What Type Of Fish Is Tilapia? Tilapia is among the most popular and inexpensive fishes in the world. China is one of the largest producers of this kind of fish. Tilapia is a native fish from the Middle East and North Africa and still grows in other countries, making it the most number of fishes in the world. This kind of fish can easily adapt to water changes and even in a poor quality of water environment and condition. Tilapia is also one of the best choices of fish growers in the world because it grows quickly, unlike other species of fishes.

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Types Of Tilapia

Tilapia is from Cichlid Family that mostly lives in a freshwater environment. Like any other fishes, tilapia also has a variety of species. Each variety of tilapia differs in colors, sizes, and appearances. Knowing each distinct character of tilapia might help you distinguish what kind of tilapia you are buying or eating. Here are some of the types of tilapia.

  1. Nile Tilapia – Nile tilapia are known to be mouth breeders. They carry fertilized eggs and young fishes in their mouths for a few days. This type of fish was traced 4000 years ago in Ancient Egypt. It is also called the St. Peter’s Fish, which refers to the Bible passages that it fed the masses. Nile tilapia has a distinct, delicious, and mild taste and full of nutrient benefits. It has become the 4th most famous seafood in the United States. Nile tilapia can be reared in different ways; it can be in pristine lakes or ponds. About 70% of tilapia in the United States is natural and lake-grown. Nile tilapia is still widely farmed in African and across the world. Thus, it is the most responsibly farmed fish in the markets and grocery stores.
  2. Redbelly Tilapia – This type of fish is also a native of the Middle East and North Africa. The Redbelly tilapia has a distinct deep red color on its belly, which makes it easy to identify. Redbelly tilapia is mostly found in Florida, Guam, and Hawaii.
  3. Blackfin Tilapia – This type of tilapia is a tropical fish that lives in water with a temperature between 64 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit. Blackfin tilapia is mostly found in freshwater lakes, rivers, and lagoons in Africa. 
  4. Blue Tilapia – This type of tilapia is also called as Israeli Tilapia. It is found in freshwaters, but some of them live in locations with salt waters. Blue Tilapia has a combination of colors: blue-gray and pink-white in their bellies. Blue tilapia can grow and reach two to four pounds within three years. This type of fish can also be abundantly found in the lakes, streams, and rivers of Florida.
  5. Mozambique Tilapia – This type of tilapia is also a native of Africa. It was introduced as a part of sport fishing in the United States and a means of plant aquatic control. Mozambique tilapia cannot withstand cold water conditions, unlike the Nile and Blue tilapias. This tilapia can be easily identified because of its yellow belly and olive-gray color.

Concerns About Fish Farming Of Tilapia

The Food and Drugs Administration revealed several reports about the details in fish farming practices. Here are the two major concerns of people about the practices in rearing tilapia on farms.

Animal feces are used as food for tilapia and other fishes.

A report from the Food and Drugs Administration was revealed that some of the fish growers in China used animal feces as food for their fishes. They use animal wastes to feed their livestock animals. Studies have proven that feeding fishes with animal feces can cause harmful bacteria like Salmonella, which can contaminate and increase the risk of having foodborne diseases. 

Tilapia might be polluted with harmful chemicals and other bacteria.

Over 800 seafood shipments, including tilapia, was rejected because it did not meet the safety standards given by the Food and Drugs Administration. These shipments were from China. It is said that the seafood shipments were allegedly contaminated and polluted with harmful chemicals such as unsafe medicines and other veterinary drug residues.

Is Tilapia Safe To Eat?

Yes, it is safe to eat when fish farm owners are responsible enough to rear their fishes in a good and clean water environment and condition. According to studies, tilapia is the best choice for breastfeeding and pregnant women.

Is Tilapia Genetically Engineered?

No, tilapia is not genetically engineered. Tilapia is a fish species that is usually raised in farms. These fishes are raised in aquaculture, which means they are reared in a freshwater system and feed on algae. Producers and other fish growers make use of selective techniques in breeding to cultivate and rear strong fishes and for it to grow faster. With the use of selective breeding techniques, tilapia can grow with high resistance from diseases. It is essential to know that these techniques in breeding are selective and not genetically engineered and modified.

What Are The Benefits Of Tilapia?

Fish is a good source of nutrients for the body. Here are some of the benefits that a tilapia has.

  1. Tilapia is a good source of high protein level and has a low-fat content.
  2. It has more omega-6 content compared to other species of fishes.
  3. It can provide stronger heart health, joint strength, and clearer vision.
  4. It is one of the best choices and alternatives for pregnant and lactating women.
  5. Tilapia also contains different vitamins and mineral such as potassium and niacin.
  6. Since tilapia is rich in omega-6, it helps to improve the functioning of blood sugar and lipid levels.

Conclusion

Tilapia is one of the best choices of fish farm owners and aquaculture enthusiasts because it can be easily raised, and it grows quickly. Tilapia has over 70 species, the same as other fishes that have different species. Before, only the native countries of the Middle East and North Africa are farming and raising tilapias. But it has grown in Taiwan, Canada, the United States, China, and other countries across the world.