Monday, 30 May 2011

If You Do Not Like Live Fish,

or things aquatic skip this post!

for we are off to the bi-annual fish show Aquarama 2011, the show is the trades meeting place of International buyers and sellers,
but first breakfast, just round the corner from the hotel, we went to Mr. Bean's Cafe,
it has a view along one of Singapore's busy streets,
club sandwich for me,
egg and toast for Diana,
we were the only customers at the time, the food was excellent, just what we needed,
we crossed the road to hail a taxi and by a strange piece of fate found ourselves outside one of our suppliers,
then to the show,
what should have been a few minuets booking in as we already had tickets turned into a farce, 40 minutes later we were along with many others no closer to getting inside, the staff ere completely overwhelmed by the number of visitors,
but we were in at last,
Tetra had a nice stand as usual, but I could see already that many exhibitors had not made the show,
the good news was that some new companies had decided to exhibit here like JBJ, I had not seen them before,
another new company for me,
as you might expect many companies are from the local area like Taiwan,
looking at the pictures it is often easy to forget how big the aquatic industry is,
one type of aquatic keeping is getting bigger every year,
live shrimps, available in many colours, they make fascinating pets with the good news that they do not take up too much room,
going back to its grass roots this was how fish were kept hundreds of years ago, before the advent of glass aquariums,
the fish were selectively inbreed to make them look attractive if you looked down on them, hence so many types of fancy goldfish are now available, but now a days we look at them from the side, not from above,
this gentleman is as you can see from the booth is from Indonesia, he specialises in plants, if you are a wholesaler looking for a plant grower he is the guy to see,
then in a huge stroke of luck I bumped into Anil, we a few years ago traveled in North East India looking for fish that could be breed and exported to help the Indian aquatic trade,
he now has a position with Ornamental Fish International (OFI) the trades representative organisation, so we caught up on old times, much better face to face than any amount of e-mailing can do,
also at the convention there are a number of fish and aquarium shows,
but back to the exhibits,
one of the big things out here is the keeping of Arowanas, they are a freshwater bony fish of the family Osteoglossidae, also known as bonytongues, amongst the Chines community they are considered a 'good luck' fish, although I have seen this many times in literature, I have never been able to find the original source that actually says this,
this is a new line in mini aquariums, although they do not look so different the advantage is that the light, filter, heater/thermostat all only require one wire or plug from the aquarium,
some new varieties of tiger barbs,
one of the many stands specialising in only Arowanas,
one of the many banks of fish to be judged,
the Singapore stand as you might expect was large,
well I had to pose as well!
this aquarium had lace gouramis and cichlids that had been inbreed to have compressed bodies,
zooming in on them they almost look like living abstract art!
one of the many marine aquariums on display,
a look at it's inhabitants,
next a film crew arrived,
it was a media circus!
well OK there was only one group of them, but it sounded good!
Thailand was represented,
as was the Philippines,
a nice display from Dolphin International,
then a reminder for two years time,
assocation for marine and freshwater development were also here, it is a show case for any thing aquatic in the ornamental sector,
I have never been a fan of picture frame aquariums,
but I had to admit these looked so nice I changed my mind,
tatstefully decorated,
this one on the same stand I liked as a corner unit,
another new company for me,
then one from Germany whos prouducts we sell in the shop,
a nice display of mini aquariums,
popular a few years ago these 'S' shaped aquariums have gone out of style for the past couple of years, but they will be back I am sure,
a closer view of it,
then who should I spot? Anil taking some pictures of the planted mini aquariums,
there are a number of sizes,
these being the largest,
the basic idea is that the day before the show all competitors are given the same size aquarium, wither it is fresh or salt water, the aquarium ois set up for the duration of the show, judged then taken a part when after 5 days the show is finished,
some of the designs are so beatitful,
it looks like they have been established for years,
just some of the freshwater aquariums compeating,
then on to the marine section,
same rules different medium,
meaning salt water, so corals instead of plants,
just like you see on the pristine coral reefs,
the only difference being here you can some times see inhabitants that would not normally occour together, a coral from say the Carribean and a fish from the Far East,
they all look like they have been here for years but in truth this was a bare tank just a couple of days ago,
in the foregrounf a yellow fox face, do not be fooled by his good looks, some of his fins are venimous,
then on to the Arowana display,
after a last look at the marine section,
although nice to look at,
these fish need an aquarium all to themselves,
each one housed singualy not only here but at their homes too,
some of the many banks of fish waiting to be judged,
if you are a discus lover this is the one awarded best in show,
he had some stiff competition,
like some of these,
each one beautiful in his or her own right,
but there can be only one winner,
just as we were about to leave I spotted this aquarium, it stopped me in my tracks,
the last time I saw one of these I was SCUBA diving in lake Tanganika catching them, on my return to the UK I found myself in the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London, for 10 days, but that is another story, the fish in question is a Ophthalmotilapia ventralis, nice to see one again,
my fear of hieghts came back to haunt me again, the escalators here are so tall - lomg they seem unervingly high,
Diana making her long way down,
nearly there,
at the far end of the main concourse there is a food hall,
so we stopped for a bite to eat for Diana, just a coffee for me,
well I had to leave some room for a beer when we arrived back at the bar next to our hotel, this afternoon we were joined by this chap who serenaded us,
Diana waiting for her coke,
and a beer for me, well we have to charge our batteries as it is our last night in Singapore.

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