Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ornamental Freshwater Fishes: A Second Look

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Nemo, Dory, Flounder, Blinky, Mr. Limpet and Mrs. Puff always have a reason to celebrate. Next to dogs and cats, fishes are among the most preferred pet companions by homeowners and animal lovers.

Fishes make great house pets for people who are always on the fast lane and those who barely have enough space for pets to play around, as in the case of dogs and cats. In addition, pet fishes make effective motivational tools to develop children’s love for pets and teach them how to responsibly care for a pet.

It is a fascinating sight for one to see a fish gracefully swaying its tail and dorsal fins as it swims in and around an aquarium. Interestingly, even when left alone, a fish continues to thrive happily in its aquatic home unmindful if the master of the house is in or out to give a look. Moreover, a fish is such a peaceful pet that lives quietly without causing much harm nor irritating noise that could rouse its soundly sleeping owner and his neighbors at dawn or in the middle of the night. A fish simply has a world of its own, so to speak.

Practically, a fish is easier to feed. And if one is budget-conscious, having a pet fish is not that expensive. Somehow, it is important to provide a suitable and possibly the best environment and to have the necessary know-how on proper caring of fish.

As a clean pet, fish does not poop anywhere in the house; it does not need shampooing nor fur drying, not even simple grooming. During leisure, one can enjoy a jog in the park without having to worry of an unleashed pet gone crazy chasing parkgoers. A pet fish can simply stay at home while the owner goes out for a stroll.

Beforehand, anyone who is into considering fish as pets should dig deeper into the art and technique of keeping fish and weigh its pros and cons. At this point, the question as to which variety or type of fish is rightly considered.

According to habitat, fish can be classified as freshwater fish (pufferfish,cat fish, swordtail fish, cichlid, etc.), marine fish ( surgeon fish, grouper, nurse shark, etc.) and migrating fish( tuna, salmon, dolphin, trout, etc.). It is sad to note, however, that freshwater fish is the most threatened as compared to its marine counterparts. Moreover, the commercial as well as the ornamental values of freshwater fish are shrugged off by many.

It is undeniable that the depletion and widespread contamination of our freshwater resources in the ecosystem had greatly contributed to the rapid destruction and consequent extinction of its aquatic life- the fish in particular. While copper and pesticide contamination play a key role to this malady, acidification and eutrophication had also contributed significantly to this global problem on dwindling biodiversity and ecological imbalance. Apparently, our lotic ecosystems (flowing water) and lentic ecosystems (still water) that make up the entire freshwater ecosystems of human kind are put at stake. With eutrophication, or the freshwater ecosystem’s response to naturally or artificially accumulated nutrients, an inconsiderable growth in the number of aquatic living things and other organisms would result to low levels of oxygen in the water. With oxygen as a scarce element, a problem on survival within the said ecosystem is at hand.

On one hand, freshwater fishes defy survival problems with the introduction of man-made habitat such as biotope aquariums. Despite being exotically non-attractive because of their unremarkable colors and strange appearance, freshwater fishes can be absolutely amazing as they look like terrifying aquatic monsters! Indeed, freshwater fishes are here to thrive despite certain oddities and eventually challenge to combat destruction and possible extinction.

Believing in the advocacy to enhance, to maintain and to uplift freshwater biodiversity and the commercial and ornamental values of freshwater fishes, thus saving them from destruction and extinction, one optimistic fish enthusiast has single-handedly taken the driver’s seat to realize the once unattainable dream.

Henry G. Babiera, president and chief executive officer of Moments Philippines, Inc. in partnership with the Ortigas Group of Companies, has come up with a highly ambitious venture to address the issue on biodiversity and freshwater ecosystems and the commercial and ornamental values of freshwater fishes. Las Farolas, a grand theme park that will showcase giant biotope aquariums and ornamental freshwater fishes from different parts of the world was finally opened to the public on April 25, 2013.

*Written by Rex Babiera for Las Farolas

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