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Model Bankable Projects



Ornamental Fisheries


Ornamental fish keeping is one of the most popular hobbies in the world today. The growing interest in aquarium fishes has resulted in steady increase in aquarium fish trade globally. The trade with a turnover of US $ 5 Billion and an annual growth rate of 8 percent offers a lot of scope for development. The top exporting country is Singapore followed by Honkong, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Srilanka, Taiwan, Indonesia and India. The largest importer of Ornamental fish is the USA followed by Europe and Japan. The emerging markets are China and South Africa. Over US $ 500 million worth of ornamental fish are imported into the USA each year.

India's share in ornamental fish trade is estimated to be Rs 158.23 lakh which is only 0.008% of the global trade. The major part of the export trade is based on wild collection. There is very good domestic market too, which is mainly based on domestically bred exotic species. The overall domestic trade in this field cross 10 crores and is growing at the rate of 20 per cent annually. The earning potential of this sector has hardly been understood and the same is not being exploited in a technology driven manner. Considering the relatively simple technique involved, this activity has the potential to create substantial job opportunities, besides helping export earnings.

Why breeding?

Ninety five per cent of our ornamental fish export is based on wild collection. Majority of the indigenous ornamental fish trade in India is from the North Eastern states and the rest is from Southern states which are the hot spots of fish bio diversity in India. This capture based export is not sustainable and it is a matter of concern for the industry. In order to sustain the growth it is absolutely necessary to shift the focus from capture to culture based development. Moreover most of the fish species grown for their ornamental importance can be bred in India successfully. Organised trade in ornamental fish depends on assured and adequate supply of demand, which is possible only by mass breeding.


There are quite a large number of tropical aquarium fishes known to aquarists. While many of the fish are easy to breed, some of these are rare, difficult to breed and expensive. Most of the exotic species can be bred and reared easily since the technology is simple and well developed. It is advisable to start with common, attractive, easily bred and less expensive species before attempting the more challenging ones. An ornamental fish project can be either 1) rearing only 2) breeding only 3) breeding and rearing depending upon the space available. The technology involves the following activities

Culture/rearing : The culture/rearing of these fishes can be taken up normally in cement tanks. Cement tanks are easy to maintain and durable. One species can be stocked in one tank. However in case of compatible species two or three species can occupy the same tank. Ground water from dug wells / deep tube wells are the best for rearing. The fishes reach the marketable size in around 4 to 6 months. Eight to ten crops can be taken in a year.

Feeding : Young fish are fed mainly with Infusoria, Artemia, Daphnia , Mosquito larvae Tubifex and Blood worms. For rearing, formulated artificial or prepared feed can be used. At present no indigenous prepared feed for aquarium fish is available. The amount and type of food to be given depends on the size of the fry. Feeding is generally done twice in a day or according to requirement. For rearing from fry stage dry/ prepared feed can be used.

Breeding: The method of breeding is based on the family characteristics of the fish. The success of breeding depend on the compatibility of pairs, the identification of which is a skill born out of experience. Generally the brooders are selected from the standing crop or purchased and reared separately by feeding them with good live food. However, it is always better to buy good brooding stock. Otherwise, the original characteristic of the species keeps on getting diluted because of continuous inbreeding. Brooders especially egg layers should be discarded after few spawnings.

Health care

Water exchange, is a must for maintaining water quality conducive for the fish health. Only healthy fish can withstand transportation and fetch good price. Chemicals / antibiotics, Methylene Blue, Methylene Yellow, Malachite Green, Ampicilin, Vitamins, Potassium permanganate, Copper sulphate etc can also be used for preventing / treating diseases.


At present the market is mainly domestic. There is a good domestic market which is increasing. The export market for indigenously bred exotic species is also increasing.

Ornamental Fishes

Aquarium fishes are mainly grouped into two categories, viz., Oviparous (egg - layers) and Viviparous (live-bearers). Further, the fresh water ornamental fish varieties can be broadly grouped into Tropical and Cold water species also. Management of these two categories are different in nature. According to water tolerance fishes are hard water tolerant, soft water tolerant species and those with wide tolerance. The fishes and the details of grouping is given below.

