This study tested the effect of two diets differing in carbohydrate to lipid (CHO:LIP) ratio (4.7 vs. 19.5 g/g) on the contribution of natural food and the total fish production in tilapia ponds. Eight ponds, each divided into three equally sized compartments, were assigned to one of the two diets, which differed in CHO:LIP ratio but had the same digestible protein to digestible energy (DP:DE) ratio (15.5 and 15.6 g/MJ). Ponds were fed equal amounts of crude protein. Three feeding levels (no, low and high) were nested in each pond in a split plot design. Average body weight of fish at stocking was 90 g, and the duration of the experiment was 42 days. Increasing the CHO:LIP ratio had no impact on tilapia production. However, the feeding level influenced both biomass gain, specific growth rate and survival. The apparent digestibility coefficient (ADC) for fat and carbohydrate was influenced by dietary CHO:LIP ratio but ADC for energy was unaffected. Proximate analysis of fish body composition showed no effect of diet except for levels of ash. Diet had no effect on the organic matter composition of the faeces, and the contribution of natural food to fish nitrogen gain. Therefore, we postulate that changing the dietary non-protein energy source from lipid to carbohydrate does not have any impact on tilapia culture in semi-intensive ponds.