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Thursday July 26, 2007

The exotic trade of aquascaping


IT is quite common to hear about landscaping but the concept of aquascaping sounds exotic and unusual. 

“It’s like landscaping but we do it in a tank with fishes and aquatic plants,” said Kevin Tan, 29. 

Cool sight: Tan (left) and Lim with one of the display tanks in their shop.
Tan and his partner Joseph Lim, 35, have set up Slippery Little Suckers (SLS), a company that offers aquascaping services. 

“We set up and maintain tanks for offices or homes. Besides that, we also import and export exotic fish and aquatic plants,” said Tan, who was a practising architect before pursuing aquascaping full-time. 

Depending on how large or how complicated it is, a tank can cost anything between RM1,000 and RM20,000. 

The more complex tanks have units that supply carbon dioxide, chillers to lower the water temperature and special lighting to create an ideal habitat for the plants and fishes. 

Exotic: Some of the fishes available at Slippery Little Suckers.
Beginners can start off with smaller tanks and experiment with plants and fishes that are easier to maintain. 

“For aquascaping enthusiasts or those who just want to find out more, there is the Malaysian Aquascaping Club (MAC),” Tan said. 

MAC provides information about aquascaping and there is a forum where members can ask questions, share tips and exchange ideas on the subject. 

“It has been going on for about a year and we have almost 1,000 members. It’s a community of like-minded people engaging in a healthy hobby,” he said. 

MAC also organises workshops for its members, like the recent one on planted aquarium by MAC president Stan Chung at Tan’s shop.  

Useful information: Malaysian Aquascaping Club president Stan Chung conducting the Planted Aquarium Workshop at Tan’s shop recently.
He did a step-by-step demonstration on how to create a planted aquarium. 

Chung, 37, is one of the more experienced aquascaping buffs, his entry being the highest-ranking in Southeast Asia in The International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest 2006. 

The contest is an annual event organised by Aqua Design Amano, a Japanese company specialising in aquascaping. 

A MAC member from Seremban said the forum was a great place for hobbyists to get information. 

“We can even exchange or sell surplus plants to other members. Everything is localised so it caters to the Malaysian market,” he said. 

Slippery Little Suckers is located at A-2-5, Block A, Jalan PJU 1A/20A, Dataran Ara Damansara. For more details, call 03-7848 3930 or visit its website at www.slipperylittlesuckers.com.my.  

Malaysian Aquascaping Club’s website is www.my-mac.net  

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