Sunday, February 28, 2021

Fishing around during the MCO

Like everyone else in the country, Rizam Zakariya became housebound when the Covid-19 lockdown was enforced earlier this year. But the time spent at home allowed him to rediscover his childhood hobby of rearing Siamese fighting fish, also known as betta fish.

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His equipment for rearing the fish, including pails and water hoses, is stored at the back of his house.

There, dozens of plastic containers line the shelves, ready to hold the fish.

Once the containers have been scrubbed clean, Rizam lines them up on another shelf. Male fish must be kept separate as they will otherwise fight with each other, thus earning their name.

He pours a little extract from the leaves of a ketapang tree into each container, which dyes the water brown and gives the fish extra vitamins.

He also feeds them according to a fixed schedule.

In order to breed more fish, the female is placed in a special container so that the male can get to know her. She is only released into the same space as him after 24 hours if they show signs of compatibility.

The male creates a nest of bubbles in which the female lays her eggs. It is then up to the male to keep watch over the nest to make sure the female doesn’t eat her own eggs.

Four days after they hatch, the baby fish are separated from the male and kept in another container.

These young fish, about three months old, are of the Candy Galaxy variety. For now, they can be kept together in a large container. They will only be separated once they are fully mature.

This variety of fish, which have black bodies spotted with blue, is known as the Avatar.

A fully grown Candy Galaxy betta, speckled with colour and second in demand after the Avatar.

A Halfmoon Butterfly fish with a large, fanlike tail and fins.

Like other male bettas, this Yellow Fancy will spread its tail and fins and flare its gills if it feels threatened.

Rizam displays two of the varieties most highly sought by fighting fish enthusiasts: the multi-colour Candy Galaxy and the Avatar.

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