Chennai based Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) is giving a much-needed boost for ornamental fish industry in India. An indigenous "colourfish feed", an import substitute, for aquarium fish rearing has been developed and transferred to a city entrepreneur who would be setting-up a feed mill here costing Rs 3 crore.
This feed is scientifically formulated to maintain good health and colour of the brackishwater ornamental fish, where growth is not the primary objective.
KK Vijayan, Director, CIBA told Express that there was no standardised domestic ornamental fish feed available. "Our product would be a perfect substitute for overseas products and will be one-tenth of their cost. We developed feeds for brackishwater ornamental fish broodstock, larvae and maintenance feed in display aquarium."
CIBA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tecno Feeder Private Limited, which will produce the ornamental feed with CIBA’s technical guidance. As per the agreement the initial quantity (one tonne) of feed required for test marketing was produced by CIBA and did well in the market. K. Ambasankar, Principal Scientist and team leader for the technology, said feed mill would come-up in a month's time.
Ranjith Manivannan, Director, Techno Feeder Private Limited, said the feeds available in the market are not only costly but the quality is highly variable. "This joint initiative hopes to promote a desi brand aquarium feeds and meet the consumer requirement of quality feed."
Though India is blessed with enormous diversity, country's share in the ornamental fish trade is really low; below 0.1% of the global trade. The international ornamental aquarium industry today is estimated at $15 billion. Experts estimated that Indian domestic aquarium market is currently Rs 300 crores and would grow to Rs 1,200 crores.
Vijayan said CIBA over the years has been successful breeding and raising of brackishwater ornamental fish in captivity, which has opened-up new avenues for sustainable aquarium trade. The research outputs from the captive breeding program are simultaneously translated into models of livelihood development for rural communities; tribal groups and women; entrepreneurs, and develop suitable location specific and client specific rearing systems.
"CIBA has initiated programmes in four villages in Tamil Nadu for conducting nursery rearing of hatchery produced larvae. The feed is supplied by CIBA and the advanced fingerlings produced from the system are marketed to customers," officials said.