After emerging number one producer of trout in the country, the state fisheries department is now venturing into the arena of breeding ornamental fish, much in demand for aquariums.
Encouraged by the success of the experiment of breeding ornamental fish under controlled conditions at its farm at Ghaggas in Bilaspur district, the government now intends taking to their breeding in a big way. Now, four new ornamental fish are being reared at the farm where earlier only plain gold fish was bred.
The four new species include gold fish fan-tail, guppu, platy and black molly. The gold fish fan-tail is one of the most preferred for keeping in aquarium because of its beautiful golden colour and double fin.
People, who are privately running aquarium business, are buying fish from the fisheries department in large numbers as the price is much less as compared to the market. As compared to a rate of Rs 40 per fish for gold fish fan-tail and black molly charged by private people, the fish is sold at Rs 20 per piece.
“With not just private persons but even some government agencies like Haryana fisheries buying ornamental fish from us, we intend expanding its scope and take to its breeding on a much larger scale,” says Harsh Mahajan, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry minister.
In order to expand, the department has introduced breeding of the koi carp recently, which is a smaller version of the carp variety, appropriate for being kept in aquariums. “It is under an exchange arrangement that we have taken koi carp from our counterparts in Haryana, which we will try and breed under controlled conditions,” informed Rajan Sood, assistant director, fisheries at Bilaspur.
The problem he cites in rearing and stocking of the ornamental fish is that everything has to be undertaken controlled conditions as being marine fish they require different temperature while in Himachal, the temperature fluctuation is very high. Once the fish attains a particular size and age, it can be kept in an aquarium without much hassle except for its proper feeding and cleaning up of the aquarium.
The different species of fish is bought from private aquarium dealers while they are very young and it is only after acclimatising them that they are made breeders. The number of breeds that a fish gives also varies from 60 to almost 100 off-springs.
Guppu and platy are small aquarium fish, which do not grow bigger than 1.5 inches. Efforts are on by the department to undertake breeding of maximum possible types so that it can emerge as the leader even in the field of breeding ornamental fish.