By adminindofish 19 Min Read


The trade of freshwater ornamental fish is now a big and global business. The existence of Aquarama which is held every 2 (two) years and is visited by both hobbyists and business people around the world indicates this. Apart from the fish themselves, aquarium accessories have also spawned an industry that cannot be considered small. This fact can actually provide a boost for our country to take a bigger share in this trade, given our enormous ornamental fish resources.

The world market for ornamental fish is very large and wide. The demand for this commodity continues to increase both in quantity and type, especially in the export market. New types of both original and crosses continue to emerge from various corners of the world. Indonesia is a country rich in ornamental fish resources after South America. The number of ornamental fish species which are more than 300 species as much as 34% of them are in Indonesia. (Sakurai et al., 1995 in Aquarium of the World).

The production of freshwater ornamental fish in Indonesia apart from cultivation is also from natural catches. A search conducted on exporters from the Jakarta area and its surroundings found that many species of fish they imported from public waters, especially outside Java, Sumatra, and Kalimantan were areas that were mostly fished because they might be close to Jakarta and indeed this area is an area rich in species. the fish. Introduced fish are also quite a lot traded, even most of them have been widely cultivated, especially in the Greater Jakarta area.

From the data obtained, only about 30% of the original exported fish species have been or can be cultivated, while about 70% are still caught from their original waters or from nature. If this continues, it will be very unfortunate because in addition to fish resources, this will certainly be increasingly depleted, so that foreign exchange will decrease. In addition, the loss of this faunal treasure will be extinct and our children and grandchildren will also lose valuable germplasm. While the introduced fish, on the contrary, almost 80% of the species that have been cultivated are far more numerous than those that have not.


The export market is the largest market for Indonesian ornamental fish. Export destination countries are almost all over the world, ranging from Europe, America, Australia, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and even today to the Middle East such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. Fish export market

This ornamental also increases from year to year. The export value recorded in 2000 was still around 4 million dollars, but in 2003 it had reached around 15 million US dollars according to the National Export Development Agency’s version, and in 2006 it had reached 130 million US dollars. Significant increase in number. However, according to the BPEN version, Indonesia has only filled 9% of the market in Europe and 6% to America, while Singapore has filled 25% and 30% respectively. This comparison is still very far, even though Singaporean fish comes from Indonesia.


Until now, in 2009 there were more than one hundred species of wild caught fish that were exported through several exporters in Jakarta. These fish come from the waters of Sumatra, especially south, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Irian. The southern coast of Java is still there, although a little.
These fish are brought in every season in unlimited quantities. Collectors from the area try to collect fish from the catchers as much as possible because however many will be accommodated in the shelter. During this season, the price of fish becomes low or cheap. Thus, it is the traders who benefit the most.

Market demand that continues to increase makes people catch fish on a large scale. Fish caught in large numbers and in overcrowded reservoirs will cause many deaths. The percentages of those caught and those sold that are alive are actually very disproportionate. Many fish die in vain both in shelters and during transportation and become worthless.

Fish that were considered uneconomical at that time were discarded and died in shelters, even though in the future these fish will be valuable. For example, julung-julung fish and even snails and river shrimp or small shrimp that used to have no price are now also traded as ornamental fish.

Information and data taken from the list of several exporters in the Greater Jakarta area (Table 1 and Appendix Table 1) found that there are 141 types of natural freshwater ornamental fish that are currently included in their export list. Fish are imported during the catching season and will be accommodated for export to the importing country in the amount and time according to demand.

Of the hundreds of species currently listed, some are increasingly difficult to find or rare. For example, Rasbora fish, according to exporters, has begun to decrease a lot in nature. There are also very few Sumatran Botia. Various species have even begun to become extinct and are rarely found anymore. There are many blacksharks, balasharks, and several types of puntius that are no longer on the list of exporters.

From the Anabantidae family, Betta fish or betta fish are the most popular. The existence of contests and Betta clubs both local and international makes this fish very popular. Although the results of cultivation are many with beautiful varieties, the natural betta is still in great demand and the price is quite high, making this fish always popular. Likewise, the batik sepat fish (Sphaerichthys sp.) which is very beautiful in color is quite a lot of requests. These fish are very susceptible and easily get sick so that mortality in the shelter is quite high. Sepat pearl, blue (Trichogaster sp.) is also on the export list, but many of these fish have been cultivated so that not all of them rely on natural catch.

