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In June of 2003 I flooded an overgrown 1/2 acre pond basin with water, and stocked 15 lbs of mozambique tilapia. I didn't feed or fertilize, just let them eat algae that grew on decomposing terrestrial weeds. We harvested the pond in October to recover over 150 lbs of fish, mostly 1"-3" fingerlings. What was an useless pond now has a clean sandy bottom.

Anyone else have input on tilapia as forage. I think they have great potential for forage along with standard bluegill and shad stocking.


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In one summer (june-october) you got 150 lbs of fish out of a .5 acre pond! You got a 10X return on your fish, with no feeding or fertalizing. Sounds like an amazing forage fish, what is the max size and how do they taste?

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Tilapia are great eating. The stores sell them here in San Antonio.

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They sell them here in Duluth too. They are marketed as "Boneless fresh mountain stream tilapia" they also added a sticker that says "Low Carbs", I get the feeling they are trying really hard to sell the tilapia.

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I put in about 100 large adults last spring and already are seeing little ones running around.

Plenty of stores and eating places have them now days. I can buy stock and catch them for less then I can buy fillets at the store.

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What kind of bait do you use to catch tilapia?

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The only way they catch them here near San Antnio is with a cast net. From what I understand they only eat algae.

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I saw Bill Dance catch them on small jigs but that was on TV. I've tried it several times with no luck.

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I've used "Sabiki" rigs to catch small b-gill (1-3") and even fingerling lmb, they might work. They are a series of small "flies" used to catch baitfish in the ocean, 6 or more hooks linked into a central leader. Fun to cast into the shallows in the spring to see the young of the year. While designed to vertical jig, I attached a bobber to the bottom which let the flies dangle no more than 6" down.

I know Bass Pro Shops sells these rigs.


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What is the range (year round) of Tilapia?

I have a lake just outside Brenham Texas, and was wondering if they will survive year round in a 2 acre lake.

What impact would they have on an existing Bass/Bluegill/Redear population (stocked 3 years ago)?

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They die when water temp goes below 55 Deg. F As the temperature approaches 55 Deg, they become more succeptible to disease and they slow down a lot, so you will not see lot of floating dead fish, because they get eaten before that.

I stocked Tilapia in my 3/4 ac pond just south of lake Sommerville. I am going to measure the temp this weekend, but last time I was out there, it was 45 Deg F. I had Mozambique Tilapia, which are legal in Texas because they die every year. I think there are some more cold tolerant varieties, but it's been a while since I checked on that.

Here is where you can get some, or just call Todd with your questions. He is very helpful.
http://overtonfisheries.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=74

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I have been somewhat hesitant to use tilapia as forage.
Stock in spring, grow lots of baby fish, which predator fish eat. So, predator fish grow. Then, winter comes, and tilapia die. An entire niche of the food chain disappears, sometimes overnight, depending where you live.
So, now you have more pounds of predator fish, looking for less food. Increased pressure on the full time food chain.
I am of the opinion that tilapia can jump start a food chain, but be prepared to restock tilapia each spring, and/or harvest predators to compensate for wintertime food loss.
I'm not against using tilapia. Just don't look at them as salvation for a stunted bass population. Look at them as temporary creatures with a potentially permanent impact.


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My biggest problem with tilapia is biomass. They have an almost unbelievable spawning rate. Hence more DO demand on the water hole. Then they die in huge numbers; mostly at the same time. The dieoff occurs in cold weather so they don't rapidly decompose. I'm not sure of the potential problem the dieoff causes.

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In my case, I am using Tilapia as supplemental forage. The primary forage up till last now were Coppernose bluegill. With Tilapia there will be less pressure on bluegill so there will be more of them in the winter. Here in SE Texas, it does not get cold quickly, to the Tilapia start slowing down and get eaten gradually. By the time they are gone, the water is cold and the fishes metabolism slowed down, so they don't need that much food. I figure that I am not running the pond at the edge of it's capability but if I see signs of stress, I will add aerator.

My main concern right now is how to keep the newly stocked Tilapia from becoming an expensive lunch before they have a chance to reproduce. I am thinking about making a rectangle from 4x4s and stapling a small mesh net pocket to it. Put some crumbs in and let it float. The babies will be able to leave and after about a month, release the adults as well.

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Ed, I was going to try tilapia as a forage supplement but Bob Lusk, in an older post here, scared me away because of DO concerns. The tilapia is an extremely prolific spawner. Its' very presence in huge numbers, along with the manure from a large number of anything can create an environmental problem. Adding an aerator might help somewhat but I PERSONALLY think that they have all of the makings of a cesspool. Admittedly tilapia do well in poor water. I know of one cattle feed lot that puts them in their runoff ponds. They thrive and multiply under the very worst of conditions. They harvest them yearly and, I am told, sell them to be ground up for dog food and fertilizer. However, how well will the other fish do in a small area where tilapia thrive? I haven't tried them but believe they can create a real headache.

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I'm about two hours south of you and have stocked Tilapia. They survived this winter and have already spawned this year. My water temp has been aroun 64 for the last couple of weeks. I do have a larger and probably deeper pond, what is well fed (warm water). That has probably helped.

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I started this thread, and maybe I'll try to end it at this time. Other professionals insist that tilapia compete with bluegill for food and space...this is only partly true. Sure these fish take up space(as do underharvested largemouth bass, catfish, etc), but do they compete significantly with bluegill for food? We've seen tilapia feed off decaying vegetation, fish food, planktonic algae, filamentous algae, and even their own wastes. Tilapia even eat the waste off the walls of our raceway holding system, keeping it maintenance free. My point is that tilapia consume a food source that no other fish in your pond will consume...so they have their own niche...and they pass that growth on to largemouth bass or any other predator in your pond. They are most cost effective if stocked in small ponds...so is it really a big deal if you have to restock them every year? Spending $100-$200 per acre seems worth it to me, for the benefit of filamentous algae control, and more forage production than any other fish in a single season. If the standard bluegill/redear/fathead minnows are stocked the first year, followed by bass/catfish, then tilapia can be stocked every spring to provide supplemental forage and diversity.

My original thread was based on the stocking of tilapia in one of our farm ponds. Some bluegill were stocked along with them and we observed several thousand bluegill fry when we seined our tilapia. Our pond could have used a bloom to grow little bluegill, but tilapia fry grew out on decaying vegetation without a bloom. Now the pond has a good hard bottom and virtually no organic silt layer buildup.

So when there is such a good case made for stocking of tilapia, why is it that some lake management professionals don't recommend them? They can't make any money doing it, because they don't raise them or have a supplier.

Mozambique tilapia are the only specie that is legal to stock in Texas. You can find them at Boatcycle in Henderson, or Overton Fisheries in Buffalo.


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Overton! Will the Tilapia eat that black sludge on pond bottoms also? If ya know let me know and that will convince me to get them along with the filamentious algae help they provide.

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Can anybody tell me where I can get M. Tilapia close to the Shreveport La area ?...the algae control intrigues me...


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