length to width to depth ratio must be 30:3:1 for good flow patterns.

Advantages of Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks

It is easier to meticulously control the environment in a tank than in a pond, for example when it comes to water temperature, pH level, and oxygen content. Moreover, it is easier to keep the tank free from birds and snails compared to pond culture. Feeding and harvesting are less labor-intensive in tanks than in ponds. The natural breeding behavior is disrupted when Tilapias are stocked in high density in tanks. Then, the adult fish can put more energy into growing when they do not have to compete for food with their offspring.

Tank culture for rearing fish offers several advantages over pond culture. In fish ponds, mixed populations breed so much that parents and offspring compete for food. Fish tanks allow a high degree of environmental control over parameters like water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH level, waste that can be adjusted for maximum production. With tanks, feeding and harvesting operations need much less time and labor compared to ponds. Though, small tank volumes make it practical to treat diseases with therapeutic chemicals dissolved in the culture water. Tank culture for fish rearing can produce high yields on small parcels of land.

Choosing Fish Species for Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks

Tilapia Fish Fingerlings


Tilapia Fish Fingerlings (pic source: pixabay)

The important Tilapia species for tank culture are Tilapia nilotica, T aurea, Florida red Tilapia, and Taiwan red Tilapia. Many states prohibit the culture of certain species.

Tilapia nilotica has the highest growth rate under tropical conditions. Some Tilapia fish species like Florida red Tilapia grow nearly as fast as Tilapia nilotica and have an attractive reddish-orange appearance. Tilapia aurea fish grow at the slowest rate, but this fish species has the greatest cold tolerance and has the highest growth rate in below optimum temperate regions.

The perfect fish species for tank raising will mainly depend on several factors like climate and availability. Examples of Tilapia fish species that are popular in rearing tanks are Nile Tilapia, Blue Tilapia and the manmade Tilapia forms Florida Red and Taiwan Red. Nile Tilapia fish grows much faster in tank culture, but only when kept in tropical conditions.

Blue Tilapia– Blue Tilapia fishes are perfect for raising fish in tanks. It can start a breeding colony in a smaller tank or big tanks if they don’t want to buy fresh stock for each rising outrun. To prevent a great deal of water quality and feed control, stocking densities should be modest.

Blue Nile Tilapia- It is one of the common varieties for small-scale aquaculture systems. It is also called Rocky Mountain White Tilapia. They are fast-growing, disease-resistant, and pretty, tolerant of bad water conditions. Then, there would be an ideal water temperature level of 23 to 29°C.

Initial Stage Feeding Tips in Tilapia Fish farming in Tanks

This is very importnat step of Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks.

  • Dosage of food application is important.
  • Food application – 3 times a day.
  • The water quality in the tank is maintained by regularly changing the cold freshwater.
  • During their stay in the transient tank, the small fry is counted and then transferred to the other tank.

Set Up for Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks

For bigger-scale fish farming, a bigger size of tank is good for rearing Tilapia fish. For small fish-scale farming, smaller size tanks available for beginners or those who want to try smaller size ones. You don’t have to create or prepare the tank because there are many fish farming tanks for sale.

Chose the fish tank sizes by considering how many fish that you are raise in that farming tank, and also the size of the space available in your space.

Although Tilapia fish can grow without flowing water or does not need a lot of water, you still have to consider the ratio between the water and the fish you are raising. You don’t want the tank to become overcrowded with Tilapia because it may hinder its maximum growth and may make the fish stressed too.

  • The initial Tank size for the fly is about 16 m x 3 m x 0.75 m.
  • The Final Tank size – Circular culture tanks about 12 to 30 feet and 4 to 5 feet in depth. For others, the length to width to depth ratio must be 30:3:1.
  • Number of tanks – 4
  • Covered by fine hanging mesh.

