Mike Wells
John Erdman October 2002

Here's my (JE) interview with Mike Wells (MW), plus a few pics for the rabid discus crowd. Wait, that's all of us...

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

MW: I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland. In 1993 I met the love of my life, Bobbie. She's a sweet country girl from southern Ohio. We have 3 children - two boys and a girl. Michael and Mitchell are 7 & 6 (Irish twins) and Sierra Rose is 2 and a half. I enjoy hunting and spend a lot of time in the woods every fall and winter. The past few years I have managed my boys baseball team and last year they were division champions. It may not seem like much but accomplishing something like that with my kids meant more to me then any thing else I've done by myself.

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

MW: My Dad was always into tropical fish until he started our family. When I was about 8 or 9 years old, he got back into the hobby and set up a seventy-five gallon salt water aquarium. At the time keeping salt water fish was un-heard of and there were only a few places you could even find them. I was always fascinated with the odd shapes and vibrant colors. Dad got me involved and I started helping him take care of them. A few years later the tank split a seam in the middle of the night and mom said that was it… no more fish. When I got a little older I started keeping African and South American Cichlids. I bred a few of the Africans and would sell them back to the LFS. When I moved out of my parents house into my own place I started over. Only this time with angelfish and discus.

JE: How did you decide to take the plunge into breeding as a professional endeavor?

MW: You know, I never had any intentions of doing what I'm doing now. It was just a hobby and in my eyes it still is. I started breeding a few pairs. I would raise the babies to salable size. I couldn't keep all the babies, so I started trading and selling the fry at local club auctions and pet stores for tanks and supplies. The fish room rapidly expanded and in a short time started to look like a small hatchery. I guess you can say I caught the discus bug just like everybody else. Things started getting to bigger and bigger and taking up too much of my time. I was working long hours and the rest of my time was being spent with the fish. My family was getting neglected and something had to give.

JE: What were the major obstacles involved in setting up as a breeder? Any advice for aspiring breeders?

MW: I think the hardest thing is finding high quality breeding stock. Be patient, do it because you love the fish and concentrate on quality... cull hard.


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