Tilapias are an excellent biological control for filamentous algae and duckweed and have been used in South Carolina for the past thirty years. Tilapias are non-indigenous to our state and will require a SC Dept. of Natural Resources permit. There is no charge for the permit and these permits can be obtained from either the DNR or permitted aquaculturists. Tilapias are a warm water fish species that normally cannot tolerant South Carolina’s cold winter water temperatures. Tilapia will die when water temperatures drop below 52 degrees F. Fish mortalities are not usually noticeable in the winter with the fish dropping to the bottom of the pond and decomposing without noticeable fish decomposition odor.
Tilapias are normally stocked at rates ranging from 100-300 fish/surface acres depending on the size of the fish and the amount of algae/duckweed infestation in the pond. Tilapia cost approximately $1.05/fingerling for a 3-4 inch fish and $1.35/fingerling for a 4-5 inch fingerling. Fish are available for stocking from April 1st to June 1st for best results in controlling filamentous algae and duckweed. Tilapia will spawn about every 30 days from May-October.
Since tilapias are heavy spawners, they provide an excellent sized fish for largemouth bass forage. Stocking rates for forage stockings are similar to the stocking rates for filamentous algae and duckweed control.
If you have questions or need further information on the use of tilapia in ponds for either algae/duckweed control or as a forage fish, please give A.M.S a call.