Tilapia fish farming Cages

About cage farming tilapia

Raising fish in cages is a successful system used in many parts of the world.  It has replaced the traditional fish-growing method of earth ponds.  Its advantages are well recognized and it is widely spread all over the globe.  The first and most important advantage is the unlimited amount of water surrounding the cages. This unlimited water supply provides vast amounts of oxygen and running water, which is necessary for productive fish farming. In addition to that, the financial investment in such a system is much lower. This system of cages is simpler in daily operation in comparison to any other commonly used method of growing fish.

Site Selection and Placement of Cages

Large bodies of water tend to be better suited for cage culture than small ponds, because the water quality is generally more stable and less affected by fish waste. Exceptions are entropic waters rich in nutrients and organic matter. Small (1 to 5 acres) ponds can be used for cage culture, but provisions for water exchange or emergency aeration may be required. Cages should be placed where water currents are greatest, usually to the windward side. Calm, stagnant areas should be avoided. However, areas with rough water and strong currents also present problems.

Cages may be moored individually or linked in groups to piers, rafts, or lines of heavy rope suspended across the water surface. At least 5 meters should separate each cage to optimize water quality. The cage floor should be a minimum of 4 meters above the bottom substrate, where waste accumulates and oxygen levels may be depressed. However, greater depths promote rapid growth and reduce the possibility of parasitism and disease.


The optimum fingerling size for stocking in final grow out cages is determined by the length of the growing season and the desired market size. The shorter the growing season, the larger the fingerlings must be at stocking. The use of male populations, which grow at 30-40% the rate of female populations, will result in larger fish, greater production and a reduction during the grow-out period.

Recommended stocking rate of tilapia fingerlings depends on cage volume, desired harvest size and production level, and the length of the culture period.

Water exchange is less frequent in large cages, and therefore the stocking rate must be reduced accordingly to fish size.

In tropical or subtropical regions with a year-round growing season, a staggered production system could be used to facilitate marketing by ensuring regular harvests, e.g., weekly, biweekly, or monthly. The exact strategy will depend on the number of cages available and the total production potential of the body of water.

Growing fish in Cages system

Daily Operation

The cage system is serviced by a number of floating elements. The work between the cages is performed using motorboats. The use of motorboats serves several purposes: stocking fish into the cages, harvesting fish from the cages, extracting fish to the processing plant, transferring fish between the cages, feeding the fish and a vast number of other activities requiring movement between cages and shore. In addition, the motorboat is used to move the whole cage to the shore for harvesting, restocking or net preparation.

Stocking and harvesting fish can also be done by using special fish tanks on the service boats that contain water with oxygen, which comes from a special bottle of oxygen. The extraction of the fish is done part by hand and part by mean of a special device for the extraction of fish called the Archimedes Screw (Fish Elevator).

At a central point in the lake a wharf will be located to serve the cages by the boats. The wharf will be the main service point which will concentrate all cage related matters such as loading and unloading of food sacks, fuel station, repair and maintenance of the cages, exit point for the divers and a place to tie up the boats at night, and to leave extra floating technical elements.

From time to time, when the cages are emptied of fish, the nets will be transported to shore and washed in a specially designated facility. The fish farm will be serviced by a number of divers whose role will be to watch for damage to the cages, repair the nets in case of tears caused by predators or by any other causes.

Elevator for fish harvesting

Total production

Total production in cages increases as the stocking rate is increased. However, there is a density at which tilapia become too crowded and water quality within the cage deteriorates to a point that causes a decline in growth rates.  In cages, production should be limited to 30 -50 kg per cubic meter. Tilapia continues to grow above these levels at gradually decreasing rates, but they convert feed poorly, and the risk of loss due to oxygen depletion or disease is greater. For maximum turnover of marketable fish, it is best to limit production to levels that do not depress growth. The total number of cages that can be deployed in a lake and therefore total fish production, is primarily a function of maximum allowable feeding rate for all cages in that body of water. The total feed input is related to number and size of fish in the cages (the biomass) and is limited by surface area of the pond.

Cages advantages and disadvantages

Some advantages are:

  • Flexibility of management

  • Ease and low cost of harvesting

  • Close observation of fish feeding response and health

  • Ease and economical treatment of parasites and diseases

  • Relatively low capital investment compared to ponds and raceways

Some disadvantages are:

  • Risk of loss from poaching or damage to cages from predators or storms

  • Less tolerance of fish to poor water quality

  • Dependence on nutritionally-complete diets

Mooring System Diagram

Leveling turned over – This may occur when anaerobic material flows up from the bottom of the lake, increasing toxic chemicals and lost of oxygen in the water.

