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Hey all! I want to share some pics with you from a recent Hong Kong trip. Of course, I had to make a special trip to the famous Gold Fish Market:roll:! Let me tell ya, the shops selling freshwater aquatic plants and fish are numerous. The depth and breadth of flora and fauna are unbelievable! Interestingly, salt water/reef tanks are in the minority, unless you count the ones in restaurants :hungry:.

Some notes:
  • Most stores don't seem to have a problem with tourists taking pictures and I did so often in full view of store owners and employees. In some stores, I was not able to photograph many nice tanks because a "no photo or video" sign was prominently displayed above some choice tanks.
  • Most shop keepers speak little English. My broken Mandarin was not much help. Cantonese is the norm. By and large service was was brisk but courteous.
  • Obviously, I could not take home any livestock or plants. I was not even so sure about driftwood..and they had a lot of really nice pieces for cheap :(. I bought 3 Shou stones home only to have one of them confiscated by customs because there was soil (Aquasoil) trapped in some of the holes :Cry:.
  • Intense competition between so many stores in a small area means that living and non-living stuff is relatively inexpensive as $1 USD = $7.50 HKD. Examples in HKD: ADA MH bulb $480; small bottle of Green Gain and Green Bacter $85; 30 mm ADA pollen glass beetle $500; 500 ml Tropica TPN+ $198. I was particularly impressed by the selection of trimless tanks that give the ADA ones a run for their money. These beauties make the ones we see in here in the US look like garbage. Cash only, no sales tax.
  • I was really impressed by the passion and interest that people of HK have for freshwater fish and tanks. I can only hope this hobby starts to take off more in the US.
Enough talk :blah: Enjoy the slide show!

http://s469.photobucket.com/albums/rr55/Bunbuku_APC/Rotala rebirth/Hong Kong 2009/?albumview=slideshow
 

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Terrific slide show. I still can't imagine keeping livestock pre-packaged. Do the fish and plants really fly off the shelves that quick!? o_O

I'm surprised you face so many problems with Customs. I've brought wood/stones back home from trips to Japan so many times completely unmolested.

I'm jealous you can speak some Mandarin. I took it in middle school but completely forgot it. To this day, I wonder why teaching Mandarin is the standard in the Hawaii school system when the vast majority of local Chinese are southerners, and for us too Cantonese is the China Town standard. Even if you learn it there's no where to use it in daily life. :p In any case Wo bu hui shuo zhungwen. :p
 

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Oh my goodness!!!!!:jaw: I've never seen anything like that in my life!!! You were right there and couldn't bring ANY home!!! I would have had a conniption fit! I'm drooling just looking at your pxs!!! I would have to stay a week just to get my fill of looking at all the wares. I don't think I'd ever get tired!

Why can't we have a place like that here?!!!
 

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Do they empty the bags that don't sell? And rebag them? Or do they leave them till they sell?

Perhaps some of our HK members can chime in here?
 

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OMG! I want to live in this street so bad. This is stunning ppl! It's just too sweet to be true!

Bunbuku: Why you could'nt bring back home some beautiful plants and driftwoods? since they are cheap

There's so many aquatic plants choices that you can't find over here. It's HUGE and rare! No doubt the people overthere loves and they really enjoy to do this hobby. I believe that's why CAU community has been founded. :)

I'm pretty sure the 1th Place Winner of International ADA Contest last year 2008 owns an aquatic plant shop in this street.
Overthere, the hobbyist people likes to compete and to improve their aquascape skills.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
:photo:Thanks for the comments!

Steve - Customs would not have found it but we bought some food items as gifts which we felt that we had to declare. They found the rocks as they searched for other food items - the guys were very courteous though as they confiscated the pork jerky. BTW in the Houston Chinatown the most common language spoken is Mandarin and Vietnamese with a smattering of Taiwanese and Cantonese. One store owner in a Kowloon shopping area called us ABC's bec my "zhungwen" is not so good either :rolleyes:.

TexGal - I think I heard that TexGuy was taking you to Hong Kong this year[smilie=u:. Seriously, though avoid summer because it gets really hot and humid according to the tourist books.

Dave - you would go crazy there identifying so many different kinds of aquatic plants without diving into any ditches.

