How to Raise Tilapia in Drums

How to Raise Tilapia in Drums

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Tilapia are a delicious fish which have been raised in aquaculture ponds since the time of the Egyptians. They can be raised in backyard ponds, drums or barrels fairly easily as long as their enclosure is properly set up. Tilapia are ready for harvesting once they have reached maturity and are 6 to 10 inches in length.

Items you will need

  • Large drum or barrel

  • Rocks and gravel

  • Water plants

  • Pond heater

  • Manure

  • Water

  • Fish pellets

How to Raise Tilapia in Drums

Choose a large barrel or drum that is no less than three-fourths of a meter deep, with a large surface area. Clean the barrel. Add rocks and gravel as well as floating and submerged plants.

Buy and install a pond heater if the temperature will fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the area. Choose a site for your drum which will receive adequate sunlight but will not be exposed to enough heavy rain to make the drum overflow.

Add a small shovel-full of natural manure to your barrel. Chicken manure works well. Tilapia thrive on aquatic bugs, algae and plants fed by high-nutrient loads. Fill your barrel with water and give it one week to dechlorinate and settle.

Stock your barrel with fish. The number of fish you can stock will depend on the size of your barrel. Two or three mature fish is recommended per square meter of the water's surface area.

Feed Tilapia daily. Feed them as many fish pellets as they can eat in 5-10 minutes.


  • Because they are so hardy, Tilapia are considered an invasive species in many areas. Check with your city to make sure there are no restrictions on raising them and never release them into the wild.


  • Fertilize the barrel once a month using chicken manure to promote algae growth.
  • Drill small holes into the edge of the barrel above your desired waterline to reduce the chances of overflow during a rainstorm.
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