Fishery - Ornamental Fish


Introduction: At present, throughout the world Ornamental fisheries is having a global trade rcognition and is in an increasing trend. There exists immense potential of the state of Meghalaya in general, and East Khasi Khasi Hills in particular.  It brings out an array of the area’s indigenous fishes in to the trade. The district of East Khasi Hills Districtis blessed with a large numbers of water bodies in the form of streams, riverulets, rivers, etc. These water bodies homes to a number of fish indigenous species. Some of which are of ornamental value and others can be promoted for the same. Danio aequipinnatus (Gaint Danio), Danio rerio (Zebra Danio), Puntius picot, Nemacheilus spp. Garra lyssorynchus, etc. are some of a few examples found in the districts. In fact the rivers in the southern parts are having variety of species.  The technologies of breeding different varieties of ornamental fishes should be encouraged both in rural and urban areas. Ornamental fishes are kept in aquarium.

List of some Ornamental fishes -


1 Gold fish 9 Platy
2 Rosy barb 10 Eel
3 Tiger barb 11 Sword tail
4 Black molly 12 Sucker fish
5 Banded loach 13 Oscar
6 Angel 14 Siamese
7 Devil catfish 15 Guppy
8 Blue Denio 16 Blue gourami

1. Construction and maintenance of an aquarium

  • Aquarium is an artificial tank, which should be made up of glass and decorated with aquatic organisms in natural environment by introducing aquatic plants, rocks, gravel, artificial decorative etc. and maintaining physico-chemical and biological parameters there in with the aid of equipments controlling aeration, water movement, temperature, suspended organic matter, illumination etc. besides feeding.

  • Different types of aquarium, ornamental plants, decorative, etc .are available in the market.

2. Materials required for making an aquarium

  • Glass tank

  • Hood fitted with bulb

  • Gravels and stone chips

  • Sand

  • Aquatic plants (artificial plants especially meant for aquarium can also be used)

  • Colour posters for background

  • Aquarium toys

  • Aerator

  • Air stone

  • Thermometer

  • Thermostat

  • Filtration unit

  • Clean, chlorine free water

  • Colorful fishes of ornamental nature

  • Artificial food

  • Hand net

  • Bucket and mug

  • Sponge

3. Construction and fabrication of glass aquarium

  • The simplest tank to keep the ornamental fishes is a fish bowl. It is made up of all-glass having various capacities generally below 5 litres.

  • An aquarium is made of glass sides and bottom, fitted into a metal frame of either angle iron or aluminum by means of bitumen. Such aquarium tanks are available in many standard sizes. Depending on size, an aquarium tank can be classified as small, medium or large. A small aquarium of 45cm x 25cmx25cm is good for small species and may look very attractive. But due to its small size it may face many drawbacks. The medium aquarium of 60cmx 30cmx30cm is the most popular one. The large aquarium-sat 90cm x x30cm x 30cm 0r 90cm x 45cm x 45cm is also popular and standard size for home. Large tank is beneficial due to larger water surface for exchanging of gases besides adding beauty to the aquarium. The majority of the tank shapes is rectangular, and offers good accommodation and has a very decorative value. Aquarium with a metal frame is robust and can be repaired at reasonable cost. It can be constructed at any volume and measurements whatever we require. The major disadvantage is rusting of frame on prolonged use and must therefore be repaired from time to time.

  • The traditional rectangular tank, constructed with an iron frame and using putty to hold the glass in place, is now a rare sight in aquarium shops. The advent of silicon rubber sealant has led to a revolution in the design of tanks over the last four decades, enabling a much wider range of shapes to be created, freed from the constraints of an iron framework.

  • Now a day tanks are usually of all glass-construction, with no supporting metal framework of angle iron. Each glass wall is bonded to its neighbor with silicon rubber sealant adhesive. It is inert, flexible and transparent adhesive that directly bonds sheet of glass together to form an aquarium now a day. It is also strong and tougher than the actual glass itself. Silicon rubber sealant is available in tubes, with an attached nozzle dispenser.

