Ornamental Fish Culture Technologies

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Feb 6, 2015 - Greater potential for export trade - most exquisite colours and attention grabbing ... At present export of live wild tropical fish is only meager.

Ornamental Fish Culture Technologies

Kongunadu Arts and Science College GN Mills, Coimbatore

Dr. S. Raja PG & Research Dept. of Zoology 02.06.2015


In recent years ornamental fishes are receiving increased - local and global demand and the consequent growth of the export market and trade.

The trade however is dominated by fresh water ornamental fishes (90%) as the technology for culture in several species is available. In India freshwater ornamental fish trade 98 % are cultured and 2% captured wild. Marine ornamental fish - 98% are capture and 2% from cultured stock. Marine ornamental fish, culture and hatchery technologies are yet to be develop. Greater potential for export trade - most exquisite colours and attention grabbing behavior, but there are apprehensions pertaining their collection from the natural environment, biodiversity and sustainability perspectives.

Present status of ornamental fish culture and trade in India i) Freshwater ornamental fishes

India is blessed with a rich diversity of freshwater fishes both in the Western Ghats and North Eastern hills. 300 species of freshwater fishes -155 are considered ornamental fishes of which 117 are endemic . More than 100 varieties of indigenous freshwater ornamental fish The list of popular ornamental fishes distributed in freshwater are given in annexure-1 Mollies




Gold fish

Tiger barbs

Golden rosi

barbs Koicarp



ii) Brackishwater ornamental fishes

Brackishwater ornamental fishes in India waters (Ahilan,2007) Monodactylus argentus, M.sebae and Scatophagus argus Successful low saline pond bred fishes The brackishwater pearlsopt (Etroplus suratensis), orange chromide (Etroplus maculates) Indian glass fish Ambassis spp.

These are potential ornamental fishes, suitable for planed mass production and export.

iii) Marine ornamental fishes

The marine ornamental fish industry has been expanding in recent years and the global marine ornamental fish trade is estimated at US $ 200-330 million (Gopakumar, 2007 and Madhu, 2009). The ornamental fishery resources of India and their territories are greater than those of Sir Lanka, Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, and Maldives India has a vast coastline of 8,129 km with around 400 species of ornamental fishes belonging to 175 genera, coming under 50 reef families occurring in the Indian seas (Sriramachandramurthy, 2007).

Prospects of ornamental fish culture and trade in India

Ornamental fish culture is an excellent business opportunity in India since there is strong demand from domestic and export markets(Elamparithy, 1996). Good potential due to enormous geographical spread, extensive species diversity and intensive research and development (Nammalwar,2008). An innovative entrepreneur can earn much higher profits by implementing such activities. At present export of live wild tropical fish is only meager. The natural resource - Andaman, Nicobar (Murugan et., al,2008), Gulf of Mannar, Palk bay Gulf Kutch and Lakshdweep islands which are very potential areas . The marine fish and invertebrate resources from the Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands are reported to be the greatest in Asia.

More than 500 species of fishes and 200 species of invertebrates are available in these islands. The actual potentials-India can annually export marine ornamental fishes to the tune of 340 millions US$.

In Indian ornamental fishes are exported to different countries

Italy China Japan Australia Belgium Singapore South Africa United States United Kingdom The internal ornamental fish trade of India is estimated to be of the order of Rs. 400 corers

Cement tanks

Cement tanks

No. of tanks

1 23

2 12

3 6

4 5

5 5







Depth Age Shape

1m 5 yrs Rectangular

1m 5 yrs Square

1m 5 yrs Square

1.2m 1.5m 5 yrs 5 yrs Rectangular Rectangular

Earthen ponds


Earthen pond




No. of tanks





2.4 m dia

2 ft dia

2 cents






5 yrs

5 yrs

5 yrs





Variety selected Angel fish Livebearers Gold fish Barb Oscar

Average production from a fish (No)

Average survival rate (%)

Fishes used for breeding purpose (No)

Frequency of breeding (Times)

400 80 1000 100 350

85 70 30 30 58

13 64 64 12 2

3 4 4 1 1

Hatchery produced fresh water koi carp fish seeds

Predator problems in earthen ponds

Fresh water ornamental fish trade Packing of live ornamental freshwater fish

Export of live ornamental fish

Ready for marketing

Entrepreneurship development

Average cost and return of a breeding and rearing unit Capital cost (Rs.) 2 glass aquarium (2.5 x 2 x 1) m each with lids and fittings



3 cement cistern (5 x 3 x 2) m





3 aerator Other equipments like hand net, buckets, pipes




Culture cost (Rs.) 200 hundreds female



50 male



Feed for one year






Total cost (Rs.)


Production Monthly production of 4,200 young; Yearly production of 50,000 young Sale 20,000 male



30,000 female



Total sale 1,20,000.00 Annual profit = (1,20,000.00- 47,750.00) = 72,250.00 Monthly profit = Rs. 6,021.00

In the year of 1970s a few enterprising people started breeding varieties of fishes like backyards of their homes. In Kolathur village, small scale to large scale famers are cultivation the ornamental fishes. There are about more than 4000 families earning their livelihood through ornamental fish cultivation in Kolathur and on an average each household the village earns over Rs 20,000 to 2, 00,000/ month through ornamental fish farming. It provides employment to more than 7,000 people. In that village around numerous lakes are present, and the people were used to collect live feed from these lakes at zero cost, this will help to establish hatcheries to produce quality seeds, the live feeds the people used in general terms of nice. At present, there are around 570 shops dealing in ornamental fishes, aquariums and fish accessories. The ornamental fish business on a big scale with business transaction in around Rs. 500 crore/month, and the accessories sold around Rs. 1000 crore/month. There are around 600 varieties of fishes available in the market with mollies, catfish, angel fish, giant gouramis and Indian Golden fish, are the fast moving fishes transported to Kolkata, Hyderabad, Kochi, and other places in India, and also it’s sold in the local markets.

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