Mike Wells
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JE: How many pairs do you currently have producing? How many tanks? We saw your set-up - it looks great - what would be the maximum you could handle with that system?

MW: We were working about 24 breeding pairs but recently down sized to around 12. I have some new blood that's going to be needing tank space soon, and will bring those numbers back up to around 20-24 soon with 2 or 3 of each strain/type. I was trying to work with way too meny varieties. We are going to work with those and out source the rest. I think by doing this we can provide a higher quality discus that has the potential to be "show fish." There's over 100 tanks, 3000 gallons in the main hatchery and 20 seventy-fives out back in the QT/Grow out room. The amount it can handle depends a lot on the size... 800+ two inch discus.

JE: What strains are you the most happy with? Which do you think need some work? Are you working on anything new and exciting now? What strain/s do you like best, personally?

MW: I like back crossing domestics with wild fish. Red Spotted Greens with Snake Skins. The Wild Reds and San Merahs. I was pretty disappointed with the Leopard and Leopard Snakes. They are pretty fish but from what I have seen they breed far from true, are very weak, and take a long time to show color. My favorite discus is a large round one. Color is not that big of an issue with me. If they have good shape, good size, are strong and healthy... they all look nice. I like solids... If I had to pick one it would be the San Merahs and I'm starting to warm up to the new "Whites" on the market. I guess the most exciting or "new" discus we have at the moment would be the White Leopards from Singapore.

JE: Any tips on breeding or raising discus? Cary got to go first on this one, which is always easier!

MW: Be patient!!! Give them lots of good food and change as much water as possible. It may sound like a simple answer but its the key to having success with discus.

JE: What do you feed your discus? You must go through a ton of fish food!

MW: Beefheart, Live Black Worms and frozen Blood Worms. Depending on the volume of discus in stock we average 1 case of beefhearts every 2 months, 20 lbs of Blood worms every month and 10 lbs. of black worms every 2 weeks.

JE: What is your most exhilarating moment with discus?

MW: That would have to be my first breeding pair. They were Alencers. I bought them as young adults 4-5". They started breeding in a community tank with gravel, plants and angel fish. I put them in their own tank and tried to breed them. They would spawn and even make wigglers. This went on for like 8 months maybe longer. Information was hard to come by so I pretty much gave up on them and one day I noticed the pair was scratching. They had wigglers but I didn't care I figured they were going to die anyway so I treated them with formaldehyde and some blue dye. The next day when I got off work I about lost it... the fry were on there backs.


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