You may have spent a lot of time with cats and dogs, and have thought about where you can go next on your pet owner’s journey. You may think of it as a step back, but have you considered fish? Fish are relatively low-maintenance, but we’re not talking about goldfish here! If you are thinking about taking it seriously, marine fish, tropical fish, or saltwater fish is the best place to begin for an experienced pet owner. So, how can you get involved in this, but also, what can you do to progress from your initial fish breeding hobby?
Picking Your Fish
If you are a beginner in every way, and you want to keep it like this, it’s far better for you to breed the easier types of saltwater fish. Some marine fish require a very complex setup, and these have what is called a pelagic larval phase. Breeds like green wolf eels, dottyback fish, or clownfish, are likely to breed at some point, giving you some time to prepare.
Choosing The Equipment And Food
Once you’ve decided on which fish are best for you, you need to think about the environment they will breed in. It’s not just about purchasing a fish tank, it’s about an environment that the fish can live in, but can also grow comfortably. It’s recommended that you have to separate breeding tanks. It certainly depends on the size of the brood you plan on breeding, but to begin with, two will suffice. And with the food, you need to prepare this before breeding. You need to prepare adequate live food cultures, such as copepods, baby brine shrimp or rotifers, so your fish will have a continuous supply of good quality food. Prepare this before you begin breeding, because if the fish start breeding and you don’t have a big enough supply, you may have to rush the culturing. The culturing process can be quite complex, but in addition to this, a lot of fish begin their lives in this larval state, and so, you may have to set up a rearing system where many breeding tanks are connected to the primary fish tank. This is why you need to pick fish that are easy to breed at the very beginning, so you don’t have to panic about the larval phase.
Once you’ve got the basics ready, you will have to wait for the spawning to begin. When the eggs hatch, it’s time for you to jump to it. When the eggs hatch into larvae, it’s time to separate the larvae from the main tank into a different one. It can be a difficult task, but here is where you take advantage of the one thing that fish larvae are extremely attracted to: light! When collecting the larvae, ensure that the lights are off in your tank, as well as the water flow. Then you shine a flashlight in the nearest corner to the larvae, and allow them to group together in the tank. After a couple of minutes they will be ready to siphon. Once you’ve got the hang of this difficult bit, the rest is, pretty much, plain sailing. You need to remember to feed them frequently and ensure that the quantities are large. You have to do your best to reproduce the environment of the sea, where they would have been surrounded by various living plankton. But in addition to this, they will waste a lot of the live food, which could prove to be frustrating, not to mention time-consuming as you will have to change the water on a regular basis, but this is part and parcel of breeding. What you also need to consider while breeding your fish is the risk of bacterial infection. In addition to ensuring you’ve got a good quality filtration system, you will have to siphon out the waste efficiently at least twice a day. Because young fish larvae have underdeveloped immune systems, they are prone to infection. Something called “protein skimming” is what will allow adequate prevention from infection. And while you may use light to your advantage to attract larvae to a corner of the tank, beware if you have numerous light sources outside of the tank, because if the larvae bang their heads against the glass of the aquarium and continue to do this, they will die. This can also happen if they don’t have sufficient food. A dark environment is essential to breed these fish effectively.
Once you got into the swing of things, you may want to continue your fish owner’s journey, and while the fish, food, and hardware can all drill a hole in your bank balance, it might be time to progress further to get more out of the hobby. While breeding fish is something that can be lucrative further down the line, you certainly have to think about it in a tactical sense. Picking the right fish to sell to the marine market could be a lucrative approach, but you could also go into aquascaping. You could always take advantage of social media, of course, to sell your newly-bred fish, and depending on where you are, it could certainly be a niche market. If you connect to other fish lovers and develop a love for them as much as you would your cat or dog, you might want to provide a pet sitting service. It sounds far-fetched, but every pet owner wants peace of mind, don’t they?
It’s a different set of skills that you need to be an effective fish owner, and while it’s not as much running around as looking after a cat or a dog, the rewards in looking at these tranquil creatures growing before your very eyes are many. As the starting point of any pet owner, a fish provides many challenges, especially for children, but when you are looking to expand on that, breeding saltwater fish or tropical marine fish can yield so many great outcomes. Starting on your fish owner’s journey is as rewarding as any other pet in the household.