Young blue tilapia are a nondescript grey with vertical bars on the body and a black spot at the rear of the dorsal fin. Adults are generally dark grey-blue on the back, transitioning to white on the belly. The border of the dorsal fin is red or orange, the caudal fin has a red to pink border. They have a broken lateral line and the spiny dorsal fin is joined to the soft dorsal fin.
Tilapia are found in fertile lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and canals. They prefer warm, weedy waters.
Blue tilapia, at all sizes, feed primarily on phytoplankton and zooplankton.
Age and Growth
Blue tilapia grow rapidly the first few years of life and can reach a large size. Fish weighing 3 to 4 pounds are common. The largest caught in Florida weighed 10 pounds and was over 21 inches in length. A sample of blue tilapia collected from Lake Lena, FL, yielded a maximum age of 6 years and indicated that males were larger at each age than females.
Although not normally known for their sporting quality, tilapia will bite a hook and are often taken by urban anglers on bait such as small pieces of hot dog, bread balls or dog food.
Blue tilapia have white, flaky meat with a mild flavor and are considered excellent eating.
4 lbs. 7 ounces Santiago Pond, Orlando, Florida
Material from eAngler.com.
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