Before exploring this page about Breeding Tilapia; and, if you haven’t discovered the “Our Tilapia” page yet, please go there now as it’s full of back-ground information you need to understand before reading this page.

Just to rehash some of the basics from the “Our Tilapia” page:

  1. 1.Tilapia are prolific and early breeders so their breeding needs to be controlled.

  2. 2.The best way to insure you get mostly male fish, which are bigger than females, is to avoid testosterone injections and opt for breeding the male O. Hornorum tilapia with a female O. Mossambicus tilapia. The O. Mossambicus has XX chromosomes and O. Hornorum male, ZZ chromosomes. Because the Z chromosome is dominant over the X, the resulting offspring are almost all ZX, which is male.

  3. 3.You have now created a hybrid fish which is almost 100% male.

  4. 4.If you don’t control the breeding in this way, it can get away from you very quickly.

O. Hornorum Male

4. Female O. Mossambicus are Mouth Brooders, which means they carry their eggs in their mouths to make sure they get lots of oxygen as the water swooshes through her mouth. Even the little fry spend a lot of time inside their mother’s mouth. Watch this amazing Video of a female Mossambicus with her fry.

5. Now that you know which fish to breed to control your population, you need to determine the correct number and sex of the fish in your Brood Stock. You only want one male in your stock and several females. A good Brood Stock number is one O. Hornorum male and five or six O. Mossambicus females. You can think of it as a Tilapia harem, often referred to as a “colony”.

A red O. Mossambicus Female

This is our 120 Gallon Round Fish Tank that can be purchased separately and added to any of our family systems (FFGS-20, 20-20, 40, 50, 80 or 100). You can use this separate tank to breed and brood fish or to separate out stressed fish or to purge your fish prior to harvesting. Purging is a process in which you place the fish in a separate tank without feed for several days to allow the fish to flush out food and toxins before harvesting. Go to our Products Components page to purchase.

Here’s another multi-purpose Add-On Tank. It’s oblong and can sit against a wall if you’re space challenged. This tank holds 100 Gallons and makes a perfect purging, separating or breeding/brooding tank. This tank also comes with a top net, fish net and all necessary plumb-ing to hook it up with a larger system. Go to our Products Components page to purchase.

Just when we thought we had all male fish and they were over l lb. each, we found a group of about fifteen babies in one of our tanks. We were leaving for the weekend (thanks to our Automatic Fish Feeders) and just made a last minute check when we found the little guys. We thought for sure they’d be gone (as in eaten by their fellows) when we got back three days later, but they were fine and growing. Our consultant explained that once full-grown tilapia are trained on pellets, they aren’t interested in live fish. Only younger tilapia will eat their fellows, so they were all safe and continue to grow fast. The point here is we’re far from experts at brooding and breeding; but we’re about to to get a lot of experience because we’re setting up our own Brooding/Breeding tank in our new Growroom. We’ll have a lot more to share about Breeding and Brooding soon on this page so watch for that. In the meantime, we discovered it’s possible to breed and brood fish in your single 120 or 100 Gallon Fish Tank without the Add-On Tank. Another trick for breeding in a single tank is creating a small Brooding Cage (do not use metal as it will kill your fish) within your 120 Gallon or 100 Gallon tanks. This cage protects the newborns and keeps the mother tilapia isolated from the other fish in the tank.

100 Gallon Add-On Tank for FFGS-40, 50, 100

120 Gallon Add-On Tank for FFGS-40, 50, 100

Introducing our Fingerlings!

You might catch one on our live webcam. Just click this picture.

I think this webpage sprung a leak. All I can see are scales that belong to very big fish!

Breeding & Brooding


Go to our new Live Tilapia Page to

Purchase Tilapia for your System