Interview with Dave Chow
by Óscar Pereiro
Mr. Chow, first of all, I would like to thank you for lending us part of your time.
How and when did you get into the hobby of setting up and keeping aquaria?
It’s ten years ago, I used to raise fish but the fishes were dead in a few days so I went to the shop to seek suggestions. When I passed by a shop with some water plant creations I was attracted by the shiny green swinging water plants. I was thinking it will be great if I can have one and about 2 months later a 5 feet long aquarium of water plants appeared in my home.
How many aquariums do you keep actually? How much time a day you dedicate to maintain aquariums?
It’s quite difficult to answer; i think about 20~30 tanks(including my client’s tank and my shop’s display tanks)need to maintain. Usually each tank need to change water and triming weekly.
Which is the aquarium you feel more proud?
Ashy Range definitely.
Many people (including me) regard you the best aquarist of the world. You did a lot of interviews, worldwide TV appearances..
Are you a famous person in your city? Did people recognize you in the street?
I think it’s quite pomposity. Actually there is some hobbyist recognize me in the fish street(which my shop located, most of the aquarium shops can be found in a street here in Mongkok, Kowloon or simply called it “fish street”. There are many shops in this street selling different kinds of product like water plants, tetra, goldfishes, guppies, pleco, aquarium equipments and materials, corals, sea water fishes. In the recent years there are some shops here selling pet dogs, cats and even strange reptiles. This “fish street” is also a must go place recommended by the Hong Kong Tourist Board.)
Now, if you don’t mind, a few technical questions:
Where do you get the inspiration from when creating your aquariums?
Magazine, tourist book, TV (NatGeo, Discovery), Internet Forum, Aqua Journal, Hiking …..etc.
Do you follow any norm of standard proportion when you create you hardscape?
This is good question, I am a advertising designer before so I do each scape will base on my graphic treatment knowledge which can express the nature in the graphic point of view.
Which kind of substrate do you use?
I only use ADA Amazonia I and II for my planted aquarium, ADA powersand special will depend the tank design requirement.
Do you consider filtration as an important part?
Yes, sure! Filtration System is act as a Digestion System in human body; the system need to be strong, healthy and recoverable.
What else do you consider a must when setting up an aquarium?
Strong Concept and Idea, Clear procedure in mind and strong decision making.
What kind of fishes and plants are your favourite for your creations?
I usually not consider the plants and fishes first when I create a new tanks, therefore I have no favourite choice of plants and fishes.
Can you please briefly explain how you set up an aquarium from zero? Do you use all the lighting from the start? Do you periodically renew the water as the aquarium matures? Should the emergence of algae in the tank be judged as normal, or should it be avoided?
First of all, to decide what size of your tank, cabinet or stand and then make decision of Lighting System and the Filtration System. Actually, i will change 1/3 water every week even the aquarium mature. I think if the aquarium stay balance, then the algae outbreak should be avoid.
What kind of fertilizer do you use?
My choice of fertilizer is ADA Lights, ADA Shades, ADA Bright K, ECA and TMG.
Photographs of your aquariums are magnificent. Would you please tell us what techniques, material (flashes, lenses, etc.) you resort to?
This is not my business when you talking about this matter, the photo is taking by my friend Gary.(another CAU member) I only can tell is : he use Nikon DSLR camera, using external flash lighting and also use wide angle lens when shooting.
Regarding you aquascaping vision:
In your opinion, in which country you see a bigger interest in the aquascaping?
Poland, Spain, Vietnam and China
How is aquascaping in Hong Kong?
So far so good, because Hong Kong is the centre of Asia, gate of China, we can learn and gain from many Countries. The head room of the aquascaping creativity is still large.
Do you know anything about the aquascaping reality in Spain?
It’s so sorry to say that i know not much about aquascaping in Spain, but i know there are many potential aquascapers in Spain.
Can you tell us a couple of aquascapers you like the most?
Yes, sure! First of all is Takashi Amano, Masashi Ono, Gary Wu, Tony Wong and Wayne Sham etc.
Which is the aquarium style you prefer?
No style is a style, or may be you can say that is NA (nature aquarium) style.
Apart of aquariums, do you have any other hobby?
For example: Outdoor hiking, reading and painting.
I’m going to give you a list of word and you comment what comes to your mind:
Master, King of Aquascaper.
Water Plant Cultivation.
Prestigious Aquarium Products, NA Style Design.
Art of Realistic Performance.
Source of Knowledge
Competitor of Water Plant, Source of Trouble.
Display Platform of Aquascape Portfolio
A Good Competitor
A kind of Performing Art
Prestigious Glass Products.
That’s all Mr. Chow.
Thanks again and best regards