What is a Red Tilapia?
Red Tilapia is not a species of tilapia, but rather a name used for several different manmade tilapia variants that sport attractive red coloration. These variants are the result of continuous selective breeding and are much sought after in certain markets. Many farmers prefer to cultivate Red Tilapia because of their popularity.
Different types of Red Tilapia
Several examples of Red Tilapia variants commonly found in fish markets and grocery stores include Florida Red, Jamaican Red, Taiwan Red, and ND56. Unlike wild tilapia species, which tend to be black or greyish, these fish have showy red and pink colors.
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 known to grow just as fast as the Nile Tilapia, 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 Blue Tilapia is one of the most cold-tolerant tilapia species known.
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.
It should also be noted that some tilapia species have the term “red” in their common name, such as Redbreast Tilapia (Tilapia rendalli) and Redbelly Tilapia (Tilapia zillii).
Red Tilapia can be used in aquaponics systems, but like all fish, it has its pros and cons. Here are some of the pros and cons of raising Red Tilapia in aquaponics:
Pros of Red Tilapia in aquaponics:
- High demand: Red Tilapia is in high demand in certain markets, making it a potentially profitable choice for aquaponics farmers.
- Fast growth: Red Tilapia has a fast growth rate, meaning it can reach market size relatively quickly.
- Colorful: Red Tilapia is a beautiful fish with a unique red coloration, making it an attractive addition to aquaponics systems.
- Hardy: Red Tilapia is a hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making it a good choice for beginners.
Cons of Red Tilapia in aquaponics:
- Invasive species: Like all tilapia, Red Tilapia has the potential to become invasive in local waterways, so it’s important to take precautions to prevent them from escaping into the wild.
- Susceptible to diseases: Red Tilapia can be susceptible to a variety of diseases, which can be a concern in crowded aquaponics systems.
- Require high-quality feed: Red Tilapia require a high-protein diet to grow quickly, which can be expensive.
- Require good water quality: Red Tilapia require good water quality with plenty of oxygen, which may require additional equipment or maintenance in some aquaponics systems.
Overall, Red Tilapia is a unique and potentially profitable choice for aquaponics systems, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and to ensure proper care is taken to prevent them from becoming invasive in local waterways.