Fish For Aquaria

Aquarium Fish

The trade of ornamental fish is a multibillion-dollar industry in more than 125 countries – the UK is the number one importer in Europe. SMARTAQUA aims to support the development of the ornamental fish industry in Wales and provide aquarium hobbyist with sustainable-farmed tropical fish.

Fishkeeping is a centuries old hobby – now it is getting trendy and profitable. Clinic waiting rooms, hotel lobbies and restaurants have ornamental aquariums – they are both beautiful and relaxing. Watching fish and other aquatic organisms exploring their environment, hiding behind a plant or probing the substrate is hypnotic but also soothing – it decreases blood pressure and has a positive impact on our wellbeing.

But where do these fish come from, how many species are traded, what is the scale of the industry in the UK, in Wales?

Aquarium fishEvery year over 2500 fish, species are traded for the aquarium industry, but the market is dominated by 30 freshwater species; the most common are the guppy, neon tetra, angelfish, gold fish, zebra danio and discus. These freshwater species are mainly bred in captivity, which contrasts with the 98% ornamental marine fish collected from the wild. In Europe, the UK is the number one importer by value – in 2017 the UK spent ca. 19 million pounds in ornamental fish imports. Most ornamental fish come from far away tropical countries like Singapore, Japan, and Thailand; but some fish come from the Czech Republic or Spain.

Find out more and join our network of eco-innovators in the non-food aquaculture industry.



SMARTAQUA: aquaculture beyond food is supported by the Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund.

Registered Address

Swansea University
Singleton Park,