Best Practice for Raising Tilapia

Tilapia makes up over 60% of the fish farmed in Kenya. Several tilapia species are farmed. These include; Oreochromis niloticus (Nile Red tilapia tilapia; Nyamami), O. esculentus ( Ngege), O. variabilis (Mbiru), Tilapia zilli and Red tilapia (a hybrid between female O. mosambicus O. variabilis and male, O. niloticus). Of these tilapias, Nile tilapia is the most cultured species.

Why Nile tilapia?

  • Grows fast
  • Easy to breed and propagate
  • High market demand
  • Relatively resistant to diseases

Prepare a pond or tank for stocking fish
Select healthy breeders (100-500g) from a reputable approved source
Stock brooders in ponds, tanks, or hapas in ponds at density of 1-2 males to 4 females per m 2.
Feed fish at 3% of total biomass twice daily with high protein formulated diet (35% protein) from a selected feeding point.

For ponds:
After 3 weeks watch for presence of fry schooling in the hapas or along edges of pond.

For hatchery

Remove eggs from the mouth of the females and incubate artificially in the hatchery.
Hatch eggs artificially at optimal temperature of 28 °C.
Collect fry and transfer to rearing units till they attain a weight of 15- 20g.
The fingerlings (15-20g) are ready for stocking/selling to other farmers.


Tilapia can be cultured in extensive, semi-intensive or intensive systems. Semi-intensive is recommended for most farmers using ponds.
Requires good water quality of temperature 20 o C-35 o C (optimal temperature is at 28 o C).

For Semi Intensive Systems

Stock fish at density of 3 fish per m 2 .
Feed at 3% body weight.
Average weight at 6 months grow-out is (160-200g).

There is a readily available local market for tilapia at good prices.
Tilapia can be sold whole, smoked, grilled, or filleted.

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