View Full Version : TILAPIA ILEGAL IN CALIFORNIA? Sug. what to raise instead?

04-23-2014, 11:05 AM
Im in Alameda county, Ca, and just found out I cant buy Tilapia here?!?!?! What other fish should I consider? This will be my first aquaponics system, and have no experience raising any fish.

I didnt plan a heater or water cooler in my system because I was under the impression that tilapia will do fine in my areas temperature. Now I dont know what to raise.

Any one have any experience in this area? what fish did you raise? do you control the water temperature artificially?


04-23-2014, 01:10 PM
We have a thread listing the regs for each state...

04-23-2014, 01:30 PM
We have a thread listing the regs for each state...

Thanks but I saw that, my question is since I cant have tiliapia here I'm looking for suggestions on what I can or should raise as a beginner...

04-24-2014, 12:19 PM
I assume that the reason you are not allowed to have Tilapia is an Alameda county regulation.

There is some misinformation about the California regulations regarding Tilapia.

Blues and Niles are restricted throughout the state. Mossies and Hornorum are not mentioned in the Fish and Game regulations, so they are allowed.

Having said that, most folks we know in California who have aquaponics systems have Blues in them.


04-25-2014, 09:26 AM
Hello Oliver, I got this off the department of wildlife website for California, I could be wrong but looks like they are all deemed "detrimental animals" here and non are allowed, and the Blues are listed as well.

But I dont really mind bass if that is something i can rnaise in an aquaponics system, and I really would like to raise rainbow trout, hopefully that will work out.


5/Tilapia will be approved only in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside,
San Diego, and Imperial counties. It may be stocked there only in waters approved by the Department of Fish and Game. Only T. mossambica and T. hornorum may be stocked and recipient waters must be approved by the Department. No tilapia may be imported until the genetic integrity of the stock has been certified. This certification may be required for every shipment.

Those species listed because they pose a threat to native wildlife, the agriculture interests of the state or to public health or safety are termed "detrimental animals" and are designated by the letter "D". The department shall include the list of welfare and detrimental wild animals as part of DFG MANUAL NO. 671 (2/25/92) IMPORTATION, TRANSPORTATION AND POSSESSION OF RESTRICTED SPECIES, to be made available to all permittees and other interested individuals.

0) Family Cichlidae-Cichlids
1. Tilapia sparrmani (Banded tilapia)-(D).
2. Tilapia zillii (Redbelly tilapia)-(D), except permits may be issued to a person or
an agency for importation, transportation, or possession in the counties of San
Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial.
3. Oreochromis aureus (Blue tilapia)-(D).
4. Oreochromis niloticus (Nile tilapia)-(D).

04-25-2014, 09:29 AM
Only the ones listed are banned. The mossies and hornorum are not listed so they are not banned.


Billy Boy
05-05-2014, 10:30 AM
I'm in San Francisco, and I ran into the same issue.

Also, here across the bay temps run a bit lower, and so I figure that I'd have to run a heater to raise tilapia as well, and I don't really want to do that. Also, one of my favorite crops is broccoli and in order to prevent bolting broccoli needs water temperatures that are lower than then the healthy low end for tilapia...

I should say here that I've *just* cycled my first IBC system and I'm about to stock my first fish.

I'm to try koi. Koi are basically just fancy colored common carp. As carp they have some very good properties.

1) They are tough a heck
2) They like colder water
3) They eat just about anything (though for best weight gain a well balanced diet is critical)
4) The put on weight pretty fast (not as fast as tilapia, but faster than a lot of other fish)
5) They will breed quite easily in captivity, so you can raise your own fry with out having to mess around with hormone injections
6) They are widely sold and raised all over the Bay Area.
7) They are really quite beautiful!
8) They are excellently tasty with a flaky mild flesh. In Europe and Asia carp is the #1 farm raised fish consumed by volume.

1) The don't put on weight as fast a tilapia. ( think that they are more like cat fish, and they are better than trout or pike)
2) They are harder to fillet than tilapia because they have an extra set of bones... but after your first go, you get the hang of it and it's not that hard.

But as I said above, most of this info is just book learnin' for me. (except the taste & fillet info). I've just cycled my first IBC system, and I am going to order my first school of fingerlings this evening. So please take this all as somewhat ignorant suggestion rather than any sort of informed advice.


05-06-2014, 10:12 AM
I have been raising and selling Japanese KOI for 49 years. They are more preferable to me than any other fish because of their value monetarily.

Tilapia can be bought in the store for about $4 to $6 per lb filet and catfish are also cheap, but I can sell a 1 year old KOI for anywhere from $100 to $500 bucks and up depending on color and conformation.

To me, it's a no brainer plus I like watching them in the pond. I have 9 breeders that range in length from over 24" to 36" and have had them for many years now and every spring they provide me with more fry than I have room for. 1 mature female can produce over 250,000 to 500,000 eggs....think about it.

Right now I have about 60 in my swimming pool that just turned 2 years old this April 2014. They are ready for Craigslist, Aquabid.com and local sales.

The winner of the International KOI Show in Japan, a female KOI named Alexandria...sold for $2.5 million dollars.

I consider it a sin to eat such a beautiful fish.

Don't make me come out there!:mrgreen:

05-06-2014, 04:35 PM
The winner of the International KOI Show in Japan, a female KOI named Alexandria...sold for $2.5 million dollars.

I heard they spent 2.7 mill ....buying koi for breeders, maintaining them and going to koi shows... ;)

05-06-2014, 10:09 PM
Just pocket change for those people :mrgreen:

05-15-2014, 09:59 AM
In San Francisco rainbow trout would do just wonderful. They get upset when water temperatures reach 70, but below that they're happy. The commercial breeds grow almost as fast as Tilapia.

In Sacramento you could raise yellow perch. They aren't as fast growing but you can stock more heavily since they don't eat as much. Their ideal range is like 65-75, though they can handle a very wide range and still live. Also, the flavor of perch is to-die-for!