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How to make fish feed for tilapia at home?


Tilapia is a herbivorous fish that feeds mainly on algae, aquatic plant cells and almost any plant-based food. When produced for the food market through aquaculture, their diet may also include standard commercial feed products containing fishmeal or fish oil.

Tilapia Feed Types

Preparation of feed can be dry, moist or wet form for tilapia. The dry and mixed feed of the tilapia can be obtained in powder, pellets or crumbles form. Pellets are very popular and their shape and size may depend on the age of the tilapia.

The compound feed of Tilapia

Pelleted Feed and Extruded Feed
Photos: Pelleted Feed and Extruded Feed

Generally, the compound feed of Tilapia is mainly in two types. They are Pelleted feed and Extruded feed.

Commercial fish feed pellets are manufactured by extruded (floating) or pressure-pelleted (sinking) feeds. Both floating and sinking feed pellets can produce satisfactory growth, but some fish prefer to float and others sink. For tilapia that feeds on the surface of water, floating fish feed are ideal.

Extruded or floating feed pellets are more expensive due to the high manufacturing costs. Determining that feeding speeds are too low or too high is important to maximize fish growth and feed efficiency. With the fish feed extruder, you can easily manufacture floating fish feed pellets from common materials at low cost.

Feed is available in a variety of sizes, ranging from fine crumbles for small tilapia to large (1/2 inch or larger) pellets. The pellet size must be about 20-30% of the tilapia mouth diameter. Feeding too small pellet can lead to low feed efficiency because it takes more energy to find and eat more of the pellet. On the other hand, too large particles can inhibit eating and, in extreme cases, lead to suffocation.

Formulated fish feed for tilapia

Formulated feed for tilapia should contain between 27% and 40 % protein. For fry and fingerlings, the feed should have small particles and a protein content of about 35%- 40%, while for adults the protein content could be between 27% and 30%.

Some farm-made feeds can have the following combinations.
-Powdered Leucaena leaves………20%
-Cooked maize……………………80%
-Rice bran…………………………70%
-Palm Kernel Cake…………………15%
-Maize meal/Cassava Dough……… 15%

Tilapia Feed Manufacturing Process

Small Fish Feed Making Plant for Sale
Photos: Small Fish Feed Making Plant for Sale

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Machines used in tilapia feed making: Feed crusher → Feed mixer → Fish feed extruder → Feed dryer → Feed cooler → Feed packager

On the basis of density variation and puffing degree, extruded fish feed can be segmented into floating fish feed and sinking fish feed. Currently, the floating feed is the most widely used extruded feed in fish farming, and it has relatively mature technology. That is, floating extruded feed pellets are both produced through modulator for heating and modulation, via continuous mixing process to fish feed raw materials after entering extruder machine, heating up, pressurizing, ripening, extruding and then puffing and granulating. Compared with floating fish feed, sinking pellets has different requirement on fish feed manufacturing technique because of the diverse request for specific gravity, even if when they use the same fish feed machine. Briefly, fish feed extrusion process requires a hammer mill to grind raw materials, mixer to blend raw materials including vitamin-mineral premix, the wet type fish feed extruder with steam preconditioner (yes, steam is equired for quality pellets) and cutter head to shape the pellets, and finally a dryer-cooler to ensure pellet shelf-life and stability.

How to Feeding Tilapia

The species of tilapia is easy to feed and accept most the most food sources. They grow and breed in most dietary conditions and can be raised with only pellets without problems. However, it is always beneficial to provide them with more varied diets.

Avoid feeding fatty foods like pork to your tilapia, as this can harm fish and can lead to infertility or even death. The same is true of most other fishes. Other less fat meats such as beef are more suitable foods and can sometimes be added to the fish diet. However, never let the main or most of the food that feeds fish turn into meat. This is due to the difference between the protein and nutrients in the meat and what fish needs.