A Visit to Singapore

 We visited Singapore in December 1995. While there, we spent a fair amount of time checking out the pet shops and also visited with some local ranchu fanciers. For a thorough travelogue, see my article in the April 1996 issue of the Goldfish Society of America's newsletter, The Goldfish Report.

A photo of the people I met and one of their outdoor ponds is included here (44KB). Interestingly, this pond is out in the full tropical sun all day long with no plants in the pond and only about 20% shaded. But the water is quite clear; no green water. Part of the reason is probably that this is an aged and established pond, with filamentary algae on the sides and bottom. The other part of the reason is the gigantic upflow biofilter you see on the right corner of pool (the blue cylinder behind Ron). This is probably filled with about 30 gallons of biomedia. Plus there is a mass of algae at the top of the filter, so we may be getting some "plant filter" cleaning also.

In addition to visiting with ranchu breeders, we also spent some time scouring the pet shops. There were actually a number of stores that had decent selections of goldfish, though the prices were not lower than in the US. In some cases, they seemed quite a bit higher for similar quality fish. This is certainly a function of what the market will bear. Singapore is a very prosperous society, with a much higher percentage of serious goldfish collectors in the general population than in the US.

The best selection was at Rainbow Pet & Aquarium Centre, with a number of varieties, including a large number of red and white ranchu imported from Japan. These seemed very pricey for the quality, at $S300-$S700 each (for reference, $S1.40 = $US1.00). I was told that the serious fanciers would line up on the evenings when a new shipment was due in at the key goldfish shops, as there would often only be one or two really nice fish in a shipment. In any event, Rainbow's goldfish seemed a positive bargain compared to their koi, which were priced as high as $S22,000 each.

Around the corner from Rainbow was Marwin Aquarium & Trading. This small shop had several varieties, including some nice redcap orandas and some bubble eyes, both at about 6 inches standard length (SL). They also had the only lionheads I saw the entire time in Singapore. The only other shop we visited with a nice selection was Okii Flora & Aquascape, with ryukins, orandas, and ranchu (including a 5 inch SL Edonishiki for $S300). People also recommended two stores we didn't get to: the Blue Sea and the Red Sea Aquariums. It was fun to go and look at the fish, but I wasn't tempted to buy. If you go to Singapore, make sure you visit the zoo and Jurong Bird Park. If there's time left, then visit the pet shops.