There is no question that having qualified and knowledgeable staff is of great benefit to the success of your business and our City and Guilds accredited training programmes are highly respected across the industry.

Designed to be cost-effective and convenient, our training programmes are now available online so can be studied at home or work at the student’s own pace on a device (computer, tablet or smart phone) that suits them, using our eLearning platform.

We offer two courses, both of which consist of four modules covering water quality, filtration, fish biology and fish health.

  • The Foundation Training Programme – an introduction to the key concepts of fish-keeping for beginners.
  • The Advanced Training Programme – a more detailed and comprehensive course for people with previous experience.

Both training programmes are intended to enable staff to develop a knowledge of fishkeeping. Our Advanced Training Programme will also help your staff to:

  • provide informed and accurate advice to customers
  • check on a customer’s current set-up and knowledge of fish species
  • be able to deal with customer issues, questions and complaints with fairness and authority

To help potential students find out which is most suitable for them we’ve created this initial assessment to take before deciding which training programme to choose.

Course content

Both the Foundation and Advanced Training Programmes consist of four modules – but in much more depth for the Advanced course (described below).

Water quality

This module covers the factors involved in water quality such as the physical characteristics of water e.g. temperature, density and salinity, and water chemistry e.g. pH, water hardness, dissolved gases, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. You will also develop a greater understanding of how water types can be modified for the aquarium via mechanisms such as reverse osmosis, distillation and ion exchange media.

On completion of this module, you will have a comprehensive understanding as to the importance of maintaining good water quality for fish welfare, the factors which determine water quality and how good water quality standards can be achieved and maintained in the aquarium/pond.

Filtration

Ornamental fish are entirely dependent upon those who are responsible for their welfare to maintain their aquatic environment. Aquariums and ponds must therefore be managed to ensure that the aquatic environment remains suitable at all times for the fish and other aquatic organisms in it. This module will provide you with a strong foundation in understanding the difference between owning a filter and having effective filtration, the key principles of filtration, the different types of filtration and the science that underpins each type and the types of sterilisation equipment used. In addition, you will also develop a greater understanding of filter system design, tap water filtration, the safety considerations necessary for filter system design and environmental responsibility.

On completion of this module, you will have a comprehensive understanding as to the importance of filtration for maintaining good water quality and therefore high standards of fish welfare. The key principles behind the different types of filtration and the factors that need to be considered in filter system design and why filtration systems are considered to be the Life Support System (LSS) of an aquarium/pond.

Fish biology

In countries such as the UK, there is a legal requirement that goods which are sold to consumers are “as described”. This requirement also applies to the identification of fish (together with plants and invertebrates) at retail outlets. Being able to provide an accurate identification of a species will make it easier not only to determine their origin, but also to provide the conditions in which that species thrives. This module will provide you with a good grounding in the methods used for the identification of fish such as taxonomic classification and how a fish’s body shape can provide a useful indicator of species identification. In addition, you will develop a greater understanding of fish anatomy and how a fish’s body shape is adapted to a particular habitat, fish physiology, fish feeding and nutrition and fish reproductive mechanisms/breeding. This module will also provide a useful introduction to wider issues such as ecology and ecosystems.

On completion of this module, you will have a greater understanding on the methods which are used to identify fish species. In addition, you will be able to recognise the external and internal anatomy of fish and aspects of fish physiology such as the circulatory system, the immune system and osmoregulation. With regards to feeding and nutrition, you will have an understanding as to the importance of diet and nutrition. In terms of fish reproduction and breeding, you will be able to describe the most commonly used reproductive mechanisms utilised by various fish species and an understanding of genetic terms commonly used in breeding.

Fish health

Fish which are healthy and have been well cared for are an obvious asset to a business in terms of profits and increased confidence to customers. The welfare of fish is an absolute necessity and countries are increasingly introducing legislation to which both those in the ornamental aquatic industry and hobbyists have legal obligations to meet. This module will provide you with a good understanding of the importance and necessity of maintaining high standards of fish welfare in order to prevent disease outbreaks. You will understand why a state of dis-ease can be detrimental to the health of ornamental fish and the importance of identifying and treating the underlying cause and not just the presenting symptoms. Stress has a significant role on the health of fish and such stress can be caused by overstocking, overcrowding or poor handling during packaging for transport/unpackaging on delivery.

