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Ornamental Fish Farming For Beginners

Ornamental Fish Farming For Beginners

Ornamental Fish Farming For Beginners:

Introduction to Ornamental Fish Farming and Culture:

Aquaculture: The culture of ornamental fishes is known as aquariculture. Ornamental fish farming or culture is the culture of attractive, colorful fishes of various characteristics, which are reared in a confined aquatic system. Farmers and hobbyists mainly grow these fishes. Ornamental fishes can also be called living jewels. There are over 30,000 fish species reported around the world, of this about 800 belong to ornamental fishes. They include eight closely associated families specifically, Anabantidae, Callichthyidae, Characidae, Cichlidae, Cobitidae, Cyprinodontidae, Cyprinidae and Poeciliidae.

Aquarium fishes are mainly categorized into two groups namely, egg layers (oviparous) and live bearers. Majority of aquarium species are egg layers and generally external fertilization occurs. According to this, it is again categorized into the following types.

  1. egg scatter laying non-adhesive eggs.
  2. egg scatter laying adhesive eggs.
  3. egg buriers.
  4. mouth incubators.
  5. nest-builders and.
  6. egg-carriers.

The increasing demand for aquarium fishes slowly established the route towards international trade of ornamental fishes. 1800 crore, however, India’s share is just Rs. 20 crore, which is extremely insignificant. The majority of the fish species of North East region of India have high values because of their attractive coloration routine, graceful behavior, peculiar body morphology, and endemicity. The significant stocks of the country’s decorative fish export are captive collection from N-E countries comprising roughly 80 to 85 percent of their total aquarium fish exchange of India. Aquarium fish is now a favorite interest and aquarium fish selling is a favorite commercial business in most of the states in India.

Ornamental Fish Culture.
Ornamental Fish Culture.

The trade is largely confined to import of exotic decorative fishes from different states of India especially from Kolkata which are subsequently sold out on the basis of temporary direction. The majority of these fishes are captured prior to their first maturity and sold in the marketplace as food fishes. These indigenous ornamental fishes can easily be gathered in the wild sources and may be cultured and simmer for keeping in the aquarium.

Advantages of Ornamental Fish Farming:

  • It Gives joy to young and old folks.
  • It Allows relaxation of the mind and thus contributes to a healthy living.
  • Children Get to know more about nature and use their time productively.
  • It Generates a self-employment opportunity.

Cultural practices of Ornamental Fish Farming: Most frequent culture facilities utilized for decorative fish are cement cisterns, glass aquaria, earthen ponds, earthen pots, etc. Three to four concrete cisterns are sufficient for a small scale rearing unit of  3 meters x 2 meters x 1meter and therefore are built above the floor level for simple drainage. All glass aquaria are favored for breeding purposes where drains and aerators can be utilized easily. Even, fish farmers with little earthen tanks may utilize them for rearing juveniles with all the food fish. Marginal farmers even can use big earthen pots of 1.5 meter in diameter to the rearing of larvae and juveniles. Normally, rainwater is your best source of water for ornamental fish culture. If the municipal distribution water is in use, before using, it is aerated for a few days for de-chlorination. The typical temperature of the rearing water in the region is 15 °C to 28 °C and the water pH is slightly alkaline. The majority of the species cultured favor soft to medium hard water.

Feeding and Care required in Ornamental Fish Farming: The small farmers can’t afford different readymade packed fish food pellets or purchasing of artemia cyst drum, which is pricey. But, they’ve successfully substituted reduced cost alternative live feeds. Different homemade nourish like whole-wheat bread, vegetable peelings, and rice will also be fed. But most farms rely on Daphnia, Tubifex worms and mosquito larvae. The fish culturists can amass Daphnia in the neighboring ponds by sieving through the fine mesh in the early morning. Tubifex worms and mosquito larvae are gathered in the sewer water stations. Normally, the farmers dispense the feed once daily. Overfeeding is much more damaging than underfeeding since the surplus feed destroys the water quality.

A beginner should start working on breeding of any live-bearer followed by goldfish or some other egg-layer species for getting familiar or acquainted with the procedures on how to handle and maintain brood fish and the youthful one. Good knowledge on the biology, feeding behavior and ambient condition of the fish are all prerequisites for breeding. Live food like Tubifex worms, Moina, earthworms’ etc. for brood-stock and larval phases need special attention. The creatures similarly need infusoria, artemia naupli, plantons like rotifers and smaller daphnia during the early phase. A unit for continuous production of live-food Is, therefore essential for the effective maintenance of the unit. In the majority of cases, breeding is simple, but larval rearing might require special care. As a supplementary feeding, the farmer could prepare on-site pelleted feed by using local agro-produce. To avoid health-related problems, a proper water quality needs to be ensured by installing biofilters. The ornamental fishes could be consumed at varying periods of the year.

Commercially important indigenous species in Ornamental Fish Farming :

The commercially important indigenous and non-indigenous species of Ornamental Fish Farming are listed below.

Scientific Name of species Common Name of Species
Botia lohachata Reticulated loach.
Brachydanio rerio Zebrafish.
Chandra nama Glassfish.
Colisa chune Honey gourami.
Labeo nandina Pencil gold labeo.
Lebeo calbasu All black shark.
Notopterus notopterus Black knife fish.
Oreichthys cosuatis Hi fin barb.
Puntius conchonius Rosy barb.
Puntius denisonii Deninson, S-barb.

