Andrew Soh Interview
Diskusari bring You a interview with author of two excellent books about Discus fishes named The Naked Truth and Problems And Solutions Mr.Andrew Soh
Can You introduce yourself to our members
Hi, I’m Andrew Soh from Singapore and I’m 63 as of 2018. Ornamental fish keeping was my childhood passion. During those days, bettas was my favourite, fighting here and fighting there and even fighting for money. Unfortunately, I lost99 out of 100 times(sometimes my lunch money)…but I never gave up!!! I was 9 years old kid then. Anyway, 10 years down the road (learning the tricks of the trade and acquiring experience), I finally had more wins than loses. High 5 for the champ…ME!!!!
In 1973: I was told keeping discus alive was difficult let alone breeding them. That statement triggered my interest because I love challenges. My philosophy which is now my family’s motto “Nothing is impossible; try and never say die”. More difficult a task, greater my drive. So I made a bold expensive dive into the unknown, DISCUS!!!“Why unknown?”, you may ask. In those days, there were a book or two on discus. Unfortunately, major part of those books covers discus taxonomy and nothing much beingdiscussed on problem solving or on diseases and real solutions. In my opinion, too superficial references. So,can we say discus-keeping information is scarce and inaccurate?
In 1989 a year or two after the Asian financial crisis, transformed my discus hobby into a business venture, known as Associates Aquarium Pte Ltd initially specializing only in discus.
1994 to 2006: the company acquired a 1.95 hectares land for Ornamental fish culture and Research development.
2008 to first quarter of 2010: Partner cum consultant in an Ornamental fish and food-fish production and export centre in Assam, India.The main commercial focus: To produce healthy and disease-free culture, applying high-tech fish culture systems. Major focus is creating new strains/variants for the Global Ornamental Fish Industry and edible food-fish.
You wrote two excellent books,first “Discus, The Naked Truth” and second “Discus, Problems and Solutions”. Can you tell us is in that two books are all what we should know in keeping and breeding discus fishes?
These books were written with readers in mind. Don’t believe me? Many readers feedback is that these books seem to be talking to them so if you want to have a one to one with Andrew Soh, read my books.
As I have told you before, I started discus with little or no discus knowledge and existing books given offer much help. So I’ve to ‘invent the wheel’ all by myself….going through failures after failures….till I can finally say “I succeeded and much more”. Back in the 90’s when discus fever was at its peak, I started writing the book. But I didn’t continue to complete it as I was actively in the trade. Writing a book has to be sincere and disseminate the truth. I don’t want to write for writing sake. But will writing the truth affect my business? I hesitated and hence discard the idea of telling the truth and completing the book.
In 2004, my 1.95hectres farm, due to market forces, readjusted it’s focus on other ornamental fish and artemia production while downsizing discus production.
Discus not being our company’s main production, it’s time to fulfil my ambition of completing a truly no nonsense, no bullshit discus book, disseminating tothe world all about discus myth and truth, all that I know. That’s why it’s called ‘Discus, The Naked Truth’. It’s all about my romance with discus, all sweat and tears through my discus journey!Yes, these books are still very relevant to-date and I believe will still be very much in the future.
Do readers need to refer to other books? Definitely! I won’t be an idiot as to tell you not to. To know the author, you need to read his book in order to know whether he’s a taxonomist or whether it’s a coffee-table book.
Books contains a lot text about genetics. What do you think is that with genetics go too far?
We are not Mother nature and hence not the creator. There are much, much more than written in my books and definitely more than anyone could comprehend. But understanding how genetics work is crucial in order for us to know which features are genetic-inherited and which are environmental and what not to propagate. Not information is too much. If you think my books have gone too in-dept into genetics, please, give my books a miss….and stay innocent and ignorant.
We can see on internet a lot of deformed discus fishes,bulldog,heart discus…. can you tell us your opinion about that?
If you like them, buy them. I’ve explained many times in my first book and also on forums and Facebook that in my opinion, they are non-genetic. Why ask me again? Its all written and I don’t want to repeat myself. Book my books!
Can you tell us from your side (many new stripes,spotted,and get new other forms maybe genetics are go wrong) discus get sensitiveto diseases,live shorter…
There is nothing wrong with genetics. Many mutants sprouted by mother nature. No breeder in the world are able to create mutants except ME! I am responsible for the appearing of Albino Discus.
Most mutants first appear with weak genes…..especially mutants of recessive genes. Pigeon discus carries stronger genes.
With these mutants, cross-breeding will supposedly create better genes but some breeders selection ability is in question, hence lousy substandard offsprings produced.
Discus sensitivity to disease is not a question. Healthy is related not to in-breeding or cross-breeding. Health is related to genes….and some mutant carry with them during meiosis.
In past 3-4 years we can see many big breeders put Heckels back in their hatchery (maybe they see a mistake and want to put back or want to strong a natural genetic)?s
You think it’s a mistake they made in the past or they are trying to create designer’s discus?
How You see a next few years ahead in discus hobby is it better to get back and strong the natural line or get the new forms?
It’ll be the same or slight stronger as they cross out to create more beautiful variants incorporating multiple features while eliminating the undesirables. But when new mutants sprout, it might be the reverse as mutants usually carry with them some defects……maybe weaker constitution; smaller size; yellow or white iris….so on and so forth….as explained in my books. This is the work of mother nature and we are the tools of nature to improve on mutants.
In book we can read some recipe for food which is based on beef heart,many keepers based on natural food (frozen larvae,mysis,daphnia,cyclops,algae..) Can you tell us what is benefit and what is a disadvantages of feeding with beef heart?
Beefheart carries 90% protein but the least calcium so you need to add vegetable calcium into their diet. As for the rest, they are all good except that they live in dirty water contaminated with parasites…both bacteria and protozoa…. that may be harmful to fish.
On internet we can read some text about feeding with beef heartand find some interesting things. Discus which is feed with beef heart is grow better but is sensitive to hexamita and live shorter are you agree with that?
Better to use the word ‘flagellates’. No, I disagree. How to get rid of flagellates is explained in my book. Whether you feed beefheart or worms, if the discus is not well maintained, flagellates will conquer. By the way, flagellates come from feeding live-feed from poor source and not sterilised.
In fact many is difference about keeping discus fishes in Asia and Europe,which keeping have more advantages?
There is no differences and no advantage of method. All methods used whether Europe or Asian are invented to suit their needs and as long as it works, its good!
We make a few more question,but mr.Soh very good explained in his books.Books really best buy and many interesting details are inside.
AS FOR THE REST OF THE QUESTIONS, THEY ARE IN MY BOOK…THANKS
So enjoy your hobby!!!
Mr.Soh thank you for accepting our interview.We wish you a success in your work.