Golden Freshwater Clam

Combined tilapia and prawn farming

Cultivating tilapia together with prawns is a convenient way of producing a secondary crop. Since tilapia and prawn belong to different food niches they can live together without competing for food and this makes it possible to yield a greater harvest without increasing the amount of feed. Cultivating more than one species in the growing unit can also lead to a better balance among the microbial communities in the growing unit, which in turns decreases the risk of poor water quality. Combining tilapia with other species is normally only done in ponds; cage cultured and tank cultured tilapia is typically grown on its own.

In commercial tilapia aquacultures, the most commonly grown species of prawn is Macrobrachium rosenbergii. Research have shown that tilapia and Macrobrachium rosenbergii can be raised together without having any adverse effect on each others survival and growth rate. The fish farmer only has to provide the fish with adequate amounts of food; the prawns will feed on natural food that is produced in the pond when fish waste is broken down. The prawns will also seek out leftover fish food and devour it.  

Some fish farmers practise crop rotation to reduce the risk of infectious diseases caused by virus, bacteria and parasites in their growing units. They will rotate between farming tilapia and farming prawns, since tilapia and prawns are susceptible to different diseases.

Before you decide to combine your tilapia with other species, you should keep in mind that sorting the various species at harvest can be labour intensive. You might also need to invest in special equipment, such as conveyors and sorting devices.