Tilapia is a common market name for several species of freshwater food fish in the Ciclid family. Hybrid variations of Tilapia now are farm raised throughout warm water habitats with some species being tolerant of brackish water. The growth in aquaculture of this species has developed two main distinctions in the market: Red and Black tilapia. Black is faster growing and is used mostly for processed fillets. Red tilapia is used in place of snapper in some dishes with the highest grade being used for Izumidai in sushi preparations.


Although there are many sub species of Tilapia we will only list below the three most important commercially farmed species. Growers and hatcheries of Tilapia used as food fish continue to develop the genetics for greater yields, cold water tolerance, disease resistance, color, and flavor profile. Besides the three species listed below many people refer to a Red Tilapia which is not a species but rather the result of selective breeding of the Blue Tilapia and the Black Tilapia which creates a red skin color that is popular in some markets.

  • Nile Tilapia: (Oreochromis niloticus) most popular farmed species
  • Blue or Israeli Tilapia: (Oreochromis aureus)
  • Black Tilapia: (Oreochromis mossambica)
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