Ornamental fish high in demand

Published On: January 30, 2018 03:15 AM NPT By: Ayam Shrestha

KATHMANDU, Jan 30: Aquariums housing a plethora of ornamental fishes and other aquatic animals have been an integral part of many Nepali houses. Not only does it beautify homes, it is also believed to have abilities to relieve oneself from various ailments such as stress, anxiety along with increasing the productivity while doing work. Among many things the availability of electricity has changed in recent months, the demand for ornamental fishes is one of them, according to traders. 

“The demand for aqua pets has seen a drastic rise this year. While the 2015 earthquakes have taken toll on the aquarium market in Nepal, the eradication of load-shedding has worked wonder for us,” said Paras Ranjit of G Sagar Aquarium of Bhimsensthan, Kathmandu.  

“We have seen around 25 percent rise in the demand for ornamental fishes and aquarium accessories. While the winter sales were limited to only accessories in the past years, we have seen significant increment in the demand for aqua pets this winter.”

Another trader, Sumit Singh Maharjan of Kohinoor Aquarium, seconded Ranjit and explained that he has also experienced surge in sales of ornamental fishes and aquarium accessories to an extent. “I believe that the number of aquarium enthusiasts has grown over time in Nepal. There has been a significant rise in the number of aquarium shops in the country which suggests that the demand has indeed increased,” he said, adding: “But growth in sales is limited due to the proliferation of aqua pet and accessories shops.”

According to traders, mortality rate of aquatic pets was high in the past due to lengthy power cuts as aquarium accessories such as air pumps, water filters and heaters ceased to work during load-shedding. “Water temperature in the aquarium plummets during winter. With heaters and water filter not working due to power cuts, the mortality rate of aquatic pets was high then,” added Ranjit.

Uninterrupted power supply has not only benefited the aquarium keepers, but also traders. “In addition to the rise in sales, the end of load-shedding has also declined the mortality rate of fishes while on store. Death of fishes would cause us great loss. But such is not the case now,” Ranjit added.

Traders say that the demand for tropical fish breeds such as carp, Sword Tail, Platy, Mollies and guppy are high in demand. “These breeds are easy to raise, are cheaper and are liked by kids,” said Sumit Singh Maharjan of Kohinoor Aquariums.

According to Maharjan, carps and Gold Fish cost between Rs 60 and Rs 70, while Mollies, Sword tail, Guppy, and Platy are available at Rs 30-40 per pair. 
Likewise, mid-range breeds such as Oscar, African Cichlid, Tiger Shark, Angel Fish and Green Terror go for Rs 100 to Rs 250.

However, the demand for marine water breeds such as Discuss and Flower Horn, which are more expensive and harder to care for, is low mainly due to higher price tag and rarity in the Nepali market.

Although the demand of Red-Eared Slider Turtle is high in the market, the government has discontinued the import of these species due to illegal trespassing of native and rare species of turtles across the border for the past three years. 

Most of the aqua pets in Nepali market are imported from Kolkata (India) or Bangkok (Thailand), say traders.

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