The Black Tilapia (Tilapia mariae) or spotted Tilapia as they are also known, are a fresh water fish of the cichlid family with origins in West Africa. Commonly referred to as the spotted mangrove cichlid or black mangrove cichlid, they have a short rounded snout and three anal spines along with a rapid growth rate and maturation time.
They also have very simple food diets and a high tolerance of environmental conditions such as water temperature, salinity, and pollution with the ability to produce a large number of offspring and rapidly populate areas with an appropriate habitat. They are normally dark olive green to a light yellowish color and have eight or nine dark bars on their sides which are more evident in young spotted mangrove cichlids than adults. They also have two to six dark spots between the bars on the middle of their side and they gene
rally reach a maximum length of 11-12 inches. Typically spotted mangrove cichlids tend to be an aggressive and territorial species and research has found that internal reproductive androgenic factors are usually responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics in this species. Black Tilapia are able to live in many different habitats and generally become dominant over other fish populations in the same area.
Breeding Black Tilapia
Like many in the tilapia family, black tilapia are popular for their adaptability to water conditions and producing a lot of offspring, laying up to 1800 eggs beginning around the time they reach about 5-6 inches long generally breeding year long. Black Tilapia are a monogamous fish who engage in bi-parental care, and research has found that the size of the eggs tend to increase with the amount of parental care.The males and females both have very specific roles in parenting and work together to ensure the well being of their offspring. The females prepare the nest by clearing an area on rocky substrate.The eggs hatch after approximately three days.
Ideal Water conditions about two to three meters away and remain mostly inactive except for an occasional feeding or chasing away of predators. When the offspring become two to three days old they rise off the nest and form a school. This causes a dramatic change in parental role as the male becomes active and the female begins to spend more time away from the young, guarding ahead of the school by chasing away predators. Parental care continues until the fish are about an inch in length.