Bangladesh is a land of river and she has a diverse fisheries resources. There are 260 freshwater species, 475 marine water species, 24 fresh water prawn species, 36 marine shrimp species and crab, snail, mussel, turtle, etc. in our water body (DoF, 2010). Freshwater aquaculture, coastal shrimp, fresh water prawn culture and marketing, crab marketing, etc. are the major subsectors of fisheries in Bangladesh. Nowadays farmers and investors are very much interested to move their business to more diversified fields such as crocodile culture, pearl culture, aquarium fish trades, etc. (Mostafizur et al., 2009). Aquarium or ornamental fish business is becoming very popular throughout the world as its easy operating system and less operating costs. Beyond sales of aquaria, air pumps, food, medications and other supplies, the primary product of the aquarium industry is fish (Cheong, 1996).
The demand of aquarium fishes or ornamental fishes became very popular in our country day by day. Most of the ornamental fish lovers usually keep them in their houses and offices in order to bring a different look to the place where they staying. In Bangladesh there are only a few native fish species that are considered ornamental fish species e.g. Rani fish (Botia sp.). Most of the available ornamental fishes are exotic species. Among them, common goldfish and comets are being managed to breed artificial in Rakamari Hatchery of Feni district, under Chittagong division. Market price of these ornamental fishes varies from place to place due to the transport cost and potentiality of the place.
The aquarium fish business results in rapid cash production and cash and is relatively easy to start as a hobby or small scale farming enterprises. Aquarium fish trade is an expanding multi-million dollar market with considerable growth in the last two decades (Cheong, 1996). The approximate global import value of aquarium fishes is US$ 321 million (Dawes, 2001), from which US$ 21-48 million belong to the marine aquarium fish trade (Wood, 2001). The global wholesale value of live aquarium fish in 2000 was estimated by FAO of the United Nations to be US$ 900 million with a retail value of US$ 3 billion (Whittington et al., 2007). USA, Europe and Japan are the largest markets for aquarium fish but more than 65% of the exports come from Asia. It is encouraging news for the developing countries that more than 60% of the total world trade goes to their economies (Ghosh et al., 2003). Although Bangladesh has huge resources but is still in a marginal position (Mostafizur et. al., 2009) and the majority of the shops of aquarium fish are located in Dhaka city (Galib, 2010a). But it is good news for us that its trade is developing currently in our country (Mostafizur et al., 2009).
History of Introduction
Bangladesh has a long history of introduction of ornamental fish species. Unfortunately, no consideration and no quarantine measures adopted during import of this species and as a result they were introduced into the country without proper documentation. Information such as published lists of useful and harmful effects; published scientific data on the ecological and economic impacts of such species are not available. Despite the absence of studies, it is hardy to identify the accurate time of the introduction of ornamental fish.
History shows that the Siamese Gourami (Trichogaster pectoralis) was first introduced into Bangladesh brought from Singapore in 1952. Then the Goldfish (Carassius auratus) was introduced into Bangladesh brought from Pakistan in 1953. At first it was used as recreational purposes in aquaria and cement tanks. (Source: Department of Fisheries 2001, Matshya Bhaban, 13 Shaid Munsur Ali Sharani, ramna, Dhaka)
In Bangladesh the professional culture of aquarium fish was started in 1980. At first aquarium were set in restaurant for aesthetic enjoyment to attract people. Then the rearing of aquarium was practiced in shopping centers. Generally elite people keep aquarium in their house or office for their aesthetic enjoyment. The ornamental fish culture practice was increasing day by day. Due to the increasing demand, aquarium fish culture was oriented in mid 1980, at Kataban in Dhaka (Mostafizur et al., 2009).
Bangladesh has a richness of natural resources such as suitable climate, natural rivers and traditional experience in the culture of fish so that the Bangladeshi farmer can readily culture aquarium fish. Considering the importance of this newly emerging field, many farmers are involved in aquarium fish trade and Aquarium fish business became very popular in many cities of Bangladesh such as Rajshahi, Khulna, Jessore etc. There are vast opportunities of aquarium sector not only in the local market but also in world market. But, it is still couldn’t develop according to the desire of the consumer as well as the provider.
