Tilapia is a hardy fish that will thrive in outdoor ponds or high-tech tank systems using several different filter types to cleanse and recycle water. The fish is fed high-quality, grain-based pellets to produce a mild flavoured fillet. Florida has a wild fishery of tilapia found in Central Florida lakes and Tampa Bay's brackish water estuary that are sold in regional seafood retail shops as fresh, gutted fish.
Similar in appearance to bream, tilapia are produced with a wide range of skin colours, black to dark blue to brilliant golden red. Much of the tilapia production in the United States is sold to Asian buyers as a live product, which is generally harvested at 1 to 1 1/2 pounds.