Vietnam's fish-filled 'koi cafe' tanks after accusations of animal abuse

It's one for the 'gram for sure, but at what price?

A cafe in Vietnam took social media by storm in June this year, after promoting itself as a 'koi pond' cafe filled with water and live fish. But the attention soon gave way to criticism, after the establishment was accused of being cruel to the animals.

Photos posted of Amix Cafe in Ho Chi Minh City up till August showed patrons wading in ankle-deep waters teeming with live small fish and koi.

According to Oddity Central, the cafe spans two floors that are flooded with water. The owner, 23-year-old Nguyen Duoc Hoa, turned his dream cafe into reality by covering the floor with two layers of waterproof tarp and wrapping furniture legs with cotton to prevent damage to the tarp. 

To maintain optimal conditions for the fishes' survival, customers are required to take off their shoes and sanitise their feet before stepping into the 'tank'. Nguyen also invested in a triple filtration system and pump that regularly changes half to a quarter of the 10,000 litres of water needed to fill both levels, to keep the waters crystal clear.

Photo: Facebook/Amix Coffee

However, the cafe owner told Spanish news agency EFE that the bigger problem is stopping patrons from disturbing the fish. As most of their clientele are families with young children, some parents let their children run after the fish, which is prohibited in the cafe. 

Photo: Facebook/Amix Coffee

While many found charm in the cafe's concept, others slammed the cafe for animal abuse, saying that such a concept would stress out the fish in the water. According to Sin Chew Daily, netizens pointed out that the concept creates a hazardous environment for them and inevitably, some poor animals ended being trampled to death by customers.

They also criticised Nguyen for prioritising profit and entertainment over the welfare of the fishes.

But it seems like the criticisms got through, as Nguyen eventually decided after just two months to renovate the cafe and reinvent its concept, placing the remaining fish into glass tanks to ensure their safety.

However, some tourists were definitely disappointed by the change.

Guess if you want to get your feet wet, you'll just have to go somewhere else.

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