The banded tilapia is also known as Sparrman's tilapia. It is a much smaller fish than the Mozambique tilapia, or the redbreast tilapia, and this species offers anglers little sport. It is an attractive fish, especially during the breeding months, from November to March.
Other names: Afrikaans -- Vlei-tilapia :
Interesting facts about Banded Tilapia statistics / bio:
Diet: The banded tilapia feed on microscopic organisms.
Reproduction (Breeding): The breeding months are from November to March. They are not 'mouth-brooders', but they are dedicated parents. The male selects a spawning site and hollows out a 'nest' at the base of a rock or and underwater plant.
The male banded tilapia will then entice a female to lay her eggs, after which he will fertilises the eggs. Both parents stand guard over the eggs, and fan water over them with their fins. Both the banded tilapia parents continue to keep a close watch on their young after they hatch and swim around in a silvery shoal while feeding on microscopic organisms.
Distribution (Range): The banded tilapia are found extensively in the Zambezi, Okavango, Kunene and Orange rivers and in the east coast river systems, as far down as the Tugela. Banded tilapia have been introduced widely to most systems in the western and eastern Cape.
Size: On average, the weight of the banded tilapia is 60 g, with up to150 g sometimes being reached.
Colour: The colours of the banded tilapia range from silver to olive-green, with up to nine vertical stripes of a darker green or grey. During the summer breeding season, both sexes of banded tilapia become more colourful, with vertical stripes that become darker, two dark, horizontal stripes develop across the snout, and a circular stripe runs through the eyes and over the forehead. In the male banded tilapia the dorsal fin and tail become edged with red, and blue-green spots appear on dorsal and anal fins.
Most like: The banded tilapia is similar to the redbreast tilapia, but it is distinguished by its vertical stripes and its light grey, rather than red breast.
Habitat: The natural habitat of the banded tilapia is rivers and gently flowing streams, especially where there is a lot of aquatic plant growth.