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I have only done it in the Fall because it seems like they are hanging out in the warmest part of the pond which is about 3-5 feet deep at the narrow end of the pond. Mornings and evenings seem best. Not sure but think it is an 6-8ft cast net.

This year I had them feeding on pellets a little which helps lure them in. They are quick though so try and keep the throw low as possible.

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I just spoke with my Tilapia supplier, who is a fisheries biologist, and he informed me that Tilapia in the 4-6" range actually reproduce more off spring than older, larger ones due to spawning much more often.

Also FWIW smaller Tilapia will eat a much more varied diet of zooplankton other fry, and phytoplankton. Once a size of around 10" is reached growth and spawns are dramatically reduced and they start to feed primarily on detritus and algae.

So for forage AND algae control it is best to stock several 5-7" fish. For forage only stock 3-5" and for algae control stock 8" plus sizes.

He also assured me that the fish he sent me are pure strin Oreochromis Aurea, Blue tilapia.



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 Originally Posted By: Rainman
I just spoke with my Tilapia supplier, who is a fisheries biologist, and he informed me that Tilapia in the 4-6" range actually reproduce more off spring than older, larger ones due to spawning much more often.

Also FWIW smaller Tilapia will eat a much more varied diet of zooplankton other fry, and phytoplankton. Once a size of around 10" is reached growth and spawns are dramatically reduced and they start to feed primarily on detritus and algae.

So for forage AND algae control it is best to stock several 5-7" fish. For forage only stock 3-5" and for algae control stock 8" plus sizes.

He also assured me that the fish he sent me are pure strin Oreochromis Aurea, Blue tilapia.


Great info Rainman - especially regarding sizes and what functions they will typically perform. Don't suppose you know good safe water temperature ideal for initial stocking?


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On the negative side of tilapia, has anyone ever had a fish kill that they thought they could relate directly to the extra biomass tilapia adds. Im sure it would be hard to relate it to one factor. But a hot dry summer with all those extra fish is my biggest worry. Perhaps different stocking rates/times could help to ease this problem, and still get the benefits from this fish.


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Agree. By large I meant 4-7 inchs. Water need to be 60 degrees with no more nights where there is a chance near freezing temps.

I have purchased Tilapia from two sources in Texas. Overton Fisheries and Boatcycle. Good results from both.

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 Originally Posted By: jakeb
On the negative side of tilapia, has anyone ever had a fish kill that they thought they could relate directly to the extra biomass tilapia adds. Im sure it would be hard to relate it to one factor. But a hot dry summer with all those extra fish is my biggest worry. Perhaps different stocking rates/times could help to ease this problem, and still get the benefits from this fish.

I had the same concern until Overton advised stocking same sex tilapia in 1/4 acre pond.
Sucessful prosgram for past three summers.
Total algae control with NO reproduction.



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Original george #173 (22 June 2002)




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George thanks and that makes sense, however the main reason I am attracted to tilapia is the forage potential and not control of algae. I want to have my cake and eat it too

Correction I want to have tilapia and me and my bass eat them too.

Last edited by jakeb; 01/13/09 08:34 PM. Reason: attempt at humor

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 Originally Posted By: jakeb
George thanks and that makes sense, however the main reason I am attracted to tilapia is the forage potential and not control of algae. I want to have my cake and eat it too

Correction I want to have tilapia and me and my bass eat them too.


Jakeb - thats a really good point - I also want benefits of algae control and for TP to serve as forage. I'm wondering if one stocked the mid sized 5-7 inchers they would control the algae and their offspring could serve as the forage. Guess I need to figure out:

1. How many spawns I could count upon during a season
2. If aeration would affect getting water temps to the 80's which appears the temp they need to acheive for spawn - so one might need to be mindful of shutting down aeration a few times a season to achieve the desired temps?
3. Growth rate for YOY TP - if they don't grow quickly they won't serve as much of a meal - no matter how many exist in a pond.

Rainman? George? Ryan? Anyone?

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Yes hopefully sooner rather than later these question can be answered. I could make a large list about the different size, number, and time of year to stock, in order to get desired result (algae control, forage, and both).

