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    An annual gathering of aquarium hobbyists marks our calendar

    It’s love for all things fish that brought Chennai’s Ravi Chandran and Beta Mahatvaraj and city-based Madan Subramanian together in June 2003. Years down the line, the group they formed–Indian Aquarium Hobbyists – continues to grow with over 5,000 members. Sticking to their schedule of having an official annual gathering, Bengaluru will host the event this year. Called Aquatika 2015, the event will see a number of presentations on shrimp keeping, native fish, and planted aquariums.
    “We are not a formal organisation and have never been interested in patenting the name of the group. We constantly have discussions on our website and the Facebook page on new trends and set-ups. Besides an annual meeting, we go out on trips to river basins and forest habitats, just to see fish in the wild. None of us are professionals, but years of reading up has helped us identify different species of fish even in the wild,” says Subramanian, a marine engineer. “We have members all across India, but are most active in Chennai and Bengaluru. The group works by helping each other out. For instance, advising someone who’s never kept a particular kind of fish before, or how to take care of fish caught in the wild,” he adds. Another interesting talk is on the ‘multiple-tank syndrome’. (Subramanian assures it is a legit syndrome where people lose track of how many fish tanks they are getting home!)
    A highlight this year would be a talk on Laubuka trevori, a newly-discovered species of fish found in river Cauvery. Software consultant Deepak Sathyanarayan, who discovered the fish,says, “We were on a habitat visit when we found the fish; we’ve named it Laubuka trevori after Trevor Menezes – an aquarium hobbyist and secretary of ASK (Aquarist Society of Karnataka) who passed away in 2010. It was hobbyist and taxonomist Dr JD Marcus Knight who helped us describe the fish.” Ask Sathyanarayan about aquascaping and his response shows how diverse the group’s interest really is. “Aquascaping is for artistically beautifying an aquarium, and that isn’t my forte. I do what’s best for the fish, so you’ll just find a lot of algae in my tank,” he laughs.
    At The Chancery Pavilion, Residency Road. Tickets (Rs.2,100) on
    indianaquariumhobbyist.com

    —Nikita Puri

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