If you’re into raising tilapia and you’re wondering what to feed your tilapia in aquaponics, we’ve got the right answer for you. One added reason, why most farmers love raising tilapia for their aquaponics, is that they feed on broad varieties of food.
Tilapia feeds on food sources that are at the bottom of the food chain. However, the best type of food to feed your tilapia for your aquaponics system is to feed them with organic tilapia food. This organic fish food contains the right nutrient requirements for your tilapia and plants.
Types Of Tilapia & Their Feeding
First, let’s understand the different stages of tilapia feeding.
- Newly hatched tilapia known as fry feed on organisms that float on water such as detritus and neuston. Their foods should be in smaller pieces.
- The juvenile tilapias (fingerlings) are omnivores that is; they can feed on both plants and animals such as worms, insects, duckweed, etc.
- The adult tilapias are herbivores, so they feed on plants such as algae, duckweed, bacteria, detritus, and other plants.
What Should You Feed Your Aquaponics Tilapia?
We mentioned earlier that tilapia can feed on a wide variety of food. In their wild habitat such as streams, lakes, etc, they usually feed on diatoms and a lot of blue-green algae.
However, you should know to keep them far away from feeding on your algae. This is because algae are needed by your plants in the aquaponics system for nutrient recycling.
Feeding With Pellets
Adult tilapia can also be feed with pelleted food which comprises all important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and proteins. You can as well feed the newly hatched fry with pellets, but they should be in smaller pieces.
Organic Tilapia Feeding
If you’re a fan of all organic, then everything that goes into your aquaponics should be organic. Examples of organic food to feed your tilapia fish includes cassava plants, lengko plants, duckweed, sweet potato plants, lettuces, cocoyam leaves, etc. Among all these plants, duckweed has the smallest food sizes and it will fit all stages or sizes of tilapia.
You can combine these organic foods with commercial fish food to increase their proteins and for a more balanced filled nutrient.
Other Types Of Tilapia Feed
- Bran chaff feed such as white bran or wheat bran.
- Pomace feed and cereal feed such as rice sprouts, malt, etc.
- Oil cake feed such as rapeseed meal, cottonseed meal, or soybean meal.
- Animal feed such as blood meal, meat and bone meal, fish meal, etc.
- Compound feeds are the pelleted feed and extruded feed.
Common Varieties Of Tilapia: What They Feed On
The common varieties of tilapia are the Nile tilapia, the Mozambique tilapia, and the Blue tilapia. Here is what they feed on:
- Nile tilapia feeds on detritus and phytoplankton.
- Mozambique tilapia feeds on vegetation and bottom algae.
- Blue tilapia feeds on detritus and zooplankton.
Tilapia Nutrient Requirements
Nutrient requirements in your aquaponics tilapia are crucial so your plants can have access to adequate nutrients. Although various species of tilapia require various growth periods, thus, their nutrient demand will be a little different.
Nile tilapia fingerlings for example require about 35% to 40% protein contents. While adult tilapia of about 45 to 50 grams requires 20% to 25% protein content.
The blue tilapia fingerlings will require a protein content of about 36%. While for the adult blue tilapia, they will require about 26% to 36% protein content.
You should avoid overfeeding your fish. If you supply your fish with an excess amount of food, these foods will end up in your floating system causing hindrance and water clog. You can scoop out uneaten food. Also, pay attention to how much they eat and readjust when next you feed them.
You should always feed them twice a day and the food should be eaten within 30 minutes of feeding. However, if you feed them and you notice they aren’t hungry, scoop out the food and don’t feed them for a while.
Tilapia feeds on just a bit of everything. It’s why they are the most commonly reared fish in aquaponics. Feeding your tilapia fish the appropriate food will increase their growth in just about 240 days. So, get them eating well so you can have a heavy pound of fish at the same time healthy plants by the end of harvest time.