Backyard Tilapia - For tilapia farming at home.

Tilapia Fingerlings

Raised in our hatcheries

Call Backyard Tilapia at (865) 262-8289 today!

Tilapia fingerlings and tilapia breeding colonies for sale

The lowest prices - period!
Live and healthy arrival guaranteed.
Lifetime technical support on every purchase.
No fault 30 day replacement plans are available.
Absolutely free shipping - no extra charges at checkout!

Tilapia fingerlings for sale

Buying tilapia fingerlings from the largest tilapia hatchery in America has it's perks. Lakeway Tilapia has the lowest prices on tilapia fingerlings. We do not charge for shipping or display a lower price up front only to tack on bogus shipping charges or taxes in the shopping cart. We guarantee the live and healthy arrival of your tilapia fingerlings and won't make you jump through hoops to get them replaced if needed. In fact, we are so confident in the health of our fish that we offer a no-fault 30 day replacement plan as an option with of our Food Grade Tilapia® fingerlings. To top it all off, we give every customer free technical support for the lifetime of their purchase.

Our tilapia fingerlings are raised in our own hatcheries and shipped nationwide. We do not source our tilapia from other aquaculture facilities. We do not operate hatcheries in Florida or in the Great Lakes region or any other area that has been associated with freshwater fish diseases caused by Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, toxic algae, or dangerous swamp bacteria stirred up by hurricane flooding. We are on the approved senders list in heavily restricted states such as Hawaii and licensed in regulated states such as Illinois. We offer alternative tilapia species for states like California and Texas and have successfully delivered fish to customers located in areas previously thought impossible.

We raise our own tilapia fingerlings

When you buy tilapia fingerlings from Lakeway Tilapia, you are getting fish that were actually raised in our hatcheries. We do not drop ship for other companies and we don't have other companies drop ship for us. The same cannot be said for most of the tilapia resellers on the Internet. This is why you find so many "out of stock" messages and high checkout prices. In fact, one Florida dealer actually buys the unwanted tilapia fingerlings spawned in the grow-out tanks from a private farm that is supplied by Lakeway Tilapia. The Florida person then re-sells those unwanted tilapia, along with all of the ungraded runts, on his own website and even drop ships for the owner of an aquaponics website out of Arizona. We like to joke around with the private farm owner about this, but it's how they cut the cost of our Food Grade Tilapia for their own harvest, so were not complaining.

Extra information: As much as we would love to reveal the "competitors" mentioned above, we don't want to start an online war of words. Suffice it to say that any website that tells you that a 12 inch tilapia weighs six pounds has never raised the fish that they are re-selling. In the real world, a harvest size tilapia is between 12 and 14 inches long and weighs between 16 to 20 ounces.

There are three grades of tilapia fingerlings

A mistake often made by aquaponics growers who tend see plants as copies of each other, is believing that all tilapia of a particular species are similar or even clones of one another. But nothing could be further from the truth. Every tilapia, even within the same species has unique traits that set it apart as an individual. One characteristic that is of particular importance to both aquaponics and aquaculture is what is known as the rate of growth. As each tilapia is hatched into this world, a unique rate of growth has already been coded into its DNA. In every brood, there are tilapia that have the potential to grow to 20 ounces in six months as well as tilapia that will barely get to three ounces in the same amount of time.

Problems can arise when tilapia of different growth rates are kept together. The larger tilapia will always dominate the smaller ones for control over food. This causes the average and small sized tilapia to adapt by suppressing their appetites which further inhibits their growth and leads to stunting, a condition which makes them permanently small. We solve these problems by sorting our tilapia fingerlings into three grades: Food Grade™, Aquaponics Grade™, and Pond Grade™ when they are very young.

Grading is nothing new, in fact most fish farming involves some sort of periodic grading. What is new is the grading of tilapia fingerlings before they weigh 30 grams. This process is what put Lakeway Tilapia on the map years ago and what continues to set us apart today. The process to grade tilapia at one gram takes the knowledge of a marine biologist and the ability to invent new methods and equipment. A single 30 gram tilapia juvenile costs the same to ship as 50 one-gram tilapia fingerlings, making it cost prohibitive in the past to ship graded fish. By inventing a new way to identify the different grades at only 30 days old, we are able to ship graded tilapia at a cost that anyone can afford.

