Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hobby: Raising pet fish in the city

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog 
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 DZRB AM, evening class 8 to 9, Monday to Friday. 

Albino Oscar fish in a glass aquarium
Garden Pond at home, QC. Stressed due to overcrowding and false economy on electricity and water, this specimen failed to recover in spite of the first aid applied at the incipient stage. It was around two years old.

My pet fish grew and grew, until they became overcrowded. Now electricity and water are very expensive. But is it worth the hobby?

Yes, indeed.

How I love the relaxing sound of a little fountain, the gurgling of a bigger one, the splash the fish make in their play, and at feeding time. Now and then they come close to be touched. A scratch on the back like any pet.

What a morning to greet them. And they to meet you. Coffee and newspaper would not be complete if you are away from their company. So move your reclining chair close. Who say you cannot relax in the city anymore? Not with my pako.

And if you need exercise, carry a bucket or two of freshwater to replace evaporation everyday. Yes, everyday. Clean the pumps of clog now and then. Scrape off overgrown lumot (algae), unless the janitor fish is doing it efficiently, with the help of suso (snail) while the fish are still small. By the time they weigh one kilo each, no snail will survive. By this time the janitor fish shall have grown as big to the pako.

A garden pond is actually a small world – an ecosystem where the laws of nature are taking place to maintain a dynamic balance called homeostasis.

First, you must keep Carbon Dioxide in water as low as possible. That’s why you need an electric pump to augment the desirable level of dissolved oxygen.

Second, you must clean the pond with least disturbance. Detritus must be regularly eliminated otherwise they will continue to decompose and produce toxic gases and substances that breed unwanted microorganisms, including pathogens that kill your fish.

Third, feed them regularly and moderately with the right kind of food. I give dog food, and cat food sometimes, for a change. One good thing with these feeds is that they float and feeding is regulated. Never, never overfeed. It is better you miss a day or two than leaving unconsumed feeds.

Fourth, assign only one caretaker, better still you are the caretaker and nobody else. They are your pet anyway. Don’t allow feeding from anyone. Don’t allow children to play with your fish. Warn them of the danger, and consequence to your prized pet. They may get wild and aggressive. And get stressed.

Fifth, there is no substitute to Loving, Tender Care. Like a Florence Nightingale, visit them often, even at night, and see if they are well.

During brownout, be patient to recirculate the pond with a bucket to incorporate air. Do this for the duration of the brownout. At one time it was a whole day. Two helpers assisted me and we saved all of the fish. They were stressed all right, but they recovered.

Rainwater can be used with caution due to the effect of acid rain. I harvest rainwater for the pond at the peak of a strong rain. Tap water should be allowed to stand at least overnight before pouring it into the pond.

For all of these, is it still worth the hobby?

Indeed, it is. ~

Pako fish in a glass aquarium, before they were transfered to a garden pond where they grew more than twice their size in a year's time.

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