Drain Design in Tilapia Fish Farming in Tanks

This is also a very important step of Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks. Drain design is another important aspect of tank culture for raising in tanks. Though, the water level is controlled by an overflow standpipe placed directly in the center drain. The pipe is higher than the standpipe but lower than the tank wall so that water will flow over the pipe into the standpipe if notches become closed. After that, the drain line must be screened to prevent fish from escaping. The screened area must be expanded by inserting a cylinder into the drain so that it projects into the tank to prevent clogging.

Aeration requirements depend on the water exchange rate. If water is exchanged rapidly in a tank with moderate fish densities, aeration devices may not be required. The oxygen supply will be renewed by the dissolved oxygen in the incoming water. And, a flow rate of about 6 to 12 gallons/minute is required to support the oxygen requirement of 100 pounds of Tilapia. Dissolved oxygen should be maintained at 5 mg/liter for good Tilapia growth, which is the primary limiting factor for intensive tank culture.

Limited water supplies frequently restrict exchange rates to a few times a day or as 10 to 15% per day. In this case, aeration is required to sustain Tilapia at commercial levels. Paddlewheel aerators, agitators, and blowers (diffused aeration) are the important devices used to aerate tanks. Aerators are rated based on their effectiveness (pounds of oxygen transferred into the water per hour) and efficiency means pounds of oxygen transferred/horsepower-hour. Aeration can be estimated by using aerator ratings and oxygen (O2) consumption rates of Tilapia. For example, a tank with 1,000 pounds of Tilapia consumes 45 grams of O2/hour at resting, but maximum oxygen consumption may be at least three times higher (135 grams O2/hour) depending on the water temperature level, body weight, and feeding rate.

Normally, aeration efficiency (AE) of diffused-air systems ranges from 1,000 to 1,600 grams O2/kilowatt hour. However, Aeration efficiency declines to 22% of the standard at 5 mg/liter dissolved oxygen and 29°C. Under culture conditions, Aeration efficiency would range from 220 to 352 grams O2/kilowatt hour. Dividing the maximum oxygen consumption rate about 135 grams O2/hour by the median Aeration efficiency (286 grams O2/hour) gives 0.47-kilowatt (0.63-horsepower) as the size of aerator needed to provide adequate dissolved oxygen levels. A current trend for tank systems has been the use of pure oxygen for aeration. Oxygen from oxygen generators or liquid oxygen tanks is dissolved completely into the culture water by special methods to help sustain very high fish densities.

Recirculating Systems for Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks

Tilapia fish has a different type of characteristics that make them attractive for tank culture. Fishes can tolerate the crowding that is required in a tank-based facility. Their heavy slime coat protects them from bacterial infections that would adversely affect other fish. Recirculating systems recycle 90 to 99% of the culture water daily. Recirculating systems need a settling tank to remove solid waste (faeces and uneaten feed) and also require bio-filter to remove toxic waste products (ammonia and nitrite) that are produced by the fish.

The simplicity of breeding Tilapia means that fingerlings can be obtainable year-round. This characteristic is very important to indoor facilities that produce fish steadily for the live market and its customers, which can then rely upon a constant, predictable supply. The fillet yield of most Tilapias is 30 to 35% of the whole body weight, so 65 to 70% of the processed fish is discarded if it is not sold as a live or whole product. So, the more profitable product is the whole/live form.

Tank Method of Breeding Tilapia

Tanks are commonly used to breed Tilapia fish. To ensure the fish is ready for breeding and these points will also be useful;

  • When ready for breeding lower the water temperature to 28-30°C. Then, this will prevent them from breeding at first, and keeping the tank dark also helps.
  • Then, you can select the fish you want to breed; don’t let them just breed as they feel like it. Breeding fish stop growing and the males become aggressive.
  • You can prefer to choose the breeding candidates by placing them in a separate tank.
  • When you’re ready, keep the selected one you want to breed in a separate tank and warm the water to 29°C.
  • Then add light and make sure the tank lights are on for at least 12 hours.
  • Add a substrate to the base of the breeding tank; this is for the female to lay her eggs in. Gravel is a good option for this.
  • Remove the mature fish and then put them back into the aquaponics system. The fry won’t be preyed on and can be added when they are bigger.