Most of the aquarium fish shops are found in the capital (Dhaka) and other major city (such as Rajshahi, Khulna etc.) of Bangladesh. The majority of the shops of aquarium fish are located in Dhaka city (Galib, 2010a). Katabon market, the most common and popular market in Dhaka city for aquariums and other aquarium products like aquarium fishes, aquarium foods, chemicals, toys, plants etc. (Galib 2010a) found that at least 30 aquarium shops are available in Katabon market of Dhaka city where all kinds of aquarium products can be found. In another study, (Galib, 2010b) stated that there are only 2 shops in Rajshahi city, while 12 shops are found in Khulna city. Mostafizur et al. (2009) reported that 12 shops and 7 breeders have been found in Khulna district where 29 different aquarium fish species were marketed of which 12 species were bred for fry production.
Rahman (2005) recorded at least 25 aquarium fish species in Bangladesh. A total of 78 varieties of exotic ornamental fishes were identified under 45 species, 41 genera (excluding 2 cross-bred), 18 families and 5 orders (Galib, 2010a). Majority fishes were introduced from Thailand and no true quarantine measures are used at the time of introduction. Artificial breeding techniques of at least 17 varieties of exotic ornamental fishes have been developed by amateur fish breeders (Galib, 2010a). According to Mohsin et al. (2007) there are found about 12 exotic and 2 indigenous aquarium fishes in Rajshahi city. There are found about 30 species of aquarium fishes in Khulna district (Mostafizur et. al., 2009).
Table 1: A list of available ornamental fishes in Bangladesh are given below:
|Sl.||Scientific name||Common/variety name|
|01||Acantopsis choirorhynchos||Horseface Loach|
|02||Aequidens pulcher||Blue Acara|
|03||Aphyocharax anisitsi||Bloodfin tetra|
|04||Apteronotus albifrons||Black ghost knifefish|
|05||Archocentrus nigrofasciatus||Convict Cichlid|
|06||Astronotus ocellatus||Golden Oscar|
|07||Astronotus ocellatus||Red Oscar|
|08||Astronotus ocellatus||White Oscar|
|09||Balantiocheilos melanopterus||Silver shark|
|10||Barbonymus gonionotus||Thai sarpunti|
|11||Barbus tetrazona||Tiger barb|
|12||Betta splendens||Blue Fighter|
|13||Betta splendens||Blue-brown Fighter|
|14||Betta splendens||Pale Fighter|
|15||Betta splendens||Pink Fighter|
|16||Boulenger moori||Blue Dolphin Cichlid|
|17||Brachygobius xanthozonus||Bumblebee Goby|
|18||Carassius auratus||Black Moor|
|19||Carassius auratus||Bubble Eye|
|21||Carassius auratus||Celestine Eye|
|23||Carassius auratus||Common Goldfish|
|30||Chromobotia macracanthus||Clown Loach|
|31||Cichlasoma citrinellum x C. synspilum||Blood/Red Parrot|
|32||Cichlasoma citrinellum x C. synspilum||White Parrot|
|33||Clarias batrachus||Albino Catfish|
|34||Corydoras aeneus||Cory cat|
|35||Crossocheilus siamensis||Siamese Algae Eater|
|36||Cyprinus carpio||Assorted Koi Carp|
|37||Cyprinus carpio||Tiger Koi Carp|
|38||Epalzeorhynchos frenatus||Albino shark|
