Aquarium Keeping in Houses as a Hobby

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The hobby of aquarium keeping in houses has gained much popularity and is the second popular hobby among people all over the world due to their attractive coloration, aesthetic beauty. This gives pleasure and soothing effect to the eyes and helps to relieve stress. The brilliant, flamboyant color and exotic appearance of the fish appeal to everyone. Relatively less requirement of space or attention compared to other pet animals is the reason for growing interest all over in aquaria keeping.

Ornamental fish keeping nowadays is mostly sought in all households, hotels, offices, etc. The demand has increased tremendously and needs more skilled fish farmers. The lack of space is an important constraint in the present world for any farming activity. The culture of ornamental fishes is falsely judged for the need for huge investment and high capital cost. Establishment for ornamental fish culture in the backyard of the home provides bounteous room for additional income in rural areas.

This industry forms an important commercial component of aquaculture, providing for aesthetic requirements and upkeep of the environment. The market for ornamental fish in the world for public aquaria is less than 1% at present and over 99% of the market is still confined to the hobbyist. Today, modern materials, equipment, and air transport have made it possible for hobbyists as well as display aquaria to obtain a wide and new variety of fishes from all over the world and to maintain them with a high degree of success.

Common Freshwater Ornamental Fishes

Indian waters possess a rich diversity of ornamental fish, with over 100 varieties of indigenous species, in addition to a similar number of exotic species that are bred in captivity. A wide range of ornamental fishes, ranging from cheap guppies to costly neon tetras is bred by the aqua-culturists and are available almost at every city and town. Breeding of ornamental fish does not require any sophisticated equipment; instruments or infrastructure and the space requirements can be adjusted to suit the need of the aquarium. Breeding can be achieved even in any spare tank. One of the requirements is to clearly understand the habits and biological requirements of the fish. One could study the breeding behavior of the fish during the day to day aquarium maintenance and can breed several varieties of fish. Water quality parameters including temperature; plants and photoperiod play an important role in influencing spawning and successful rearing of fry.

Aquarium fishes are broadly grouped into two categories based on breeding behavior, viz., egg-layers (oviparous) and live-bearers (ovo-viviparous). Other categorizations include egg layers with no care (non-guarders), egg-layers with care (guarders), mouth-incubators, egg burriers, nest-builders and egg-carriers based on parental care. Important groups of egg-layers are goldfish, barbs, tetras, rasboras, gouramis, danios, bettas, and livebearers namely guppy, molly, swordtail, and platy.

Barbs are one of the most important groups among egg layers and species of the group are known to have originated from India, Ex: rosy barb (Pethia conchonius), striped barb (Haludaria fasciata) and tambraparni barb (Dawkinsia tambraparniei). The major species of the group of danios include pearl danio (Danio albolineatus), giant danio (Devario aequipinnatus) and zebra danio (D. rerio). Zebra danio is one of the solid example of ornamental fish species of Indian origin, which are bred and reared easily. The slender rasbora (Rasbora daniconius) has domestic as well as the export market.

Goldfish, Carassius auratus is one of the mainly domesticated fish because of its attractive colour pattern ranging from pure gold to red, black, orange and albino. The various types of morphological characteristics namely divided anal and caudal fins of varying sizes, egg-shaped body due to shortened vertebrae, presence of pearl-like glittering scales, enlargement, and protrusion of eyes, absence of dorsal fins, thickening of skins on the top of the head, etc. These are obtained through cross-breeding or selective breeding make the species more attractive. Some of the common varieties of goldfish available are lion head, comet, oranda (a modification of lion head), fringetail, fan tail, veil tail, shubunkin (scale-less hybrid), telescopic eye, etc. The fish grow up to 20cm in length, but start breeding when they are only 6cm long.

The tetras are small fishes of 3-8 cm long; the majority of which have originated from South America. The most common species of the group are black widow tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetizi), serpae tetra (Hyphessobrycon callistus), rosy tetra (H. rosaceus), lemon tetra (H. pulchripinnis), flame tetra (H. flammeus), neon tetra (H. innesi), cardinal tetra (Cheirodon axelrodi), glow light tetra (Hemigrammus erythrozonus), head and tail light tetra (H. ocellifer), pretty tetra (H. pulcher), etc.