On completion of this module, you will have a greater understanding of the health/disease balance and the factors which can cause disease in ornamental fish. You will gain a knowledge of the signs that a fish is under stress and how to identify normal/abnormal behaviour, as a change in behaviour is often the first sign that something is wrong. In addition, you will gain an understanding of how both the physical and chemical environments can impact on the health of fish, the various causative agents of disease, guidance on the treatment of fish and acceptable methods of fish euthanasia.

FOUNDATION

Method of study

At your own pace at home or at work using the online eLearning platform. The online course can be viewed on a computer, tablet and smart phone.

Programme prerequisites
  1. To have competed the Initial Assessment test (see above) and completed and returned the Data Protection form to the OATA office.
  2. Have access to the resources required to undertake this course e.g. access to a computer/laptop/tablet/smartphone and external reading.  The use of Skype for the final verbal assessment.
  3. Have sufficient time to be able to dedicate for regular learning. As a guide, you would need to complete one module of the Foundation course every three months if you wish to complete the full Foundation course within 12 months. You can complete modules quicker if you feel confident to pass the assessment.
  4. Have a good understanding of English and maths.
Start date & length of course

You start the course when you receive the log-in information and access will then be available for 12 months. There may be additional admin fees to pay if you take longer than 12 months to complete the full programme of four modules, including the verbal assessment.

Programme availability

Our Foundation Training Programme is available in the United Kingdom with the City and Guilds certificate on completion of all four modules and the verbal assessment. We also offer international training for non-UK businesses.

Assessments

At the end of each module there is a written assessment in the form of online questions. Once all four written assessments have been completed there is the final verbal assessment on Skype, booked at a mutally convenient time and date. You will have access to the module content for revision and to refer to at the time of the verbal assessment if you complete the full training programme within 12 months. There may be a re-registration fee to access module content if you take longer than 12 months to complete the programme.

Advanced

Method of study

At your own pace at home or at work using the online eLearning platform. The online course can be viewed on a computer, tablet and smart phone.

Programme prerequisites
  1. To have competed the Initial Assessment test (see above) and completed and returned the Data Protection form to the OATA office.
  2. Have access to the resources required to undertake this course e.g. access to a computer/laptop/tablet/smartphone and external reading.  The use of Skype for the final verbal assessment.
  3. Have sufficient time to be able to dedicate for regular learning. As a guide, you would need to complete one module of the Advanced course every three months if you wish to complete the full Advanced course within 12 months. You can complete modules quicker if you feel confident to pass the assessment.
  4. Have a good understanding of English and maths.
  5. Have some understanding of science subjects such as biology and chemistry.
Start date & length of course

You start the course when you receive the log-in information and access will then be available for 12 months. There may be additional admin fees to pay if you take longer than 12 months to complete the full programme of four modules, including the verbal assessment.

Programme availability

Our Advanced Training Programme is available in the United Kingdom with the City and Guilds certificate on completion of all four modules and the verbal assessment. We also offer international training for non-UK businesses.

Assessments

At the end of each module there is a written assessment in the form of online questions. Once all four written assessments have been completed there is the final verbal assessment on Skype, booked at a mutally convenient time and date. You will have access to the module content for revision and to refer to at the time of the verbal assessment if you complete the full programme within 12 months. There may be a re-registration fee to access module content if you take longer than 12 months to take this.

Important information

Our training programes will be available to start study from Tuesday 15 January, 2019.

The City and Guilds Certificate is issued when all four modules have been completed (by passing all four written assessments taken at the end of each module) AND a satisfactory verbal assessment taken when all four modules have been completed.

We would urge anyone who works in the industry to complete the full training programme to get the full City and Guilds Certificate.

We highly recommend that whether you choose either the Foundation or Advanced Training Programme you take the Water Quality module before attempting the Filtration module, and the Fish Biology module before the Fish Health module because each will give you a good grounding in the topics dealt with in the subsequent module.

It is expected that students would complete each training programme within 12 months, otherwise re-registration fees may apply.

If you choose, you can buy just one, two or three either Foundation or Advanced modules but you will only get an OATA Certificate of Attendance for each module, not the full City and Guilds Certificate.

course fees

foundation training programme

advanced training programme