ORNAMENTAL FISHERY; A VOICE IN AQUACULTURE THAT NEEDS TO BE HEARD?

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No doubt, in recent years, there has been more focus on fisheries and aquaculture in Nigeria. Although it is not a new practice, recently government and even citizens (farmers) have increased investment in this aspect of agriculture. When the subject of fisheries and aquaculture is brought up, people just zero their minds to “catfish” and “tilapia”, this is funny because there are so many aspects of fishery and aquaculture that need to properly study and get involved with.

Ornamental fishery is one of these aspects, many don’t even know what it entails. Ornamental fisheries include the processing and commercialization of live, attractive, or fancy fishes for the main purpose of home and public places beautification; it is the fishery that is concerned with ornamental fishes; fish kept in aquariums at home or for aesthetic purposes are known to be ornamental fish. These fishes have a wide range of species, including many forms, sizes, and colors.

Okay, let assume people know this type of fisheries. But, do they know the basic set up for monetary values? Apart from its recreational benefits, ornamental fisheries have numerous benefits which include profit-making like its counterpart catfish and tilapia farming.

Nigeria is blessed with an abundance of species of ornamental fishes, some of which were exported over the years. Significant amounts of these fish and fishery products are exported in various forms from Nigeria and this has been a source of foreign exchange earnings for the country. There are over three thousand Ornamental Fish species in Nigeria.

Knowing about ornamental farming could as well amount to nothing if there is no medium to convert such knowledge for productivity, the goal of managing a fishery is to conserve the resource in such a way that it is renewable and thus sustainable, as such, this article will be discussing how to start ornamental fish for profit-making.

An aquarium 

Everyone has an idea of what an aquarium is. Although, an aquarium seems to be only for recreational and beautification purposes to many. This is however a wrong notion as farmers or entrepreneurs can monetize this. The principal components of an aquarium are ornamental fish and aquatic plants. The aquarium is called beautiful to look at both, in color or form. These fishes’ lifestyle is swift, gentle, and simple. Before analyzing the various types of ornamental fishes, how do we go about constructing the aquarium? Well, there are several companies spread across the country that specializes in constructing and maintaining an aquarium, this especially is a huge way of making money from ornamental fisheries; construction, and maintenances of an aquarium.

Getting the aquarium set and ready for use, there are some factors to consider before stocking it. The selection of fish is the next step. The criteria for the selection of fish should be as follows;

  1. Maximum fish size shouldn’t exceed 3 inches: Aquarium fishes are usually small in size and with anything size exceeding 3 inches, you should probably get an earthen pond.
  2. Quality of water should be good: In any culture system, the water parameter is one of the important factors; bad water will result in a disease-filled tank at the end of the day.
  3. The species of fish should be omnivorous: You don’t want to have your fishes eat themselves up, and leaving you at a loss because ornamental are quite expensive to normal fishes I must tell, therefore, the appropriate specie to stock in an aquarium are the omnivores.
  4. Fish species should be both attractive and fascinating: Your slogan for fish selection should be “No boring fish”. Always go for beautiful and fascinating fishes.

What are the species of fishes that are usually found in an aquarium?

Aquarium fish species are usually small in size; not exceeding three (3) inches. They are colorful and attractive. Below are examples of ornamental fishes

  1. MOLLY FISH: Three well-known species of this family serve as ornamental fish namely; Sailfin (Mollienisia lapipinna), Molly (M. vetifeara), and the liberty fish (M.sphenops). They usually grow to a maximum size that ranges between 3-5 inches and can survive in both fresh and brackish water. They can only survive in water with a pH level between 7-7.5. Mollies, however, need a lot of space and react badly to overcrowding. Though Mollies prefers vegetarian food, it has an omnivorous feeding habit. They are also livebearers.
  2. GOLDFISH: This specie is quite popular in Nigeria, seem to be the reply for “name any ornamental fish you know”. Goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus) are freshwater species that can only survive pH level 7.5-8.5. They can be kept with any other large nonaggressive species where the aquarium is large and comfortable enough to accommodate them. They are omnivores, they accept dry food, like to eat small insects and vegetable food too; goldfish feeds on a wide variety of foods.
  3. ANGELFISH: Angelfish (Pterophillum scalare) grow to about six (6) inches. They can only survive in water of pH level 6.5-6.9. Angelfish accept most prepared food, for instance; flaked food, black worm, ground worm, and a few dried foods.
  4. GUPPY: Guppy (Poecilia reticulate) thrives in both fresh and brackish water with pH level 7.0-8.5. They grow to a maximum size of about 2.5 inches. Guppies can be kept in most communities’ aquariums but not to be stock with aggressive fishes.
  5. TICTO BARB: Ticto barbs (Puntius ticto) also known as Odessa barb are freshwater species and survive in water of pH level 6.5-7.0. They grow to a maximum size of about 4 inches. Ticto barb is a schooling fish and as such should be kept in a group of more than six. They tolerate much of the flake foods and live foods like bloodworms, chopped earthworms, and shrimp brine.

There are endless varieties of these species that makes up ornamental fisheries and for a potential aquarist not to get overwhelmed with these varieties, it is important to develop a basic understanding of this aspect to be able to fully exploit its advantage.