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SINGAPORE    High & Low Tides


    Monday with the Editor: Keeping the Hualorhan (Part 1)

Yesterday     Jan - May 2002     2001     2000     1999

  Hi everyone

  It appears that I have been harping about Hualorhans (Flower Horn fish) in this column during the past few weeks.

  But, I don't wish to apologise for the attention that I am giving to this new hybrid of fish from Malaysia. After all, many many Singaporeans are crazy about the fish. And quite a number of visitors to this website have paid visits to my previous columns on the Hualorhan.

  This week, however, I am going to talk about keeping the Hualorhan in an aquarium at home. The Hualorhan is derived from the Cichlid family of fish and has acquired the aggressiveness inherent in that family of fish. It is also quite territorial and best kept alone.

  A 2-ft long all-glass tank should be big enough for a lone Hualorhan of say, 5 inches in length from head to tail. Even if your Hualorhan is much smaller, it is still best to put it in a tank of this size. It will grow faster with more space to move around in. Make sure the bottom of the tank is not painted black. The Hualorhan can see its own reflection if the bottom of the tank is black and it will attack its own image. Remember, placing gravel on the bottom of the tank doesn't solve this problem as the Hualorhan is adept at moving the gravel around. 

  Put small smooth gravel (two packets) on the bottom of the tank. It's for your pet fish to play with. Make sure the gravel is smooth; you don't want your Hualorhan to hurt itself when it scratches its body on it. The Hualorhan likes its home niche area - usually one corner of the tank, next to the filter tube - to be clean. So it will remove the gravel around this area by putting some into its mouth and then spitting it out some way off from its home niche. It will also remove faeces around this area the same way. See how clean it is?

  It is best to get an overhead filter - especially the three-tier type - as we don't want our laziness (cleaning the tank often) to affect the health of the fish. The overhead filter will make things easy for both the fish and the owner.

  Next, add some aquarium salt. You can get a packet the size of your take-away lunch container for S$1.50. This is to keep the tank clean.

  Now, you are ready to add the fish. Leave the fish in its plastic bag in the aquarium. Then, let some water from the aquarium mix with the water in the plastic bag. Let in more water over a period of half an hour. After that, let the Hualorhan swim out of the plastic bag into its new home.

  It will be frightened at first. Let it find its hiding place - usually next to the long filter tube coming down from the overhead filter. Leave the Hualorhan alone to let it get used to its new home. There's no need to run out to get food for your new pet fish for the Hualorhan will take about two to three days to get used to the new tank - it won't eat anything during this period of time.

  Make sure that when you approach the tank to take a look at the Hualorhan, you do not make sudden moves. Also, if you have a light for the aquarium, leave it off for the first few days. Now for the important part - whichever room you put the Hualorhan in, make sure that at night, when you have already turned off the light, you do not turn it on again suddenly. You will terribly frighten the Hualorhan - whether it's new to the aquarium or not. So how do you handle this? Just make sure that you move around the room in darkness just to let the fish know that somebody is around before you switch on the light.

  Anyway, in the event that you should forget to do what I have just said, don't fret. Your Hualorhan will run in circles and then lie perfectly still on the bottom of the tank with its pelvic fins rod-straight - almost as if it has died. But, it has not. Just leave it alone. Don't disturb it by touching it. After, say 20 minutes or so, it will miraculously awake and head for its home niche.

  Well, that's all I have to say for today. Will write more about this next Monday. (That's my pet Hualorhan below - it's a she)

You can e-mail to us your comments on the above FRONTPAGE STORY. Quote this number 130502 on the subject heading and address your e-mail to Your comments will appear HERE!

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Keeping the Hualorhan (Part 3)

Keeping the Hualorhan (Part 2)

Keeping the Hualorhan (Part 1)

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