A Helpful Guide To Breeding Tilapia
Breeding tilapia in your aquarium requires a breeding couple. The easiest way to achieve this is to buy a group of tilapia when they are young and allow them to grow up together. By doing this, they will naturally form their own pairs when they reach sexual maturity. This is ideal because forcing these types of fish into breeding conditions can be a challenge but if they are allowed to do it naturally. All you have to do is provide suitable living conditions and a nutritious diet.
When you begin breeding tilapia and a pair has been created, you should move them out into their own private aquarium unless the aquarium that they are in is really large. In order for the couple to breed, they will be forced to claim their territory which they may not do if they feel there is a threat to their offspring. Alternatively, you could move the other fish out of the tank rather than the couple if you want to avoid stressing them out.
The exact reproductive method that your couple uses will depend on the species. When breeding tilapia, you should be aware that most will lay eggs and a good majority are also substrate spawners. This means that they do not use crevices or caves to hide their eggs. Instead, they place them either in pits that have been dug in the substrate or out in the open on a rock.
The parents select a suitable site; they will meticulously clean it before spawning. This is one of the most fascinating acts to witness when you are breeding tilapia.
During the spawning process, some eggs are released by the female and the male comes along and fertilizes them. After a bit of time, she will release more eggs and he will fertilize them too. This can actually go on for a substantial amount of time, so there may be a lot of fertilized eggs from one spawning.
Tilapia larvae and the fry remain protected for several weeks by both of the parents. As soon as their yolk sac is devoured, you can start to feed them brine shrimp. You will notice when breeding tilapia that both parents are very devoted to their offspring and play a huge role in protecting them.
Breeding Mono-Sex Tilapia
Common tilapia are typically easy to breed, even in farm conditions. Therefore, if females and males are kept together, you will have a difficult time controlling not only the breathing rate but the quality and the quantity as well. You have to try to remain in control when breeding tilapia because growing units quickly become filled with fry that are of very low economic value. This is because the adult fish will exhaust their energy continuously on breeding rather than actually growing. This is why many farmers choose to only raise one sex which has put quite a demand on the industry to produce male only groups.
- Breeding With Hormones – Interestingly, if you subject a newly hatched fry to enough male hormones, they can become reproductively functioning males. Many people refer to this as being the sex-reversal method. When breeding tilapia this way, the fry will need to be provided hormone rich food for at least four weeks. This practice is actually restricted in several areas so you may need to obtain a special license.
- Breeding with Hybridization – There are some species that mate and only produce male offspring. This is true with Mozambique tilapia, Nile tilapia, Zanzibar tilapia and Blue tilapia. The genetics of these hybrids is complicated and unfortunately not guaranteed, so if a female is born and you don't catch it, you will end up with fry in your tank that you may not want. Additionally, females in a batch may result in non-pure breeding lines which could lead to non-pure fish.
If you are going to be successful breeding tilapia you need to know how to sex them because males earn a bigger profit. If you observe the genital papilla behind the anus and you see one opening, it’s a male; two openings and you have a female.