April 16, 2018 Fish 5,340 Comments

Tilapia are hugely popular in aquaponic systems due to their adaptive and hardy nature. But here are 9 things you probably didn’t know about your new favorite fish:

1. Tilapia fish appear in the Christian Bible in the Gospel of Matthew, when St. Peter caught a fish with a coin in its mouth. As a result some have nicknamed it ‘St. Peters fish.’ It is apparently also the fish Jesus served to feed the multitudes when he had only five loaves of bread and two fish.

2. There are over a hundred species of Tilapia available, as well as several hybrids.

3. In Taiwan after World War 2, many people would have starved to death were it not for the availability of tilapia – they are still known as ‘poor-man’s fish’ in Taiwan today.

4. Tilapia originates in Africa, but have steadily spread around the world due to voluntary release and escaping from farms.

5. The breed has been around for 4,500 years.

6. In America it is the 6th most popular fish, after shrimp, tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish.

7. In the world of sushi, it is often used as a substitute for red snapper. Red snapper has a similar texture but is slightly less sweet.

8. Most tilapia available in the US has been imported from either Asia or Latin America.

9. Commercially grown tilapia are mostly male. The women are such prolific breeders (laying anywhere between 300 – 1000 eggs a month!) that you would end up with tanks full of tiny fish. Check out this video which explains the breeding process in more detail!

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Written by Pippa Woodhead
Being a health-nut, London born Pippa has struggled to adjust to the lack of availability of lettuce and kale since re-locating to India. Previously naive to the extent of the worlds food struggles, she has now become obsessed with sustainability in food production and especially in India where it needs it the most (plus she’s also hoping to get her hands on some kale any day now). When she’s not writing for Aquaponics in India, she is usually found with her head in a book or in the kitchen experimenting with new vegetarian recipes.