Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fish as Pet - do they relieve strain ?

Can you identify this fish ?
In Sangam literature, “Neithal” is the landscape of Sea, shore and related things. Water is always an attraction – the sea, the river or the pond (the mightiest, the flowing one or the still water) – in whatever form have their own charm.  Standing near a waterbody watching can be a great stress reliever.  In ponds, the fishes will charm you.  In Aquarium or in a small tank, you can observe them more – the vertebrates swinging their fins are unbridled attraction – whether they get too cramped and feel uneasy would never be known to us though. 



Some keep pets for companionship and enjoyment – the most popular ones are known for their loyalty or playful traits.  Whether fish will fall under this category and whether they indeed recognize people is not known but many do keep fish as pets.  This habit has increased with lots of Japanese fishes and beliefs in feng shu, vasthu  and others increasing.

From my young days, I have loved seeing fishes – the temple tank of Sri Parthasarathi kovil had them aplenty.  Most of them were the guppies, the black ones bread for keeping mosquito at bay.  The Sanitary Dept. workers would carry a big pot full of them and put them in house wells once a week. Of course, houses no longer have wells and this work of the Dept.  has also vanished.  The guppies that we see in aquarium or reared are more beautiful with coloured fins, good swimmers and community fish living with many other types inside small tanks.  They breed in large numbers – actually they don’t lay eggs but the younger fries come out directly and swim the very second they are out into the World, or to the water…

Recently when SYMA undertook cleaning activity inside the temple tank, the entire tank was dried, desilted, cleaned and fresh rain water made its way filling back.  Few days prior, some fish were caught and let into the wells inside the tank, whilst others were netted away.  Once the tank was filled with rain water, SYMA in July 2010 arranged for 5000 yearlings to be let into the water.  This time they were of the specie ‘jilebi kendai’ – keen not to have cat fish which havocked the mylai tank.  Understand that these have grown so well now.

Not sure of the varieties that are inside now – some say that gold fish and some big fishes are also available.  Some time back some ducks were also let in and it was stated that these do not eat fish but would keep the tank clean.  I have my doubts though !!!!
Gold fish look good in a small round bowl – they are also community fish but whether they also would survive among the others in a tank is not exactly known to me.  Some species of Gold fish and koi are amongst the most common pets of modern aquarium. 

Gold fish exist in a far wider range of colours than the name implies.  Gold fish are associated with ancient pottery of Ming dynasty and there are 100s of varieties.  It is considered one of the earliest domesticated fish.    The goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus) is a freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae of order Cypriniformes.  It is a small member of carp family and the domestication is traced to China.    They are egg-layers which get attached to dense plants and hatch within 72 hours.   The fry takes a few days to assume its fish shape and months to take a mature colour.

Read somewhere that they grow faster in the initial days, perhaps a mechanism to survive.  In captivity, adults might eat younger ones.  In 2002  - a gold fish named Bruce aka Red Oranda  entered  Guinness book of records measuring 37.2 cm long and big enough to be bigger than an average cat.   Two fish breeders from Hong Kong claimed their way to glory stating that selective breeding, a good diet and plenty of exercise made this orange bundle its shape and size.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

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