Betta splendens which is also known as Siamese fighting fish available in different colours like blue, green, red, albino and sometimes with a combination of two or three shades of colours. As the fish has an attractive colour and can survive in a wide range of water qualities, it is widely adopted by many hobbyists. The males are attractive in colour and have fins spread over females. Due to their territorial habit males become more aggressive in the presence of other males of their species. Another important group of candidate species that is widely preferred is Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare). It is available in different varieties such as black, veil tail, marble, and albino. Angelfish have a body shape that is dorsoventrally compressed and the filamentous lower fins are giving it a beautiful look which becomes more attractive with their elegant movements.

Among gouramis, Honey gourami (Trichogaster chunna), dwarf gourami (T. lalius), giant gourami (T. fasciata), three spot gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus), moon light gourami (T. microlepis), pearl gourami (T. leeri) and kissing gourami (Helostoma temmincki) are the important species. The bettas and gouramies can breed by making bubble nests by male gouarami for which they are also known as nest-builders. These species are possessing an accessory respiratory organ, which makes them hardier.

Livebearers are the second group of ornamental fishes, giving birth to young ones and reproducing only a few numbers of offspring in comparison to egg layers through their breeding is relatively easy. The development of young ones takes place inside the female and is released after about four weeks. The species of livebearers include guppy (Poecilia reticulata), black molly (Poecilia sphenops), swordtail (Xiphophorus helleri), platy (X. maculatus) and their variants (Plate 1, Plate 2, Plate 3, Plate 4)Essential aspects of ornamental fish breeding technology

The breeding technology of ornamental fish comprises both science and art for successful operations. The research institutes are continuously focusing on the refinement of these skills for transmitting this knowledge from lab to land level. Breeding tips for entrepreneurs interested in ornamental fish breeding are mentioned below:

Sexual dimorphism

Before breeding any kind of ornamental fish, determining the sex of a fish is an important task. Most of the fishes show sexual dimorphism and some are sexually isomorphic. In fishes, the male can be easily distinguished from the female through shape, size and colour pattern. To say, sexual dimorphism in cichlids, barbs, killifishes and livebearers is vividly outstanding. In a few groups, like angel fish, sexual differences are hard to notice, only an experienced person can distinguish by the presence of genital papilla (visible only during the spawning period). In a few cases, the males are larger and the females have oval-shaped belly.

Brooder selection

Before breeding operations, Brooders must be selected by taking different traits into the account. The brooder should produce the offsprings with good shape and attractive colours as per the market demand. Only mature, healthy and compatible spawners (both male and female) must be chosen to avoid the production of unhealthy or deformed hatchlings. In many species of cichlids, pairs of brooders only form after a long time of raising. Males in gouramis may kill the female if she is not ready to spawn during the breeding process. Another crucial point is to avoid cross-breeding of fish species of different species groups as it may cause the production of unattractive, unhealthy and genetically weak species. It should always be ensured that the pairs are from the same species as usually hybrids are sterile.

Conditioning of brooders

Brooders are conditioned by maintaining daily routine management practices. Best suited feeding strategy with a sufficient quantity of live foods to be included in the diet for proper maturation. The live foods such as blood worm, tubifex, mosquito larvae, plankton, etc. help in triggering the spawning process.

Breeding Strategies and Environment

Ornamental fishes mostly spawn readily in the aquarium or cement tanks. The hatchlings often do not survive because of the predatory nature of the parents. Sometimes the mortality occurs due to the non-availability of good water and environment conditions. Separate spawning tank has to be set up for breeding purpose. Thermostat, sponge filter and good aeration need to be provided for good spawning. Based on the spawning method, the tank needs to be set up in different ways.

Egg layers (Oviparous)

Most of the aquarium fish are egg-layers. Fishes under Egg-layers are divided into five groups’ viz., egg-scatterers, egg-burriers, egg-depositors, nest-builders, and mouth-brooders.

