Jason Niemi
John Erdman July 2003

John Erdman (JE), Reporter for SimplyDiscus Forums
Jason Niemi (JB), Discus Hobbyist and Fanatic

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

JN: Pretty much.

JE: Please tell us all a little about yourself. Single, married, attached? Other hobbies? Any significant non-discus achievements you want to brag about?

JN: My name is Jason Niemi, I live in a small town of 130,000 in Northwestern Ontario, called Thunder Bay, I'm 27 and have lived here for most of my life, sorounded by lakes and trees. My other hobbies other than fish are mixed martial arts/kick boxing, I've had some levels of success with that. I'm single and have never been attached or married-wich could be considered an achievement I guess.. I do have a room mate though that I have lived with for 4 years now.

JE: How did you get into discus? Where was the first discus you saw? How long had you been into fish first?

JN: When I was really young like four or 5, whenever I went fishing or camping with my parents I would always catch frogs or turtles and sneak them home to keep in my room, sometimes I would even try to keep the tiny fish we caught and minnows alive after the trip. When I would go shopping with my mom I would take off to the aquarium section in Zellers or the pet store in the area, and plead with her to buy me fish and bowls and stuff. I think it was Christmas 1980 when I got my first tank, I still have it, it was a Hartze longlife 15 gallon with a plastic lid, a tiny bubble-box filter, and bright blue gravel, the star wars figures I got that year went in there too!, I didn't start out with most of the types of fish people do, I was more interested in tetras and angels than guppies and goldfish, then for almost every x-mas or birthday after that I asked for a new aquarium, eventually my room was filled with tanks of fish and newts and frogs.

I dont know when I first saw a discus, but aunts and uncles and people would buy me books about fish for birthdays and stuff, I remember looking at them and wanting them like every other fish in the book.

Then it was boxing day 1987, I was shopping for sales with my friends when I went to the pet store and saw 4 wild blues in a tank on the very top shelf for 25 dollars each, so I said bag them up!

By that time I was into dwarfs and some of the smaller S.A. cichlids, my tap water was just great for those fish and discus. I put them in a 55 gallon that had some gravel but was pretty clean. I did do alot of water changes then, because a local angel breeder I had met told me that was the "secret." Most my tanks were either bare to or had very little gravel because I never had any luck with plants and still don't, and I didn't use undergravels at all either. Most of the tanks I got came from yard sales and stuff and they always came with some kinda power filter or bubble filter, I still have a box of stuff that belongs in a museum.

Anyways one of the discus died within a week, but the other 3 grew and did well, very well after I had them for over a year I could tell something was going, so I put some peat moss in the filters and 2 paired up and laid eggs, I pulled the slate out and hung the eggs upside down like I was doing with angels but they didn't hatch. Eventually I got wrigglers and I'd see them feed off of the adults it was really neat, the pair would spawn again and the 3rd fish would take-over raising the babies. I would try to sell them or trade them in but nobody was able to keep them alive for very long, including myself, I did manage to raise a few wich weren't too great by todays standards though. Eventually I sold the pair because I wanted the new nice discus that were showing up like brilliants and turquise. Then it was all uphill, I could raise out nice fish and spawn them, but never had any more luck raising babies for a few years after that. then by the time I was in high-school I still had some, but other things were more important. Finally, I got an old tfh magazine and saw Axelrod in Singapore visiting Gan and Chai's farms and I was hooked again.


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