This kind of fresh water fish is in the family of Cichlidae, a native of Africa. It can be found abundantly in the shallow and damp areas, as well as canals, rivers and lakes in Sudan, Uganda and Cameroon, etc.
The Emperor Arkihito of Japan presented the original 50 tilapia fishes as a gift to His Majesty, the King of Thailand, on March 25, 1965. Since then, the Ministry of Agriculture has carried some studies to facilitate them to adapt to their new habitats. The fishes can now be commercially farmed in the country as one of the main food source.
It can easily be raised and grow very fast. It can adapt itself very well to the fresh water as well as brackish (or semi-salty) water. It can eat most kinds of food in the farm habitat such as mosquito larvae, moss, caterpillar or embryo of insects, and small insects including algae, and duckweed.
The processed leather from this fish skin comes as a by-product from fish farming. The frozen sliced tilapia meat is mainly exported to overseas markets. The leather fiber weaves itself as layers, causing the leather to have a higher ultimate strength; thus, it is more durable and resistant when compared to other types of leather of the same thickness. Because of its skin's good ventilation, it does not induce fungus easily.
Tilapia Nilotica fish skin products:
The leather is light weight and can be easily stained in many different colors. The products made from fish skin are lighter than their leather counterparts. Moreover, the craftspeople can make it more fanciful by adding silver or gold stain along the edges of fish scale and/or stitching the pieces to overlap each other.