Unlike many people who started young in this hobby, I began keeping tropical fish as a hobby when the pace of my career switches to a slower gear and I suddenly realized the need to look for passions in life.
Over the last four years, my hobby of fish keeping has grown in size and depth. Not only have I increased the number of fish tanks from one to seven to-date, I have also experienced with breading of various kind of Cichlids species.
From my observations, many people are discouraged from taking up the hobby due to the perception that it is a chore to maintain the fishes and the fish tank. However, my experience tells me that the benefits of fish keeping greatly outweighed the chores that it requires.
1. Brings Home a Part of Nature
Whenever I see shoals of fishes in the reservoir or pond, there is always an instant rush of joy. As I engross in watching the fish, it gradually put me in a state of mental calm. Water and the fishes has the unique ability to calm the mind and evoke immense joy. I have always been curious about the fishes’ behavior, and always tempted to pursue a more intimate experience with the fishes.
Keeping the fishes at home provides the opportunities to watch the fishes up close and personal. I can study the unique behaviors of the fishes in the tank, which I cannot possibly do even at the reservoir or the pond. For less than a hundred dollars, it is possible to create a miniature piece of nature at home. It is indeed a wonderful and ingenious hobby. It gives me the convenience to appreciate the beauty of tropical fishes as and when I wanted.
It also satisfies my desire to gain more in-depth understanding of fish behavior like an aspiring aqua scientist. Over the last few years, I had experienced the joy of successfully breeding more than ten species of Cichlid fish. I consider this an invaluable and exciting experience not only for myself, but also my family especially my seven-year old son.
Keeping fish also provide another avenue to develop my creative talent – aqua landscaping.
Occasionally, I get to exercise my creativity in landscape design by changing the rock formation in the tank. The whole idea of doing this is to simulate a new environment for the fishes, and allow the fishes to re-establish their territories. This is in fact essential when new fishes are introduced into the tank whereby all territories have been entrenched by existing group of fishes. After changing the entire rock formation, the fishes will reward you instantly by spending the next few hours swimming tirelessly in and out of the new rock formation, trying to familiarize themselves with the new ground and to establish new territory for themselves.
Whenever I am free, I will sit in front of the fish tank and observe the fish, sometime for up to an hour. It is interesting to note that the fish demonstrates many kinds of social behavior that closely resemble human behavior in the corporate world. I will attempt to write another article on more details of these social behavior of fishes.
Watching the fish swimming gracefully in the tank with their dazzling colors can indeed put one into deep relaxation and even into a state of trance.
My mind instantly feel more relaxed when I watch the fishes. As I allow my eyes to follow the fishes and be fascinated by the fishes’ graceful body movement and moving colors, I drift deeper into relaxation. It is extremely therapeutic. It is an excellent way to give my mind a break away from work and get a power recharge. With the stress that we experience inevitably in our fast-pace lifestyle, creating channels for relaxation is an important aspect of healthy lifestyle to keep stress at bay and maintain good health.
Together with exercise, meditation and music, fish keeping has added another avenue to enrich my life, helping me to live a fully and healthier life.
3. Education for Children
Most of the children are fascinated by fishes when they see the fish for the first time, usually in the form of a trip to the local fish shop or fish farm. Keeping fish at home can teach the children a few good things:
* They will learn about the habitats of the fish and other aquatic life.
* They learn how to care for the small aquatic animals and plants.
* When they start keeping fish, they will be instilled a sense of responsibility towards another living creature.
* They learn and understand the basic of water treatment and how to maintain suitable water quality for the fish to live and even to stimulate breeding. This knowledge will serve then well in future when they study science and chemistry in school.
* They can witness the life cycle of fish species, which will enable them to appreciate biology.
* Most importantly, they will derive great pleasure from watching the fishes display a varieties of personalities. Through observing the intricate features and behavior of fishes, the children will improve their observation skills.
* The care of fish is a great learning experience for young children. When the child is able to take good care of the fish, they will usually be able to witness successful fish breeding. This will boost their confidence in the hobby as well as their ability.
4. Create Energy Flow at Home
I use the overhead filters for the few bigger tanks in the living room. The water flows down from the filter box through the pipe, creating a soothing water-trickling sound in the living room. As the water flow hit the water surface, strings of water bubbles are created. This bubbles synchronizes perfectly with the sound of water flow, like having a piece of relaxing instrumental music playing continuously.
Visually, it creates a sense of energy flowing ceaselessly at various corner of the living room where the fish tanks are located. From the metaphysical or the Feng Sui point, it creates an energy field operating non-stop at home.
I had started this hobby only four years ago. The immense joy that this hobby brings to my life and my family makes me wonder how I have been so blind to this wonderfully enriching and affordable hobby all this years.
As I discovered more about this hobby, it becomes increasingly addictive. I have no doubt that fish keeping will be a lifetime hobby for me. The vast species of fish, with their interesting and diverse antics, will take more than a lifetime to fully appreciate. Life is indeed wonderful and enriching with the fishes. To me, life has just began with fish keeping.