Species Water Quality Season Breeding Type EggType/ Care
Molly Hard water Sp. Summer/Monsoon Live Bearer Young Ones
Guppy Hard water Sp. Summer/Monsoon Live Bearer Young Ones
Platy Hard water Sp. Summer/Monsoon Live Bearer Young Ones
Swordtail Hard water Sp. Summer/Monsoon Live Bearer Young Ones
Blue Gourami Wide Tolerance Summer/Monsoon Nest Builder Male Guard eggs
Pearl Gourami Wide Tolerance Summer/Monsoon Nest Builder Male Guard eggs
Rosy Barb Wide Tolerance Summer/Monsoon Egg Scatterer Adhesive
Gold Fish Wide Tolerance Monsoon/Winter Egg Scatterer Adhesive
Z/P/Vl Danio Wide Tolerance Summer/Monsoon Egg Scatterer Non Adhesive
S Fighter Wide Tolerance Summer/Monsoon Nest Builder Male Guard eggs
Catfish Wide Tolerance Monsoon/Winter Egg depositer Enclosures Reqd.
Angel* Soft Water Summer/Monsoon Egg depositor Parents Fan Eggs
FM Cichlid Soft Water Summer/Monsoon Egg Depositors Enclosures Reqd.
R D Cichlid Soft Water Summer/Monsoon Egg Depositors Enclosures Reqd.
Bl W Tetra Soft Water Summer/Monsoon Egg Scatterer Adhesive
B A Tetra Soft Water Summer/Monsoon Egg Scatterer Adhesive
Serpa Tetra Soft Water Summer/Monsoon Egg Scatterer Adhesive
Manila Carp Soft Water Monsoon/Winter Egg Scatterer Adhesive

Ornamental Fish breeding project

The basic requirements for successful breeding and rearing of ornamental fish are adequate space, quality water and sufficient feed. Considering this the following investments are required for starting an Ornamental fish project

Tanks : The tanks can be of RCC or brick masonry work having flat bottoms with inlet and outlet pipes. Clay, cement, fibre glass or plastic tanks can also be used. Rearing of fishes should be done in large tanks. Size of the tanks vary according to the space, the number and type of fish cultured.

Aquariums : Glass tanks of varying size are required for breeding. Small glass bottles of 250 ml are used for keeping individual male fighter fishes. Number and size of the glass tanks depend on the specific breeding / spawning behavior of the species selected.

Over head tank : An over head tank of suitable size for storing and to enable sedimentation of water is required.

Water Supply : Deep tube wells would be the best source of water. Recycling of water through bio-filters or other sort of filtering mechanism can be tried. Other sources like dug wells, Municipal water if available can also be used . A small pump to lift the water to over head tank and a network of pipes are needed to feed the culture tanks.

Work Shed : Work shed should be designed in such a way that the tanks get filtered sunlight. Translucent HDPE sheets can be used. This also protects the culture tanks from falling debris and bird dropping etc.

Aeration equipments : A blower pump with net work of tubes for aeration is a must. Continuos power supply should also be ensured through generator set or UPS or inverter.

Financial viability

Considering the seasonality in breeding and consequent availability of seed material for stocking, the operations are going to be seasonal. In order to best utilise the installed capacity, it may be necessary to combine operations by breeding a main species during summer / monsoon with another species that may be breeding in winter. The fecundity and the number of spawnings assumed of some of the popular species are given below

Species Average Fecundity Spawning/year
Molly/Guppy /Sword tail 20 12
Blue gourami 3500 10
Pearl Gourami 800 10
Rosy Barb 700 10
Tiger Barb 500 10
Zebra/Pearl/Veil tail Danio 1000 10
Angel 800 12
B/W Tetra 3000 10
Serpae Tetra 800 10
Gold Fish 3000 3


For the purpose of working out economics of breeding unit , a unit size of 330 sq.mt. with tank volume of 60 m3 has been considered with an average production capacity of 2 lakh fry per year. A combined operation of summer / monsoon species and winter species (Gold fish ) has been considered for working out the economics in this model. Unit of this size has been designed considering the small entrepreneurs in view. However the same could be increased on modular basis and the economics can be worked out in project situation accordingly. The larval rearing has been assumed as 40 days . The recurring cost has been assumed with a fecundity of 800 and a survival of 50 per cent upto 40 days . The breeding percentage is taken as 60 per cent. The number of brood fish depends on the fecundity and survival of each species so as to get the combined annual production of about 2.5 lakh fry at the end of 40 days. Only 50 per cent production is assumed for the first year. The sale price is assumed at Rs 1.00 per fry for monsoon species and Rs 2.50 per fry for Gold Fish.

