Know How Many Tilapia Per Gallon For An Aquaponics System

Last Updated on October 30, 2022 by Cinthia

Are you wondering how many tilapia can fit per gallon? We will let you know in this post. Tilapia is one of the best and popular fish to raise in aquaponics in the United States especially for beginners. Tilapia is a fast-growing fish, easy to grow, hardy, and highly adaptive to its environment.

There have been different debates on how many gallons of water one can use for each tilapia. Well, this post is to enlighten you on how many tilapia per gallon of water you can stock in your aquaponics.

How Many Tilapia Can Fit Per Gallon
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So the obvious question is: How many tilapia can fit per gallon of water? Well, you can fit one tilapia per gallon of water only if they are not grown fully.

  • By Inch – Ideally, the general consensus rule for any fish is that 1 inch of fish will fit 1 gallon of a water tank. Therefore, let’s say you have a 4 inches tilapia fish; each tilapia will then need around 4 gallons of water.
  • By Pounds – If you are measuring in pounds, then a pound of tilapia will fit 3 gallons of water. A tilapia that is fully grown will weigh around 1 pound. However, they can grow bigger and weigh more. Therefore, we can say 1 fully grown tilapia can fit 3 gallons of water or even 6 gallons of water.

Recommended Tilapia Aquaponics Tank Size

The tilapia aquaponics fish tank size recommend will solely depend on:

  • The number of tilapia fish you plan to stock in your aquaponics.
  • Also, the number of plants you wish to grow.

What most people do is to begin with a tank of no less than 500 liters. 500 liters will give you around 130 gallons of water. This should give you adequate room for about 20 to 40 grown tilapia.

Another thing is to take into account the size of your plant beds. The more your plant beds are bigger, the more fish can fit in the very same 130 gallons of a water tank.

5 Major Tilapia Needs

There are various species of tilapia and tilapia fish requirements are not so strenuous. Their basic needs include clean water, food, light, oxygen, and adequate room to swim. Just provide your tilapia with these requirements and watch them grow healthy and faster.

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The beauty of tilapia farming is to comprehend each of these 5 needs. We have explained these requirements below:

1. Clean Water – If you plan to consume your tilapia, you should provide your tilapia fish tank clean water which you would drink yourself. If you can’t drink the water you are supplying your fish then it’s not worth giving them such water. Supply them with safe private clean water. If possible, purchase a water softener, a reverse osmosis system, or a nitrate remover. This way, you keep the water in a condition which your body can consume safely when you consume these fish.

2. Oxygen – Your tilapia fish will need adequate aeration and water circulation. Make use of air pumps and water which will allow the water to have adequate oxygen to suit your aquatic animals.

3. Food – Supply your tilapia fish with good food and as well avoid overfeeding and remove uneaten or wasted food. Remove the foods that are not eaten after about 30 minutes and make some adjustments to the next portion of food. This way, the uneaten or wasted foods do not rot inside the system to cause harm to your tilapia fish. Foods that are rotten can cause disease so you want to avoid such.

Note that during the early stage of tilapia, they eat more than their body weight per day. However, as they grow, their food consumption reduces.

5 Major Tilapia Needs

4. Light – Tilapia requires adequate light to thrive. The deficiency of light will not allow them to move or even eat, as such they can die. Thus, provide your tilapia fish with light.

5. Adequate Room to Swim – Though tilapia can withstand a crowded environment better than other species of fish, however, there is a limit to this. Too crowded tilapia fish can drain the shared oxygen supply rapidly. Oxygen deprivation in the tilapia fish can cause stress and harm the organs and other sensitive parts of the fish.

Check out Where to Buy Fish for Aquaponics


How many tilapia can go in a 100 gallon tank?

Tilapia are actually pretty easy to start with, but you should get them as adults. They will be a bit bigger when you get them. They need to eat, and they eat a lot. You want at least one male and one female. Males will fight for a harem of females, so you want to make sure you have at least one male and one female in your tank. You will also want to add a few more plants than that, but I'd say about 6-8 is a good number. The most important thing is to get a really good water conditioner like a Marineland, AquaClear, or similar product.

Will tilapia reproduce in aquaponics?

Tilapia can reproduce in an Aquaponic system. 

You need to be careful not to over-stress them. The Tilapia will have the best chance of survival if you provide a large enough area for them to live and grow in. The more surface area they have to swim around in the tank, the better. Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. It has been around since the late 1950's but was only recently rediscovered in the USA.

Aquaponics uses a recirculating water system with a closed loop where the fish waste and other nutrients from the fish tanks are used to feed plants in the hydroponic beds. The plant wastes are then returned to the fish tank to be filtered and reused. It works great for small fish like tilapia but I would not recommend it for larger fish.

How do you start an aquaponic system?

The first step is to choose your fish. If you’re new to aquaponics, it’s a good idea to start with a simple system with just one fish, such as the European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax). The European seabass is easy to keep and will provide nutrients for your plants. They’re also small enough to fit into a 4 litre tank. If you already have a fish tank, you can use it as an aquaponic system. In this case, you’ll need to find a way of transferring the fish waste from the tank into the growing bed. You could use a pump and a pipe or siphon to transfer the water. Or you could set up a filter system. You’ll need to find a way to clean the tank every day or two and change the water.

Final Say on How Many Tilapia Per Gallon

Now, we know 1 inch of tilapia fish can fit per gallon of water. Also, a fully grown pound of tilapia can fit 3 to 6 gallons of water.

Ensure you always keep an eye on the water quality frequently. Also, always monitor and adjust the quantity of food you supply your tilapia fish.