When it comes to your fish farm fingerlings are an important starting point. In RAS systems fingerling selection becomes super important and it is hard to see why when starting off for the first time.
The keyword is consistency. In an ideal world each fingerling would grow at the same rate as all the others in the pond they find themselves in. In the real world this is hard to achieve but we can actually get close these days.
Tilapia add a degree of complexity to the situation in that if you mix the sexes you can really affect your production dramatically. Females tend to spawn with the result that when breeding the females stop eating and hence stop growing. Plus, being excellent parents means that tilapia fry often survive within the pond environment and start competing for food with the larger fish.
This does not mean you have free fish! What it means is that you end up with a screwed production schedule instead. You have fish that then are not growing as fast as they should be, in addition to having all manner of different sized fish within your growout operation. This is disastrous for production – imagine sorting these fish just to begin with?
It costs time, labour, wasted feed and money! Lost production costs you even more.
So having mixed sex fingerlings in RAS growout systems is a simple no go. If you are serious about fish farming with tilapia you want a mono sex culture of male fish (because they grow faster and bigger) only and you want fingerlings that grow consistently and as evenly as possible so that when it comes to harvest time your fish are all roughly the same size.
There are two ways of doing this. You can either breed your own fish (in itself absolutely not straight forward AND taking at least a year to get up and running consistently) and sex reverse using hormones, or you buy in all male fingerlings. Sex reversal is popular, and despite complaints about hormones in food fish by some who should know better, completely safe. The reason why the practice is banned in Europe is because of the unused hormones flushed into the water system. With great power comes great responsibility and if you are going to use hormones you are morally obliged to ensure that unused hormones do not get into the water system. Hormones are bad news generally if they get into places they shouldn’t get into.
Hormones treatment is 95% to 98% effective – but then again you do not need many females to cause problems in your production ponds. The biggest disadvantage aside from having to have your own hatchery and all those attendant issues is that consistency of growout of your stock is likely to be erratic. This affects your sales price and hence your bottom line.
Buying in all male fingerlings can be a better option provided a few important criteria are met. The advantages are that you can buy in from the best breeding lines in the world at a fraction of the costs of buying parent stock. Also you can buy at any time and you can plan your production around knowing exactly how many fish you can produce and how fast because the fingerlings you are buying will be the same year in year out. This makes management of your operation much simpler and more predictable. Fish farming is a production line – consistency of that production line makes you more money.
The disadvantages are that your disease control resides then in the hatchery you are buying from. The consistency of fingerlings also becomes important and as with all things in life there are some that are good at producing quality fingerlings and there are others that are not. You can lose your farm over a simple mistake in buying from the wrong people so it is important that you know exactly what, and why, and who it is you are dealing with in the supply of the most important thing going into your fish farm – the fish themselves!
Being fish farmers ourselves we understand all of this. We know what it takes to be profitable and what separates amateurs from professionals. Consistent supply of consistent, healthy, predictable growth fingerlings is one of the fundamental building blocks of your fish farm business – get it wrong and you simply do not have a business.
It is why our fingerlings are bred from the best brood-stock on the planet. They are all Super Males bred as males by genetic selection of parent stock. No hormones are used. They all grow consistently and their track records are proven. And of course we’re here for the long haul, to be your fingerling supply partner of choice over many years which means that we cannot do that with an inferior product. Look no further when it comes to fingerling supply. You have found the right place.