Saturday, June 12, 2010

Keeping an Aquarium in Dubai

I wouldn't  say there are  any   big challenges. Each place has its own peculiarities.  If you relocated newly, you may want to know what peculiar aspects you should be aware of before setting  up a fish tank.

  • PH & hardness- tap water tends to be higher in PH and on the harder side. I  usually get a PH level of 7.75 . If you are not comfortable with altering PH levels and hardness,  selecting fish that are tolerant to these conditions is advisable.    Some fish like discus need soft and acidic water. Others like  Bala Sharks are very sensitive to PH changes.  
  • Space constraints- majority of people in Dubai live in apartments.  Keeping  stock of hoses, pipes,  stand by/ breeding/  quarantine tanks and drums for  storing tap water  for  temperature adjustment and dechlorination   may be difficult.
  • Air conditioning- most of the homes will have a  air conditioners running around the clock and you will find aquarium  lights on almost always for tropical tanks. Acrylic tanks  seem to be a prudent choice  for tropical fish and  glass tanks for cold water fish  since glass   conducts heat easily.
  • Chlorine- I haven't tested chlorine and chloramine  of tap water yet. But  aquarium supply companies have issued enough caveats. For small tanks, water  drawn straight from a home water purifier may resolve chlorine, chemical and hardness problem at one go. You may need to add dechlorination chemicals every time you change water.
  • Hot water- from May till  October, tap water will be extremely hot and adding this  direct to tank can  be fatal. Storing water in a container may prove hard and tedious.   If you keep the home water heater permanently off, you should be able to get   cold water  from the hot water tap! Also,  restrict water changes to 10-15% of tank capacity at more frequency  instead of standard 1/3 change during summer.
  • Resources- aquarium supply stores seem to be  fewer and smaller in Dubai, compared to other cities.   Finding fish  may not pose a problem, but search for  plants, quality equipment and  natural decoration  can be challenging . A separate post is intended  on this topic.
  • Vacations- Trend here is that the whole family usually go on vacation, sometimes up to a month. If this is your case, you need to have a solid vacation plan.   How to keep your fish safe and fed while you are not around is a challenge indeed.
  • Expert help- I  do not know any vet in Dubai who  treats sick fish. Aquarium store personnel may not be experts in this either. You need to know at least the basics of fish health and illnesses.


  1. Your blog is very good you raised some good points for the readers. Fishing in dubai

  2. Hi, I need to get in touch with you regarding planted aquariums, can you please send your contact details on, thanks.

  3. Great post.
    Thanks for sharing your experience as an hobist in Dubai.

    We are a new ornamental fish wholesaler in Garhoud, Dubai.

    We would like invite you to visit our disitributor center.

    Please kindly contact us at

    Looking forward to meet you.


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