Ornamental fishBangladesh 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).

Present Status

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
20 Carassius auratus Calico
21 Carassius auratus Celestine Eye
22 Carassius auratus Comet
23 Carassius auratus Common Goldfish
24 Carassius auratus Fantail
25 Carassius auratus Lionhead
26 Carassius auratus Oranda
27 Carassius auratus Redcap
28 Carassius auratus Ryukin
29 Carassius auratus Shubunkin
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
54 Piaractus brachypomus Pirapitinga
55 Poecilia reticulata Guppy
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
79 Xiphophorus maculatus Platy

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
04 Badis badis Badis
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
26 Puntius guganio Glass-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

Major problems

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.



Cheong  L  (1996)  Overview  of  the  current  international  trade  in  ornamental  fish,  with special  reference  to  Singapore,  Revue  Scientifique  et  Technique  de  l’Office. International des Epizoonties, 15:445-481.

Dawes   J   (2001)   International   aquatic   industry   perspectives   on   ornamental   fish conservation. In: Chao L.N., Petry P., Prang G., Sonneschien L. and Tlusty M. (eds.), Conservation  and  Management  of  Ornamental  Fish  Resources  of  the  Rio  Negro Basin, Amazonia, Brazil – Project Piaba. EDUA, Manaus, Brazil, 100-121 pp.

DoF (2010) Brief on Department of Fisheries Bangladesh. Dhaka: Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Matshya Bhaban, 102-106 pp.

Galib SM and Mohsin ABM (2011) Cultured and Ornamental Exotic Fishes of Bangladesh, LAP-Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, 167 pp.

Galib SM (2010a) Aquarium Fisheries in Dhaka City, Bangladesh. Feature/Trade/Ornamental fish and Aquarium, Bangladesh Fisheries Information Share Home. https://en.bdfish.org/2010/10/aquarium-fisheries-dhaka-bangladesh/

Galib SM (2010b) Aquarium Fisheries in Rajshahi City, Bangladesh. Bangladesh. Feature/Trade/Ornamental fish and Aquarium, Bangladesh Fisheries Information Share Home. https://en.bdfish.org/2010/01/aquarium-fisheries-in-rajshahi-city-bangladesh

Ghosh A, Mahapatra BK and Datta NC (2003) Ornamental Fish Farming- Successful Small Scale Aqua Business in India, Aquaculture Asia, 8(3): 14-16.

Mohsin ABM,  Haque ME  and  Islam  MN (2007)  Status  of  Aquarium  Fisheries  of  Rajshahi City. J. bio-sci, 15: 169-171.

Mostafizur MR, Rahman SM, Khairul MI, Rakibul HMI and Nazmul MA (2009) Aquarium business: A case study in Khulna district, Bangladesh. Bangladesh Research Publication Journal, 2(3): 564-570.

Rahman AKA (2005). Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh (2nd edition). Dhaka: Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, 18-263 pp

Whittington RJ and Chong R (2007) Global trade in ornamental fish from an Australian perspective: The case for revised import risk analysis and management strategies. Prev. Vet. Med., 2309: 1-25.

Wood E (2001) Collection of coral reef fish for aquaria: global trade, conservation issues and management strategies.  UK:  Marine Conservation Society, Ross-on-Wye, 80 pp.


Visited 16,285 times, 1 visits today | Have any fisheries relevant question?
Past and Present Status, and Prospects of Ornamental Fishes in Bangladesh

Visitors' Opinions

Rezwanul Hasan Kangkon

B.Sc. Fisheries (Hons.) Part IV Student Department of Fisheries and Marine Bioscience Jessore Science and Technology University Jessore, Bangladesh E-mail: rh.kangkon@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.