Label Cloud

Fishing for compliments

AFTER one has furnished a home with the basics, one then considers the finer details of home interiors: ornaments, pictures, sculptures and so forth. Objects that please the eye, and fascinate by their shape and colour perhaps, or items that form a point of focus, all of which one will have to live with day in and day out — hence choose ornamental decor wisely.

Now let me introduce an item that possibly would not immediately spring to mind — an aquarium. An aquarium can be colourful, always in flux, a living, aquatic world and surely an interesting alternative to say, china or a water colour painting.

But aquariums can also be messy, expensive, require lots of attention and expertise (who will feed the fish if you are away?). Yes, they look nice but are too much trouble, I hear you say. Well not these days, not necessarily so.

The latest aquariums can be purchased as complete self-contained kits — you just literally add fish, weed and water (and the weed can be low-maintenance plastic!).

East-Aqua Studio at Mid Valley Megamall and Ikano Power Centre carry a good range of kits and accessories, fish included.

In one box they provide a tank, filter system, lighting and possibly a stand too. And tanks come in all sizes, from a desktop mini-ocean in a 15cm-long tank at around RM60 for the kit, to a 25cm tank kit at RM138, or a 30cm one for RM168.

They will all fit on a desk or shelf, all you need is a nearby power point. A further expenditure is then required of around RM200 to RM300 for the gravel, plants and a fish population, and your miniature eco-system is complete.

Is there then a lot of maintenance? Well, with a simple aquarium, the filter may need washing once a week or less, with 20 per cent of the water changed every week or so, but with a small tank this is only a few minutes’ work. The interior glass of the tank will also need periodic cleaning, again a simple job with a small tank.

When you are not around to feed the fish, automatic fish feeders are available to give your finned pets their regular meals for up to one month. Basically, it’s a simple food hopper with a timer attached, which you put above the tank.

As for expertise, the important thing is to keep things simple if you are a novice to the aquarium scene.

Start off with a small tank, preferably a fresh water one, which is much easier to maintain than a salt/sea water tank. Get advice from your aquarium shop. They will tell you not to buy too many, or too large fish.

Start off with cheap fish. Tetras, for example, are colourful and cost as little as a few ringgit each. Do not mix fish that do not get along: fill a tank full of Siamese fighting fish, and after several days you could be left with a single, somewhat overfed survivor!

It is important to clean your new tank and any rocks and gravel you use in it, then let it sit with pure fresh water, without traces of detergents, etc, for 24 hours before populating it with your first fish.

Of course, a small, simple fresh water aquarium is very different from a large salt water tank. The latter can look absolutely stunning, populated with all sorts of vividly coloured fish: clown fish, butterfly fish, shrimps, even sea horses, constantly moving against a kaleidoscope of living coral and anemones.

A sea water aquarium will require far more attention and expertise than a fresh water one, with salt levels and temperature having to be monitored and controlled very closely,

Filters and other ancillaries are also more expensive because of the corrosive salt, and although the fish are not that expensive, the more exotic corals and anemones are certainly not cheap.

Should you wish to go for the ultimate — a large sea water aquarium with a well-populated coral reef, then in a 2.4-metre-long tank with all the extras, this could cost you RM25,000. One surely has to be something of a tropical fish expert to indulge in that sort of sum, and make one mistake, and you have a tank with nothing living, everything having to be replaced and another large bill!

Perhaps better to have a maintenance contract with your local aquarium shop to look after such a tank for you.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin