View Full Version : April 2013 Member Spotlight - Moon

Chad Hughes
04-01-2013, 09:03 PM
Our April 2013 spotlight member is Joe Bastianpillai, aka Moon...

Thank you so much for your participation Joe!

Q - Please tell us all a little about yourself, what makes You tick? Single, married, attached? What do you do for a living? Other hobbies? Any significant non-discus achievements you want to brag about?

A - My name is Joe Bastianpillai (Moon). I was born in Sri Lanka (formally known as Ceylon) and left there when I was 17. Moved to UK for further education. Graduated in lighting engineering from the University of the South Bank in London. Worked as a lighting engineer in the UK for a few years. Got married in 1978 to my wife of 40 years, Vanitha. We have 3 kids (now they are all adults). In 1978 Canada was looking for engineers. So we moved to Canada. Worked as a lighting consultant for a few years. Some 13 years ago I formed my own consulting engineering company. Now at 69 I am just about ready to retire.

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

A - I've been keeping fish since I was 10 years old. Back in 1954, the hobby in Sri Lakna was not advanced. I had 3 concrete tanks (glass front) outside in the back yard. Didn't know anything about filtration. Just water, gravel and some plants I got from local ponds. I kept mostly labyrinth type fishes like betas, gouramies and paradise fish. I did manage to do some breeding as well. Moved to UK as a teen and had other interests on my mind and forgot about the hobby. After I got married a buddy of mine was getting out of the hobby and offered me his 20g tank. I had some swordtails and angels in this tank. I sold the fry to a local FS.

Moved to Canada and forgot about the hobby. After a year decided to buy a home. In this home there was a built in 50g tank. I was back into the hobby. At that time African chiclids were the rage. The tanks started to multiply. At that time I spent every Saturday morning at a local PS called Seaview Aquarium. The owner was a real nice guy. I remember buying a Synodontis Angelicus at $100 from the store. Fraser the owner said to me why are you buying one. Buy 3 and I'll give you a deal. I said to him these have not been bred in Captivity. He replied "if you think that way you will not progress in the hobby" So I took all three fish. Eventually I had 6 Anglelicus in a 125g tank hoping to breed them. That's another story.

Back to discus. Fraser had some adult wild brown discus in the store. They were expensive. I asked him to hold them for me to save some money. I did get them and that was my start with discus back in 1983.

Those were pre-internet days. I was lucky enough to meet Vern Archer and Bob Wilson (local discus experts). We formed a small discus discussion group and met in member's homes once a month. This was the birth of NADS (North American Discus Society). This group had quite a good US following with a monthly bulletin. I think Joe Gargas and few others were members.

Q - 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?

A - I have a total of about 30 discus in my fish room. I like the blues, both German and Asian. I am working with a pair of Wattley's original strain. These initially came from Japan. Dale Jordan got these. When he decided to get out of discus he sold some of his stock to Vern and myself. I managed to get a pair from that group. I also have 12 adult albinos that are showing some signs of pair forming. I love the AMG.

WC Solaman from Dale Jordan

The blues are Wattley strain maintained by Wattanabe. I have a pair.

Stendker Red

Q - What do you feed your discus?

A - I feed my guys a variety of food. This include good quality flake in the morning, Tetra granules for lunch, home made BH mix for tea and frozen BW for supper.

Q - What is your most exhilarating moment with discus?

A - Without a doubt breeding discus. I remember back in the eighties when I first started with discus a buddy of mine gave me some small (3") stunted discus. At that time I knew nothing about stunted discus. Two of them paired off. I put them in a 15g tank. They spawned and raised a small batch of fry. I took two days off work just to watch the parents herding the fry. My wife thought that I had lost my mind.

Q - What is your most frustrating moment with discus?

A - Again back in the eighties I had two Heckel's in a 30g tank. I had these in pure RO water with a Tetra Billi sponge filter. Being busy with work and a new born baby, I totally neglected this tank. The water had gone green and was murky. When I peered into the tank, there were eggs. I got soooo exited and called my discus buddy Bob Wilson. He advised me to just leave them alone and watch them. The eggs did hatch but the pair ate the wrigglers. I checked the water parameters. Ph was 4.0 and hardness non detectable. They never spawned again. I gave the pair to Bob hoping that he may be able to spawn them. They never did.

Q - Do you have any future discus plans that you would like to share with us?

A - The future is I am 69 and going to retire from active work. We are moving to Sri Lanka next year for the winter months. So my fish keeping days may end.

Q - How do those in your life feel about discus?

A - They tolerate my obsession. My wife knows that it means a lot to me and leaves me alone.

Q - Do you have any funny, amusing or interesting discus stories to share with us?

A - I used to advertise locally to sell discus fry. You get all kinds of people coming to the house. Once someone contacted me through SD. This person wanted some fry. He did not any means of getting to my place. So, I said that delivery can be arranged for the price of gas. He lived on the other side of town. We arranged to meet and when I got there he was a 10 year old boy. He was there with his father.

