Right now, we have 3 koi, a number of blue tilapia, and a number of Mozambique tilapia. Koi are cold water fish. They only tolerate temperatures up into the high 70s comfortably. Tilapia, however, are warm water fish. Below 50 degrees they get too cold to eat and if the water dips much below that, they die. If we had a do over, I suppose we probably would not have these two groups together, but the tilapia were hard to find and the koi jump started our first aquaponics system. We run heaters in the fall and winter. During the spring and summer, temperatures are generally hot enough to turn the heaters off. The water will stay in the 70s without supplemental heating. Two of our aquaponics tanks are in the greenhouse. These tanks contain only tilapia and the heating of these tanks, into the high seventies or low eighties, keep the greenhouse warm when temperatures dip.


We found the koi at Petsmart. One of our first stops was a koi aquarium. The gal there suggested Petsmart. She said that the koi at Petsmart were actually quite healthy and hardy. We started with 3 koi. We did lose one, Yachiru. We bought another one at Petsmart, Aiuna. Aiuna is now the largest of our koi and her ‘whiskers’, or barbels are now quite pronounced.

Blue tilapia fingerlings

The blue tilapia were the first tilapia fingerlings we found locally. We originally ordered fingerlings from White Brook tilapia. The folks at White Brook were most helpful and very nice to work with, but we ordered pretty late in the season and so, missed out on the fingerlings for that season.

We added some Mozambique tilapia recently from Pacific Coast Organics. They are really pretty tilapia. They are also growing incredibly fast-maybe its the food? Alas, our favorite fish food, also from Pacific Coast Organics, is no longer available.  We are back in the market for fish food…

  1. alyce says:

    Hi! You have an amazing microfarm, and I’m an aspiring urban homesteader. Currently, I’m trying to start an aquaponics system and was wondering where is a good place to get tilapia fingerlings locally, so I can do a pickup instead of getting it shipped. I live in Orange County around the Garden Grove/Anaheim area. All the places online charge a ridiculous amount for shipping. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much! ~alyce

    • ocmetrofarm says:

      Pacific Coast Organics has very nice tilapia fingerlings. We recently bought about 20 from Brett and they are very healthy. He also has really good food. And he sells the large 286 gallon reused carboys. We have not bought any gear from Brett, yet, just fish and food, but he sells everything one needs for large aquaponics systems. We would like to get breeders from him, but have not gotten around to setting up a larger tank.

      Best of all? He is in south Orange County. No shipping. You just have to drive down the 5.

      Contact information: Brett Ashlock, 949-356-8945. There is also a link on our resources and a link to his facebook page on our facebook page. Good luck!

  2. Gideon Strich says:

    I’m looking for tilapia fingerlings in OC for an aquaponics system I have constructed. The phone number you posted in 2013 is no longer in service.

    • ocmetrofarm says:

      As of this writing, Pacific Coast Organics appears to be no longer in operation. Our best known tilapia fingerling source at present is:
      San Diego Pet Supply
      1490 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
      (619) 263-2211

      They have tilapia fingerlings for three dollars apiece, and are open seven days a week.

    • daniel goodfield says:

      hello my name is Daniel i farm pure Hawaiian gold tilapia in Anaheim ca, you can get a hold of me any time i got fingerlings 657-242-7645

  3. daniel says:

    shrimp and wheat germ. organic it doesn’t have any additives i like to keep every thing organic in the farm including the fish.

  4. Edward says:

    Are you willing to take in a goldfish to swim alongside your kois? I need somebody to adopt it because it’s gotten too big for me to keep. I’d figure my run of the mill goldfish would do nicely for your aquaponic system.

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