Tilapia is a commercially important fish as it consumed as food. These fish are bred through aquaculture as they are easy to breed and look after, mildly flavored, hardy and appreciated by fish lovers. If you are wondering what kind of fish is tilapia, it is a cichlid.
However, when grown in the wild, the tilapia can be quite invasive and overtake local fish population in no time. The female lays eggs and then keeps them in her mouth until they hatch. If there are any predators in the vicinity, the young tilapias enter their mother's mouth for protection.
The tilapia was originally a native of Africa and the Middle East. They can live in diverse ecosystems ranging from lakes to wetlands to estuaries. However, they tend to give more preference to tropical waters where the temperatures vary from twenty-five degrees centigrade to thirty degrees centigrade. However, some species of Tilapia are known to live in cold waters with temperatures of eight degrees centigrade to nine degrees centigrade.
Different species of tilapia can tolerate different salinities of water. Some are known to thrive in completely saline water, while others can live in waters with salinity of more than forty-five psu. However, if the water is too saline, the fish will not reproduce.
Tilapia is generally omnivorous, and can eat vegetation, dead organisms and even fecal matter. In some parts of the world, the tilapia was introduced from its native Africa and the Middle East in order to control the population of certain marine plants and/or mosquitoes. However, in these countries, with no natural predators, the tilapia took over the entire water body and ate up all the sources of food that the native species depended on.
Although tilapias do not get on with other fish as they are aggressive in nature, they tend to be part of many aquariums because of their appearance. They can grow fast quite quickly and that is why they need a large tank. In an aquarium, tilapia can be fed on vegetables and proteins. The species of tilapia that are not as beautiful looking are grown via aquaculture and sold as food.
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