|39||Epalzeorhynchos frenatus||Rainbow shark|
|40||Gymnocorymbus ternetzi||Black Skirt Tetra|
|41||Helostoma temmincki||Kissing Gourami|
|42||Hemigrammus bleheri||Rummy Nose Tetra|
|43||Hyphessobrycon megalopterus||Phantom tetra|
|44||Hypostomus plecostomus||Sucker mouthfish|
|45||Kryptopterus bicirrhis||Glass Catfish|
|46||Melanochromis auratus||Golden Mbuna|
|47||Metynnis hypsauchen||Silver Dollar|
|48||Myxocyprinus asiaticus||High fin shark|
|49||Osteoglossum bicirrhosum||Silver Arowana|
|50||Pangasius hypophthalmus||Tiger Shark|
|51||Pangasius hypophthalmus||White Tiger Shark|
|52||Paracheirodon innesi||Neon Tetra|
|53||Parambassis ranga||Glass Fish|
|56||Poecilia reticulata||Sail fin Guppy|
|57||Poecilia sphenops||Balloon Molly (Golden)|
|58||Poecilia sphenops||Balloon Molly (White)|
|59||Poecilia sphenops||Black Molly|
|60||Poecilia sphenops||Mixed Color Molly|
|61||Poecilia sphenops||White Molly|
|62||Pseudoplatystoma tigrinum||Tiger Shovelnose|
|63||Pterophyllum scalare||Black Angel|
|64||Pterophyllum scalare||Marble Angel|
|65||Pterophyllum scalare||Silver Angel|
|66||Pterophyllum scalare||White Angel|
|67||Puntius denisonii||Roseline shark|
|68||Pygocentrus nattereri||Red Piranha|
|69||Symphysodon discus||Brown Discus|
|70||Symphysodon discus||Ghost Discus|
|71||Symphysodon discus||Marble Discus|
|72||Symphysodon discus||Red Turquiose Discus|
|73||Thorichthys meeki||Firemouth Cichlid|
|74||Trichogaster leeri||Pearl Gourami|
|75||Trichogaster trichopterus||Blue Gourami|
|76||Trichogaster trichopterus||Golden Gourami|
|77||Xiphophorus helleri||Green Sword Tail|
|78||Xiphophorus helleri||Sword Tail|
Sources: Exotic fishes of Bangladesh (Galib and Mohsin, 2011)
Prospects of Ornamental Fish Trades
At first generally the elite people keep aquaria in their house or office for recreational purpose. But the system has been changing day by day. Rich people and higher middle class people now keep aquaria in their house as a symbol of status. Besides this, now aquaria are kept in the high quality diagnostic centers, some educational institutes, shopping centers, cinema halls, seminar and conference halls etc.
Ornamental fish business has a great opportunity in our country as well as in the world market. But unfortunately, in Bangladesh the trade of ornamental fish is confined to its own territory till now. We have huge resources, suitable environment and a demandable market in our country. A little conscious may bring huge profit in fisheries sector. Most of the fishes of ornamental fish imported from foreign country and it costs a lot of money each year importing ornamental fish to meet the requirement of the country. We have a great variety of colorful indigenous fish species that may be used as ornamental purposes and can save these money and apparently can be regarded as a very potential mean of export earnings. If we bred them properly and export them, then we earn a lot of foreign exchange for our country.
