@DesertChic, I've looked at this carefully, as I plan to set this up myself one day. There are limits on certain tilapia here in Texas as well - because of bad actors who dump fish in the waterways when they don't want to deal with them anymore, and the fish then proliferate and become invasive and damage the native ecosystem. But in Texas you ARE allowed to have Mozambique tilapia without an exotic species permit because they cannot overwinter in the wild/native waters (too cold for them outside of your controlled and sheltered system). The climate is similar state-wise here as there. (I think you can also have catfish - and indeed, the catfish are less sensitive to temperature issues in your system.)
Double check to see if they allow Mozambique tilapia. If not, that might be somewhere to start if you want to advocate for changing the rules. Sometimes you can get all male ones as well (though I understand that's not for sure).
If you Google "Texas tilapia" you'll find lots of info.
- Ant Farm