Regardless these fish fascinate me.


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Agreed - these fish are potentially very useful from many different perspectives. I'm hooked. Problem is my season in NE is short - especially compared to yours and our TX friends who may even be able to overwinter their population - that's why I have to jerry-rig this solution in so many ways.


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 Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57

3. Growth rate for YOY TP - if they don't grow quickly they won't serve as much of a meal - no matter how many exist in a pond.



Yes and no.

Lots of one inch fish may not directly feed 18 inch bass, but it will satiate the 4-5 inchers and speed their growth rates. This in turn could provide lots of forage for the 18 inchers in the form of rapidly growing, high Wr 5 inch bass.


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Apt riposte Dr. Condello! Makes perfect sense.


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Here are some facts I've learned about tilapia in ponds:

Don't stock them until water temps stabilize in the 70s. For us in east/central Texas this is late April/early May. Two years ago it snowed on Easter and I know of several pondmeisters who had already stocked tilapia in the area. Doesn't make much sense to me to stock them before spawning temps. Higher temps = higher metabolism = faster tilapia, and so tilapia stocking success may hinge on a high temp advantage when being stocked in a predator-heavy pond.

Stocking tilapia for algae control is most effective if you control the vegetation first before stocking tilapia, then stock tilapia at a rate of 30lbs per acre.

The ideal stocking size for existing ponds with predator pressure is 1/4lb fish, give or take, but not size graded. Grading the small fish off a batch of tilapia likely results in a male-heavy stock, when in fact, you'll get better reproduction out of female-heavy stocks.

The existence of a plankton bloom when stocking tilapia will greatly improve your probability of success.

In my experience the small 1"-3" tilapia eat more detritus than adults. You can watch them along the shoreline, flashing as they munch plankton and detritus from a pond bottom.

The daily Dissolved Oxygen curve for tilapia production ponds seems to be more stable, with less severe spikes and depletions than other productive ponds.

We raised 4000+ lbs of tilapia in a 1/2 acre production pond, starting with 20 lbs of broodstock, without having to aerate a single time during the 2008 season. Please note that we do check our oxygen daily and we don't advise this biomass load for rec ponds.

Tilapia are the most efficient agent available (possible 1-1 feed conversion ratio in ponds plus planktonic in nature) for channeling nutrients from their basic form all the way to the top of the food chain, almost guaranteed (due to low cold tolerance), within a single season.

I've had 2 bald eagles and an osprey for the past 3 years on my farm for winter tilapia clean-up.


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 Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
 Originally Posted By: jakeb
George thanks and that makes sense, however the main reason I am attracted to tilapia is the forage potential and not control of algae. I want to have my cake and eat it too

Correction I want to have tilapia and me and my bass eat them too.


Jakeb - thats a really good point - I also want benefits of algae control and for TP to serve as forage. I'm wondering if one stocked the mid sized 5-7 inchers they would control the algae and their offspring could serve as the forage. Guess I need to figure out:

1. How many spawns I could count upon during a season
2. If aeration would affect getting water temps to the 80's which appears the temp they need to acheive for spawn - so one might need to be mindful of shutting down aeration a few times a season to achieve the desired temps?
3. Growth rate for YOY TP - if they don't grow quickly they won't serve as much of a meal - no matter how many exist in a pond.

Rainman? George? Ryan? Anyone?



TJ, I'll respond to what I know and have researched on the Blues.

You can safely add the T at 60 degrees--(spawning rarely occurs below 70) and if a few cold nights occur the T will most likely find warm pockets of refuge even in aerated ponds and survive. They will even dig into the substrate to survive. I watched this when I lowered the temp in a tank with ice to 40 degrees for 30 minutes and all 8 3 inch "test" fish survived.

Blues (and Mozambique) sexually mature at 4 inches and/or 2-4 months. Assuming you have at least a 4 month spawning season (water above 70) AND you stock 2 month old 4"+ fish you will get 2-4 spawns from each originally stocked female producing an average of 200 surviving offspring. Of the first YOY spawn, you will get at least one spawn from each of those females and a possible spawn from the second YOY.

