The current state of biosecurity and welfare of ornamental fish population in pet fish stores in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand

Main Article Content

Banthita Saengsitthisak
Veerasak Punyapornwithaya
Wasana Chaisri
Raktham Mektrirat
John K. Bernard
Surachai Pikulkaew


Aquaculture has undergone extensive development in recent decades due to its use as a source of protein for human consumption, as models for scientific research, and as pets. The purpose of this study was to survey ornamental fish stores in Chiang Mai province, Thailand to identify practices which affect life quality and welfare of pet fish including general management, biosecurity management, and knowledge about fish disease and drug usage of ornamental fish store owners. The results show that most pet fish stores have poor husbandry in terms of fish health based on the observed incidence of skin erosion and fin rot (92.86%) and white spots on the skin (78.57%) in store fish. Moreover, treatment of these health conditions were performed by experienced people working in the stores without consulting a veterinarian. The top three drugs used for treatment included malachite green oxalate, trichlorfon, and formalin. Interestingly, oxytetracycline and chlortetracycline were also used frequently to treat fish disease. Despite a lack of formal training in fish management, fish health, and drug usage in ornamental fish, the knowledge of owners about fish disease and antibacterial agent usage was determined to be of an intermediate level based on testing. The information gained from this study can be used in future studies to identify stressors that affect pet fish welfare and to investigate biosecurity and ornamental fish welfare in the other sectors of the ornamental fish trade supply chain.

Article Details

How to Cite
Saengsitthisak, B. ., Punyapornwithaya, V. ., Chaisri, W. ., Mektrirat, R. ., K. Bernard, J. ., & Pikulkaew, . S. . (2021). The current state of biosecurity and welfare of ornamental fish population in pet fish stores in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand : Veterinary Integrative Sciences, 19(2), 277–294. Retrieved from
Research Articles


Assefa, A., Abunna, F., 2018. Maintenance of fish health in aquaculture: review of epidemiological approaches for prevention and control of infectious disease of fish. Vet. Med. Int. 10, 5432497.

Attia, J., Millot, S., Di-Poï, C., Bégout, M.L., Noble, C., Sanchez-Vazquez, F.J., Terova, G., Saroglia, M., Damsgård, B., 2012. Demand feeding and welfare in farmed fish. Fish Physiol. Biochem. 38, 107-118.

Bovenkerk, B., Meijboom, F.L.B., 2013. Fish welfare in aquaculture: explicating the chain of interactions between science and ethics. J. Agric. Environ. Ethics. 26, 41–61.

Brown, C., 2015. Fish intelligence, sentience and ethics. Anim. Cogn. 18, 1–17.

Choo, P.S., Williams, M.J., 2003. Fisheries production in Asia: its role in food security and nutrition. Naga. 26, 11-16.

Clements, H., Valentin, S., Jenkins, N., Rankin, J., Baker, J.S., Gee, N., Snellgrove, D., Sloman, K., 2019. The effects of interacting with fish in aquariums on human health and well-being: A systematic review. PLoS One. 14, e0220524.

Culp, S.J., Beland, F.A., 1996. Malachite green: a toxicological review. Int. J. Toxicol. 15, 219-238.

Department of fisheries, Chiang Mai Province. [cited 2018 June 10]; Available from:

Falahatkar, B., Poursaeid, S., Shakoorian, M., Barton, B., 2009. Responses to handling and confinement stressors in juvenile great sturgeon Huso huso. J. Fish Bio. 75, 784-796.

General information of Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. [cited 2020 April 20]; Available from:

Goessling, W., Sadler, K.C., 2015. Zebrafish: an important tool for liver disease research. Gastroenterology. 149, 1361-1377.

Good aquaculture practices for ornamental freshwater for ornamental freshwater. [cited 2020 June 9]; Available from: ANIMALS_ FARM.pdf

Gopakumar, G., 2016. Water quality management for production of freshwater ornamental fish. In: Best management practices for freshwater ornamental fish production. New Delhi, India: National Fisheries Development Board, Hyderabad.

