Golden Freshwater Clam

Red tilapia

Red tilapia is a not a species of tilapia, it is instead a name used for several different manmade tilapia variants that sport and attractive red colouration. These variants are the result of continuous selective breeding. Many farmers prefer to cultivate red tilapia since it is much sought after in certain markets.

A few examples of red tilapia variants commonly encountered in fish markets and grocery stores are Florida Red, Jamaican Red, Taiwan Red and ND56. Unlike wild tilapia species – which tend to be black or greyish – these fishes have showy red and pink colours. Florida Red tilapia is the result of Blue tilapia (Oreochromis aureus) mating with Mozambique Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus). The growth rate of Florida Red is normally somewhat higher than that of Taiwan Red. Hybrids created by crossing Taiwan Red with Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) are however known to grow just as fast as the Nile tilapia, i.e. much faster than Florida Red. Hybrids created by crossing Florida Red with Blue tilapia have a growth rate somewhere between Florida Red and Taiwan Red. Crossing in Blue tilapia is popular when tilapia is aquacultured outside the tropics, because the Blue tilapia is one of the most cold tolerant tilapia species we know of.

ND56 is a red tilapia variety famous for its fast growth rate and calm disposition. Its body is uniformly red without any paler markings and the belly membrane is pink. ND56 tilapia is what you get when you cross a female from the ND-5 Tilapia family line with a male from the ND-6 Tilapia family line.

Is should also be noted that some tilapia species have the term red in their common name, e.g. Redbreast tilapia (Tilapia rendalli) and Redbelly tilapia (Tilapia zillii).