  • The cage has three main parts. The outer part which floats on the water surface is made from 2-3 HDPE tubes. The diameter of the tubes is 250mm and they compose the upper floating base (as seen in the pictures) to which the fish growing net is tied.

  •  The second component is the net, where the fish are kept and grown. The net is completely submerged under water in a depth as determined by the farm’s requirements.

  • The third component is the mooring system located at the bottom of the lake which anchors the cage system to the designated location above water surface. The mooring system is anchored to the bottom with heavy anchors (as illustrated below). Out of this anchoring system are a number of cables protrude which connect to the cages and thus anchor the cage so that it cannot move. This system is designed to withstand strong winds and large waves. A number of mooring systems will be placed in several locations in the lake. Each of the systems will carry 24 cages. Each system will be named so it will be characterized and identified by the farm’s computer.

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Tilapia, Tilapia fish farming Sea Bass/Bream/ Carps Fish


Tilapia, Catfish, Carps, Sea Bass , Sea bream

Concrete Tilapia Ponds
Concrete Tilapia Pond


We are a fish farm consultant company. If you are involved in an aqua-farming operation or thinking to start a new fish farming venture, welcome home. Alphalapia has an experienced professional team to provide solutions to almost any needs in the fish industry. Research and analysis of your market will be the foundations for our decision because you need to know everything from cultivation to production.​ Alphalapia will strive to maximize your profits while never forgetting environmental and social hazards. Our goal at Alphalapia is to help sustain fish supply against the rising global demand for quality fish and seafood. Alphalapia analyses each initiative according to its business needs, focusing on market approach, production efficiency, and environmental sustainability.

California fish farm
Fish Farm in California

We offer our customers a comprehensive range of our consulting services for Tilapia fish farming, Carp, Sea bream, Sea bass, Shrimp and all other sea fisheries in states and dependent territories in Africa such as:

Angola, Chad, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Togo and more…

Find Fish Farming Information

tilapia Fish Farm in Africa
Tilapia Fish Farm in Africa


Because of the global nature of our business, we have a large range of services. here is a glossary of places, species, and techniques that we have experience with:

Tilapia fish farm example in Africa, tilapia fishtilapia farming, tilapia pond, farm tilapia, male tilapia, aquaculture, Nile tilapia, home tilapia, fish farm cages farming, female tilapia, fish, farmed fish, tilapia culturetilapia fingerlingsMozambique tilapia, fingerlings, farmed tilapia, pond, tilapia recipes, blue tilapia

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Tendances mondiales dans l’industrie de l’aquaculture

Tendances mondiales dans l’industrie de l’aquaculture

October 18, 2015


Ronen sander

Tendances mondiales dans l’industrie de l’aquacultureLes changements globaux subis par l’environnement aquatique, pollution de l’eau en mer littorale et la pêche massive ont mené à une pénurie en fruits de mer face à la demande croissante en produits de la mer. Cette situation n’a fait qu’empirer, avec les nouvelles mesures restrictives de capture qui sont imposées à l’industrie de temps à autre.

1. Le développement économique en Chine et en Inde – qui sont les pays les plus peuplés – avec le Brésil, la Russie et certains pays plus petits, ont considérablement augmenté la demande en poissons.Par exemple la Chine, considérée le principal exportateur de poisson bon marché, est actuellement la consommatrice essentielle de sa production et ses exportations ont fortement baissé.Ce développement économique a entraîné une augmentation de la demande pour le poisson ainsi que des prix plus élevés.

2. La détérioration des ressources naturelles et la stagnation des nombreux règlements, même en réduisant un peu la quantité de poisson de capture, imposent des changements dans la pisciculture afin de répondre à la demande accrue.

3. L’augmentation mondiale des prix des céréales, ainsi que des protéines, imposent une augmentation spectaculaire des coûts de production.Il convient de noter que les aliments représentent environ 60 – 85% du coût direct de la production de poisson, tandis que le FCR (taux de coefficient alimentaire) pour la plupart des espèces varie entre 1,6 – 2. Cela signifie que pour chaque kilo de chaire de poisson, il faut jusqu’à 2 kg de nourriture.