Hoque, F., Hussan, A., Das, A., Chakraborty, P., 2018. Managing water quality and fish health in aquaculture: Farmer’s traditional practices in west Bengal. Int. J. Fish Aquat. Stud. 6, 31–35.

Huntingford, F.A., Adams, C., Braithwaite, V.A., Kadri, S., Pottinger, T.G., Sandoe, P., Turnbull, J.F., 2006. Current issues in fish welfare. J. Fish Biol. 68, 332-372.

Huntingford, F.A., Kadri, S., 2014. Defining, assessing and promoting the welfare of farmed fish. Rev. Sci. Tech. Off. Int. Epiz. 33, 233-244.

Islam, S.B., Habib, M., 2013. Supply chain management in fishing industry: A case study. Int. J. Supply Chain Mgt. 2, 40–50.

Kosemani, S.E., Adewole, H., Olaleye, V., 2017. Assessment of effect of fish feeding practices on the water quality of some fish pond in Ado Ekiti, Nigeria. Int. J. Fish Aquat. Stud. 5, 357-564.

Leung, T.L.F., Bates, A.E., 2013. More rapid and severe disease outbreaks for aquaculture at the tropics: Implications for food security. J Appl. Ecol. 50, 215-222.

Liang, J.Y., Chien, Y.H., 2013. Effects of feeding frequency and photoperiod on water quality and crop production in a tilapia-water spinach raft aquaponics system. Int. Biodeterior. Biodegrad. 85, 693–700.

Magada S., Mercy, T.V.A., 2016 Health Management in Ornamental Fish Farming. In Best management practices for freshwater ornamental fish production. New Delhi, India: National Fisheries Development Board, Hyderabad.

Malindretos, G., Vlachos, I., Manikas, I., Chatzimanolakis, M., 2016. Future prospects of sustainable aquaculture supply chain practices. Smart Innov. Syst. Technol. 52, 487-497.

Mather, J.A., 2019. Ethics and care: For animals, not just mammals. Animals. 9, 1–12.

Midtlyng, P.J., 1997. Vaccinated fish welfare: protection versus side-effects. Dev. Biol. Stand. 90, 371-379.

Miller-Morgan, T.J., Glaze, D., Heidel, J., 2012. Pet fish medicine and health management in the ornamental fish industry. In proceeding of the international conference on sustainable ornamental fisheries- way forward. Cochin, India: SOFI-WF.

Noga, E.J., 2010. Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment. NJ, USA: A John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Publication.

Oladele, O.O., Olarinmoye, A.O., Ntiwunka, U.G., Akintomide, T.O., 2015. Survey of bacterial isolates from cases of fish disease outbreaks and their antibiotic susceptibility patterns. Nig. J. Fish Aqua. 12, 901-906.

Ornamental Fish and Aquatic Plant Thailand Directory 2011-2012. [cited 2020 April 12]; Available from: 20D.pdf.

Pikulkaew, S., Meeyam, T., Banlunara, W., 2009. The outbreak of koi herpesvirus (KHV) in koi (Cyprinus carpio koi) from Chiang Mai province, Thailand. Thai J. Vet. Med. 39, 53-58.

Pikulkaew, S., Phatwan, K,, Banlunara, W., Intanon, M., Bernard, J.K., 2020. First evidence of carp edema virus infection of koi Cyprinus carpio in Chiang Mai province, Thailand. Viruses. 12, 1-11.

Pleeging, C.C.F., Moons, C.P.H., 2017. Potential welfare issues of the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) at the retailer and in the hobbyist aquarium. Vlaams Diergeneeskd. Tijdschr. 86, 213-223.

Qi, W., 2002. Social and economic impacts of aquatic animal health problems in aquaculture in China. FAO Fish Tech. Pap. 2, 55–61.

R Core Team., 2019. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R foundation for statistical computing, Vienna, Austria. [cited 2020 November 1]; Available from:

Ramsay, J.M., Feist, G.W., Varga, Z.M., Westerfield, M., Kent, M.L., Schreck, C.B., 2006. Whole-body cortisol is an indicator of crowding stress in adult zebrafish, Danio rerio. Aquaculture. 258, 565-574.

