A variety of fresh-water and brackish water habitats. This includes streams, ponds, rivers, lakes, and estuaries.
These fish are very adaptable and have a diet that consists of aquatic plants, algae, zooplankton (caught by the fish’s sticky mucus), aquatic insects, and decomposing organic matter (such as the hippo poop at the Calgary Zoo).
River systems in Northern Africa and the Middle East
Tilapia can grow to be fairly large fish and it is not uncommon for them to grow upwards of 40 cm long. They typically have stripes to help them in blending to underwater shadows, and 16 – 18 dorsal spines that they use for both stabilizing fins and providing some modicum of defence.
Tilapias have been a huge part of aquaculture back to the ancient Egyptian times. Because of this they are often farmed in water, which affects the water quality in the area because of their waste when they are not cared for carefully. Also, tilapia do occasionally escape from these farms and outcompete local fish species.