4. L’augmentation spectaculaire des coûts d’alimentation animale a stimulé les producteurs à rechercher des systèmes qui permettraient d’accroître l’efficacité et de réduire le FCR, notamment au moyen d’étangs plus intensifs et sophistiqués équipés de systèmes de recyclage.Ce système de production intensive – qui accroît la biomasse totale des poissons vivants par m3 d’eau – expose les poissons à des maladies qui requièrent un dispositif santé plus renforcé.Les systèmes fermés en Israël et dans la plupart des pays doivent compter sur des subventions gouvernementales pour justifier leurs modèles d’affaires. Dans la plupart des cas, ces systèmes ne se justifient pas en termes d’activité pure.

5. Les cages de culture de poisson dans l’eau mer et eau fraîche sont considérés comme un système rentable qui préserve généralement les bonnes conditions de l’eau, un FCR inférieur et donc un risque réduit d’épidémie.De plus, l’investissement global pour un tel système est beaucoup plus bas comparé à toute autre alternative.

6. Dans une perspective financière, les prix du marché du poisson frais sont beaucoup plus élevés que le prix du poisson congelé dans des pays comme les États-Unis, le Canada et l’Europe. Cela nécessite une efficacité accrue de la part des producteurs.

7. Face aux tendances mondiales, les organismes institutionnels et privés déploient leurs efforts pour atteindre une qualité supérieure de chaire, un apport FCR et aboutir à une meilleure résistance aux maladies.

Cette tendance va exercer une pression sur les ressources telles que l’eau, la terre, l’approvisionnement en fourrage et l’écologie, une pression qui va nécessiter  une mise au point  technologique, afin de maintenir une croissance durable et continue au sein de l’industrie. Cette tendance peut également offrir de belles opportunités commerciales dans le monde entier.

On peut noter la tendance  démontrée dans le tableau 2.2ci-dessous:  bien que le taux croissance du volume a subi une baisse au cours des dernières années, le taux de la valeur est resté linéaire. Ce phénomène est le résultat du développement de l’industrie qui a augmenté les prix par rapport au volume. Cependant, ce n’est pas le cas pour tous les producteurs, comme nous le montrerons plus tard puisque les prix du saumon n’ont  pas cessé de diminuer au cours des années.

Le taux de croissance de l’aquaculture mondiale était d’environ 6,9% dans les années 70 et jusqu’à 2006 et puis, il a ralenti au cours des dernières années. Cependant, ce développement n’est pas homogène dans le monde entier; et

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Vietnam Survay

Vietnams fish farm survey


From April to June 2010 we conducted a survey and designed in Vietnam.

We wrote a business plan for a local investment bank.

The project was for and on behalf of Green 2,000 Ltd of Israel,

one of the leading agricultural firms in the country.

The business plan combined a vertical integration farm, from brood stock,

 to an Indoor system to cages and to final processed quality fish products.

A total of 8000 ton of Tilapia fish annually production

 Ghana Fish Farm

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Togo Fish Market & fish farming

Togo search for a new Tilapia and catfish farm location.
On behalf of a local investor, a search for a suitable Tilapia
and Catfish farm location and a pre-feasibility study were carried out.
The farm combined earth ponds and cages in the “Zio” river
  • The fish market in Togo depends on offshore catch and imports from other countries. The daily catch arrives at the fish market in Lome, purchased by the ” fish mammies” who clean and distribute the fish to shops and end customers.

  • Most fish are sold fresh, but some are dried, smoked or salted.

    The local distribution suffers from below-standard sanitary conditions and a lack of cold storage facilities, thus reducing product shelf-life to a minimum.

  • Some import companies operating in Togo purchase fish worldwide, import and distribute throughout the country. These firms keep refrigeration facilities and cold Lorries, which enable continued distribution to markets.

    Imported Tilapia fish

    During our visit, we did not see and were not informed of any aquaculture farming in the country.

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Ethiopia Fish Farm Consulting

After a short visit and study on the State of Ethiopia have reached these conclusions…

  • The supply from traditional capture fisheries is lagging behind the demand of the growing fish consumption in Ethiopia. This offers opportunities for Aquaculture businesses to play a role in improving fish production and expanding the fish markets opportunities. Much land is suitable for aquaculture in Ethiopia and for most systems (earthen ponds, concrete ponds, cages in lakes and more).

  • The only option for a fast development of aquaculture in Ethiopia

    Aquaculture needs certain basic resources and inputs, such as feeds,

    Fingerlings, suitable land and water, markets research.

    For the development of aquaculture in Ethiopia, the establishment of a few Intensive fish farms is crucial.