Assume you have a 4 month growing season (water temp above 70) and stock 100 three month 4" fish, 50 male, 50 female. Let's use an example of only 10 females spawning within a week of stocking and each producing the average 200 (50% male/female ratio) surviving fry and all other spawn from all other females falling to predation. Those original 10 will produce at least 4000 offspring (2 spawns)and the fist spawned females will produce another 200,000 fish that will be an average size of 3" by the end of your 4 month season.

Please check my math.---I'm old!



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Critical information - this helps immensely - fills in a lot of gaps for many of us managing Northern ponds. Thank you!

 Originally Posted By: overtonfisheries
Here are some facts I've learned about tilapia in ponds:

Don't stock them until water temps stabilize in the 70s. For us in east/central Texas this is late April/early May. Two years ago it snowed on Easter and I know of several pondmeisters who had already stocked tilapia in the area. Doesn't make much sense to me to stock them before spawning temps. Higher temps = higher metabolism = faster tilapia, and so tilapia stocking success may hinge on a high temp advantage when being stocked in a predator-heavy pond.

Stocking tilapia for algae control is most effective if you control the vegetation first before stocking tilapia, then stock tilapia at a rate of 30lbs per acre.

The ideal stocking size for existing ponds with predator pressure is 1/4lb fish, give or take, but not size graded. Grading the small fish off a batch of tilapia likely results in a male-heavy stock, when in fact, you'll get better reproduction out of female-heavy stocks.

The existence of a plankton bloom when stocking tilapia will greatly improve your probability of success.

In my experience the small 1"-3" tilapia eat more detritus than adults. You can watch them along the shoreline, flashing as they munch plankton and detritus from a pond bottom.

The daily Dissolved Oxygen curve for tilapia production ponds seems to be more stable, with less severe spikes and depletions than other productive ponds.

We raised 4000+ lbs of tilapia in a 1/2 acre production pond, starting with 20 lbs of broodstock, without having to aerate a single time during the 2008 season. Please note that we do check our oxygen daily and we don't advise this biomass load for rec ponds.

Tilapia are the most efficient agent available (possible 1-1 feed conversion ratio in ponds plus planktonic in nature) for channeling nutrients from their basic form all the way to the top of the food chain, almost guaranteed (due to low cold tolerance), within a single season.

I've had 2 bald eagles and an osprey for the past 3 years on my farm for winter tilapia clean-up.




Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Thank you RM - this addresses everything I think I needed to learn prior to launching a stocking program. I'm ready to compile all the info and put it into action....now I just need to source 4-6" Blues and Niles for stocking this June and I'm set! Hmmm...Yellow Pages in Lincoln NE has nothing for Tilapia farms. What the~!

 Originally Posted By: Rainman
 Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
 Originally Posted By: jakeb
George thanks and that makes sense, however the main reason I am attracted to tilapia is the forage potential and not control of algae. I want to have my cake and eat it too

Correction I want to have tilapia and me and my bass eat them too.


Jakeb - thats a really good point - I also want benefits of algae control and for TP to serve as forage. I'm wondering if one stocked the mid sized 5-7 inchers they would control the algae and their offspring could serve as the forage. Guess I need to figure out:

1. How many spawns I could count upon during a season
2. If aeration would affect getting water temps to the 80's which appears the temp they need to acheive for spawn - so one might need to be mindful of shutting down aeration a few times a season to achieve the desired temps?
3. Growth rate for YOY TP - if they don't grow quickly they won't serve as much of a meal - no matter how many exist in a pond.

Rainman? George? Ryan? Anyone?



TJ, I'll respond to what I know and have researched on the Blues.

You can safely add the T at 60 degrees--(spawning rarely occurs below 70) and if a few cold nights occur the T will most likely find warm pockets of refuge even in aerated ponds and survive. They will even dig into the substrate to survive. I watched this when I lowered the temp in a tank with ice to 40 degrees for 30 minutes and all 8 3 inch "test" fish survived.

