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I'm up north and haven't seen many people using tilapia up here, but I've got some FA I'd like gone and I live in Wisconsin. I ran across an aquaponics guy with some tilapia. I could get 15 5-6" blue (so he claims) tilapia for $100ish. That's a bit much for normal fish but I haven't seen many cheap tilapia up north when shipping is factored in.

My pond is less than a 1/4 acre and I'm not completely overrun with FA but I've got enough of the annoying stuff (covers maybe maybe 10% of the pond and probably more like 5%).

I'm thinking about tossing in 10 of the fish and using the other 5 to breed for next season or something.

What do you folks think?


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if you can keep a few to breed then it might be worth doing.


anything in the pond that can eat 5-6 inch tilapia?


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This is what I've found to work in Northern Indiana:

Stock tilapia when water temps are in the 60F - 65F or higher range.

Chemically treat the algae if there is any floating in the pond before stocking the Tilapia or there is a good chance that they won't be able to eat enough to make a difference.

Stock them at the rate of 40# per surface acre or you might not have enough mouths in the pond to eat the algae. i.e. a 1/4 acre pond needs 10#.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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Somewhat similar to esshup is my experience. First year I stocked 30# in one acre that were 5-6" long. Stocked them later than I wanted, and never really kept the algae under control all the way.

Second year, a guy sold me some that were 3-4" long, 150 fish (what's that weight equal to? I'd be surprised if it was 5#), stocked a month earlier, and they did a much better job. No algae at all. Decided to raise some of those thru this past winter. Really wondering if it is worth it! Lots of work to just keep them going, but it has been a nice learning experience.

Around here the tilapia sell for the average price of 20.00/#..... used to. Now the price seems to be dropping because of everyone getting into it. I recently found a place that will sell me 5" tilapia for 1.00 each, granted they are NOT the blue tilapia. But at the price, you sure can buy a lot to take care of algae that may get out of control before temps are high enough to stock. Its all about how you personally want to mange your pond. But for the price, you just can't raise them yourself for that, not if you consider your time is worth anything.

Your guys price don't seem that crazy, considering all my experience. Southern guys might think it's crazy, but we need to keep them warm 2/3 of the year.

Last edited by fish n chips; 06/05/15 03:37 PM.
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It sounds like the consensus is to not expect miracles from that many fish so I'm thinking it probably doesn't pay to do it this year. I had been thinking of raising some over the winter and maybe that'll be a plan next year. I can probably get 50-100 fingerlings and have them fairly big come spring.


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I put in 50 tilapia in West Michigan (actually 53, the nice guy gave me a few extra). About 20 of them were big and fat, maybe 5-6", the other 33 smaller. They were Blues. I'll see how they do on my FA. I have just a little around the edges so far and I can easily rake most of it out at least right now.

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How did your tilapia experiment come out? I am thinking of 'experimenting' in Iowa this spring, and was curious what kind of FA control you got, and how long the tilapia survived, etc.


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DrLuke,
I had a fabulous year with no FA at all. Unfortunately I'm not sure I can give the credit to the tilapia but perhaps I can.

1. If stocking rate is 40 lbs per acre then I clearly did not have enough. I have about 1/4 acre so needed 10 pounds. Although a few of the 50 were big mature adults, all together I bet they weighed more like 6-7 pounds or less. I stocked when water was about 65 degrees. I had no predators. I had hoped that they would have hundreds of babies, but if they did I never saw them. So did they eat the algae? possibly, but I think other factors played a bigger role.

2. The handful of crayfish I stocked last summer and again this summer were seriously stirring up the bottom and also consuming every underwater plant I had. My pond was redug about 3 springs ago so the underwater native plants were just starting to get started. I had a milfoil outbreak last spring and treated with Sonar last summer to get on top of it. I retreated with sonar this spring at a light dose wanting to be sure I didn't have a repeat performance and that may have helped suppress natural weed growth as well. However esshup helped me dose it so that hopefully I would target the milfoil only. So crayfish helped by consuming much of the plant/herb life.

3. The crayfish also stirred up the bottom all year so that I had chocolate milk color all year. Last spring and summer, crystal clear (hence the milfoil bloom), this year, no weeds, but also no light penetrating very deep. Do crayfish eat FA? Maybe, but perhaps with the tilapia and crayfish together, no FA.

4. I have a post on when my tilapia died somewhere. It was a record mild fall/winter for us, shirtsleeves well through Dec and 50 degrees on Christmas Day. My tilapia I think made it till about Nov 19. I only saw the mature adults floating or struggling at the shore line. I have to believe the smaller ones sunk or were attacked by aggressive crayfish and turtles. I never saw a dead one that was say 3" or less. The large ones were coated with green slime and floated into the shallows. It is funny that the raccoons didn't seem to want to eat them either with that mold on them.

5. I would get tilapia for sure, just because they are cool to have in the pond. My perch and (if they are even there...)RES and LES stay invisible. My unwanted goldfish root in the bottom and swim around in brilliant orange schools just harassing me and baiting me to try to do something about eradicating them. My goldfish and adult GSH feed together when it is pellet time.

But the Tilapia are a blast to watch since they cruise around in tight packs. They bask in the sunny shallows and don't seem to mind so much that they are so easily spotted in the pond. When they get startled they all turn and shoot off in another direction leaving a big boil in the water. I never tire just watching the different packs move around. They seem to sort out by size and color. Probably like dogs going around in packs etc.

If you have a big FA problem you probably need to go at least 40#/acre and then try to help out if you can by raking out the shore lines to get a head start. I may have had a little FA by the first 6" of shore line but I figure it is too shallow for the tilapia to get in there and eat it anyway.

But even if you get less than the official ratio, who else has tilapia in their pond? They do good for the pond, are entertaining to watch, and if you are creative, you may be able to seine them, trap them or angle for them in the fall and have a good tilapia grill out. Many have said they are hard to catch with hook and line. But for a while everyone said that about RES too until a PB member found the secret to catching them.

I proposed an idea where someone would sink a IBC tote or large cattle watering trough with a narrow one way entrance in it. Then put a stock tank heater in it and allow some of that warm water to ooze out into the pond. When the water gets chilly the tilapia may find that heat and 'catch themselves' I know my tilapia as it go cold where oriented vertically right in the sunny corner of the pond and in the shallowest water trying to get that last ray of sunlight to keep warm. This technique might work well for someone from Iowa who has access to lots of used cattle water tanks and water tank heaters.

For sure let us know what you decide and how it goes for you. I hope my friend who is dabbling in aquaponics will set me up with some again this year. He had to get rid of his stock completely to start fresh with certified stock in order to get his aquaponics license so this spring I may be out of luck.


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Dr Luke, you will need a special stocking permit for Tilapia in Iowa, as they are not on the approved species list yet. The person you'll want to talk with is Alan Johnson, Special Permits Iowa DNR



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Is there anywhere I can buy tilapia in Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by Freunb02
Is there anywhere I can buy tilapia in Wisconsin


Read this: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Fishing/stocking


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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