Oreochromis aureus, commonly known as Blue Tilapia or Israeli Tilapia is a species of fish in the Cichlidae family.
The Blue Tilapia is a freshwater fish with a high tolerance for brackish water. Adults are usually 10 to 12 inches in length and weigh 5 to 6 pounds. The largest recorded specimen was more than 21 inches long and weighed more than 10 pounds. Blue Tilapia are mouthbrooders, and broods range from 160 to 1600 eggs per female.
Tilapia serves as a natural biological control for most aquatic plant problems. Tilapia consume floating aquatic plants, such as duckweed watermeal, most "undesirable" submerged plants, and most forms of algae. Tilapia rarely compete with other "pond" fish for food. Instead, because they consume plants and nutrients unused by other fish species and substantially reduce oxygen-depleting detritus, adding tilapia often increases the population, size and health of other fish.
Tilapia are commonly used with Aquaponics. Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Freshwater fish are the most common aquatic animal raised using aquaponics. In practice, tilapia are the most popular fish for home and commercial projects that are intended to raise edible fish.
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