Hey You In the Tank!

Aquaponics display in the Conservatory with fish in tanks,and plants in large white containers

Reiman Gardens is well known for its wide collection of exotic flora, but did you know we have guests hailing from the Nile River in Africa? The Hughes Conservatory is currently home to two different types of Nile tilapia. They play a pivotal role in the aquaponics system giving nutrition to the many crops being grown. The two species are easily identifiable as one is a dark charcoal color with the other being a lighter white/red combination.

Tilapia are currently one of the fastest growing fish species in the world and with the over fishing of the oceans, this species is popular for sustainability research. One could almost assume that tilapia were born for aquaponics. They grow very well in hot greenhouse environments, thrive on a plant protein diet thus increasing the aquaculture sustainability, highly resistant to poor water quality, and have excellent flesh quality with high market acceptability. With all the advantages that tilapia brings to the table, it is easy to see why they are popular in the aquaculture world. So the next time you are at your local grocery store and have a craving for tilapia, ask your grocer where they got it because you might be in for a surprise!

— Jacob Smith, Reiman Gardens’ Greenhouse Production and Display Intern