Jess - you would'nt be able to have a 6 ft tank in HK! Most people live in high rises and space is limited. Nonetheless it s a great place to visit for plant and fish geeks. Hotels are reasonably priced, the train is convenient and inexpensive, and you can eat well cheaply (or very expensively depending on your tastes). I find the mix of British and Chinese influence delightful. Wonton soup or French toast with peanut butter with your milk tea this afternoon?

rodrigaj - I saw store owners bagging fish in the morning when the stores are just opening up but I can't say for sure they "unbag" unsold livestock at closing time (most shops close at 9-10 pm) since it was too late. From a business standpoint it makes sense bec dead livestock = lost revenue.

aquaquang - this is also a residential street. People live in apartments in the upper levels. HK has the advantage of proximity to major aquatic plant growers in SE asia and ability to easily import from other suppliers like Tropica.
 

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Bunbuku, why you could'nt bring back home some beautiful plants and driftwoods? and Even CRS? THERE ARE PLENTY of choice and since they are cheap.

I think it's in asian blood most of us like to eat and to keep fish. Two things that most of us has is the patience and competition. It's just part of the culture and I think we don't care to spend our money in it. Whereas in US and Canada, most is impatience and instead of spending they prefer to spend their money in activities (shows, theatre, ski...) This is one reason why we don't see gorgeous aquarium shops out there and where I live is so horrible in Canada. Of course, there's no ADA stores.

Bunbuku: I was really impressed by the passion and interest that people of HK have for freshwater fish and tanks. I can only hope this hobby starts to take off more in the US.

:photo:Thanks for the comments!

aquaquang - this is also a residential street. People live in apartments in the upper levels. HK has the advantage of proximity to major aquatic plant growers in SE asia and ability to easily import from other suppliers like Tropica.
 

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I told Tex Guy your,... em, his plans, and he wants to know if they speak English there of if we would be lost? Wouldn't that be something, me, a world traveler, and hardly seen this country yet?!
 

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I told Tex Guy your,... em, his plans, and he wants to know if they speak English there of if we would be lost? Wouldn't that be something, me, a world traveler, and hardly seen this country yet?!
LOL! In all hotels and tourist areas English is spoken. All the street and train signs are bilingual. The PA announcements in the train a bilingual also. The symbol for the train (aka "MTS") looks like two tridents end to end and is prominent. As you exit the train station, signs to well-known tourist spots are clearly marked. You will be walking along an elevated walkway above street level that will take you to your destination. Its is likely you will be wanting to visit at several places per stop. You exit the walkway at the desired streets; the exit signs are bilingual. As long as you have a good sense of direction and know where you got off you won't get lost. You can get back up to the walkway to hoof it to the next spot, or hop back on the train - there is a Royal Plaza Hotel within walking distance to the Goldfish market. You don't even need to take the train. However, I personally prefer to stay in a hotel in a less congested neighborhood.

The hotel concierge will give you a bilingual card with the hotel's name and address, so if you get hopelessly lost, you can flag down a cab and have him take you back. Cab fare is cheap too.

I think TexGuy also mentioned a visit to Japan while you are there, where you will be visiting the ADA headquarters in Nigita :slywink:.
 

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I can more then guarantee that there will be an ADA boutique in Houston with the best plant selection in the US sooner or later.

The hobby needs to catch on a little stronger for things to come full circle, but, it will happen sooner or later.
 

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Bunbuku, why you could'nt bring back home some beautiful plants and driftwoods? and Even CRS? THERE ARE PLENTY of choice and since they are cheap.
Its against USDA regulations my friend. I for one am not willing to take the chance and find out that the penalties are. You could do it commercially after obtaining all the right approvals and inspections but for a tourist its not worth the trouble.
Regarding the wood I was too jet lagged to ask the USDA inspector about it. My guess it they would say no because there is no way we can guarantee there are no insects or beetles in the wood.

I can more then guarantee that there will be an ADA boutique in Houston with the best plant selection in the US sooner or later.

The hobby needs to catch on a little stronger for things to come full circle, but, it will happen sooner or later.
I'll be there when you guys open up that shop! Maybe you should think about setting up an aquatic plant repository. Hobbyists could contribute uncommon or rare plants for y'all to propagate and sell.
 

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Lol if I went there I would have for SURE bought out all the stores ADA Stones!!! Curious about prices on the stones there though if you remember? ( I ask a s I might be going there in 2 years or so )

Your pics are awesome! lol I want more thoug soo badly! If my father went with you he would have came back easily with above 3000 pictures!!!

lol The slide show was great though. I think you should slow down the pics as I like to read underneath the photo's and take a good look at every photo!

Great job man very inspirational place!
 

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Thanks thief! I think is was the equivalent if $5 to $7 USD per Shou stone from the store that had the #1 World 2008 ADA Layout contest.

I think you can slow the show down by clicking the speed on the left lower corner.
 
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