My Road to Discus  by Vern Archer

My name is Vern Archer, I am retired and have been dabbling in the fish hobby for many years. We created this website to help the discus hobbyist. I hope you enjoy.

A
t an 
early age, I
would catch fish at a nearby lake for my back yard pond, a converted children's  swimming pool.  I soon saved enough money to buy my first aquarium, a metal framed tank, an antique by today's standards.   

In 1981, I visited a master fish keeper, Peter Naef, who had converted his garage and basement into a fish store with an impressive display of fish and plants. I told Peter I was looking for a new challenge,  so he led me to a room next to the store where he kept a huge, majestic pair of wild Green Tefe Discus.  I was  instantly hooked. Over the coming weeks, Peter provided me a number of  wild discus, along with his beef-heart discus food. He guided me through my early  challenges with the many internal and external parasites that accompany a wild discus. Parasites multiply quickly in the confines of an  aquarium and cleaning the discus proved to be difficult. 

In 1984, I saw an advertisement in the T.F.H. magazine for Jack Wattley's Turquoise discus and I soon arranged a visit to see Jack at his home in Florida. This was the first of a number of meetings we would have over the years, always an enjoyable experience.  Jack was very gracious, allowing me into his hatchery to see his stunning Turquoise  pairs and his method of artificially raising fry.

JWVAHatcheryJack and I 
In my Garage Discus Room 1989.


In
1985,
inspired by so many amazing discus
now in my possession, I decided to convert 
my double car garage into a discus room and
try my hand at breeding discus.  I utilized wet
dry filters, central filtration, UV, Ozone and an
automated water change using a 500 gallon
water reservoir. 

Jack_and_VernJack and I 
At his home in Florida, 
1992.

J
ack Wattley,
one of the truly great discus
pioneers.  Jack developed the Turquoise
Discus and mastered the artificial rearing of
discus fry.  His enlitening book "Handbook of
Discus" was an inspiration to myself and millions
  
of discus keepers world wide.


In 1986, a number of local discus enthusiasts, myself included, decided to attend the North American Discus Society's annual Discus convention in Florida. It was a great event, we shared stories and knowledge with Discus breeders and enthusiasts from all over North America.  For the next few years it became an annual event and I soon found myself involved  with the N.A.D.S.'s newsletter, "Our Discus" serving as the editor and publisher for a number of years.    

In early 1987 a deadly discus disease appeared; Biologist's in Chicago and Florida concluded it was a virus.  They studied discus specimens from across the U.S. and found five different  viruses present including a herpes type virus in the liver.  World wide, tens of thousands of Discus were killed and it quickly received the name "Discus Plague".  We had never experienced anything that killed so quickly. A single drop of water, unwashed hands, cleaning hose or fish net is all it would take for the disease to spread and within a day the discus were impacted.

  

Jan92YoungWattleyHiFinIn 1992,  frustrated with the constant virus issue in the
hobby, which seem to make it's rounds every year like
the flu,  I decided to shut  down  the  hatchery taking a 
long break, maintaining  just a few of my adults.

This is one of my young Wattley crosses dubbed the  "EE"  by fellow
hobbyists, which was the parent's tank number.  Eventually the lines
fill  in becoming a solid  fish, except for the face mask.   This strain
originated from a Wattley Hi Fin male and a Lo Wing Yat female that
I bred in 1987.
 
This picture was taken in 1992.

Jan92redfemale
This Red fish,  I purchased from Walter,  a local hobbyist.  It's an F1 
from  Alenquer wild stock.  Walter had received several of these red 
fish as  fry from his good friend Dr. Schmidt-Focke, a famous discus
breeder in Germany.   I was able to convince Walter to sell me one, 
which was the runt of the litter. She looks pretty good for being a runt.
After growing her out, I paired her with a Wild Royal blue Male and the
pair produced many thousands of fry. Some of which made it back to
Germany.
No Hormones or colour enhancing with these fish, the real deal!

This picture was taken in 1992. 


I
n
2007, I decided to retire from my "Day Job" to pursue my hobbies and on a small scale, return to breeding discus. I sourced new domestic and wild stock to provide a variety of genetics to work with. 

After visiting local "chain stores" and spending many hours on the various discus forums around the world, I felt there was a need for more accurate and consistent information on discus keeping, so we created this site. 

Presently in 2014, we continue to breed and sell our discus, developing new colour variations working from domestic and wild stock.  We continue to update our website as new information becomes available.


Do Fish feel Pain?

I recently read an interesting article on the Scientific studies of fish. I thought it would be appropriate to quote a portion of the articles conclusions;

1) "In the scientific community the question of whether fish are capable of experiencing stress, pain and fear is nearly undisputed" the "Food Empowerment Project" states. 

2) "Fish feel pain too" agrees Discovery News Jennifer Viegas in her analysis of Penn State professor Victoria Braithwaite's book on the subject, "Do Fish Feel Pain?"  

3) A 2009 study published in "Applied Animal Behaviour Science" also concluded that fish feel pain and that even when the pain is over, they alter their behavior in response to their memory of it.  

4) A 2003 study found "profound behavioural and physiological change" akin to those that higher mammals exhibit in response to pain.


We do not sell to Stores or Brokers,

We provide, the experienced and  inexperienced hobbyist with the knowledge on how to successfully keep discus fry. 

We review the purchaser's situation and experience and provide advise concerning water temperature, size of tank, fish companions, diet, water quality, lighting, ground cover and plants, ensuring success for the hobbyist and providing a good environment for discus fry to grow and thrive.  


The Recommended Books;

* A 1994 book by Jim Quarles called "Discus...as a hobby" is an excellent inexpensive book that explains the basics very well and is generally regarded as one of the best introductory books written on Discus.  I find it to be the closest  to my present discus beliefs, especially when it comes to temperature and the long term health of the discus.

* Jack Wattley's book "The Handbook of Discus" is a great book, unfortunately very hard to find.  First released in 1985 by TFH, it revealed major insight on discus care, breeding and of course his beef-heart formula.

* An early book by Eberhard Shulze called "The King of All Aquarium Fish" a very detailed and informative book.

* Either book by Andrew Soh, his new one "Problems and Solutions" and his first book "Naked Truth" available in the UK at Plymouth Discus.

* "Discus Health" by Dieter Untergasser especially useful if you purchase a microscope, which I highly recommend.  I believe this book has recently been re-released, available at www.mops.ca





 

 

 

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