Fish for All-
Avenues for Recreation and Income
Dr. Saroj Swain
Head (Acting/In-charge), APED
People keep aquaria in their home for many reasons. The first and foremost reason is probably because fish are fun to watch and it relaxes the mind. It gives a pleasure to create an aquatic habitat for the fishes, to bring close to nature in your home. It also serves as an educational tool to help and understand how life works inside a small aquatic habitat. To recognize the beauty and colour of the fish, we often say, they are nature’s wonderful creation and living jewels. A great hobby of keeping fish next to photography can be enjoyed by people of all age groups and economic level besides income generation through adopting ornamental fish farming.
Studies from the 1980’s have shown that owning an aquarium can help to be more relaxed; less stressed and improves the overall health. A home freshwater aquarium has many health benefits. In fact, there is research going back almost 30 years that proves watching the fish in an aquarium reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. Aquarium has positive effects in the chamber of dentists, hospitals and nursing homes. Watching a video of an aquarium has exactly the same effect. Even if it’s not possible to have your own home freshwater aquarium, you can get a similar effect by adding a fish aquarium ’screen-savers’ available for your PC screen. Not the same thing, but it can still have a relaxing effect. Take advantage of the stress-relieving benefits of aquarium fish whenever, and wherever you can
Effects of Aquarium Keeping on Alzheimer's
Senior citizens with Alzheimer’s disease have shown many health improvements from the display of an aquarium in dining or drawing room. These seniors ate more; in addition to that there was an overall reduction in stress levels, resulting in less aggression. It is more advised to have an aquarium, especially in a dining area. They eat better, need less supplements in their diet and experience less aggression.
For hyperactive children
Hyperactive children, who spent time gazing at an aquarium, have been found to experience a calming effect.
Patients receiving dental care
Patients receiving dental care, who had the pleasure of watching fish swim in a tank, needed less medication for pain than those who did not. The more attractive the tank is, the more of a positive effect it will have on the person viewing it.
Feeding other animals in Indian culture
Indian Vasthu Sastra is silent about keeping a particular type of fish in home aquaria. But feeding any kind of fish is known to be auspicious. We all know all around the world, people love to feed animals for the sheer joy of it. But in India the reason, why people feed animals goes beyond joy to something more intangible, something that is very intrinsic to Indian culture. In Punjab and Haryana even the northern Indian people feed the fishes in the ponds and rivers. In Odisha near Huma temple people feed the Mahanadi mahseer. In golden temple, Amritsar, people used to feed “Halwa” to the colourful Koi Carps. Therefore feeding an aquarium fish or any other fish is always good, which provides lot of peace and enjoyment. It not only gives you pleasure by feeding a small animal but also you make the animal happy and keeping them in natural condition, in result prosperity touches your life.
Give benefit to the rural farmers
If you buy a fish you can save a family. Generally, ornamental fishes are being produced by rural folk. The producers are either from women self help groups or from individual farmers, who are engaged themselves for their livelihood. Let’s help them through buying a fish from the market.
Ornamental fish farming
About 800 ornamental fish species have been reported from various aquatic environments. Indian waters possess a rich diversity of ornamental fish, with over 100 indigenous varieties, in addition to a similar number of exotic species that are bred in captivity. The fishes seen in pet shops are mostly exotic variety, produced by our farmers. For example, the goldfish, Koi carp, Tetras, freshwater Sharks etc. are considered as exotic species. Among the indigenous species, rainbow Gourami, Pencil fish, Denisonii barb, Filament barb, Rosy barb etc are important are either collected from nature or bred. Among the indigenous and exotic freshwater species, the varieties having good demand can be bred and reared for commercial purpose. Species that can be produced easily and popular as commercial varieties are coming under egg-layers and livebearers.
Livebearer species: Guppy, Molly, Platy, Sword tail and their several variants
Egg-layers: Varieties of Goldfish, Koi carp, Danios, Tetras, Gouramies, Fighters, Angel, Discus etc.
A beginner should start the breeding of any live-bearer species followed by goldfish or any other egg-layers for getting acquainted with the procedures on handling and maintenance of brood fish and young one.
Good knowledge on the biology, feeding behavior and ambient condition of the fish are prerequisites for breeding. Live food like Tubifex worms, Moina, earthworms’ etc. for brood-stock and larval stages need special attention. The larvae similarly need infusorians, artemia naupli, planktons such as rotifers and smaller daphnia during the early stage. A unit for continuous production of live-food is, therefore necessary for successful maintenance of the production unit. In most cases breeding is easy, but larval rearing might require special care. As a supplementary feeding, farm made feeds can be prepared by using local agro-produce. To avoid health related problems, a proper water quality needs to be ensured by installing biofilters. The ornamental fishes can be bred at varied periods of the year.
Minimum needs for a backyard enterprise and profitability
A minimum space of 1000 sq. feet area with a facility of few cement cisterns, shade net covering ,water source, brood fish, few glass aquaria, small feed pelletiser and feed ingredients, live food, medicines, aerators or air blower, nets, fish packing arrangements including an oxygen cylinder is required. An investment of INR 75,000 (capital: INR 50,000 & recurring 25,000) gives a return of INR 60,000 or more per year. However, the economics may vary depending upon the species you select for breeding and rearing.