Hong Kong’s Goldfish Street

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MingKing, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. MingKingNew MemberMember

    I’ve been watching Aquarium Co-Op’s recent videos about his trip to Hong Kong’s Goldfish Street or fish market. Here’s the link: (I’m on mobile so I apologize for any formatting issues)

    He explains in another video more thoroughly about how there are A LOT of people buying fish so having them in bags makes the act of selling much more efficient and effective. I personally, after hearing his interpretation, find this understandable and it was actually one of the reasons why I wasn’t too eager to visit Goldfish Street (I’ll be going to Hong Kong myself later this year). I wasn’t ready to witness the scene and I wouldn’t feel happy if I saw anything close to cruelty.

    I’m not saying this doesn’t exist at Goldfish Street but seeing his vlog and hearing about his interpretation of the street has made me feel more at ease and excited to visit the street in my own travels.

    But I think my biggest question now is: why are there so many people buying fish??? And not just little fish like mollies but fish like arowanas and discus! How can a single store sell 100 discus a day and how can people own discus at home when Hong Kong is know for really small living spaces?

    I tried to google a bit hoping to find an explanation but I didn’t get too much. I got the idea that people have fish as opposed to dogs and cats because of space restriction. But big fish who will need big tanks take up space too.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this? And has anyone visited the street themselves and maybe have a different or similar experience than Aquarium Co-Op?
  2. SwampgorillaValued MemberMember

    Goldfish are a part of Chinese and Japanese, actually a lot of Asian cultures. I only started raising golfish years ago when I was stationed in HAWAII and all my Chinese / Japanese neighbors had them ... so I got 'em too.

    There's a different philosophy over there. You will not hear the "20 gallons for the first fish ... 10 for every other" rule / mantra parroted much over there. They will crowd the tanks and they do just fine ... and are better keepers of goldfish than 80 percent of Americans who keep them are. They do all this without really seeming to even pick up a water tester very much. It confounds the living devil out of me. It's like they were blessed with a "gold thumb".

    I encourage you to go there and talk to the fishkeepers themselves (it's crowded apparently, hopefully they have time to sit around and shoot the breeze with you - they probably WILL if you BUY a lot from them).

    You'll probably find yourself questioning everything you've ever learned on the internet forums. A lot of what they do just doesn't comply with the way we think here.

    I pretty much adopted their philosophy on goldfish. They seem to see them less as pets and more as something of a challenge ... like creating a "bonzai tree". They have beautiful fish too - the most beautiful on the planet.

    But if you're looking for "touchy feely" fish keepers - look elsewhere. A fish dies, they get angry and want to know why ... there's no "mourning" for the fish .. IT'S A FISH. A fish death is a personal failure to them ... not a personal loss.

    EDIT: I would relate that what I've found ... is that anyone over there who buys a goldfish generally takes extreme good care of it because these people don't buy them in an "uneducated condition" like a lot of Americans do. They know what they are getting into, know a little something about it (probably from their family when they were growing up) and they're not really "blindsided" with this ... "What is this "ammonia" thing and why did it kill my fish" kind of astonishment that you see with new Western fishkeepers - who get into the hobby on a whim. Everything they do is calculated to produce success.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
  3. FashoogaFishlore VIPMember

    Fish in HK is dirt cheap. You see a pair of guppies are like $40 HKD which is $5.00 for a pair. So the cost of having a fish is not expensive at all. You see the discus is $200 HKD? $25.00 for a decent size discus.

    The market is aimed at families who have bigger homes. I have family whose flats are 1000+ square feet.

    Also since Chinese love fish as a hobby a lot of businesses have tanks, like restaurants. You see a lot of pictures of nine goldfish it’s a lucky number (like 8). The bigger the fish the better it looks in the tank. Arowana is the dragon fish.

    There are a lot of people who own dogs and cats. The dogs are small but ones who own the big ones obviously have a lot of money.
  4. shiv234Well Known MemberMember

    Their fishes are darned hardy. Probably hardier than in trinidad. For reference, in trinidad we don't need to acclimate, have to stress with fish dying, not eating, weak fish......i'm talking about 2 week old discus living in temperatures that fluctuate between 5-10 degrees celcius daily and when needed to be moved just take out and dump in next tank with less than 3% death rate.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2018
  5. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    I agree with swampgorilla. The standards are much different in the East. I know this from first-hand experience. You may not like it, but it works, regardless of anyone’s feelings. The facts can’t be disputed.

    Here’s some perspective: the Chinese were the first to domesticate fish, the gibel carp or funa. Much later, the Japanese did the refinements to the goldfish and eventually went on to create over a hundred different varieties. Many of them were kept in ceramic bowls without filters. The idea of the nitrogen cycle wasn’t even in existence. How could they do and know any of this? There was no electricity. Yet during the dark ages of fish-keeping, they were still able to accomplish so much.

    So in short, yes, they love fish. What’s wrong with a lot of people buying them? It’s a huge part of their culture, afterall. Just because it doesn’t fit Western standards, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
  6. MingKingNew MemberMember

    Interesting! My mom’s family is actually from Hong Kong but I was born and grew up in North America. My uncle lives in Hong Kong and when he comes over once a year and looks at my tanks, he laughs at me. Haha! He’s said things like “Why do you need so many filters??” Or for my betta tanks - says I don’t need a heater or such a big tank. He is also a fish keeper and has discus and flowerhorns. As well as other animals like turtles and grows a lot of bonsai on his rooftop.

    I usually just shrug or let his comments go over my head because the fish I keep are smaller than his and I don’t have experience with his types of fish and I always just assumed it was a different way of fishkeeping. But I can see more clearly now why my parents and my family view me so weirdly because of the way I care for my fish. I must look like a crazy cat lady but with fish.

    I’ll have to pick my uncle’s brain when I go to Hong Kong later this year. I’ve just never thought to ask him too much especially since he usually has something not-to-positive to say. Haha!

    I’ve also worked at a big box pet store and found it extremely and eternally frustrating when people would come in over and over again, asking why their fish died when their maintenance skills were not up to par or blamed the fact that they didn’t want to do this or that to care for their fish. I think if people adopted the method of fish keeping that you described, people would be much more successful with their tanks.