  • There are opportunities for two specific business models:

    1. Large scale intensive commercial fish production;

    2. Semi-intensive small-scale commercial fish production

    3. Good consultancy and know how.

    Farming of tilapia and Catfish could be a viable business proposition under certain Circumstances

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Nigeria Fish Farming

Fish farming in Nigeria

  • Feasibility study for 500 ton Tilapia fish farm, undertaken for private investors in the Yola Region that included planning and designing the necessary production facilities.
  • Agrivision Corp. (The Aquaculture Division) of Nigeria – A feasibility study was carried out for two large Tilapia and Catfish farms. The project included a processing plant, hatchery, feed production plant and laboratory. Cultivation methods included cages and earth ponds for raising fish.

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Brazil FIsh Farming

We visited Tilapia cage farms in the San Francisco River (Brazil) as a guest of the “Codevasf” company and the regional Ministry of Agriculture. At their request, we created a detailed report written about local methodology and ways to improve production. These Tilapia cage farms were in the San-Francisco River in Brazil which is the second longest river in Brazil.

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Products & Methods

Fish Farming Consulting and Aquaculture Experts Services

Choosing the right products and production technique can be a vital decision making for the success of your new initiative.The different fish species, such as tilapia, catfish, trout carp, and other spices shrimps, which mast fit to the market demand, country’s regulations and climatic conditions.

The appropriate production methods can make great differences of the initial investment and day by day operation costs. Such method must be decided with great care and consideration to the type of fish, environmental conditions, water situation on the site and many more factors.

Aquaculture fish type:





Click on any picture to learn more about case studies & Services:

Earth ponds and cages
Tilapia Farming

Growing fish in cages system

Catfish Farming implementation
Catfish Farming

Ponds Aquaculture Projects
Earth Ponds

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Community Fish Farm


Tilapia Catfish and Carps Farming

By Uri Ben Israel an Aquaqulture expert


Fish is the main source of animal protein in Africa, of which tilapia & catfish have been predominant. An ever growing surge in worldwide demand for these two species creates immense opportunities. This is a tremendous business opportunity that can benefit many Africans within a short period.

The Community Farming Initiative

Small scale aquaculture farming (family fish farm) brought more and more attention worldwide. Community farming relies on the family working capacity for daily operation that relying on central powerful data support and supply of inputs.

Small scale aquaculture farming (family fish farm) is bringing more and more attention worldwide. Community farming depends on a family working capacity for daily operation, supply of inputs and powerful central data support.

The initiative will set its production system among families who are living around water sources. Using small modular rearing ponds or any other system (cages concrete ponds etc.), a family could operate a number of cages/ponds according to its available land. Each family will be supported by the center unit that supplies raw material, serves, and purchases fish for processing and marketing.

A management and supporting center will operate the fingerlings hatchery to supply the farmers; feeding center, laboratory, extension service processing plant, cold storage rooms, marketing, distribution, equipment store, credit assistance and other elements for integrating business.

Operating as star and satellites, the operation will involve extensive relations not just between the center unit and families, but with local equipment and feed suppliers, research and extension officers from the ministry of Agriculture and potential customers.

Community Farm in Africa (Cages & Earth ponds)



The initiative design as rolling project, starting an initial pilot, which will involve and support from a few dozen and up to hundreds families, and aim to produce 5,000 t. fish per annum within the first four years.

The initial operation size and development will depend on local conditions and management policy.


While part of the families’ production will used for self consumption and selling on the informal markets, most production will sell to the central processing plant and from there to export and to the local market.

Rational & Benefits

National/states Benefits:

  1. The project will supply work and income for more than 800 families that are involved in fish farming and approximately 600 workers (50% of them women) in the central service unit.
    Additional income and labour employment will be made for the suppliers of cages, equipment, feed etc.

  2. The initiative can be quickly implemented, start its production within a few months. Its short production cycles, which are less then 6 month, enable immediate impact on society.

  3. Enable quick economical impact in rural regions, at relatively small capital investment

  4. Reduce unemployment by supplying jobs to women and unskilled men in the process plant and fish rearing at their own yard.

  5. Improve foreign trade balance since most of its supply will comes from the local market.

  6. Reduce malnutrition, illnesses and medical cost.

Individuals Benefits:

  1. Enable poor families to set up their own small business – access to financing, markets and knowledge they can’t reach otherwise.

  2. Increase household’s income, improve welfare and wealth distribution

  3. Reduce food cost for family and external expenditure on food.

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