Tilapia fish belong to the family of cichlids. They prefer a habitat with water temperatures of 20 to 30 degrees Celsius. Lower temperatures cause problems such as slow growth or at worst death. Tilapia are pure herbivores. They weigh up to six kilograms and can reach a length of half a metre.
The body shape of tilapia varies according to its type and habitat. For instance, those living in the Nile are slightly disc-shaped and have a brown-grey colouring with dark transverse rings. Their dorsal fin is continuous and a particular characteristic are the well-formed pectoral and anal fins. In contrast to the Nile tilapia, the Mozambique tilapia has a lighter coloured body and dark stripes. It has two merged dorsal fins. Since the different species actively interbreed, there are now many forms of this fish. The tilapia reaches sexual maturity after only half a year. Females lay about 1,500 eggs per kilogram of their own body weight. These are deposited in nests built by the male. Unlike many other fish species tilapia larvae are very resilient immediately after hatching.