Ramsay, J.M., Watral, V., Schreck, C.B., Kent, M.L., 2010. Husbandry stress exacerbates mycobacterial infection in adult zebrafish, Danio rerio (Hamilton). J. Fish Dis. 32, 931-941.

Rath, S.S, Patra, A., Adikesavalu, H., Sood, N., Pradhan, P.K., Das, B.K., Jayasankar, P., Jena, J.K., 2016. Detection of goldfish haematopoietic necrosis herpes virus (Cyprinid herpesvirus-2) with multi-drug resistant Aeromonas hydrophila infection in goldfish: First evidence of any viral disease outbreak in ornamental freshwater aquaculture farms in India. Acta Trop. 161, 8-17.

Rose, J.D., Arlinghaus, R., Cooke, S., Diggles, B.K., Sawynok, W., Stevens, E.D., Wynne, C.D.L., 2014. Can fish really feel pain? Fish Fish. 15, 97-133.

Saengsitthisak, B., Chaisri, W., Punyapornwithaya, V., Mektrirat, R., Klayraung, S., Bernard, J.K., Pikulkaew, S., 2020. Occurrence and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of multidrug-resistant aeromonads isolated from freshwater ornamental fish in Chiang Mai province. Pathogens. 9, 1–13.

Sahoo, P.K., Swaminathan, T.R., Abraham, T.J., Kumar, R., Pattanayak, S., Mohapatra, A.,

Sánchez-Suárez, W., Franks, B., Torgerson-White, L., 2020. From land to water: Taking fish welfare seriously. Animals. 10, 1–11.

Sneddon, L.U., 2009. Pain perception in fish: indicators and endpoints. ILAR J. 50, 338-342.

Stevens, C.H., Croft, D.P., Paull, G.C., Tyler, C.R., 2017. Stress and welfare in ornamental fishes: what can be learned from aquaculture? J. Fish Biol. 91, 409-428.

Stevenson, M., with contributions from Nunes, T., Heuer, C., Marshall, J,, Sanchez, J., Thornton, R., Reiczigel, J., Robison-Cox, J., Sebastiani, P., Solymos, P., Yoshida, K., Jones, G., Pirikahu, S., Firestone, S., Kyle R., Popp, J., Jay, M., Reynard, C., 2019. epiR: Tools for the analysis of epidemiological data. R package version 1.0-10. 2019. [cited 2020 November 1]; Available from:

Sung, Y.Y., MacRae, T.H., Sorgeloos, P., Bossier, P., 2011. Stress response for disease control in aquaculture. Rev. Aquac. 3, 120-137.

Talbot, C., Corneillie, S., Korsøen, O., 1999. Pattern of feed intake in four species of fish under commercial farming conditions: implications for feeding management. Aquac. Res. 30, 509-518.

Tavares-Dias, M., Martins, M.L., 2017. An overall estimation of losses caused by diseases in the Brazilian fish farms. J. Parasit. Dis. 41, 913-918.

Verner-jeffreys, D.W., Welch, T.J., Schwarz, T., Pond, M.J., Woodward, M.J., Haig, S.J., Rimmer, G.S.E., Roberts, E., Morrison, V., Baker-Austin, C., 2009. High prevalence of multidrug-tolerant bacteria and associated antimicrobial resistance genes isolated from ornamental fish and their carriage water. PLoS One. 4(12), e8388.

Videira, M., Velasco, M., Malcher, C.S., Santos, P., Matos, P., Matos, E., 2016. An outbreak of myxozoan parasites in farmed freshwater fish Colossoma macropomum (Cuvier, 1818) (Characidae, Serrasalminae) in the Amazon region, Brazil Aquac. Reports. 3, 31-34.

Watts, J.E.M., Schreier, H.J., Lanska, L., Hale, M.S., 2017. The rising tide of antimicrobial resistance in aquaculture: Sources, sinks and solutions. Mar. Drugs. 15, 1–16.

Yildiz, H.Y., Robaina, L., Pirhonen, J., Mente, E., Domínguez, D., Parisi, G., 2017. Fish welfare in aquaponic systems: Its relation to water quality with an emphasis on feed and faeces-A review. Water. 9, 1–17.