August 9, 2012
Different people have different preferences when it comes to pets; some people like to keep cats, dogs or even rabbits, but Chan Mingboupa prefers fish for friends.
Watching his water bound companions swim in the aquarium provides him with an endless amount of fascination, and a sense of peace and relaxation.
Staring at his fish before or after work brings Chan much closer to nature and also allows him to relax and explore the depths of his mind.
36 year old Chan is known to his friends as Dr Fish, the man who can communicate with and take care of all species of fish and aquatic creatures.
When Chan was a child he was inspired to raise large local fish that he caught in Phonephanao village himself, or those he was given by friends. The more he became involved in the biology and life cycles of fish the more he became obsessed with them.
For more than 10 years now, he has devoted his time, money and energy to invest in both local and ornamental fish. He has become a real fish lover, who is passionate about small and large species of fish, and it is now more than just a pastime for him.
Upon entering his house, his friends will be impressed with the assortment of large fish he has been growing for five years or more. Outside the house he has some large concrete tanks which are home to some larger and more unusual fish, including the crocodile fish, snake head fish (known locally as pa khor Amazon) and dragon head fish.
Chan’s fish have been raised with care and attention and they live together in the tanks without fighting each other. He explains that people are afraid that different kinds of fish will hurt each other if they are placed in the same tank together. However as long as the fish are the same size they will not hurt each other even though they are different.
Now, Chan has begun purchasing ornamental fish from other countries for his new shop that he recently opened for his wife to look after. He not only grows but also sells fish to people who are interested in colourful and exotic species, both in the capital and the provinces.
However he points out he doesn’t do it purely for a profit because he is employed by private transport company. What he wants to do is to create a network of people who can share their knowledge about various varieties of fish and different breeding method, furthering his fascination with fish.
He sells many kinds of ornamental fish, but is not prepared to part with the large local fish which keep him happy during his spare time.
To provide proper care and attention for his pets, Chan collects as much information as much as possible, particularly regarding the breeding and treatment of fish.
He resolved to do so after some of his fish died without showing any symptoms of disease and he could not do anything since it was beyond his ability, not having any background in the treatment of fish.
“It is natural that some of the my fish die or get sick, but I put a lot of effort into finding out the cause of death through friends or via the internet, to prevent more harm coming to my beloved fish,” Chan said.
He recalls both the happy and sad experiences his fish bring him. An especially sad day was when one of the biggest snake head fish he moved to a smaller tank died suddenly.
The fish, which was 23 kilogrammes in weight, died after he moved it and did not cover the tank carefully, causing the fish to jump out of the water and suffocate.
His past experiences made Chan realise that growing fish is not easy, especially when the fish become sick; it requires not only expertise and sensitivity but also the dedication to look after them properly.
Chan says it is important for all fish owners to know the basics such as knowing how to set up their aquarium properly, changing the water in the tanks, as well as regulating the temperatures and disolved air in the water.
His passion for his aquatic friends has given him plenty of inspiration to find out the proper way to care for different varieties of fish.
Every two weeks or so, Chan measures the length and weight of some of the largest fish, making sure they are properly fed and growing well. Through his efforts, he has proven that he can keep his fish in good health and looking beautiful.
Chan lives in Xaythany district in Vientiane. He lives on Soi 15 and his house number is 369. Fish lovers who want to see some of the largest local fish in Vientiane are welcome to stop by and share their experience with Dr Fish.