The dad mentioned to me that the young lad had saved for a few months for the fish. I decided not to charge for gas and discounted the bag of fry. I asked him to examine the bag and make sure that he was satisfied with the purchase. When I got home the lad called me and said he was not happy with the shape of the fry. I was not going to take the fry back after being in his tank. So I sent him the money back.

Q - What do you see as the future of discus keeping? More/less people? Any cool ideas for strains?

A - I am not able to comment because I am downsizing my fish room.

Q - Do you have any thanks or credit to give for your success with discus? Any mentors or colleagues who you think deserve some applause? Any one member of the forum that has helped you the most?

A - Barb Newell got me back into discus 12 years ago. She was truly a great hobbyist. SD has been a godsend for me. I must attribute my limited success in keeping discus to members of SD.

Q - If you were to give an aspiring discus keeper one piece of advice, what would it be?

A - Patience

Q - How have you been a mentor to other discus hobbyists?

A - I belong to the Hamilton District Aquarium Society and a number of aspiring discus keepers contact me on a regular basis for help on keeping discus. Most hobbyists shy away from keeping discus. I try to explain the requirements to new discus hobbyists and encourage them to enter the hobby.

Q - How did you decide to take the plunge into breeding as a significant part of your fishkeeping?

A - My first stunted breeding pair got me hooked. The fascinating aspect of the hobby to me is breeding.

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

A - If you want to take up discus breeding seriously, you need to dedicate time and space. When I first started daily WC kept me busy for about 2 hours every evening. Now I have an automated drip system and I have time to enjoy my fish

Q - How many pairs do you currently have producing? How many tanks?

A - I have 3 pairs and many young grow out in 20 tanks

Q - Any tips on breeding or raising discus? Tricks or methods you use to encourage pairs to breed?

A - Lots of patience. I once had a pair that laid regularly for about a year and ate the eggs every time. After that they raised a number of healthy fry for two years.

04-01-2013, 09:07 PM
Very nice bio Moon. Grats on being Mr. April. Also good luck on your retirement.

04-01-2013, 09:26 PM
Really enjoyed your interview, Moon.
You are indeed a patient man, and obviously very dedicated to the discus hobby.
You deserve to be looked up to, and your advice to new discus-keepers I have always found to be very sage and professional.
May you enjoy your retirement, as I am now doing.
Best regards,

04-01-2013, 09:47 PM
Great choice for April spotlight. Really enjoyed the interview.

Trevor W
04-01-2013, 10:03 PM
Great spotlight! Thanks for sharing your story with us Moon. Also thank you to Pat and Chad for providing us with the member spotlight.

04-01-2013, 10:11 PM
I really enjoyed the interview. :)

Keith Perkins
04-01-2013, 10:46 PM
A very interesting read Moon, and awesome color on the Wattley strain fish.

Second Hand Pat
04-01-2013, 11:32 PM
Joe, thank you for being member spotlight for April. I enjoyed reading about you and if you decide to quit the hobby once you retire we will lost a fine hobbyist. Wishing you the best into retirement and hoping if you decide to leave the hobby you will decide to hang about SD. BTW, love the Solaman. Would love to have a fish like that. ;)
Take care,

Red Turk
04-02-2013, 03:21 AM
Great read !

Best wishes for the future Moon

04-02-2013, 08:15 AM
Very enjoyable read, thank you. I'd love to hear more about the Synod. Angelicus. At that time I was the buyer for a LFS and I remember the price tag on those. Funny, how that's the fish that has stuck with me all these years .

04-02-2013, 09:17 AM
Thank you so very much for sharing with us all. I wish you the best upon your retirement. Congrats.

04-02-2013, 09:45 AM
Great interview! It is a pity that those Heckels did not breed again. You came so close! Beautiful Solomon wild by the way.

04-02-2013, 09:58 AM
Great read Joe!


04-02-2013, 11:36 AM
Great reading and very please to know you a little bit more. What was quiet of the adventure moving to different countries? congrat for 40yrs of married.
Best wishes for whatever you're doing.

04-02-2013, 01:16 PM
Moon, wonderful interview. I especially enjoyed the story of the young buyer of your fry! He already knew everything about discus LOL. All the best, -Don

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

04-02-2013, 01:37 PM
I enjoyed this a lot. Thanks Joe!


04-02-2013, 04:38 PM
Thank you all for your best wishes. I must say I did enjoy reminising about the good old days. I will keep in touch with my SD friends for a few more months.

04-02-2013, 04:52 PM
Nice reading Joe. Good to know the true Moon.. very cool

04-02-2013, 05:22 PM
Nice reading Joe. It is very interesting on looking back.

04-02-2013, 09:11 PM
Great interview Joe - I really like this spotlights!