Table 2: Some of the potential indigenous ornamental freshwater fish and non-fish species
|Sl. No.||Scientific name||Common/variety name|
|01||Acanthocobities botia||Sand loach|
|02||Amblypharyngodon microlepis||Indian carplet|
|03||Amblypharyngodon mola||Mola carplet|
|05||Botia dario||Necktie loach, Queen loach, Bengal loach|
|06||Brachirus pan||Pan sole|
|07||Chanda nama||Elongate glass-perchlet|
|08||Channa punctata||Spotted snakehead|
|09||Chela laubuca||Indian glass barb|
|10||Clarias batrachus||Walking catfish|
|11||Colisa lalia||Dwarf gourami|
|12||Dasyatis zugie||Pale-edged stingray|
|13||Gagata cenia||Gang tengra (local name)|
|14||Liza parmata||Broad-mouthed mullet|
|15||Lymnaea stagnalis||Stagnant pond snail|
|16||Macrognathus aculeatus||Lesser spiny eel|
|17||Macrognathus pancalus||Barred spiny eel|
|18||Melanoides tuberculata||Live bearer snail|
|19||Mystus tengara||Tengara mystus|
|20||Parambassis ranga||Indian glassy fish|
|21||Pila globosa||Freshwater apple snail|
|22||Pseudosphromenus cupanus||Spiketail paradisefish|
|23||Puntius chola||Swamp barb|
|24||Puntius conchonius||Rosy barb|
|25||Puntius gelius||Golden barb|
|27||Puntius puntio||Puntio barb|
|28||Puntius ticto||Ticto barb|
|29||Tetraodon cutcutia||Puffer fish|
|30||Tetraodon cutcutia||Ocellated pufferfish|
|31||Tetraodon fluviatilis||Green pufferfish|
Ornamental fish culture is now a high demandable job or profession in the world market. The prospect of aquarium is very bright in near future for our country. As a profession, the activities of aquarium preparation are very feasible and educated and entrepreneurship involvement can increase the prospect of this work. If we breed the native as well as other ornamental fishes which are imported from various countries; may build ornamental fish hatchery and produce commercially ornamental fry and can save a lot of money every year.. Besides this, aquarium feed and other appliances related to ornamental fish culture are grow-out as a subsidiary business. These will increase job opportunity and employment of many people.
Tourism is one of sources of foreign exchange in our country. We have many tourist spots. We can keep aquarium in the public place, show room, high class shopping center, gymnasium etc. these will attract people and increase the value of these places. Besides this, exhibition of ornamental fish can be taken at different place of the country. In this case, feed are provided by the viewers. But they should buy that feed from the exhibition center. This will also increase the demand of ornamental fish culture.
Problems and Recommendations
There are some problems present in the aquarium fishes business in our country. Some major problems are given below:
- There is a lack of Information on the status of aquarium fish species currently traded in our country and lack of integration with other fish trading activities.
- To identify profitable market channels and potential development of markets for selling aquarium fish in other Bangladeshi cities and rural town.
- Lack of knowledge about disease and treatment for the diseases of aquarium fish.
- Lack of suitable policy for a faster and more sustainable development of aquarium fish production in our country.
- No adequate research based information on the behavior, feeding and breeding technology under the local condition appeared to be very important for this business to get its due momentum and market share.
- Lack of knowledge regarding native ornamental fishes.
- Lack of acceptability of Bangladeshi aquarium fish in the world’s market.
- Finally, lack of credit facilities for this important sector.
To overcome mentioned problems and to achieve the goals, we should put great emphasis on the following recommendation:
- Identification of profitable marketing channels and potential development of markets for selling aquarium fish.
- Development of cross-breeding techniques to improve the variety of different aquarium fish species.
- Introduction of improved fish breeding technology for popular wild-fish species as well as native species.
- Identification of disease contamination and the treatment solution for aquarium fish and make it available in the market.
- Improvement of culture techniques of different aquarium fish species.
- Study the potential of using and recycling urban waste water in producing certain aquarium fish species such as we can use mosquito fish to reduce the mosquitoes.
- Research effort to carry out a comparative feasibility study of aquarium fish cultivation against food fish farming systems for lower income households in Bangladesh.
- Research effort to set up a suitable policy for a faster and more sustainable development of aquarium fish production in our country.
- Development of a better brand name for Bangladeshi aquarium fish in the world’s market.
- Allocation of credit from both the government and non-government for the development of this sector.
The ornamental fish sector is a widespread and global component of international trade, fisheries, aquaculture and development. However, the scope of this sector is vast in our country, but we cannot go ahead because of unconsciousness, lack of knowledge, lack of care of government and non- government institutions. This sector should be given priority with extra care because it may earn a lot of foreign exchange every year by exporting the native ornamental fishes that remain unused in our country.
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