Short Description : - The red tilapia has distinctive, regular, vertical stripes extending as far down the body as the bottom edge of the caudal fin, with variable coloration. Adults reach up to 60 cm (24 in) in length and up to 4.3 kg (9.5 lb). It lives for up to nine years. It tolerates brackish water and survives temperatures between 8 and 42 °C (46 and 108 °F). It is an omnivore, feeding on plankton as well as on higher plants. Introduced tilapia can easily become an invasive species (see Tilapia as exotic species). It is a species of high economic value and is widely introduced outside its natural range; probably next to the Mozambique tilapia (O. mossambicus), it is the most commonly cultured cichlid. In recent research done in Kenya, this fish has been shown to feed on mosquito larvae, making it a possible tool in the fight against malaria in Africa.
Biology : - Groups of Nile tilapia establish social hierarchies in which the dominant males have priority for both food and mating. Circular nests are built predominantly by males through mouth digging to become future spawning sites. These nests often become sites of intense courtship rituals and parental care. Like other fish, the Nile tilapia travels almost exclusively in schools. Although males settle down in their crafted nesting zones, females travel between zones to find mates, resulting in competition between the males for females.
Uses : - The red-hybrid Nile tilapia is known in the Thai language as pla thapthim (Thai: ปลาทับทิม), meaning "pomegranate fish" or "ruby fish". This type of tilapia is very popular in Thai cuisine where it is prepared in a variety of ways. The black and white striped tilapia pla nin (Thai: ปลานิล), meaning "Nile fish", has darker flesh and is commonly either salted and grilled or deep-fried, and it can also be steamed with lime (pla nin nueng manao). Red tilapia, called بلطي bulṭī in Arabic, is (being native to Egypt) among the most common fish in Egyptian cuisine, and probably the most common in regions far from the coast. It is generally either battered and pan-fried whole (بلطي مقلي bulṭī maqlī [bʊltˤiː maʔliː]) or grilled whole (بلطي مشوي bulṭī mashwī [bʊltˤiː maʃwiː]). Like other fish in Egypt, is generally served with rice cooked with onions and other seasonings to turn it red.