Commercial types of  exotic egg layers of species in Ornamental Fish Farming:

Scientific Name of species Common Name of species
Astronotus ocellatus Oscar.
Balantiocheilus melanopterus Bala shark / Silver Shark.
Betta splendens Siamese Fighting Fish.
Carassius auratus Goldfish.
Cichlasoma meeki Firemouth Cichlid.
Colisa lalia Dwarf gourami.
Cyprinus carpio var koi Koi carp.
Helostoma temmincki Kissing gourami.
Labeo bicolor Red-Tailed Black Shark.
Paracheirodon axelrodi Cardinal Tetra.
Paracheirodon innesi Neon Tetra.
Pterophyllum scalare Angelfish.
Rasbora heteromorphy Rasbora, Harlequin Fish.
Scleropages formosus Asian arowana.
Symphysodon discus Discus / Pompadour fish.
Trichogaster trichopterus Three spot gourami.

Commercial varities of exotic livebearers of species in Ornamental Fish Farming:

Scientific Name Common Name
Poecilia reticulata Guppy.
Poecillia sphenops Marble Molly.
Poecillia velifera Sailfin Molly.
Xiphophorus helleri Swordtail.
Xiphophorus maculatus Platy.

Water management in Ornamental Fish Farming: Ornamental fish production unit requires a higher degree of expertise for greater water quality control as ornamental fish is very sensitive to poor water quality conditions. Many decorative fishes will perish in situations in which more powerful food fish species may survive. As cosmetic fish are stored in tanks longer quantities than their meals fish counterparts, water quality is the most critical. Where large quantities of fish have been stored in smallish distances, the build-up of nitrogenous wastes, most especially ammonia, requires the manufacturer to implement steps to handle it correctly. Standard water exchange together with appropriate aeration overcomes this kind of difficulty in the tanks.

Water Management in Ornamental Fish Farming.
Water Management in Ornamental Fish Farming.

Health management of Ornamental Fish Farming: Appropriate water quality control in ornamental fish breeding and culture is the primary preventive measures since they are very sensitive to temperature as well as pH. The most common diseases of ornamental fishes are reported to be a white spot, mouth disease, tail and fin rot. Some of these easily available and economic chemicals and medicines may be used as preventive measures. The easily available chemicals and medicines for health management are typical salt @15-30 grams/Litre of water used as a bath treatment for 30 min as the disinfectant, methylene blue @ 2.5 grams/Litre of water inserted in aquarium water for water purification and aluminum sulfate or potassium permanganate @ 0.5-1 gram/Litre of water used as bath therapy for 1 min as disinfectant.

Tips for Ornamental Fish Farming:

  • Breeding and rearing unit should be drawn up near a continuous supply of water and electricity. If the unit is situated near the flows, it will be excellent in which the unit can receive mobile water along with the rearing unit can be produced flow-through.
  • Continuous availability of agro-based by-products like oil cakes, rice polish, and wheat bran, and animal-based protein like fish meal and prawn-head meal, will facilitate preparation of pelleted diet to your fish. The brood-stock selected for breeding should be of superior quality in order that they produce quality fish available. It is advisable that the young ones may be increased till their maturity.
  • Breeding and rearing unit may be established rather nearer to airport/railway station so that live fish could be easily transported to internal market as also for export.
  • A fish breeder could focus rather on a single marketable species to streamline control steps.
  • Appropriate knowledge on market demand, customer preference and overall, the operation of a marketing network through personal contacts and the public relation is desirable.
  • Pioneer and expert groups in this field may always be kept in touch with to keep an eye on recent developments in marketing in addition to research progress, through training.

Cost and profit of Ornamental Fish Farming: The profit of ornamental breeding and rearing unit depends upon the carrying capacity, candidate species, management practices and infrastructure. The marginal farmers that breed or rear the fish need to sell them earlier due to the absence of proper equipment and get less profit. It is better to rear the fish to an optimum size and get more profits rather going for large scale.

Bottom line of Ornamental Fish Farming: Culture and breeding of ornamental fishes can be a promising alternative for many individuals as well as unemployed youths. It requires little space and less initial investment than most other forms of aquaculture. For decorative fish farming, only a clear understanding of habits and biology of these fishes is required. It may be practiced even in urban areas with little alteration of backyard or roof of a house. As less manpower is needed, the women or the elders can run little home aquarium units and improve their social and economic upliftment. There are many Ornamental Fish Farming Training centers in metro cities. For a better understanding of this business, it is very important to get this training.

Read here about Tilapia Fish Farming.

Last Updated: April 7, 2018
Author: Jagdish


  1. I want to do ornamental fish farming. I also want all the knowledge about how to keep this fish and knowledge about it.

  2. I mean to say is that I want to do ornamental fish farming. Is there any place in Mumbai where I can learn and breed a different kind of fish. Also, want to know how to breed different fish as I m a beginner

  3. Hi

    I am planning to start ornamental fish farming and have been following few blogs and trying to breed Betta fish in my backyard. For few pairs I had fry but less percentage (like out of 100 fry only 30 fry got in hand after 2 months)

    Hence I want to attend any training sessions for breeding and maintaining fry. I am from Hyderabad, telengana

    Please provide me some information on training sessions where I can attend

    And I am looking for all types of fish

  4. Hi

    I am Ashok Kumar Das from Jajpur, Odisha. I am interested for ornamental fish farming and business. Plz let me know how and where can I have the full training.

    Thanks & regards

    A. K. Das

  5. What is the best way to get professional training in ornamental fish farming ( setting up , equipment, etc)? May be on guppies and discuss breeding. I am located in Bangalore.

  6. Dear Sir,

    I am planning to start ornamentel fish farming at Indore .Kindly provide me address of any good training center for proper guidance.

  7. Hello,

    i want to start ornamental fish farming. i have some experience in breeding live bearers, but need to attend training course. my aim is to start with ornamental fish farming and later to start large scale fish farming (used for meat).

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