Ron Menchey
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John Erdman (JE), Reporter for SimplyDiscus Forums: So, Ron, is that how it happened?

Ron Menchey (RM), Discus Hobbyist and Fanatic: Pretty much. I liked the orange gravel, it was a nice touch. But yes, that's how it was done in those days. No water changes, lots of gravel, undergravel filtration. It was a disaster.

JE: I'll say!

RM: I had just moved back to Rochester, NY, met the bride, started a family and got a new job at Kodak where I was an Automatic Equipment Mechanic Apprentice and I was talking to a friend of mine about single sideband radios - he said he was keeping some new and interesting fish that I should see.

JE: And you were hooked?

RM: Right away. So I had him order me some and they started dropping like flies. The final straw was when we went away for vacation and came home to find all of the discus floating. My wife went nuts. So that was the end of all my fish keeping for a LONG, LONG time.

JE: I can imagine. And how did you get back into discus keeping?

RM: After about 25 years or so my family was raised and I was thinking about retiring. One of the guys at work had discus and they were healthy and great looking. It started me thinking.

JE: So you went out and bought some discus?

RM: Nope. I was determined to do things right, and the computer and internet was in full swing, so I could surf the net and get tons of info about the "King of Fishes."

JE: And your wife thought?

RM: I started sweet talking the bride, saying that since I was retiring I needed a small hobby to take up some of my retired time. She knows none of my hobbies are ever small - I jump in with both feet and keep on going. Still, she said OK, until I mentioned discus!

JE: She remembered the carnage?

RM: More like all the nights at the airport waiting for the fish to come in AND all the floating guys. I PROMISED that it would be okay this time, and she said, 'yes.'

JE: So you set out to learn all you could.

RM: I did LOTS of reading, got all the books, asked a zillion questions and as luck would have it, I found a fellow discus lover just a few minutes down the road. That helped a ton. I talked to everybody I could on line, asked for tips, listened to advice.

JE: I pretty much took that same route myself. Plus it's great having people to talk fish with. I've noticed that in 95% of the cases theres one fish nut and the rest of his family either tolerates it or hates it, but generally they never get into the hobby.

RM: The bride has a few fish she calls 'hers' and she likes to look at them, and that's all I can hope for. I offered to buy tanks for my kids, but no takers there. My grandson may have some potential, though. He loves to come and look at the fish - when they think they're getting food - he loves that. So maybe in a few years. I keep telling my daughter that one day she'll come home from work and there'll be a 10 gallon tank in his room!


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