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Liem has been running a pet shop in the International District of Seattle, WA, for almost 40 years.

Spurred on by a childhood love of goldfish, he started catching and displaying local animals in his garden in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah - in effect, the first functioning zoo in Malaysian Borneo. Selling mynah birds to diplomats, wrangling crocodiles and monitor lizards, devising elaborate ways to catch monkeys - Liem is a veteran animal seller and storyteller.

Moving to Seattle, he opened a new store - a treasure trove of chickens, chameleons, rabbits and parrots. The introduction of new licensing for pet shops in America eventually limited his stock to fish alone, his original passion.

The infinite depths of his piscine expertise, combined with a wholly determined DIY know-how, have resulted in a tiny shop sprawling in its ambitions and complexity. Dimly lit, densely cluttered, and on the surface undeniably chaotic, it is also a folk art treasure trove of one man's vision. Handmade tanks on handmade shelves, hand-rigged filtration systems intertwined with make-shift lighting. Masking tape with latin names and prices criss cross each glass face, the wooden shelves are full of Liem's hand-drawn fish identification diagrams. Industrial soy sauce buckets double as holding tanks, the cash counter a repository for photo albums, stacks of fish books, buckets of fish, many pairs of glasses.

The film is a slow exploration of Liem's world - in amongst his dense universe of fish and water, glass and electricity, his many tales of animal encounters and personal histories, quiet moments and the intricacies of an elaborate ark of fish.

 
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