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Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis

Above Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis, Male. Female below. Photos by Sam Borstein.


Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis FemaleWhen many people think of Tilapia, images of a gray fish with a black throat come to mind. Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis, puts this stereotype to shame.

Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis is a sub-species of the Nile Tilapia— Oreochromis niloticus niloticus. This fish was first typed by Trewavas in 1983.

The overall body color of the males is red-pink with many iridescent silver scales. This fish also exhibits a red head with a black throat. The pelvic fins are also black. The dorsal and anal fins are red-pink, with a dark black line through them. The anal fin exhibits some silvery egg-spots. Th caudel fin is red-pink and has 7-12 lighter lines going through it depending on the individual. Females are brown with some red on the throat. Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis can reach up to ten inches. Females will remain smaller at around 7-8 inches.

Tilapia are true survivors. They will eat anything, and will breed under almost any circumstances. Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis can live in very low oxygenated waters, in many pH ranges, and will live in temperatures from 40–110F. Tilapia should never be introduced into non-native waters as they can place severe pressure on native fish populations.


Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis is endemic to Lake Baringo in Kenya, a satelite lake of Lake Victoria.


Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis is easy to keep. Tilapia are extremely hard to kill and Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis certainly fall into that camp. Losses, if any, will be from aggression and fish can really be nasty towards each other. To manage their aggression I kept 8 in a 75 gallon tank, with no problems. The tank tempertaure was 78F and pH was 7.4.

Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis are messy eaters, so weekly water changes are important.


In the wild, Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis feeds on vegetable matter. This fish will eat anything, and I mean anything. I fed mine a mix of HBH Graze, to make sure they wouldn't bloat. I also fed New Life Spectrum and Tetra Cichlid Sticks.


Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis is easy to breed. I received six individuals from fellow GCCA member Mike Helford at a recent GCCA Swap Meet.

When I returned home, I put the fish in a 75-gallon tank and let them settle down. Eight hours later, I looked at the tank to see how they were doing. To my surprise, they were breeding!

I saw the female pick up egg after egg. This fish bred in under 24 hours! Amazing! The female held for about ten days, and when I stripped her I got about 150 one-quarter inch free swimming fry.

Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis have huge spawns, up to 350 eggs. Even more surprising, two days later, that same female was holding again! The fry were easy to raise. I fed them Dainichi Veggie Deluxe pellets which they pecked at, and baby brine shrimp. They grew fast and were one-inch long within a month.

Retail Price

For adult Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis, expect to pay about $20 per fish. Juveniles would go for about $10-12.

Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis is seldom available in pet shops, it is definitely a hobbyist fish at the moment. This fish is kept by several GCCA members. An ad on our Cichlid Classified may be the best way to locate them.

Report April 2006 by Sam Borstein.