Life History and Biology
The intolerance of tilapia to low
temperatures is a serious constraint
for commercial culture in temperate
regions. The lower lethal tempera-
ture for most species is 50 to 52o F
for a few days, but the Blue tilapia
tolerates temperatures to about
Tilapia generally stop feeding when
water temperature falls below 63o F.
Disease-induced mortality after han-
dling seriously constrains sampling,
harvest and transport below 65o F.
Reproduction is best at water tem-
peratures higher than 80o F and does
not occur below 68o F. In subtropical
regions with a cool season, the num-
ber of fry produced will decrease
when daily water temperature aver-
ages less than 75o F. After 16- to 20-
day spawning cycles with 1/2-pound
Nile tilapia, fry recovery was about
600 fry per female brooder at a water
temperature of 82o F, but only 250
fry per female at 75o F.
Optimal water temperature for
tilapia growth is about 85 to 88o F.
Growth at this optimal temperature
is typically three times greater than
at 72o F.