Our process in a nutshell is easy to understand. We keep all of the offspring from a single brood together for a month. Then at exactly 30 days, we use our equipment to identify tilapia that exhibit the abilities and characteristics of the most developed specimens. For example, the ability to swim backwards is only possible at a certain stage of growth and because functioning fins are a requirement to be a fingerling, the first fish to gain the ability to swim backwards are the furthest along in the development process. These are the Food Grade. At 40 days, we grade the remaining brood, but this time we cull out the fish that have not developed in sync with the rest. These are the smallest and therefore the Pond Grade. Everything else is Aquaponics Grade.

When you buy tilapia fingerlings from our hatchery, you can choose from these three different rates of growth, or grades, to suit your harvest needs. If you are interested in finding out more about sorting tilapia by rate of growth, and how growth rates affect the efficiency of your tilapia farm, visit our Tilapia Fingerling Grading page on our main website. And of course, all of our tilapia fingerlings have been inspected. They are disease and hormone free and they have not been genetically modified in any way.

Pure strain Blue tilapia fingerlings

Live pure strain Blue tilapia for sale.
Normal temperature range: 60º F to 86º F
Maximum temperature: 106º F
Minimum temperature: 47º F
Minimum oxygen level: 7ppm
Feeding: Use Purina Aquamax brand food and follow the manufacturers feeding schedule for optimal growth and nutrition. Begin with AquaMax Fingerling Starter 300 then switch to AquaMax Grower 400 when the tilapia fingerlings reach a length of about 5 inches. After they grow to six inches you should switch to AquaMax Dense 4000 for the remainder of their grow-out.

Known in some parts of the world as "St. Peters Fish", after the bible story of Jesus sending Apostle Peter to look into the mouth of the first fish he caught for a coin to pay the temple tax, our Blue tilapia fingerlings are identical to the ones swimming in the Sea Of Galilee over two thousand years ago. They can grow to over nine pounds and 24 inches in length. In the wild, Blue tilapia live comfortably in water ranging from 60º F to 86º F but they can tolerate water as warm as 106º F and as cold as 47º F for short periods of time. Blue tilapia are by far the most temperature forgiving of all the tilapia species, making them perfect for multi-year growing in areas where winter pond temperatures are a concern.

Food grade Blue tilapia fingerlings with 30 day replacement plan and free shipping.
Call or visit our main website at lakewaytilapia.com for replacement plan details.

Expect an average fingerling length of one inch or more.
Free shipping on pure strain blue tilapia fingerlings.

Food grade Blue tilapia fingerlings with free shipping
Expect an average fingerling length of one inch or more.
Free shipping on pure strain blue tilapia fingerlings.

Please note that our Food Grade Blue tilapia fingerlings are selected for their fast growth and as a result there are very few females. If you are looking for a more even mix of males and females, try our Aquaponics Grade or unsorted Blue fry.


Aquaponics grade Blue tilapia with free shipping
Expect an average fish length of under one inch.
Free shipping on pure strain blue tilapia fingerlings.

Our Aquaponics Grade blue tilapia have a more staggered growth rate to help maintain nitrifying bacteria in aquaponics systems. They can all be eaten and will eventually reach a harvestable weight. They are also a good mix of males and females for those wanting to try their hand at breeding. Please note that we typically ship Aquaponics Grade as large fry around three quarters of an inch.


Pond grade Blue tilapia with free shipping
Expect an average fish length of under 1/2 of an inch.
Free shipping on pure strain blue tilapia fingerlings.

Pond Grade tilapia are at the other end of the spectrum from their Food Grade siblings. These are the slow-growing runts. They will not grow to a harvestable size in a single season, it will take them much longer. They are however perfect little algae-eaters for any pond owner trying to stay away from dangerous herbicides to control algae blooms. They are also predominantly female, which means that the few males there are will have their work cut out for them reproducing!


