Ornamental fish keeping is undoubtedly one of the most popular hobbies in the world and it offers immense growth for development. Major exporting countries of ornamental fish are Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and India. Emerging markets of ornamental fish breeding are China and South Africa. Ornamental fish breeding has much potential to create substantial job opportunities apart from earning foreign currency.
As the technology behind ornamental fish breeding is simple and well developed, most of them can be bred and reared easily. It is ideal to start with common, attractive, easily bred and less expensive species of ornamental fish. Ornamental fish species can be reared normally in cement tanks and ground water from deep well tube is best for rearing. Young varieties of ornamental fish are usually fed with infusoria, artemia, daphnia, tubifex as well as bloodworms. Amount and type of food to be given to ornamental fish is determined based upon the size of fry. According to the requirement, ornamental fish housed in home aquarium should be fed twice or thrice in a day. Method of ornamental fish breeding is based on family characteristics of fish and success of breeding depends upon compatibility of pairs. Regular water exchange is necessary for fish health and ornamental fish brought up in good water quality only can survive well. Chemicals such as methylene blue, malachite green, ampicillin, potassium permanganate, and copper sulphate can be used to prevent disease of ornamental fish.
Oviparous (egg layers) and viviparous (live bearers) are two major categories of aquarium fish. Most popular varieties of ornamental fish are molly, guppy, platy, swordtail, blue Gourami, pearl gourami, rosy barb, gold fish, catfish, angel, serpa tetra and manila carp. Adequate space, quality food and sufficient food are the basic requirements of an ornamental fish aquarium. According to water tolerance level, fishes can be classified as hard water tolerant, soft water tolerant and those with wide tolerance.
Basic components of an ornamental fish tank are tank, aquarium, overhead tank, water supply, work shed, and aeration equipment. Typical ornamental fish aquarium tanks are made of Reinforced Cement Concrete and brick masonry. Clay, cement, fiber glass and plastic tank can also be made for the construction of ornamental fish tank. Size of an aquarium tank may vary according to space, number as well as type of fish cultured. An overhead tank is required for storing and enabling dissemination of water. Deep tube well is the best source of water for ornamental fish tank and recycling of water through bio filter can also be attempted.
Dug well and municipal water are two other prominent sources of aquarium water in an ornamental fish tank. Small pump and network of pipes are essentially required for feeding ornamental fish fry. According to expert opinion, work shed should be designed in such a way that HDPE (High Density Poly Ethylene) sheets protect culture tanks from falling debris. A blower pump with tubes for aeration is an absolute must for any ornamental fish tank and continuous power supply should be ensured through generator set. Seasonality in breeding and availability of seed material for stocking should be checked before making decision on financial planning associated with aquarium keeping. Many aquarists breed a major variety of ornamental fish in summer and another species in winter. Keeping colorful ornamental fishes is one of the oldest and most popular hobbies in the universe. Growing interest in aquarium fishes resulted in steady increase of aquarium fish in global and domestic markets. Equipped with an annual growth rate of eight percentage, ornamental fish trade offers lots of scope for development. Indian and African countries have a huge share in global ornamental fish market and it is expected that development in ornamental fish breeding will act as a catalyst of economic development in Afro Asian regions.
Major part of ornamental fish export trade in India is based on wild collection and there is a very good domestic market too. Experts point out the importance of exploiting ornamental fish trade in a technologically driven manner. Ornamental fish breeding activity has the potential to create substantial employment opportunities apart from earning foreign currency. It has been estimated that there are more than 600 varieties of ornamental fish species all over the globe. Excellent knowledge of biology, breeding techniques, and condition of the fish are necessary prerequisites of an aquarium hobby specialist.
Breeding and rearing of ornamental fish should be made near incessant supply of water as well as electricity. Availability of agro based byproducts like oil cakes, rice polish, wheat bran, and animal based protein will facilitate preparation of pellet fish. An ideal ornamental fish breeder should concentrate preferably on single marketable species to streamline management measures. Proper knowledge of market demand, customer preference, and operation of marketing network are desirable traits of a prospective ornamental fish breeder. Major activities of ornamental fish breeding centers established in many Afro Asian countries are ornamental fish farming training, disease diagnosis, supply of aquatic plants and research on ornamental fish rearing.
Many small scale ornamental fish farmers in Asian countries are earning decent money through ornamental fish farming. Various technologies have been emerged that will help aquarists for breeding different kinds of ornamental fish. Forced breeding using hormones help to produce quality baby fishes at desired time. Womenfolk and self help groups are actively engaged in ornamental fish farming in many remote areas of African and Asian countries. It is amazing to know that rare varieties of clownfish like Maroon clownfish are given for breeding.
Glass aquariums for ornamental fish breeding are generally expensive than their acrylic counterparts. Various states in India are planning to set up model ornamental fish farming center to promote ornamental fish growth. Freshwater fishes are more suitable for farming on small scale and careful selection of breeds determine success level in ornamental fish hobby. Water, temperature and pH parameters are of paramount importance to the funny and rewarding hobby of aquarium fish keeping. Aquarium tanks selected for ornamental fish breeding should be equipped with state of the art technology.