In Tilapia, more controlled breeding can be obtained with net enclosures. All fry can be removed at regular an interval with net enclosures, which ensures uniformity in size among the fry, reduces predation, and eliminates the need for draining the brood tank. Then, this size fits well into a 12-foot diameter tank. Net enclosures are made from nylon netting with an l/16-inch mesh.

In the tank method for fish rearing, the number of fish to be stocked will be limited by the volume of water in the tank. Also, to maintain the oxygen level in the tank, either water has to be flowed constantly through the tank or aerated (air bubbled through the water using blowers or compressors). This makes the tank method more expensive to operate, compared with the other methods.

Steps for tank culture of fingerling production are;

1. For fish production, sufficient tanks available for males and females to be held separately for conditioning before spawning. Tank water depth can be in the range of 50 to 80 cm.

2. Condition the fish for at least 10 to 12 days.

3. After that, transfer fish of 150 to 300g size to the breeding tank along with similarly sized males at a stocking density of about 7 to 14 breeders per m2 at a female to male ratio in the range from 3:1 to 7:1.

4. Collect fry starting 10 to 14 days after stocking by using a fine-mesh scoop-net, and transfer them gently in water-filled containers to the nursery tank.

5. Collect all fry after 21 to 25 days, and transfer the breeders into separate conditioning tanks again.

6. Feed the fry in the nursery tank with powdered mash feed at 40% of body weight daily at first and then reducing to 10 to 20% at fingerling size. Divide the daily food ratio into 3 to 4 feedings a day.

7. When sufficient fry is present the broodstock can be removed and do not wait too long before removing broodstock by adult fish will reduce the number of fries.

Water Quality Maintenance for Tilapia Fish Framing in Tanks

Proper water management is important in tanks for rearing fishes. The two key elements in Tilapia water management are aeration and waste removal. This is achieved through frequent water changes, and this will dilute waste as well as provide the water with dissolved oxygen (DO). Some systems will discard the used water while filtering the water and then recycle it over and over again. The first type of system is known as a flow-through system while the other type is called a recirculating system.

The choice of system will in part mainly depend on the climate. In colder regions, the growing season will be shorter unless the water is heated. Discarding heated water and then replacing it with new is very expensive in the long run, and flow-through systems are therefore uncommon outside the tropics. Then, they are however used in non-tropic regions where geothermal water or other types of inexpensive hot water is available.  

Transporting fish in tanks – The fish rearing tanks are made of fiberglass, or plastic-lined frames, boxes, or plastic containers. The containers have an open top and the size of the container used depends on availability, but a recommended size is 1m3.

The container must be filled with water to 70% of its volume and where possible fitted with an aerator. Care must be taken to minimize forward and backward movement of the water when the vehicle is in motion as this affects fish and may even kill the fish.

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Harvesting Process in Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks

The features for fish harvesting in tanks are as follows;

1. The interior surface in tanks should be clean.

2. It must be nontoxic to the surfaces.

3. The tanks should be durable and compact, long-lasting, easy to clean, and easy to sterilize.

4. It must be affordable and non-corrosive.

Tilapia tank culture is carried out primarily for the live fish market. Tilapia fish harvesting requires a certain amount of preparation and special handling. Generally, the accepted size for the live Tilapia market is approximately 1.5 pounds, although fish weighing as little as 0.75 pounds and as much as 2.0 pounds will find acceptance in some areas.

Disadvantages of Tilapia Fish Farming in Tanks

Tank culture has some disadvantages. Tilapia fish has limited access to natural foods for rearing in tanks; they must be fed a complete diet containing vitamins and minerals. The filtration method of recirculating systems can be fairly complex and expensive. Any fish tank system that relies on continuous aeration is at risk of mechanical or electrical failure and major fish mortality. Backup systems are essential. Confinement of fish in tanks at high densities creates stressful conditions and also increases the risk of disease outbreaks. Discharges from flow-through systems can pollute receiving waters with nutrients and organic matter.

That’s all folks about Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks, hope this information will help you to raise Tilapia fishes.


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