  • Egg-scatterers

Fishes under egg scatterers are differentiated into 2 groups such as egg scatterers laying non-Adhesive eggs and Egg scatterers laying adhesive eggs

a. Egg scatterers laying non-Adhesive eggs

Zebra fish (Zebra danio) is considered as egg scatterers, lay non-adhesive eggs. The important varieties of this species include the zebra danio (Devario rerio), giant danio (D. aequipinnatus) and pearl danio (Danio albolineatus). These species do not show parental care and eat their eggs. As their character of eating their eggs, the spawning tank should be set in such a way that the eggs fall out of the reach of the spawning parents.

The male and female ratio should be maintained at 1:1 or 2:1 for breeding. most of the eggs scatterers require a 40-50 l capacity tank for spawning. The female is introduced in the breeding tank one day earlier than the males. In some cases, brood fishes are kept in a mesh net for breeding from where the eggs were dropped in the bottom. In favorable temperatures, the eggs can be hatched within 2-3 days. As soon as the hatchlings are seen the parents should remove from the breeding tank. In 3-4 days the yolk sac of the hatchlings will completely be absorbed and after that, they were fed with infusorians followed by rotifers and smaller zooplanktons for a week, after which they can be provided powdered formulated feed along with zooplanktons.

b. Egg scatterers laying adhesive eggs

Gold fish, Carassius auratus is a common species of egg scatterers laying adhesive eggs. The fish includes many varieties such as common gold fish, fringe tail, red cap, comet, lion head, shubunkin, telescopic eye, veil tail, etc. After observation of secondary sexual characters for maturation, the male and female gold fish are selected and kept in a glass tank and Ferro cement tanks for breeding. Since the eggs of gold fish are sticky in nature they require some substrate to adhere to the eggs. Natural substrates like submerged aquatic plants (e.g., Hydrilla) and artificial substrates like split plastic ropes with one end tied or burnt to make it blunt or even polythene strips have been found suitable for the purpose.

The female and male gold fish are released into the breeding tank during late evening hour @ 1:2 ratio. The male chases the female presses its operculum against the female’s abdomen and fertilizes the eggs while swimming beside her. Egg-laying usually takes place within 6-12 hrs of releasing the broods. After breeding the parents were transferred to another tank as they can eat their own eggs.

The fecundity of female gold fish is about 2000-3000. Fertilized eggs are golden transparent in colour and the unfertilized eggs will remain opaque. These dead eggs become pale white and hair like an aquatic fungus would grow on all the sides, giving it the appearance of a small powder-puff. Under the favorable conditions, the eggs hatch out within three days, with a hatching rate of 80-90%. When the young larvae are started to float, the nest materials are taken out from the tank. The hatchlings will remain in the breeding tank for further post-breeding care.

  • Egg-burriers

This type of breeding behavior is shown mostly in Killifish which lay their eggs in mud. Examples of ornamental fishes are Aplocheilius lineatus, A. dayi, A.panchax, etc. They bury their eggs in a peat moss substrate which hatches during favourable conditions.

  • Egg-depositors

Fishes deposit their eggs on a substrate (tank glass, rocks, wood, etc) and usually lay less egg than egg-scatterers. The pattern of laying eggs differ from species to species, for those that care for their young, the parents can remain in the tank after spawning.

Substrate spawners should be given a tank with broad-leafed plants, furnished glass panes, flat stones. Discus and Angelfish prefer vertical surfaces for spawning and generally provided with slanting serrated glass surface. Flower pots or rocky caves are used for cavity spawners like Badis badis, Chameleon fish. Egg-depositors like rasbora do not care for their young and should be given a tank furnished with leafed plants. Soft, slightly acidic (pH 5.5-6.5) and temperature at 28oC is required for efficient spawning. Low light condition is preferred for the species with a hatching period of 25- 30 hours.

