Oreochromis aureus, commonly known as Blue Tilapia, or Israeli Tilapia, is a species of fish in the Chichlidae family. The Blue Tilapia is a freshwater fish with a high tolerance to brackish (slightly salty) water. Adults are usually twelve to sixteen inches in length and weigh six to eight pounds. The largest recorded specimen was more than twenty-one inches long and weighed more than ten pounds.
Blue Tilapia are mouthbrooders, and broods range from 160 to 1600 eggs per female.
Tilapia serves as a natural biological control for most aquatic plant problems. Tilapia consume floating aquatic plants, such as duckweed water meal, most "undesirable" submerged plants, and most forms of algae. Tilapia rarely compete with other "pond" fish for food. Instead, because they consume plants and nutrients unused by other fish species, and substantially reduce oxygen-depleting detritus, adding tilapiaoftem increases the population, size, and health of other fish.
Blue Tilapia are commonly used with aquaponics, and are the number one seller because of their cold hardiness, surviving down to 50 degrees and can also withstand a high temperature of 98 degrees. Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Freshwater fish are the most common aquatic animal raised using aquaponics. In practice, tilapia are the most popular fish for home and commercial projects that are intended to raise edible fish.