For the love of fishes

HOBBY CLUB

For the love of fishes

PASSIONATE: The members of the society.

One of the oldest hobby clubs in the City, the Aquarists Society Of Karnataka (AQK) was registered in 1980 and has around 330 life members today, and over 700 members registered online. Rajendra Kumar, a patron member of the Society, has been passionate about aquariums since he was a little boy. “My grandfather used to have a lot of them,” he says. “But as a kid, it just used to be about a few fishes in an aquarium. It was only in the 90s that I got into the science and chemistry of the entire hobby.” 

He feels that the hobby has taken off very well in the City, thanks to the society. “There are lots of youngsters coming in these days,” he says. A coffee planter by profession, Rajendra is into breeding fish as well. He has many tanks at home, with a variety of fishes including the rare yellow Mickey Mouse platies. “The red platies are quite common, but the yellow ones are rare,” he exclaims. 

He runs a popular group for aquarium enthusiasts on Yahoo. “It has now turned into a South Asian forum, with members from countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh,” he laughs. He even writes regularly on aquaculture on the Internet. “Unlike what most people think, aquariums don’t need much care. They take care of themselves,” he says.

Agrees Naveein O C, another senior member of the society. “The problem is that most people don’t let the aquarium settle down,” he reveals. “Don’t keep meddling with the aquarium. Once the nitrogen cycle in the system is established, there is no need to even touch it,” he advises. For him, the passion started off in school with a couple of guppies in a Horlicks bottle. “We had a lot of good streams those days so we used to go and catch them,” he laughs.

He recollects the time when he used to have a whopping 34 aquariums! “I had a lot of time those days as I was a student. But now I just have two aquariums at home and two in the office,” he says sadly. His oldest aquarium was from 1984, which unfortunately gave way last year.

Of his collection of fishes, he is extremely proud of the Indian Native Fish and Tetra.

Naveein has had many funny experiences with his fishes. “I cooked my fish once by mistake,” he laughs. “Those days, we never had heater with thermostats. So I switched the heater on in the morning, thinking I will turn it off before leaving for college. But I forgot to turn it off!”

One of the youngest members of the Society, Adip Sajjan Raj owns over 30 tanks and cherishes his Crystal Red Shrimps. “They are red and white in colour, and not more than an inch long,” he describes.

Currently, the vice president of the society, Adip joined the ASK in 1999. A biomedical engineer by profession, Adip gave up his job and entered the field of aquascaping. “It is basically a form of underwater landscaping, where in we create an eco-system for the fishes.”

The ASK members get together regularly on weekends at the Cubbon Park Aquarium and exchange ideas. Fishes are auctioned through a process called the ‘silent auctions’. “That’s because we don’t have a person screaming out the token number,” laughs Adip. “Though the meetings are meant for members, interested people also join us many a times,” he adds.

Sometimes, the members even go on outdoor excursions to collect fish. “These excursion are more to do with educating the members about the hobby, than collecting the fish,” informs Adip. One can become a member of the society by filling in a form. “The annual membership fee is Rs 100.” Interested people can register themselves with the e-group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/a-s-k

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