High Springs Hybrid™ (Wami) tilapia fingerlings

Live Wami hybrid tilapia for sale.
Normal temperature range: 70º F to 90º F
Maximum temperature: 106º F
Minimum temperature: 60º F
Minimum oxygen level: 5ppm
Feeding: Follow the same feeding guidelines as for Blue tilapia. We strongly urge you to read the tilapia feeding guide on our main website.

Our predominantly-male Wami hybrid tilapia fingerlings are the natural result of crossing a pure strain High Back Hornorum™ (Wami) male tilapia with a pure strain High Back Mozambique™ female tilapia. The Wami species develops slightly more testosterone than the Mozambique does estrogen and when these two spawn the resulting offspring develop as an all natural solution to those desiring predominantly-male tilapia without having to resort to the use of hormone laced food. These hybrids also inherit an improved body shape from their High Back parents and exhibit a growth characteristic knows as "hybrid vigor" which can result in higher weight gain in the same amount of time as pure strain species.

Food grade predominantly-male Wami hybrid tilapia fingerlings with free shipping
Wami hybrids are nearly all food grade and do not need to be graded. They can therefore be shipped as fry or fingerlings. Expect a fish length of between one half inch to one and one half inches.
Free shipping on Wami hybrid tilapia fingerlings.

Please note that the picture above is of the predecessor to the High Back Hybrid known as the Pennyfish Hybrid&trade. The current hybrid ranges in color from solid orange to solid black to solid white with every possible mix of those colors in between. We will update the picture soon.


Pure strain Nile tilapia fingerlings

Live pure strain Nile tilapia for sale.
Normal temperature range: 70º F to 91º F
Maximum temperature: 108º F
Minimum temperature: 56º F
Minimum oxygen level: 3ppm
Feed: Feed Nile tilapia fingerlings 1.5% of their body weight per day until they reach a harvest size of one pound in approximately nine months. Use AquaMax brand food to obtain the expected growth results.

A 3400 year old picture of a tilapia garden on the tomb of Nebamun.

Nile tilapia have been farmed in Egypt for over five thousand years. They have their own hieroglyph and are depicted in the frescos, carvings, and scarabs found in several ancient Egyptian tombs. Nile tilapia fingerlings can grow to be as large as 24 inches. They live naturally in water temperatures ranging from 56 to 91º F, but they can survive in water temperatures as high as 108º F.

Nile tilapia are the most commonly farmed tilapia in the tropical regions of the world, and a popular choice with aquaponic farmers in the U.S. We do not recommend Nile tilapia for commercial aquaculture or aquaponics outside of the gulf coast or the Florida peninsula, due their increased cost to maintain in colder winter climates, and their slower growth when compared to Wami hybrids.

Food grade Nile tilapia fingerlings with 30 day replacement plan* and free shipping
Expect an average fingerling length of one inch or more.
Free shipping on pure strain Nile tilapia fingerlings.

Food grade Nile tilapia fingerlings with free shipping
Expect an average fingerling length of one inch or more.
Free shipping on pure strain Nile tilapia fingerlings.

Aquaponics grade Nile tilapia with free shipping
Expect an average fish length of just under one inch.
Free shipping on pure strain Nile tilapia fingerlings.

Pond grade Nile tilapia with free shipping
Expect an average fish length of under 1/2 of an inch.
Free shipping on pure strain Nile tilapia fingerlings.

Tilapia fry for sale



Save money with unsorted tilapia fry. Since tilapia fry can't be graded for size or rate of growth, we offer them at a price that reflects our time savings. For those of you who want to stagger or delay the introduction of tilapia fingerlings into your ponds, keeping tilapia fry on hand is a great way to ensure that you'll have new tilapia stock ready to go when you are. Tilapia fry will only grow as fast as you feed them and you can actually regulate their development a bit by feeding more or less per day. Just make sure that you always give enough food to allow for some growth, and not completely stop it. If you have questions about raising tilapia fry, please contact us and we'll be happy to teach you everything you need to know.

