Since our aquaponics system is powered by fish, we are happy that the first 50 blue nile tilapia are finally being introduced to our system. Oreochromis aureus (commonly known as Blue Tilapia) are a freshwater species that are considered an invasive species in areas with warm water habitats due to their ability of rapid growth and reproduction. In Florida, blue nile tilapia are on the Fish and Wildlife’s conditional species list that requires a special permit if the tilapia are being sold (dead or alive). There is an exemption strictly for personal consumption of blue nile tilapia. However, any other type tilapia are on the Fish & Wildlife’s prohibited species list and require a permit in Florida. Here are the regulations for Florida.
According to Florida Fish & Wildlife’s profile of Blue Nile Tilapia, spawning occurs when the water temperature exceeds 68oF. Males dig large circular nests with their mouths in shallow water over a sandy bottom. The male swims out to a passing female and leads her to the nest where courtship occurs; female lays eggs and immediately takes into mouth after male fertilizes, after which she swims off, possibly to mate with another male. The males continue to guard nests and may spawn again with another female. Eggs hatch in female’s mouth, and fry occasionally released to feed, but whenever threatened they return to the female’s mouth until they are about three weeks old. This type of parental care is called mouth-brooding.