It is appalling how much tilapia farming misinformation was highlighted by the NatGeo program Doomsday Preppers.
In the episode, a man from Kansas packed up his family and moved to Costa Rica. Part of his prep was to start an aquaponic garden. I don't think that anything that was said by him or displayed on the screen by the show's producers was correct. But let me review just to make sure.
First, the guy made a statement that the spot he selected for his pond would be good because it would provide the tilapia with shade. Tilapia do not need shade.
He intends to feed his tilapia only duckweed, but he only has enough duckweed pond surface area to feed one tilapia at best.
The show's producers made a statement that "some estimates" are that every gallon of fish pond water can support one square foot of hydroponic garden. This isn't even close. But, I guess they can hide behind their "some estimates" preface so they can blame the 3rd grader who gave them "some" of their estimates.
The guy is raising his tilapia in an earthen pond which is about the worst possible way to construct a pond. If he tried that in the United States, the Nile tilapia he bought would die of cold due to the heat sinking nature of earthen ponds.
The announcer claims that tilapia grow to two pounds in eight months. Nile tilapia grow to one pound in eight months from fingerling size. The size of the 50 tilapia he took from the tilapia farm's net were all over 1/2 pound to begin with, so I suppose that eight more months will get them to well over a pound, but the announcer makes no distinction.
The man from Kansas thinks that 50 tilapia will provide him with a surplus. Assuming he harvests his tilapia at two pounds each, he will only yield about 45 pounds of edible filets. So every person in his family of four will enjoy just over 14 ounces of meat per month or about 3.4 ounces per week. I suppose if he only eats a tiny portion each week, that will satisfy his family, but where's the surplus?
I hate shows that get tilapia farming wrong. They only contribute to all the misinformation on the Internet and create more work for me. Since the airing of the show, I have had to explain to our hatchery customers that duckweed ponds have to be really large and that tilapia do not need shade. I'm sure that I'll have to explain all of their inaccuracies before the show stops airing.