• 2000.09.23 Taipei Times-New aquarium cuts water demand

New aquarium cuts water demand

AQUATIC TECHNOLOGY A innovative hi-tech fish tank eliminates the need to periodically change the water in order to maintain a healthy environment




A new bio-tech fish tank that eliminates the need for water changing is being marketed by its Taiwanese inventors.


Taiwanese scientists have invented a high-tech aquarium that dispenses with the need to change the water. The new fish tanks swam onto the domestic market earlier this month.

According to researchers at Chung-hwa Bio-Tech Aquaculture Inc (中華生技公司), the high-tech aquarium is a scaled-down model of technologically advanced aqua-farms already manufactured by the company.

"You will never need to change the water because the aquarium is combined with a patented multi-layer aerating filter," said Hoover Tai (戴章皇), vice president of the company's marketing division.

The technology -- granted six domestic and international patents -- was developed in 1992 by the company's president, Hsieh Chin-hui (謝清輝), who wanted to improve water quality, one of the key factors behind maintaining the health of fish. The technology is already in use at some fish farms.

Tai, however, said that a biological preparation (生物製劑), newly invented by the company, would have to be added to the aquarium to help decompose the fish's excrement.

A version of the preparation has been applied not only in prawn farms in Pingtung County but also in other countries, including China, the Philippines and Ecuador. Experience has shown that the technology can provide pollution-free and natural-smelling breeding environments for fish and shellfish, including prawns and crabs.

A slightly modified version of the biological formula -- for aquarium use -- utilizes natural bacteria and dozens of the chemical elements in sea water to solve water quality problems. The preparation can turn the toxic chemicals contained in fish excrement into nitrates, which do not hurt the fish.

Tai said aquariums with the improved aqua-farm environment can increase the survival rate of the fish they contain. One aquarium created by the company, measuring 2.6 x 0.9 x 0.65m3, has demonstrated its ability to keep 1,260 red parrot fish (血鸚鵡, a hybrid fish known in Taiwan as symbols of fortune), compared with about 300 such fish in a traditional aquarium of the same size.

"You don't even have to clean your aquarium. All you have to do is to add the biological preparation once a week and replace the active carbon and filter net once a month," Tai said.

He added that the convenience brought by high technology made keeping an aquarium more enjoyable.

The high-tech aquarium was introduced in Shanghai in May, where its convenience has created a growing market.

Tai said that improving the immunity of fish to disease was another necessary element to keeping fish healthy.

The company has also invented special feeds incorporating ingredients such as aloe, the rhizome (underground stem) of Chinese goldthread (黃連, a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine) and other traditional medicine ingredients.

Statistically, the success rate for raising prawns in the traditional outdoor fish farms is less than 20 percent, compared to the rate of between 60 to 80 percent in the outdoor aqua-farm fitted with the company's technology.

The company has rejected a price offered by the Council of Agriculture to purchase the technology.



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