Tilapia (oreochromis niloticus) are a tropical fish native to Africa and cultivated worldwide for table fare. In recent years they have become popular among pond owners for bass forage, and also for control of certain types of aquatic vegetation. They spawn every three weeks once the water temperature reaches seventy degrees, producing large quantities of forage for the bass. If stocked in sufficient numbers, they can control filamentous algae in ponds, and can provide partial control of duckweed and watermeal. In addition to plankton, aquatic invertebrates, and plant matter, they also readily consume detritus, and can help reduce muck build-up in older ponds.
They can grow from six inches to two or three pounds in the span of one summer and for this reason are an ideal fish for pond owners focused on fish for the table. They are not recommended for trophy bluegill ponds as they aggressively consume pelleted food, taking food away from the bluegill, and because their stocking invariably results in significant bluegill overpopulation in a matter of months due to reduced bass predation on the bluegill. They die when the water temperature dips below 55 degrees and thus must be re-stocked annually.