View Full Version : Need Large, High protein food for Tilapia

10-28-2011, 06:50 AM
I need some help. My breeder Tilapia are large, very large. They are currently eating a 53% protein pellet (floating). But it's $30+/bag. My bass eat whatever they can find, and have found I get better growth/weight by feeding them smaller live foods. Seems live foods vs prepared foods really aren't comparable when it comes to end product.
I have seen Arowanas take pinkies and like sized prey.
Would this be viable for Tilapia? Any idea if I would have to gutload like herpetologists do for lizards?
And for the math/science wizes....how could I accurately determine protein consistancy?
Or is there a better solution for high fat, and high protein?
Considering processed beef heart, and the like as well. As this is often used with african cichlids and some reef keepers. What do you all think? Consistancy is a huge issue here which ever way I go.

10-28-2011, 07:03 AM
how big is the $30 bag? i get 50lbs of fish food from the mill..it's "gamefish food" and is either 42%or 46% protein..

i thought after the first few months that tilapia only need something like 35% protein....

oh, and from what i've read, duckweed is a decent "supplement" to regular feed, as would be other leaves/vines..i've seen pics of folks feeding sweet potato leaves to their tilapia..

if they're that big, why not start eatin them?

10-28-2011, 07:08 AM
Sorry, I thought I clarified. These are my breeders. So no eating em. I am using a heat extruded pellet right now, it works well in my automatic feeders...they are similar to deer feeders. I have read that tilapia aren't supposed to get this big, maybe 15 inches is the largest I have heard of. Mine are pretty close, if not a bit bigger. I am pushing the higher protein for increased growth, and egg production. These are my livestock, and just like a rancher feeds his breeding cows better feed, so must I. Or risk smaller production.

10-28-2011, 07:11 AM
I pack the young full of live baby brine shrimp, and green water. This puts on growth fast. I haven't tried feeding daphnia and the like. Never saw a need with the growth I am getting now.
I wonder if I can dry the duckweed, run it through a hammer mill, and then a pelletizing machine. This would extrude me duckweed pellets, and then can be used year around. But, via processing does it break down the proteins too far to be of reasonable use?

10-28-2011, 07:39 AM
ahh.. understood.. i don't know much about tilapia (thinking about getting some to breed for live feed for my yp) but i do know that many fish will grow for their entire lives..
most of the "weight" of duckweed is water.... i would think you'd need lots to make pellets.. maybe add rendered bsf larvae?
i know you want to feed your breeders well..and again, i don't have any experience with tilapia, but what i have read is that they don't need that high of a protein food.. even for breeding..
i'm very interested in following your results!

10-28-2011, 07:51 AM
Use zebra danios....should be at local petco for about $1.70 each. Get a 20 gallon tank, cover bottom with rinsed marbles. You can keep this outside in the spring/summer.
Spawns best in reverse trio. 2 males 1 female. They are egg scatters, and will eat own eggs. The eggs fall between marlbles and can't get eaten. They spawn early morning, about an hour before sunrise. They eat anything, and are impossible to kill. They make thousands from just 3-5.
When young are about 1/4-1/2 inch put them in with the YP. Feeding frenzy. Whatever they don't eat right then, leave in there. It won't hurt a thing. Even if the danios grow up, they will only be 1 1/4 inches long. Still eating size for YP. LIVE food is always better. I think this has to do with amino acids and such, but the jury is still out. I bred these on an outdoor shady porch in on the peninsula in WA. 60's there is a hot day. You can do it indoors too, but you should use an aquarium heater. Indoors, light cycle, temp, and frequent water changes are key to induce spawning. This is the all time no brainer live food for anything I have that's small enough to eat them.

10-28-2011, 07:54 AM
All fish that I have experience with are predators to one extent or another. If it fits in the mouth they will try an eat it. Fresh, salt, brackish, or ornamental. It doesn't matter. The key is finding quality. I breed my koi, and they make millions of little ones. The culls are thrown to the Tilapia, bass, and catfish. Better and cheaper than any pelleted food. BUT, it's not consistent. And not always available. For little fish, when the season is on, mosquito larvae will make your babies grow like weeds. Simply net in a bucket with em, and rinse and feed. They won't last more than a minute or two.

10-28-2011, 07:57 AM
I have seen LG mouth Bass take ducklings from less than a foot from my wife, and seen 2 ft koi jump straight up out of the water. Seems to me the pinkies may not be a bad idea, assuming the fish is large enough. Don't want em choking.

10-28-2011, 08:01 AM
try mixing up your species too, remember different type of aquatic life feeds at different levels of the water comumn. Your unit is small, so what about some "bullhead". They are a small catfish family guy...get about 10 inches. Looks just like a small catfish, taste like catfish.

10-28-2011, 08:39 AM
my wife is allergic to catfish..so i ruled them out early..
i've been considering trout, i know my temps would support them, it's just a matter of finding them at the right time and price..

cherry shrimp look fairly easy to breed as well

lots of my stuff right now is experimentation with different species for supplemental food for my grow out fish..
from my first batch of 25yp, i think i have 10 or so left, lost some to stress related, a couple jumpers and some were stolen right from my back yard.. it was way to warm in a small system outside in the summer, but since bringing it all indoors last fall, i've had consistent growth.. (yp sells for about $15/lb here)
my yp and bg both love minnows, crickets, worms, crays.. just about anything that moves and fits in their mouths..
i was worried that having all the live food might make them more picky, but they still eat pellets as well as all the treats

10-28-2011, 08:54 AM
Wow...really? I didn't know that was possible. Learn something new everyday. Trout prefer running water, like a race way. But they can be adaped to ponds. They just are jumpy...alot. If you are close to a stream try a minnow trap...like $20 at Cabelas. I caught them as a kid with a net in a stream. About 2" long ones.
I don't have any experience with cherry shrimp. But there are colored mystery snails that breed like bunnies and would help with the clean up of the tank. Thier babies get decent prices on ebay and the like. I bought some online, and they ship well. Increase the volume of the water, it's slow to heat up and slow to cool off, this will eliviate some of your summer issues. That's why I ulitmately went outside with mine. Live food actually increases apetite. It makes them want to eat more. Kinda like when you fry hamburger and onions together...makes the mouth water.
BG are surface eaters that will most readily take food off of surface. They can be testy at breading time. Would encourage you to put about 2" of course sand on bottom of tank/pond as they are nest builders. Both of your species though are avid meat eaters. They won't hesitate to eat just about anything, and what they don't recognize they will eagerly taste as a way of exploring it. Cheerios works good to. Not sure of nutritional value, but fun to watch.