The financial analysis has been shown in Annexure III. The results of the analysis are

(i) NPW at 15% DF : Rs. 244436
(ii) BCR at 15% DF : 1.36:1
(iii) IRR is 35 %

Margin money and bank loan

The entrepreneur is expected to bring margin money out of his own resources. The rates of margin money stipulated are 5% for small farmer, 10% for medium farmer and 15% for other farmers. For corporate borrowers the margin stipulated is 25%. NABARD could consider providing margin money loan assistance in deserving cases.

Rate of Refinance

NABARD provides refinance assistance for ornamental fish rearing to Commercial banks, Cooperative banks and Regional Rural Banks. The rate of refinance is fixed by NABARD from time to time.

Interest rate for ultimate borrowers

Banks are free to decide the rate of interest within the overall RBI guidelines. However, for working out the financial viability and bankability of the model project we have assumed the rate of interest as 12% per annum.

Interest rate for refinance from NABARD

As per the policy circulars of NABARD issued from time to time.

Repayment period

The borrower will be able to repay the bank loan in 6 years with a grace period of one year on repayment of the principal.


Banks may take a decision as per RBI guidelines..


The MPEDA provides subsidy at the rate of 50 per cent of capital cost towards construction of cisterns, glass aquarium tanks, aeration system, oxygen cylinder, electrical fittings, and essential accessories excluding cost of construction of shed, subject to a maximum of Rs. 40000 per unit. Some State Governments also provide subsidy through their departments.

Model Project for ornamental fish breeding unit

A model of ornamental fish seed hatchery is given below. The parameters are averaged out and the costs are only illustrative. The cost of different parameters change depending on the area, the type of tanks and the species bred. According to the place and requirement of the project, some of the items can be excluded or more items as required may be included.

Annexure - I

Project cost for Ornamental fish Hatchery

Hatchery Tank area( sq.m) 100
Hatchery total area (sq.m) 330

Item of investment Quantity Rate in Rs. TotalCost
A. Building & civil works      
1. Hatchery shed with A/C sheet roofing & side wall (sq. m.) 330 1200.00 396000
2. Tank volumes (lts) 60000 1.25 75000
3. Flooring (sq. m.) 200 10.00 2000
4 Drainage pit and net work     12000
5. Water supply net work     3000
6. Filtration system / outlet     3000
7. Electrification and Installation     5000
B. Machinery & Equipments      
1. Air blower (3 hp x 1 no.)     12000
2. DG set ( 8 hp with 6/8 KVA alternator)     36000
3. Heater     3000
4. Sand filter     2000
5. Pump (3 HP)     17000
6. Tube well     40000
7. Pump House     5000
C. Misc. Fixed Assets      
7. Plastic pools     5000
8. Glass aquarium     3000
9. Lab instruments     2000
10 Glass wares     2000
11. Furniture     2000
D. Preliminary Expenses      
. Preoperative expenses     20500
Total     645500
E. Recurring cost      
Cost of Brooders     5000
Feed     10000
Medicines     500
Electricity     3000
Miscellaneous     2000
Labour     10000
Total     35500
Total cost     676000
F. Production / Income      
Summer /Monsoon species 150000 fry 1.00 / fry 150000
Gold Fish 50000 fry 2.50 / fry 125000
Total Income per year     275000

Annexure - II

Financial Analysis
(Amount in Rs)

A. Cost 1st year 2 - 06 years
1. Fixed Costs 645500 -
2. Recurring Costs 30500 30500
Total 676000 30500
B. Benefits    
1. Income from sale of fish 137500 275000
2. Net Income -538500 244500
1. Net Present worth of costs 676731
2. Net Present worth of Benefits 921168
3 Net Present worth 244436
4 BCR 1.36:1
5. IRR 35 %

Annexure - IV


Total Outlay 676000
Margin ( 25 % ) 33800
Bank Loan 642200

(Amt. in Rs.)

Year Bank Loan Net Income Repayment Net surplus

@ 12% pa

Principal Total
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 642200 137500 77064 - 77064 60436
2 642200 244500 77064 128440 205504 38996
3 513760 244500 61651 128440 190091 54409
4 385320 244500 46238 128440 174678 69822
5 256880 244500 30826 128440 159266 85234
6 128440 244500 15413 128440 143853 100647

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