4. Other parts of an aquarium

a)  Glass cover -A glass cover is necessary to prevent escape of the active fish from jumping out of the tank. It also lessens the evaporation and protects the light fixture from water splashing. The cover, must, however, be designed to permit free exchange of the air above the water with the surrounding atmosphere.

b)   Hood- Besides the cover glass an aquarium cover or hood is made to correspond with specific size of the tank to install lamps and giving provision for feeding the fish. In the hood there can be a reflector for lamps. The starter for the fluorescent lamps should only be mounted on the hood.

c)   Aquarium stand- The stand on which the aquarium can rest should be decided as per convenience of seeing it properly so that it is at eye level. Fully filled aquarium is heavy, so a firm and strong-leveled base should be chosen to set the aquarium. It should be conveniently accessible for maintenance purpose. If a stand is used on a carpet floor to set the aquarium, the stand can rest on hardboard blocks to prevent them damaging the floor covering. Once a stand is kept on a suitable place, spread 1-3 cm thick thermo Cole or polythene sheet to give a cushion to the supporting surface of the aquarium.

5. Where to keep an aquarium?

  1. Aquarium should be kept at a plane and firm surface. Stands made up of iron or wood can be used for this purpose. Aquarium can be placed on the tables also.

  2. The height of the aquarium should be parallel to the viewer’s eyes, so that the activities of fishes can be seen easily.

  3. While keeping the aquarium care should be taken that direct sunlight is not falling on the aquarium because it will enhance algal growth and aquarium will not be looking clean.

  4. The place should be provided with electricity connection for proper electrification and aeration of the aquarium.

6. Installation of aquarium

  • Avoid any water leakage.

  • The tank should be washed thoroughly with salt water, clean water and wipe it carefully with a clean cloth. A rinsing with potassium permanganate is always good to get rid of any pathogens.

  • Arrange the gravel to create a natural-looking scene, without actually blocking the view of the fish. For keeping plants, sandy bed is good for easy rooting. Spread the gravel evenly, but slightly deeper at the back than front.

  • A filtration process is necessary to remove waste matter and ensure the water is kept clean and pure. The commonly used under-gravel filtration is the biological filtration system where organic matter is converted to non-harmful material when it is passed through a gravel bed containing bacteria in presence of oxygen. The filtration unit is placed before the base-gravel is added which covers the whole base area. The vertical tube is fitted to the filter plate before putting the gravel to prevent the gravel entering the hole later. Now the filter is ready. Connect the air tubes to the aerator after connecting it behind plants and rocks as is done for aerator tubes.

7. Setting of aquatic ornamental plants in the aquarium

  • Aquarium is planted with ornamental plants. They serve a decorative purpose; provide shelter and a sense of security to the fish, during daytime they also absorb the injurious gas (Carbon dioxide) given off by the fish in breathing and produce oxygen, which can be utilized by the fish.

  • A wide variety of plants available for keeping in the aquariums are Cryptocome, Echinodorus, Elodea, Hydrophyla, Ludwigia, Cabomba, Myriophyllum, Vallisneria, etc. The soft-leafed species make good food for herbivorous fishes while the firmer stout-leafed plants offer favourable spawning and is either as spawning sites themselves or as nest building materials. 

  • They can be planted directly in the sand bed or in containers made for it. Before planting, plants should be disinfected so as to kill harmful germs, parasites and other enemies of fish. This is done by dipping them in 0.1% potassium permanganate solution for 20 minutes and then thoroughly washed in running water. The plant may be removed off dead leaves and broken stems and cleaned thoroughly before planting it singly or in groups depending on the species. The roots of plants may be removed off dead leaves and broken stems and clean thoroughly before planting it singly or in groups depending on the species. The roots of plants may be pushed deep into the gravel to hold them. In other case they may be tied with some weight for anchoring them on the bottom. Taller plants may be planted towards the back of the tank, broader leafed plants at the centre and smaller plants at the foreground. Plants are best added to the aquarium when it is half full.

8. Aeration system and heating arrangement

  • A reliable and sufficiently powerful pump- diaphragm pumps is a popular type used for aeration.

  • The aerator should be kept at a level higher than the water level of the aquarium.

  • The air tubes from the pump should be connected to the air stone for providing minute air bubbles that diffuses the oxygen in water.

  • Ornamental fishes should be kept normally at temperatures of its natural environment.

 9. Suitable Water condition for keeping ornamental fishes

  • Aquarium should be filled with clear water, which is free from chlorine content. Dechlorination can be done by:

    • by aerating the water overnight before addition

    • leaving the water for few days to allow maturing

    • commercially available chemicals can be purchase from open market

  • Avoid direct pouring of water. A shallow pot can be kept on the sand and water can gently be poured through it.