  • Nest-builders

Nest builders usually make bubble nest for breeding and hatching. These nest builders are also called labyrinth fish as they use their labyrinth organ for making bubbles/foams for nest building. Most of the gouramies, betta fish and some cichlids make a nest for breeding purpose. Gouramis and bettas spit their saliva on a substrate (any debris floating on the water surface) and make bubble nest, while cichlids make bubbles on an excavated pit in the substrate. To facilitate the breeding condition their tanks are provided with wide leafy materials and no water flow should occur in the tanks. Species that build nests are coming under Gouramies (Trichogaster lalius, T. fasciata, T. chuna) and fighter fish (Betta splendens).

Before breeding the female and male brooders must be separated and fed with well-managed diet. The incorporation of live food is good for their maturation. Male introduced in the tank first with some substrates like wide leaf or plants like Hydrilla. Female is introduced in the tank after seen the bubble nest in the tank. After continuous chasing of the female by the male, the female release egg. After releasing of egg male guards the nest. At that time female must be taken out from the tank to avoid injuries to the female by the male. In favorable temperature (22-25°C) the eggs are hatched out within 22-24 Hrs. then the male also removed from the tank. after 4 days of hatching the hatchlings are fed with infusorians and after 7 days they are fed with zooplankton and artemia. Further post-breeding care is taken to the hatchlings.


Species belonging to this group carry their eggs or larvae in their mouth. Mouth brooders can be divided into 2 types such as ovophiles and larvophiles group. Ovophile or egg-loving mouth-brooders lay their eggs in a pit, which are then sucked up into the mouth of the female. These eggs hatch in the mother’s mouth with proper nourishment and care from predators. Fertilization occurs with egg-spots, colorful spots on the anal fin of the male which is picked by the female for fertilization of eggs in the mouth. As fry thrive by themselves in the environment, they are released. For mouthbrooders cement cisterns of 2 feet water depth with planted long plants is used for commercial production.

Livebearers (Ovo-viviparous)

Fishes that give birth to live young ones and hatch within females are known as livebearers. This is mainly found in Poeciliidae family (Guppy, Platy, swordtail, Molly). A number of livebearers produced ranges from 50-60 only. A smaller types of circular cement cisterns is preferable for the breeding of livebearers. Feeding can be done with both commercial and live food.

  • Breeding trap used for live bearer species

When females of live bearer species are ready to drop young ones, they should be taken into breeding tank where individual or group of fishes can be kept in perforated nylon bag cages from which the young ones are escaped from their mother through the mesh to outside to avoid parental predation. Various types of net cages, perforated dustbins, or fabricated perforated containers of the required size can be used for this purpose. Depending upon the size of the net cages or traps, the females can be provided accordingly.

A box type or cylindrical, but not a cage, can be fitted or hooked on to the wall of the aquarium for one or more mothers whose new-borns drop through the mesh opening into the lower space of the aquarium. When it is observed that the female has stopped dropping the young ones, they should be removed and reared separately with balanced nutritious diets.

A wide range of ornamental fishes

A large number of the exotic ornamental fishes are accepted by the hobbyist are provided in Table 1. The fishes that are acclimatized in captivity range from cheap guppies to costly neon tetra, discuses and other expensive fishes, are bred by the aqua-culturists and available with retailers at every city and town. But for commercial production, the infrastructures need to develop are a number of cement tanks of various sizes, aerators, overhead tank, bore well, electric/diesel pump, a hatchery shed and other necessary items.


Cite this paper

Aquarium Keeping in Houses as a Hobby. (2020, Nov 24). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/aquarium-keeping-in-houses-as-a-hobby/



Can you have an aquarium in your house?
Yes, you can have an aquarium in your house as long as you follow the regulations and provide proper care for the fish.
Is keeping an aquarium a hobby?
Yes, keeping an aquarium can be a hobby. Aquariums can be a fun and relaxing way to enjoy nature and fish.
Is keeping aquarium at home good?
Yes, keeping an aquarium at home can be good for you. It can help you relax and can be a fun hobby.
What is the hobby of fish keeping called?
The library is important today because it is a place where people can go to find information on any topic. The library is also important because it is a place where people can go to relax and enjoy a good book.
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