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Jan 12, 2018

Estevan Bol Swims with the Fish

Twenty-six-year-old Estevan Bol has turned his hobby into his full-time job. He had always been fascinated by fish, owned small fish aquariums and subsequently taught himself all there is to know about fish farming. Bol imports all kinds of fish for sale and has expanded his business to include more piscine[py-seen] related services. His hope is to open more fish nurseries in other parts of the country, but for now he is happy establishing his small business in San Ignacio. News Five’s Andrea Polanco traveled west to visit “Belize Fishbowl” to talk with the enterprising businessman, who hopes to inspire other young people to invest in their passion.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

What started out as a hobby for Estevan Bol has grown to this budding small business, “Belize Fishbowl,” located in San Ignacio. Growing up he had always been fascinated by fish – and today he has twenty-five fish tanks and more than thirty different types of imported fresh-water fish. It is what he loves, but it is also what keeps him employed.


Estevan Bol

Estevan Bol, Owner, Belize Fishbowl

“Five to six years ago, I got my first tank and then I start to purchase fresh water fish, right. Then I got to like the hobby more. I started to breed them; like hatch them; raise them to become adults and I get an excess – meaning I got a ten gallon tank and that had like twenty to thirty and that couldn’t hold many more, so I decided if I could sell to the public, I could make money on the fish I am selling and be able to maintain my hobby, right, because you know if you have fish you have to buy food, treat them with different medicine and stuff like that; if I sell I could get more fish and buy more tank.   Eventually through word of mouth people spread from friends to friend, here in Belize people have aquariums but not all of them are running because they can’t get the chemicals or can’t get the fish they want. So, as the year passed people started to come and buy more fish. I started to buy one tank; two tanks; eventually I sell more fish and able to buy more tanks. Currently, I have around twenty-five tanks running with fish.”


From guppies to swordtails to goldfish – a variety of colors, shapes and sizes in the tanks at Belize Fishbowl. Belize Fishbowl prices vary from as low as five dollars up to thirty-five dollars per fish depending on the specie; and then there are special orders.


Estevan Bol

“Tropical fish would be like Tetras, Zebras, Swordtails, Guppies, Betas, and then you would go to the cold-water fish – which would be the Kois, Goldfish – meaning they would prefer cold water than normal temperature; tropical fish would live in tropical regions or could tolerate low temperature in water. You would classify the tropical fish as livebearers or they lay eggs. The ones that lay eggs would be Betas, Tetras, Angels, Sharks; livebearers mean they give birth like the Guppies, Mollies, Platies and Swordtails.  I breed my fish and sell to my customers or I bring them in. If it is a new kind I usually bring it but if it is a live bearer Goldfish then I breed them and have them here and stuff.  While fishes show or have a bright color – usually aquarium fishes are bred through generations of generations to get certain traits like tail type or different colors and that is what attracts customers – the different colors.   The fishes are affordable because my price range is like five dollars which is a Guppy to thirty-five dollars depending on the type and size.”


Andrea Polanco

“So very affordable?”


Estevan Bol

“Yes it is affordable and so if you see a fish and you like it – there are some fish that range from three hundred to four hundred dollars if the customer is interested.”


Estevan spends hours every day caring for these fish. The tanks are cleaned and water filtered at the right temperature; they are fed and made comfortable and safe in their tanks.


Estevan Bol

“I have to spend not one hour, but six to seven hours cleaning the entire tank and I have twenty-five. I do half today and half tomorrow and each of them take six to seven hours because I have to clean out the water and add in new water; but when I add that in, I can’t let it affect the fish because it can hurt them if the temperature is too high or too low for the fish; but it is a real challenge because some fish require more care than the other; some need more tank maintenance meaning you have to change the water on time.”


Estevan keeps a healthy stock of fish – but they are often sold off quickly; so he has set up his system to facilitate easy fish breeding. These fish are sold to households as indoor pets and to businesses as an attraction.


Estevan Bol

“To me each tank or each aquarium is like a decoration to your house and some people don’t mind to decorate a tank because some tanks provide a beautiful scene to your house; eventually, some people I know, after a long day work sit down in front of the aquarium and watch their fish. Some people enjoy that more than anything else, so they would purchase the fish. Like I said, it is affordable for many people.”


Andrea Polanco

“And kids – some kids like them as pets, as well?”


Estevan Bol

“Yes, as pets. I have the kids who come in with their parents and they would choose them – the colorful ones which are much more attractive. But the kids love the fish.”


Belize Fishbowl is a full service indoor fish business. They sell all kinds of fish, aquariums and décor, fish food, as well as provide tank maintenance services and even offers tank space to house fish if families need to go away. Estevan works with households and corporate organizations, including hotels. Today he is at Rumors Resort in Cayo. They have had this aquarium for fifteen years. For the past year, Estevan has maintained their fish tank.


Hector Montero Jr.

Hector Montero Jr., General Maintenance Supervisor, Rumors

“We used to do the cleaning ourselves and then we had some problems. We noticed that every time we would clean the tank the fish would get sick and die out.  When he got here he explained to me exactly how you should go about cleaning the tank and obviously I wasn’t doing it the right way so I decided to leave the cleaning to the professional.”


Andrea Polanco

“And you are providing business for a young entrepreneur at the same time?”


Hector Montero Jr.

“Right because I understand he is full into the cleaning of aquariums and he is the only one here in San Ignacio. But I have seen the aquariums he has and they look amazing.”


Andrea Polanco

“Since he has been working on your aquarium, are you satisfied; how is the work being done?”


Hector Montero Jr.

“Oh yeah, the cleaning is done very professional and I would surely recommend it to anyone who has an aquarium either at home, an office or a restaurant because this is one of our attractions here at the restaurant.”


Estevan believes more Belizeans should be encouraged to invest in their passion and create more small businesses in Belize:


Estevan Bol

“One advice I could give to especially Belizeans, if you have a hobby and can turn it into a business, try it. Because if you have hobby you will spend more time on it and usually as a business owner you need to invest sometimes the whole day in your business; if it takes maybe twenty-four hours to invest; then do it and you will accomplish it. When I started I had only one tank but I had my mindset and my goal was to create my own business.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


If you want to know more about Belize Fishbowl, you can find them on Facebook or you can reach out directly to Estevan at 630-2434

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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