HK Magazine: How does it feel to win this competition? Dave Chow: I’m very flattered. I’ve been entering this competition for four years, but I never imagined that I would win the title so soon. The annual contest is organized by a very famous aquarium company in Japan, and every year they attract hundreds of people worldwide who want to take part. But you see, winning the contest depends partly on luck. If your creation fits in with the current trends, you’ll have a better chance to win. HK: When did you start to do aquascape? DC: I’ve been doing this hobby for about ten years. Like many other people, I was interested in keeping fish at first, but later my attention shifted to aquatic plants and creating a garden in the aquarium. Actually, aquascape can be divided into two styles. One is the artificial type, which is more like gardening. The other type is when you try to create natural habitats in the aquarium as they exist in the environment. HK: Is it more difficult to raise aquatic plants, seeing as they live underwater? DC: Definitely. Aquarium water is basically stagnant water, and at the end of the day, and no matter how much you plumb oxygen into it and generate currents, it will never be the same as a fresh stream. To maintain the environment, you have to change the water at least once a week and wipe the inner surface of the aquarium to keep the habitat healthy. HK: I understand that you quit your full-time job and opened a shop selling aquatic plants. DC: I used to be an advertising designer, but one day I decided to turn my aquascape hobby into a career. But running an aquatic plants shop takes more time than I expected. I haven’t had a day off since I opened this shop several months ago, and a lot of people are quite ignorant and they come up and ask silly questions all the time. HK: Such as? DC: First, many people think of the underwater plants as seaweed, but of course they’re not seaweed; they live in fresh water. And many ask, “are the plants going to die?” or “how long can they live?” Only God knows the answer to that. But to be fair, most of the people who ask this kind of questions are the elderly, who are retired and live in the neighborhood. They just love to come around and ask questions in the morning. HK: You say Goldfish Street (Tung Choi Street in Mong Kok) is symbolic of Hong Kong. Why? DC: It’s like Hong Kong in terms of its sense of community and its convenience. I know aquascape lovers from Japan who say that it’s really hard for them to form a group like ours because they all live far away from each other and the aquarium shops are more dispersed. What’s more interesting is that now that I’ve won this competition, a lot of tourists from all over the world come to my shop to visit.