On a whim while on the train ride to Ho Chi Minh City I wrote to the ‘contact us’ address at Saigon Aquarium asking if I could visit their breeding facilities. Much to my surprise I got a speedy ‘yes’ reply. HoaBinh Dinh contacted me shortly thereafter on WhatsApp and offered to pick us up at our hotel and drive us out for a tour.
Needless to say, I immediately rearranged touring plans and freed up an afternoon. I feel a bit guilty about depriving Dee of the acrobatics show we’d been planning to see… but not /that/ guilty.
Ornamental fish importers generally talk about mass-bred fish coming from Eastern Europe or the ‘Far East’. It turns out that in this case there’s a pretty tight connection between the two. Binh, our guide, studied abroad in Prague. The owner of Saigon Aquarium lives in Prague. And, Binh picked us up in a bus because his other in-town errand was picking up a bunch of Czech friends at the airport who had been on holiday in Phú Quốc.
The ride out to Cu Chi was fascinating — the highway was lined with an endless row of shops and restaurants, mile after mile… eventually the landscape opened up a bit and there were some industrial parks and one enormous hammock camp. We never saw anything that much resembled countryside, but eventually there was enough open space for Saigon Aquarium’s first small facility. In this space they tranship wild-caught fish and fish from other farms, and also raise Corydoras.
Next — Corydoras breeding.