Pure strain Blue tilapia fry

Un-sorted Blue tilapia fry with free shipping
Expect a fry length of between 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch.
Free shipping on pure strain blue tilapia fry.

Pure strain Nile tilapia fry

Un-sorted Nile tilapia fry with free shipping
Expect a fry length of between 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch.
Free shipping on pure strain Nile tilapia fry.

Tilapia breeding colonies for sale



Tilapia breeding colonies are the way to go for anyone who wants to raise their tilapia from scratch. We only sell young compatible tilapia that will typically begin to produce fingerlings within a few weeks of their arrival. You can keep breeding colonies in 55 gallon aquariums for several months, if you carefully control their food intake so that they don't outgrow their home. If you're curious about to expect when your tilapia breeding colony arrives, we've made the YouTube video above to show you.

Tilapia do not automatically breed, they must have a genetic pre-disposition to engage in spawning activity. This fact does not seem to deter a handful of people from selling random males and females as tilapia breeding colonies to customers looking to save money. We strongly urge you to read our Tilapia Breeding Guide on our main website at LakewayTilapia.com before you purchase any breeding colony.

Pure strain Blue tilapia breeding colonies

Live pure strain Blue tilapia for sale.
Optimal breeding temp: 80º F
Minimum breeding temp: 68º F
Optimal breeding pH level: 8.0
Feed: For breeding tilapia, start with 1/2 teaspoon of Purina AquaMax Fingerling Starter 300 per day for the entire colony. The goal is to keep them as small as possible for as long as possible. Blue tilapia breeding colonies spawn more readily when they are given lots of territory. The smaller they are, the bigger that a 55 gallon aquarium seems to them.

Blue tilapia breeding colonies consist of six fish: one male and five females. The scientific name for Blue tilapia is Oreochromis aureus. Other names for Blue tilapia are Israeli tilapia and St. Peters Fish. They are native to the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias), the rivers of the Jordan Valley, the Lower Nile River, and the Chad Basin. The largest on record was 24 inches long weighing 9.6 pounds. See the full story here.

The prices below include free shipping and handling. A $108 value per breeding colony!

Pure strain Blue tilapia breeding colonies
Free shipping on pure strain blue tilapia breeder colonies.

Wami hybrid tilapia breeding colonies

Live Wami hybrid tilapia for sale.
Optimal breeding temp: 80º F
Minimum breeding temp: 68º F
Optimal breeding pH level: 8.0
Feed: For breeding tilapia, start with 1/2 teaspoon of Purina Aquamax Fingerling 300 per day for all six fish. The goal is to keep them as small as possible so they have the perspective of a larger environment in a 55 gallon aquarium. Females will not spawn as often if they feel over-crowded, or unable to evade and hide when chased. Males will not spawn without sufficient territory to defend.

This is the same breeding colony that we use to produce the High Springs Hybrid. It consists of one High Back Hornorum male and five High Back Orange Mozambique females. It will produce predominantly male offspring.

The prices below include free shipping and handling. A $108 value per breeding colony!

Wami Hybrid Tilapia Breeding Colony
Free shipping on wami tilapia breeding colonies.

Pure strain Nile tilapia breeding colonies

Live pure strain Nile tilapia for sale.
Optimal breeding temp: 80º F
Minimum breeding temp: 68º F
Optimal breeding pH level: 8.0
Feed: For breeding tilapia, start with 1/2 teaspoon of Purina AquaMax Fingerlings 300 per day for all six fish. The goal is to keep them as small as possible for as long as possible. Larger females can produce and carry more eggs, however as they grow in size the frequency with which they spawn is steadily reduced.

Nile tilapia breeding colonies consist of six fish: one male and five females. The scientific name for Nile tilapia is Oreochromis niloticus. Nile tilapia were pond farmed in ancient Egypt and live naturally in the warm waters of Africa.

The prices below include free shipping and handling. A $108 value per colony!

Pure strain Nile tilapia breeding colonies
Free shipping on pure strain nile tilapia breeder colonies.