Blues (and Niles) sexually mature at 4 inches and/or 2-4 months. Assuming you have at least a 4 month spawning season (water above 70) AND you stock 2 month old 4"+ fish you will get 2-4 spawns from each originally stocked female producing an average of 200 surviving offspring. Of the first YOY spawn, you will get at least one spawn from each of those females and a possible spawn from the second YOY.

Assume you have a 4 month growing season (water temp above 70) and stock 100 three month 4" fish, 50 male, 50 female. Let's use an example of only 10 females spawning within a week of stocking and each producing the average 200 (50% male/female ratio) surviving fry and all other spawn from all other females falling to predation. Those original 10 will produce at least 4000 offspring (2 spawns)and the fist spawned females will produce another 200,000 fish that will be an average size of 3" by the end of your 4 month season.

Please check my math.---I'm old!



Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Great info thanks Todd and Rainman.


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Thanks Todd, this addresses a lot of "real world" questions I've had!



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 Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
Hey Weissguy - long time - good to hear from you. Thanks for your two cents...sounds like Rainman has purebed Blues tho?


Hey teehjaeh57! I've been around, but lurking mostly. I'm quite busy this time of year due to end of year stuff for my business. ICK! Rainman has some quality fish in my opinion. If he says they are purebred Blues, that's enough for me. His work with T has already added a lot of valuable info to this site on the subject, and it has helped me a great deal. My tilapia are mostly a blue/nile mix. They have proven extremely cold tolerant so far. I had a holding tank sitting on my basement floor with no backup heat dip down to 59 degrees for 3 days. The fish slowed a bit but still ate well. I also recently received a shipment of 2 inch fish via UPS and when they arrived (two days late!) the water was ICE cold and absolutely filthy. You could hardly see the fish in the poop/water mud mixture they were in. The fish were lively, and I haven't had a single one die. They are about 4 inches now after a month and a half. I have kept aquariums for most of my life, and I have never encountered a tropical that is so hardy! It's amazing.

 Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
I like the thought of having my algae controlled in each of my three little ponds and a stronger population going in the bigger watershed...but the jury is still out on this for sure. Ryan's thread 2-3 years ago has guys really ga-ga over the potential but not sure if the results really supported their hopes.


We are really just starting to touch on the subject. I would really like to see Missouri change their stance on the subject of Tilapia in ponds here as I would like to use them and study them in a pond environment as well, but I don't hold out a great deal of hope on that. I do intend to setup a fairly large RAS for them when we complete our new house at the pond. I already have about 320 gallons dedicated to them now, but no more room to grow in my current house (I'm worried it might freak out people looking to buy the house... hehe). I've seen some excellent info added to this thread since this post of yours, and it goes right along with everything I've read and researched. This is going to get fun I think.

 Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
BTW-what's keeping you from adding HSB, WE, SMB, CP, RES? That would be one heckuva fishery!


Time has really been the only thing preventing me from adding them. This year I'm hoping to add a lot of these, in small quantity. It will be done in conjunction with removing a large number of 12-14 inch LMB. I would like to keep the predator/prey ratio to a reasonable level. I can't wait though. I have had an extremely difficult time finding GP, and they are really the fish I'm most anxious to add. Imagine fishing for those in the shallows during the early morning with a fly rod. I used to do this up in MN for NP, and it was a blast! \:\)


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I would like to see a study comparing growth rates in LMB under the following conditions:
- Pond stocked LMB with Tilapia as the exclusive forage source and no pellet feeding.
- Pond stocked with only LMB and Tilapia and fed pellets.
- Pond stocked with ONLY LMB, no forage fish and exclusively pellet fed.
- Pond stocked with traditional LMB/BG mix. No pellet feeding.
- Pond stocked with traditional LMB/BG mix and pellet fed.

What might be the results? Would a Tilapia only forage source potentially score similar to a pellet only food source? Would it be close enough to make economic sense to raise these two in a fish farm situation? Would we see any dramatic improvement in a pond with tilapia versus one without? What about one with both BG and Tilapia? Also, would we find a significantly diminished or increased return on pellet feeding in the presence of tilapia?

That would be quite an interesting study I think!


