The first step I took in Vietnam was in October 2014. For all the years that I’ve lived here, I never really realized how big the fish-keeping hobby was until my friend Adam showed me his own aquariums and started pointed out the tiny fish stores that populate every other street of this confusing city.
After visiting a dozen or so of these small stores and seeing the health of the fish they’re keeping, I’d only buy from three stores. Here’s their Google Map link, along with a short review.
Simply said, my favorite store in HCMC.
This place is easy to miss. It’s set up inside the owner’s house which is itself tucked away in a small alley, so you have to keep an eye out for the business sign (shown above). When you do find it, just ring the doorbell and wait for him or his wife to open up for you.
This man is so busy but genuinely cares about fish health and was the first to give me full confidence that the hobby in Vietnam can be serious and healthy (seeing as taking care of pets is very differently done here compared to where I’m from).
He also sells very affordable rocks (three varieties), dried wood and dried bonzai trees and replenishes his stock fairly often. He specializes in small freshwater fish, including: guppies, platies, tetra, pleco, cori, barbs, cichlids, discuss, snails, shrimp and other fish that I can’t name as they are identified with their Vietnamese names.
He has a good selection of plants as well, which I haven’t seen in a lot of places. He also carries food, filters, tests kits, lights, medicine and basic tools like nets and scisors, and can make custom tanks for you (I got mine made by him and bought all my basic equipment from him, to support him).
**August 2020 update**
Tanaka Pham has kept expanding his store and his selection, now selling tanks, a huge selection of dry wood as well as sand and substrate.