10. Acclimatization before stocking of fish in the aquarium

  • Select locally available hardy fishes

  • One or two pair of fishes can be added every now and then, until the aquarium reaches its maximum capacity

  • A the time of addition of a new fish :

  1. Turn off the aquarium light

  2. Condition the fish by floating the plastic bag for 20-30 minutes on the surface. Allow the aquarium water to flow in and release the fish gently in to the aquarium.

11. Number of fishes in an aquarium

  • It is advisable to select small fishes for aquarium. The selection and combination of fishes will depend on the availability and compatibility in the group.

  • Their behaviour with others fishes should be studied before keeping in aquarium for rearing.

  • Fishes of 2-3 cm. size should be preferred. It is recommended to provide 50 sq. cm. space to a fish size of 2.5 cm.

12. Feed and Nutrition

Adequate nutrition is a prerequisite for improvement in production and quality of ornamental fisheries. Protein requirement in dietary for fishes which ranges from 30-35 % for adult or brood fishes and 40 to 50 % of protein for young ones. Generally 6-8 % dietary lipid and 40-50 % of carbohydrates in the diet is optimum for ornamental fishes. 1 % of vitamins mixture can be added in the artificial fish feed. Apart from these, minerals are also required, but in very less amount.

 Different types of fish feed

Life feeds

Artificial feeds


Micro-bone feeds (flaked)

Brachionus (rotifer)

Crumbled feeds (pelleted/extruded)

Brine shrimp artemia

Flaked feeds

Tobifex worms


13. Breeding techniques of aquarium fish

1. Selecting the parent fish

  • Primarily, the male fish (more colourful, larger and have more elaborate fins) and female fish (slightly rounder in belly and smaller than males) should be determine in order to breed a species. Make sure that the pair is both of the same species.

  • Once males and females have been distinguished, a suitable, compatible and healthy pair or spawning group should be chosen.

  • Choose fish that display good markings like strong coloration, good fin development, etc., that should produce attractive young ones.

2. Conditioning the fish to breed

  • A varied diet, with an increase level of protein and foods such as brine shrimp, insect larvae, and flying insects is recommended for conditioning.

  • A small increase in the ambient temperature can prove beneficial.

3. Breeding the fish

  • Different groups of fishes reproduce in different ways

  • Generally two broad groups. They are Egg layers and Livebearers.

  • Egg layers constitute majority of the ornamental fishes and in most, with external fertilization. Livebearers are fishes that bear young ones. They can be easily bred.

  • Egg layers can be divided in to five groups. They are – egg-scatterers, egg-depositors, egg-burriers, mouth-brooders and nest-builder.

  • Depending upon the egg-laying habits, it is important to see that the materials necessary for the egg-laying fishes, are available with in the breeding tank.

  • Canibolism is seen quite often among ornamental fishes. So care should be taken, that the parent fishes are kept out of reach of the eggs and hatchlings.

14. Health care measures (Details of symptoms and treatment of common diseases occur ornamental fishes.)







Fins badly damaged starts falling. Fish become dull and skin becomes darker on colour.


Treat with teramycin or tetracycline and then dip in common salt solution.



Spots present on the body. Initially it effects the gill and later on alimentary canal.


Dead and diseased fish should be removed from the aquarium and clean water should be filled in.



Sticky fluid is deposited on the body Color of the fish changes. Fish become yellowish in color and emaciated, show low appetite.

Dip in malachite green or Copper sulphite solution.



Small brown or white spots of size 0.5 to 1 mm diameter are seen on the body and fins of the fish, low appetite.


Treatment is same as that of Costiasis. Water temperature of the aquarium should be increased.



Cotton ball like growth develop on the body

Dip the fish in Malachite, Methylene blue or common salt solution. Wash the aquarium with Copper sulphite or formalin solution.




Swollen belly

Treat the fish with antibiotics.



Eye catract

White thin layer seen over eye

Specialized treatment not available.



Scale falling

Falling of scale, movement slow, breathing rate high, fish surfacing on the water.


Treatment with antibiotic and then dip in Potassium permanganate or salt solution.


Fish louse

Argulus attach on the body



Remove the parasite and dip in Formalin solution.


Anchor worm

Thread like structure come out of the body


Treatment as above.



Parasite attach on the bocy, fins and gills of the fishes. Fish rubs her body on the walls of acquarium. Gills become darker, breathing rate high

Dip the fish in 1:1000 parts of formalin, Aeration is must; treatment with Potassium permanganate is also advisable.



Leeches are seen attached to the body

Dip the fish in the salt solution for 30 minutes, remove the parasite with forcep and put mercury cream over wound.


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