12 ac pond in NW Missouri. 28' max depth at full pool. Fish Present: LMB, BG, RES, YP, CC, WB, HSB, WE, BCP, WCP, GSH.
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Weissguy, a good example of tilapia as the only forage would be many of the lakes in Mexico. I have fished Lake El Salto, and with the year long growing season, Florida bass, and no danger of the tilapia getting too cold, the results are a great trophy largemouth bass lake. However, commercial fisherman net a quota of tilapia out of it every year to keep the numbers in order. I have been told that without the commercial removal of tilapia the bass fishing would be much different.

If tilapia were the only source, it would have to be in a region that you felt confident they would not die from the cold. Maybe in the butter zone where they dont die but also dont reproduce, for say 3 months a year. That would give the bass time to catch up with overpopulation of tilapia. I dont know if such a place exists?


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Thanks Weissguy - this is good stuff. I would like to chat RE your aquarium setup sometime if you're open to it.

Also, refresh my memory...what are "CP"?

 Originally Posted By: Weissguy
 Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
Hey Weissguy - long time - good to hear from you. Thanks for your two cents...sounds like Rainman has purebed Blues tho?


Hey teehjaeh57! I've been around, but lurking mostly. I'm quite busy this time of year due to end of year stuff for my business. ICK! Rainman has some quality fish in my opinion. If he says they are purebred Blues, that's enough for me. His work with T has already added a lot of valuable info to this site on the subject, and it has helped me a great deal. My tilapia are mostly a blue/nile mix. They have proven extremely cold tolerant so far. I had a holding tank sitting on my basement floor with no backup heat dip down to 59 degrees for 3 days. The fish slowed a bit but still ate well. I also recently received a shipment of 2 inch fish via UPS and when they arrived (two days late!) the water was ICE cold and absolutely filthy. You could hardly see the fish in the poop/water mud mixture they were in. The fish were lively, and I haven't had a single one die. They are about 4 inches now after a month and a half. I have kept aquariums for most of my life, and I have never encountered a tropical that is so hardy! It's amazing.

 Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
I like the thought of having my algae controlled in each of my three little ponds and a stronger population going in the bigger watershed...but the jury is still out on this for sure. Ryan's thread 2-3 years ago has guys really ga-ga over the potential but not sure if the results really supported their hopes.


We are really just starting to touch on the subject. I would really like to see Missouri change their stance on the subject of Tilapia in ponds here as I would like to use them and study them in a pond environment as well, but I don't hold out a great deal of hope on that. I do intend to setup a fairly large RAS for them when we complete our new house at the pond. I already have about 320 gallons dedicated to them now, but no more room to grow in my current house (I'm worried it might freak out people looking to buy the house... hehe). I've seen some excellent info added to this thread since this post of yours, and it goes right along with everything I've read and researched. This is going to get fun I think.

 Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
BTW-what's keeping you from adding HSB, WE, SMB, CP, RES? That would be one heckuva fishery!


Time has really been the only thing preventing me from adding them. This year I'm hoping to add a lot of these, in small quantity. It will be done in conjunction with removing a large number of 12-14 inch LMB. I would like to keep the predator/prey ratio to a reasonable level. I can't wait though. I have had an extremely difficult time finding GP, and they are really the fish I'm most anxious to add. Imagine fishing for those in the shallows during the early morning with a fly rod. I used to do this up in MN for NP, and it was a blast! \:\)



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Weiss, I posted a link to a polyculture study with bass and tilapia at differant stocking rates and the results in the first reply of this thread.

I have no doubt a web search will bring up hundreds of studies involving LMB/BG and pellets.



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I cant add anything scientific or possibly even intelligent to this thread but I have been stocking Tilapia for the last three years and the quality of my Bass has gone up dramatically. I should have taken some pictures of the Bass I caught last fall. All, regardless of length, were like footballs and one was pushing the 8lb mark. I believe this was all because of Tilapia. My pond is 1 1/2 acre and I put 20lbs in each spring. I also have a good base of bream and I do feed. My pond looks better than ever because of the little scum eaters.


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"A man can't just sit around" - Larry Walters, 1982

Joined: Jun 2007
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Sgt, that's the best addition in this thread---real experiance from a fellow pond meister!



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