Tilapia are well suited for culturing in ponds, cages, tanks, or raceways. Using ponds is the most popular method in the southern United States due to longer growing seasons. In the southern most parts of Texas and in Florida water temperatures can remain warm enough for year-round growth. In the cooler, temperate regions of the North and Midwest, tank culture is favored. Tank culture has the added benefit of reducing time and labor required for harvesting and feeding. Indoor tank culture is the preferred method when sufficient warm water is not available due to climatic conditions.
There are two types of systems used for tank culture; flow-through systems, and recirculating systems. Flow-through systems are only practical if geothermal water or waste heat are available. Indoor recirculating systems offer the advantages of reduced land require- ments, less water use, and environmental control for year-round growth. Recirculating systems can recycle as much as 99 percent of the culture water daily, although 90 percent recirculation is the preferred target. To make these systems cost effective the fish are generally reared intensively. Intensive recirculating tank culture can produce high yields on small plots of land with little water use. However, recirculating systems tend to be energy intensive and require high capital investments. Therefore, to make them profitable it is important to increase efficiency through feeding management.
Tilapia, intensive feeding protocols
Marty Riche (United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Fort Pierce, FL)
Donald Garling (Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI)
North Central Regional Aquaculture Center Fact Sheet Series #114. August 2003.
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