When we started mentioning to people we knew that we wanted to start raising fish, everyone was an expert. They of course had never raise tilapia other than perhaps for their own consumption. Their idea was to put the fish in there and basically throw in whatever you wanted to feed them. They would throw in bread, rice, whatever was left over. We might not have raised fish before but we knew this advice was nonsense.
Luckily for us, the company which manufactures fish food is about 15 minutes up the road from where we live. They have a representative who came out to see our set up and discuss our options.
We also were taken to another tilapia farm near-by whose workers were very helpful.
When the man arrived we were told we could put 2,500 fish in our lake in front of our house. That was without additional aeration. Our lake is approx 50m X 50m and at the time was 7' deep.
We got the telephone number of the company which sells fish and placed our order.
We bought 2,500 tilapia weighing 30g each. These arrived in aerated tanks on the back of a truck. The truck changed the water with water from our outside hose. After that the tilapia were unceremoniously scooped out into crates and tipped into the lake.
Our lake already had fish in it. Although we had netted it, it is almost impossible to remove all the fish in a lake. Some had been bought and others arrived on birds feet as eggs, it was a always a surprise when we fished it, what we pulled out. We did have two types of predator fish in the lake. The peacock bass and a fish called a triara. I will be talking about the need for predators in future blog posts.
As our new fish were being tipped into the lake, the bass and triara were gobbling up as many as they could. It was like a feeding frenzy and was hard to watch our money being gobbled up right in front of our eyes.
With the tilapia, as I imagine is the case with vast numbers of livestock, a 10% rate of mortality is expected. This could be weaker stock which couldn't take the moving or possibly shock of the new environment. Over the next few days, we had what seem to be a lot floating to the surface.