By: Pooja Naik, Founder of LEAFAGE

Selecting fish as a pet Fishes are beautiful creatures that come in mesmerizing colours and patterns. Decorative or natural aquariums give us a feeling of freshness and have many health benefits. Fish as pets are far more economical than dogs and cats. They require less space and can be positioned anywhere while other pets need their own space and can also make their surroundings grimy and messy.

Health benefits of keeping aquariums Research indicates that the natural effect of aquariums comprising of the smooth movement of colorful fishes, the sound of bubbles and attractive wavy plants has numerous physical and psychological benefits for the human body. Looking at aquariums helps alleviate stress levels, lowers blood pressure and improves the heart rate. It has shown significant improvements in the condition of those who have Alzheimer’s disease and reduces restlessness and anxiety. Aquariums are also known to enhance creativity and productivity in both children and adults which is one of the reasons for an increase in aquariums at home.
In Asia, aquariums have immense importance in Vastu and Feng Shui. Aquariums are often set-up in residences and commercial places such as offices, hospitals and hotels to attract health, wealth and prosperity.

Aquariums for Tourism Several countries are investing in large public aquariums to boost tourism.
The 155 meters (509 ft) Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in Asia and has the longest underwater tunnel in the world.
The uShaka Marine World theme park located in Durban, South Africa has the largest aquarium in Africa comprising of 32 tanks. It houses various sea creatures including dolphins, sea horses and sharks.

The Aquarium of Genoa in Italy is one of the largest aquariums in Europe boasting of 70 tanks that showcase different marine and terrestrial habitats from around the globe providing shelter to more than 6000 animals.
The largest aquarium of Turkey is located in the Forum Istanbul Shopping Mall and has an 8-meter long underwater tunnel. It highlights rainforest and tropical sea zones. The Turkuazoo aquarium is the largest in Europe and houses around 10,000 sea creatures including tiger sharks, giant stingrays and piranhas,
The largest aquarium of the world is the Georgia Aquarium located in Atlanta that is home to over 100,000 animals belonging to more than 500 different species. It houses white sharks, beluga whales and manta ray which are some of the notable species.
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium of Japan, which is part of the Ocean Expo Commemorative National Government Park is the second largest aquarium in the world and showcases various sea creatures such as sharks and manta rays.

Setting up a fish tank at home: Today, there are numerous aquarium options available for fish keeping at home such as marine aquariums, natural or planted aquariums and simple aquariums. Marine Aquariums comprise of saltwater tanks and keep marine flora and fauna in a contained environment.They showcase beautiful fish, colorful corals, and different creatures. Natural or planted aquariums are freshwater tanks housing a variety of fishes and beautiful plants with natural décor items such as stones and driftwood.

Planted Tanks

These can be classified into two main groups:

Low tech/maintenance planted tanks: They require less maintenance and are more economical when it comes to their upkeep. An optimum quality substrate is needed to supply proper nutrients to the plants. CO2 diffusion is not required in any form and a low lighting or shallow tank can be placed to avoid algae growth. Not very often but water change or circulation of water is essential. Not in abundance but according to the size of the tank, dosing of fertilizers can be done. The best type of fishes for such type of tanks can be Guppy, Bettas and other Anabantoids (Gouramis, Paradise), etc.

High tech/maintenance tank: They require high maintenance and are are quite expensive. A high demand of carbon dioxide and regular dose of fertilizers with a good water filter are mandatory for such tanks. High intensity lights such as LED, T8 and T9 can be fixed at a certain height from the tank. Indulging the plants with all these facilities makes them grow vigorously; hence, regular trimming of plants becomes essential. The best types of fishes for such tanks are Angels, Discuss, Tetras, etc.

Importance of Tissue Cultured Plants for Aquariums
Aquatic plant cells and tissues are cultured in high nutrient culture medium under a sterile environment. These cultivated tissue plants are 100% free from unwanted organisms like snails, parasites, pathogens, algae and insects. These plants do not require any additional time to adapt to aquariums.

Pooja Naik is the Founder of Leafage, a Pune based Company involved in manufacturing tissue culture plants for aquariums. The plants are provided in sealed plastic containers with a shelf-life of more than 6-8 weeks.