Of the Familia Bagridae, Balitoridae, Chandidae and Channidae, not one species has been cultivated, so all are still taken from nature. Chanda Fish

Betta nature (Betta pugnax)

Betta match (Betta imbelis)

Sepat batik ( Sphaerychthys osphronemoides) Black lancer catfish ( Bagrychthys hypselopterus)

This fish is one million fish per year and sold out. In the Jabodetabek area there are no less than 50 exporters, not to mention the fish that come out of the area of ​​origin directly to Singapore. You can imagine the amount drained from nature every year. Although botia fish can now be cultivated, it is still limited in research institutions. There are no breeders or fisheries entrepreneurs who are seriously interested in trying it.

Pearl sepat ( Trichogaster leeri)

ranga, which is very famous because it is often used in coloring experiments (because this fish is transparent) is a fish that is quite sold, and no one has cultivated it yet.
Familia Cobitidae, is a family where the Botia species as the prima donna of freshwater ornamental fish are located. This fish is taken from nature very intensively. From some information, at least every exporter accommodates

Botia (Botia macracantha)

Glassfish (Chanda Ranga)

The family Cyprinidae is dominated by Puntius and Rasbora species. These fish species are very numerous and on the list of exporters are always there. Two years ago (2006-2007) it was still easy to bring these fish from Sumatra and Kalimantan. However, currently (2009), according to exporters, it is difficult to obtain them.
Another very popular type is the Rainbow group fish or from the Melanotaenia family. Highly hunted by hobbyists. Because it comes from Papua and its habitat is difficult to reach, this fish is theoretically still safe from extinction.

Barb (Puntius tetrazona) Harlequin (Rasbora heteromorpha)

Maculochi rainbow (M. Maculochi) Yellow rainbow (M. herbertaxelrodi)

The star of freshwater ornamental fish that cannot be ignored is from the Osteoglosidae family, namely Arowana. Its very expensive value, especially the Super Red, is certainly a wealth that must be maintained. It has been widely cultivated, however, its existence in nature as a germplasm and original source of genetics really needs to be preserved.

Other species, namely Siluridae, Tetraodontidae and Toxotidae are also fish that are quite attractive. Datniodes fish

or the type of Tiger Fish is currently quite a sought after trend to be kept with stingrays (Portamotrygon sp.)
From the price of small fish like Rasbora which is only around Rp. 600, – / head to Arowana which can reach Rp. 10 million / head is an incomparable natural wealth. Although the value per head is small, the number is very large. The recorded may only be a few million head / year but of course in reality more than that number.

Tiger fish (Datniodes microlepis) Chopstick fish (Toxotes jaculatrix)

The decline in natural production that continues to occur is certainly very unfortunate, because it will also reduce foreign exchange and this ornamental fish resource. Not to mention the non-fish species that are currently being traded, such as Cherax sp. and small shrimp (Caridina sp.) which number about 8 species.
Natural damage due to pollution, forest destruction that threatens to decrease the amount and quality of water, as well as overfishing is an undeniable contribution to depleting all freshwater resources. On the other hand, the continuous flooding also reduces production because fishermen or collectors do not get caught fish.


It is recorded that there are around 183 introduced fish species that have entered Indonesia (Table 1 and Appendix Table 2.). So many introduced fish have been cultivated in Indonesia. Indonesia’s tropical climate is suitable for these fish because most of them come from the tropics. The largest cultivation area is the Jabodetabek area, because this is also where trade, exporters and importers of ornamental fish are located. Generally, importers and exporters who know and understand the needs and the world’s ornamental fish market with new trends will bring in fish from their home countries and give them to breeders for breeding. Its production will be returned to exporters who will export it to all parts of the country in need. Types that have not been cultivated are fish that are imported and re-exported to other countries.

