Golden Freshwater Clam

Breeding tilapia

If you wish to breed true tilapia in your aquarium, you need to obtain a breeding couple. One of the easiest methods is to purchase a group of young tilapia and let them grow up together. This way, they can form their own pairs as they reach sexual maturity. Getting tilapia into breeding conditions is not very tricky. Keep the fish in a suitable environment and feed them a nutritious diet.

When a pair has been created, it is a good idea to move the fish to their own breeding aquarium unless the normal aquarium is very large. The couple needs to claim a territory where they can breed and defend their offspring. You can also move all the other fish instead, since this will be less stressful for the couple.

The exact reproductive method will depend on which tilapia species you wish to spawn. All true tilapias are egg layers and many of the most commonly kept species are open substrate spawners. Open substrate spawners do not hide their eggs in a cave or crevice; they place their eggs on a flat rock or similar or dig large pits in the substrate. The parents will carefully select the breeding site and clean it meticulously prior to spawning. It is a fascinating behaviour to witness. It is also common for tilapia pairs to place their larvae in large pits after hatching where they can be protected until they become free-swimming.

During the actually spawning, the female will release some eggs and the male will fertilize them. She will then release some more eggs, and the male will fertilize them as well. This can go on for quite a long period of time and a single spawning can result in large amounts of fertilized eggs.

During the first few weeks of their life, tilapia larvae and fry are protected and cared for by both parents. You can start feeding the fry newly hatched brine shrimp as soon as the yolk sac has been devoured. Tilapia parents are normally highly devoted and will take good care of their offspring.