A number of fish species are raised on fish farms to keep pace with the thriving aquarium trade industry. Fish farms are of particular importance in providing freshwater tropical fish for the aquarium trade. These fish are raised in ponds typically located in the more tropical regions of the world, Texas, Florida, South America, and Asia.
There are a number of benefits in purchasing fish cultivated in commercial breeding facilities as opposed to ones caught in the wild. Commercially raised fish are brought up in a smaller volume of water per fish than those found in nature. These confined conditions naturally boost the fish’s immune system. They have already been exposed to and developed immunity against a number of ailments common to home aquariums. These fish are conditioned from birth to receive food rather than forage for their survival. Consequently, they do not have to be acclimated to accepting standard aquarium food fare. Fish raised for the fish hobbyist industry are healthier, more disease resistant, and much less to apt to suffer the trauma experience from a species suddenly yanked out of its natural habitat. They are accustomed to functioning in an environment surrounded by other fish rather than the vast expanses often found in nature. Probably the most important aspect of purchasing a commercially raised product falls in the realm of ecological impact. You are not playing a role in further depleting our planet of one of its most valued resources.
A prime example is the bala shark. These freshwater sharks are native to Southeast Asia. They inhabit the streams and rivers of Thailand, Borneo, Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula. The industrialization of these regions is threatening the Bala shark’s natural habitat. Their numbers have drastically diminished in the wild. Bala shark’s rarely breed in captivity. Fortunately, for their continued viability as a species, they are commercially raised in Asia with the use of hormone injections to help induce the spawning cycle.
The commercial breeding of bala sharks not only supplies the needs of the fish hobby trade, it also provides stock vital to repopulating what is left of the bala’s natural breeding grounds. Freshwater breeding programs are proving both economically feasible and ecologically beneficial. Captive breeding programs will help insure the continued viability of freshwater species in the wild.