The most abundant species are from Familia Characidae, Cichlidae, Cyprinidae and types of Catfish. Other species that are also widely bred are the Familia Poecilidae and a few from the Anabantidae and Notopteriidae families.
The many family Characidae are small fish of the tetra type. Dozens of tetra species have been successfully bred by breeders in the Greater Jakarta area, especially in the southern regions such as Depok and Bogor. However, in accordance with the law of the fish market, which used to be expensive with many breeders who succeeded in producing this type of tetra, the price that has fallen has made several types of tetras now abandoned, for example black tetras, blue eyes and neon tetras.

Cardinal tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi)

Congo tetra (Phenacogrammus interruptus)

Family Cichlidae is a species that is very widely cultivated in Indonesia. Medium-sized species such as discus and maanvis have been cultivated by breeders for decades. Fish breeders of this type are scattered throughout Greater Jakarta. In fact, many hobbyists have held discus fish contests with various varieties of the results of the hybridization that they do. Even today, the discus, dubbed “The King of Aquarium”, is still popular and many breeders are breeding it. Another very popular cycloid is the Lou Han fish which was successful in the 2000s. Other species may not be as well-known as the types above, but quite a lot of them are also raised, such as Oscar, Auratus, several types of the genus Cichlasoma, Cyphlotilapia, etc.

Discus (Symphysodon discus) Maanvis (Pterophyllum scalare) Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus )

Lou han (Cichlasoma sp.) Frontosa (Cyphlotilapia frontosa) Cichla (Cichlasoma ocellaris)

From the Cyprinidae family, of course, everyone knows the koi and chef fish that have been bred here for decades. The increasingly varied variety indicates how much this fish is very popular with the public

consumers and hobbyists in this country. Chef fish exports to Singapore are mostly small in size. Redfin shark species have also been widely cultivated, especially the albino.

Goldfish (Carrasius auratus) Koi (Cyprinus carpio)

Redfin shark albino (Ephalzeorhynchus frenatus)

Types of Catfish such as Red Tail Catfish, Tiger Catfish have also been cultivated by many breeders. Likewise, small catfish Corydoras assorted breeders have long been breeding this fish.

Corydoras sterbai

Corydoras aenes (albino)

Stingrays from the family Portamotrygon originating from Latin America (Amazon River) have also been cultivated in Indonesia, although it is still limited to a few people because the price is very expensive.

Fresh rays (Portamotrygon sp.)

Domestication as a way to maintain germplasm can be done in asylum or in cultivation, farms or research places. It can also be done in water attractions such as the Freshwater Aquarium Park, as well as regional agro-tourism sites.

Meanwhile, cultivation is an alternative way to maintain production. Although in fact it cannot or may not be able to keep pace with the destruction or extinction of each species considering the many species that exist in nature. However, it is still the only best way to implement it, besides being able to meet the needs in a sustainable manner, it can also preserve fish resources. The cost to start with research is certainly expensive, especially for rare fish, but the results will be clear.

It takes a long and continuous research, sufficient human resources and of course a lot of funds. Especially for cheap fish such as several types of rasbora which are actually not feasible as a business commodity; because the price is cheap so that farmers are lazy to cultivate it. Possibly only through restocking this type can be saved. The priority of the type must be selected by making a list.

Ironically, there are more types of introduced ornamental fish that are cultivated than natural or native ones. Although it is easy to understand because of course the economic calculation of imported or introduced fish has more economic value than natural fish. Moreover, of course, importers will not choose fish that are not valuable.

This is what makes many types of natural ornamental fish that eventually become extinct or disappear from circulation. For example, the Black Shark or irengan fish that used to be very abundant in Java and Sumatra, are no longer available at all, the Balashark fish from the Batang Hari River is also no longer available, the Balashark circulating in the market is from Thailand.


The global trade in freshwater ornamental fish will continue to increase along with the increasing population and awareness of the environment, especially friendly and unobtrusive “pet animals”. The impact of this increase is of course an increase in foreign exchange from exports, but the depletion of fish germplasm which also continues to increase raises concerns about the depletion of fish resources. Thus, anticipatory steps are needed so that all germplasm remains sustainable while foreign exchange can also increase. Cultivation, conservation and the existence of regulations that lead to the protection of fish resources may be urgent to be implemented quickly.

Darti Satyani and I Wayan Subamia
Freshwater Ornamental Fish Cultivation Research Workshop
Jl. Fisheries No. 13, Pancoran Mas, Depok 16436



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