Aquarium fish are one of the most popular pets in the world. They come in many varieties, a wide range of beautiful, striking colours and shapes. Easier to care for than other pets, they can be easily replaced when they expire, due to the abundance of pet stores and aquarium stores around the world. You can find at least a store that stocks fish in the vicinity of your home. Furthermore, keeping fish has a beneficial effect on you. Gazing at fish is said to have a therapeutic effect on one's mind. Some clinics and hospitals have aquariums because of this. It is little surprise that fish keeping is so popular. Sadly, I encountered one too many bad experiences to appreciate the joys of fish keeping.
I was once a enthusiastic fish hobbyist. Like all children, i was curious and open to learning new stuff. One day, I saw my grandfather scooping some blue coloured fish out a jars. Curiosity piqued, i asked him what that was. He told me that it was a type of fighting fish. From then on, it sparked my interest in keeping fish. I begged my grandfather to buy me some fish to keep. He bought a plastic tank and two goldfish. I had fun watching them swim and feeding them. Unfortunately, they died for some unkown reason.
At school, all students in my level were required to participate in a programme called "Fish Breeding Programme". We had to try to breed fighting fish in cramped plastic tanks. Unfortunately, due to inexperience of some of the teachers, some male bettas, as the fighting fish were called, were incorrectly placed together in the tanks. Naturally, there was fighting between the fishes and some of them suffered horrible wounds and died. I was shocked at the sight and started to wonder about the consequences of keeping fish.
Another time, my school pond was teeming with young goldfish. I think that it was the breeding season. Attracted to the striking orange colour, I decided to catch some of them and bring them home. With the help of a large net and several of my friends, we managed to net quite a few and distributed the fish among ourselves. I brought several home and placed them in a washing tub. I kept checking on them to see how well they would fare. At first, they seemed at ease in their new home. An hour later, horrors of horrors!, most of the fish were facing belly up and only one goldfish was left swimming feebly. Several of the dead goldfishes were turning white and bloated. The sheer sight of it disgusted me. I had to muster enough courage to dispose of the fish and clean up the filth.
The last straw was when I kept some honey gouramis in a planted tank without proper filtration. I thought that gouramis, like bettas, could surface to breathe so installing a filter never crossed my mind. I guess I grew lazy as the tank needed frequent water changes. Soon, after a month of not changing water, I spotted some worms swimming inside. Soon after, the gouramis died. I noticed that they were bloated when they died. After doing some research, I found they died of fish tuberculousis. At that time, I thought another fish would help eat the worms, so I brought my remaining betta into the tank. Sadly, my betta also grew ill and died of the same disease. That ended my passion for fish keeping.
To all budding aquarists out there, I'm not discouraging you from rearing fish. I just wanted to share my experiences with keeping fish. Its not as easy as you think though. However, with a bit of luck, you might just have what it takes to become a successful aquarist!