Ornamental Fish Farmer Ogie Montalban Teaches Us About His Trade

28-year old Ogie Montalban has been tending to ornamental fish for almost five years now from his home in the city of Butuan, Phillippines, and selling them to hobbyists in surrounding areas under the company name Livesbearer Aquatics.

Today we interview him on the topic of ornamental fish.

But first, some more background info on Ogie.  The purpose of Ogie’s business is to provide people who want ornamental fish with exactly what they want, whether it’s pets or fish for breeding purposes.

Here’s a video where Ogie shows off all of his many fish at his farm.

As you can see, these fish come in various sizes and are often quite colourful, beautiful, and exotic.  They definitely fit the description of an “ornamental” fish.

He even does online orders, but only if you are from within the Phillippines (click the link at the top in yellow to visit his business page and talk to him – he’s super friendly!).

The types of fish Ogie specializes in raising includes: koi fish, guppies, flowerhorns, betas, mollies, and goldfish.

So what interest does the Gnome have with Ogie and Livesbearer Aquatics?  Well, because we are in the backyard business, we do love our backyard ponds, and many backyard ponds feature – you guessed it – ornamental fish!

Hence, we ran into Ogie recently and we wanted to know more about what he did as an ornamental fish farmer, so that we could apply that knowledge to our own backyard ponds, and, by extension, so can you apply this information to whatever project you have going that includes these kinds of fish!

Ogie is has a wealth of info on his Livesbearer Aquatics Youtube channel, but we wanted to talk to him directly in case we missed any golden nuggets of info.

Enjoy our interview with the fish farmer, Ogie Montalban!


TBYG: What is your definition of an ornamental fish?

An ornamental fish is a freshwater fish people usually keep at home in a fish tank for display purposes.  Hence, they are also known as “aquarium fish”. 

But, they can also swim in freshwater ponds outside, depending on the temperature of the pond and of the general climate. 

These special fish are usually colourful, and add beauty to your home whether it’s outside or inside.  Just like other beautiful ornaments people keep around their homes.  Here is a picture of some Japanese koi fish.  They look great swimming in either a tank or an outdoor pond.  

TBYG: Do you think ornamental fish require more care than regular fish?

Yes they do, especially goldfish and koi fish.

TBYG: Personally, why do you like raising ornamental fish as you do with your business, Livesbearer Aquatics?

I like to be around fish in general.  They fascinate me, and make me more relaxed and I feel like I am meditating when I watch them.  For me, these creatures can reduce my stress, and it could add joy to my life because these fish are so elegant, exotic, and fun to watch.  For instance, I really enjoy watching flowerhorns swim around.  They have a lot of character, just like the one in this video here.

I see this fascination happen with other people all the time.  People are mesmerized by the colours and movements of these fish, whether they are fast or slow.  They can be relaxing, or sometimes even funny. 

Little children can sometimes watch them for a long time – even if they have ADHD, it entertains them too!

Also, I find that taking care of these fish provides me with good solid training on how to take care of living things. Not just fishes, but anything that should need some care.  I would suggest people get a fish before maybe a dog. 

Fish require care, but not as much as other animals, so they are a good “starter” pet.  Some fish don’t require much care at all, just cleaning their water and feeding them.

TBYG: How did you first become interested in ornamental fish?

I saw my neighbours looking after some ornamental fish, and I fell in love with them, because they were so beautiful.  I kept returning again and again to look at them.  My interest in ornamental fish developed from this situation.

TBYG: Would you call yourself an expert in ornamental fish?

I consider myself as an expert in ornamental fish, because I’ve had this hobby since high school, and I’ve been researching them ever since.  I’ve also talked to many, many other experts about these types of fish, from farming them for so long now.  You learn many things once you’ve done this for several years.  

TBYG: Have you any formal training or education in ornamental fish?

I haven’t done any formal training or education in ornamental fish, I just do research and asking helps and tips to the veterans of ornamental fish. But the the program that I took up during my college was fisheries, which provided a lot of related information I always apply to this job.  Check out this picture of another stunning flowerhorn.  Did I mention I love to watch these ones?

TBYG: What ornamental fish do you have the most experience with?

So far, the ornamental fish that I have spent the most time with are Goldfish koi’s, mollies, guppies, and flowerhorn fish. Also, I am planning of taking care of another kinds of ornamental fish soon, so keep watching my Youtube channel to find out what’s new!

TBYG: How do you set up an ornamental fish tank to be kept inside a home?

My own version of creating a tank is that I always use aquarium and the things that I must have is airpump, an aquarium stand, and the aquarium should be in the safe place like a room and non air-conditioned room.  We don’t want the fish to freeze, do we?

TBYG: What ornamental fish would be the easiest to look after and keep healthy?

The easiest ornamental fish to took care are definitely the bettas, mollies, and guppies. For them, to keep them healthy, you must always clean the water or at least change the water at least once a month, and feed them twice a day.

TBYG: What ornamental fish would be the most interesting to have as a pet and why?

For me, I’d say it would be the flowerhorn because of their skin color, and if you have given them exact care then their skin will come out beautiful, but, if not, you won’t see the same amazing results. 

TBYG: Can you talk about the care, feeding, and breeding of ornamental fish?

The most important way to take care of an ornamental fish is that they must know the kinds or variety of ornamental fish they have, must know if their fish is healthy or not, specially if you are going to buy a fish you must prepare a tank or aquarium for their safety.

TBYG: In terms of fish farming, where do you get your ornamental fish from and why?

I got my ornamental fishes from the nearest petshops in our area or sometimes I get them to my friends or people I know who are taking care of ornamental fish.  I have many sources by now!

TBYG: Can you talk about the cost of ornamental fish?

The cost of ornamental fishes will always depend on the class of fish you are going to buy, as well as their quality of food. The more expensive food for ornamental fishes tend to be more effective and it can provide more enhancement to their skin colors, and also enhance their growth.

TBYG: Do any of the fish that you have experience with show any of intelligence?

The most intelligent fish that I have so far are my koi’s and flowerhorn because everytime they recognize my presence, they are all energetic because they know that I will be feeding them shortly!

TBYG: Thanks Ogie!

Thank you Gnome!

Visit Ogie’s Youtube Channel, Livesbearer Aquatics

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