Friday, August 06, 2010

My Fishy Affair

I’v been meaning to write about one of my favourite hobbies for quite some time now. Well, if something excites me as much as food, it’s got to be Fish! Not on my plate but in fish tanks. Just watching them peacefully swim through the water, relaxes me and takes me into another world.

For pet lovers in a place like Mumbai where space and time is a big constraint, fish can be the ideal pets. Unlike other pets, such as dogs, fish don’t expect a big chunk of your time, they don’t need to be taken for walks, they don’t need to be toilet trained, they are not noisy, they don’t bite or spread diseases and they don’t cost you much. Also its easier to take care of fish when you are on holidays, as you have options of holiday food which lasts for 4-5 days or you can request your nice neighbour to just put in some food everyday in case of longer vacations.

I’v really begun to enjoy keeping fish since the last 8 months. I bought a 135 gallon tank (28”x18”x15”) at first with an acrylic hood, under gravel filter, external power filter, coloured gravel, and some plastic aquarium plants. This cost me around Rs. 4,000 (one time expense). I got some hardy fish to start with such as Goldfish, Red Cap Orandas, Shubunkins, Plecos (Sucker Cat Fish), a Betta (Fighter Fish) and honey Gouramis. Gradually I’v added a pair each of Silver sharks, Red tail Sharks, Golden Angels and Golden Apple Snails. Fish cost anywhere from Rs 30 to Rs 30,000 depending upon their breed and size. Most popular home aquarium fish like Goldfish and Angels cost around Rs 100 to Rs. 500 a pair.

The most important fact about keeping fish is to keep the tank water clean by doing regular water changes. Water changes are usually done once in 2 weeks, where about 25% of the tank water is removed and fresh water which has been treated with chlorine remover is added. This takes about 15 to 20 mins at the max and is very easy to do by using a gravel cleaner (Rs 100). Fish can be fed once or twice a days depending upon the quantity and size of the fish. Fish can be fed different types of food such as fish flakes, fish pellets, freeze dried worms or even fresh vegetables from your kitchen such as cucumbers, tomatoes or broccoli. Most fish like Goldfish eat vegetables, while Fighter fish are carnivorous and have to be given dried worms. Fish food is not costly and ranges from Rs 50 to Rs 100 a bottle.

These are some pictures of my tank

A close up of the tank

My beautiful Golden Angel pair. I entered this snap in a monthly photo contest conducted by a fish enthusiast’s forum and actually won :)

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