How to Feed Tilapia Fish

Tilapia come from the warm waters of Israel.
Tilapia come from the warm waters of Israel. (Image: white tilapia image by Lucid_Exposure from

Tilapia fish originated in Israel, where they swim in the warm waters of the Sea of Galilee (which is actually a freshwater lake Israelis call Lake Kinneret). Tilapia are omnivorous, eating both animals and plants to get an appropriate intake of nutrients, including proteins, fats, amino acids and vitamins. The fish industry also grows tilapia in captivity to be sold to restaurants and supermarkets for public consumption. In a controlled environment, the fish feed on pellets formulated to meet their nutritional requirements. The amount is based on the fish’s weight.

Things You'll Need

  • Metric scale
  • Tilapia fish food

Feed baby tilapia until they’re 3 weeks old a powdered fish feed. Select a formula that contains 50 percent protein to support the fish’s rapid growth. Start by feeding them 30 percent of their body weight in food daily. As they grow, decrease the grams of feed you give them. A tilapia that weighs 5 grams receives an amount equal to 6 percent of its body weight. A fish that weighs 20 grams gets 4 percent of its weight in food every day.

Feed older tilapia pellets with a diameter that ranges from 3/32 inch to 1/8 inch. According to the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center, tilapia differ from other fish species by continuing to prefer small food as adults. The center also recommends floating pellets to make it easy for you to note your fish’s response to the feed.

Divide your fish’s daily ration into eight to 10 equal portions to be given as separate meals throughout the day. Tilapia have small stomachs and they expend a lot of energy, requiring frequent feedings.

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