Cary Strong
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JE: Some secret breeding recipe! So now you have a ton of fry and breeding fish. What did you do next?

CS: I bought more fish! But taking care of them was taking up a lot of time. So I automated my waterchanges, which gave me more time, so I bought more fish.

JE: So now you have lots of fish and not enough time.

CS: Pretty much.

JE: So how many tanks are you up to?

CS: I have 85 tanks running right now with 20 active pairs.

JE: Have you worked mainly with existing strains, or have you tried to develop some of your own?

CS: Mostly existing strains. I have worked on shape and quality of the fish. I am a stickler for top quality fish and have tried to sell only the best. I'm still working on quality. Theres nothing better than a big, quality discus.

JE: So what are you up to now?

CS: Actually I am thinking of stepping back a little. I'm not going to import new strains. Collecting new strains was always a goal of mine and it costs a lot for only a little return. The quality was not always there and I took a big loss a lot of the time. I WILL still get fish from Roy and Sly. Those guys have awesome quality fish. But I want to step back and cut down a little.

JE: So do you have more demand than supply?

CS: Theres always a lot of demand. I want to cut it back to 10-11 strains, but only super quality fish. I want to build up their genetics by breeding fish from different origins together to make strong, healthy, quality discus. I want to deal with only top fish, not common stock. I'm going to be dealing with the higher level hobbyist more and more. I cant make everyone happy, so I have to return to what I love about the fish.

JE: It sounds like youre a little burned out.

CS: Definitely. Every day I have 2-3 big orders. I have less time to do the things I want to do and it can get frustrating.

JE: To change the subject, I heard that you have another job besides the discus?

CS: I'm a mason. Except for this year, I have spent summers doing masonry and winters with the fish. I took a year off from being a mason. I just started up again. In a way its harder work than the fish, but its also relaxing in a way.

JE: So did you plan on ever just doing the fish and no masonry?

CS: I have thought about it. It takes me 4 and a half hours every day to do water changes alone. That is a job right there. Plus there is the meds and checking on the pairs. Not to mention dealing with e-mails and getting shipments ready. I have Jack to help me out, and he actually likes doing water changes. If I leave him alone long enough, he will do them by himself...

JE: Sounds like a help.

CS: He is. Its a lot of fun spending time with him and he really loves the fish. He is just like I was when I was a kid and thats fun for me.

JE: So do you ever have time to just look at the fish?

CS: Yes, but its a quick look only!

JE: You said you want to work with special quality fish. Any preview for us on whats next?

CS: Right now I am working with the White Diamond crossed with Tangerine, Violet Reflections, Melons crossed with Bangkok Melons and Rose Red crossed with Gold Diamonds. They all have a lot of potential and will definitely be very sweet.


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