View Full Version : Nov/Dec 2003 Member Spotlight - RandalB

12-18-2003, 02:03 PM
Everyone, I'm sorry about the delay on this spotlight. I have had a lot going on in the recent past - my wife had some surgery in early November, things were insane at work and I was short some help here in the office... But you don't want to hear my excuses, you just want the spotlight!

Here is Randal's interview, in its entirety.


Q - Please tell us all a little about yourself. Single, married, attached?

A - Singly married and attached to 2 kids, Maddie 3.5 and Owen 1.5.

Q - Do you have any other hobbies?

A - With discus who has time? LOL

Q - What do you do for a living in the real world?

A - I've been a police officer for 14 years

Q - How did you get into discus?

A - Kind of a funny story there. My wife got me started and I keep telling her it is all her fault. An old tank in my father-in-laws garage spurred the whole thing. I got some bad advice from an LFS employee and wound up killing a bunch of tetras, guppies, etc. My wifes uncle who had been keeping fish for a long time gave me a ton of crap about the deaths. So I decided to try the one fish he'd never had the nerve to try, Discus. So here I am 2 years later.

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

A - I saw my first in the LFS, a Wattley Blue turq for $150.00. I wasn't into fish at the time, I had kept a 10 gallon community tank as a kid. But I thought that fish was pretty impressive.

Q - What major obstacles did you have to overcome to keep discus? Any special problems which arose?

A - I have been pretty lucky with discus (Knock Wood!). I feel sorry for the starter fish I runted, but that's how you learn. I really attribute my success to Simplydiscus.com I got a ton of conflicting information prior to signing up here. Fortunately, my water is pretty good for raising young discus so my main problem is space. I have a small house with no basement. I am in the process of grabbing part of the garage but dont tell my wife!

Q - How many tanks do you presently have?

A - 12 Tanks totaling 274 gallons. 2x 10's for my daughter, a planted 35 Hex, a planted 29 and the rest BB discus tanks. I currently have a 54 corner bow planted tank and a 37 Gallon Mini-reef/Nemo tank in the building stages.

Q - How many fish?

A - 25 discus, assorted rams, cories, angels, etc.

Q - Any specific fish that you are really happy with?

A - I have gotten some really spectacular fish from Cary Strong (of course) and have accumulated some nice specimens over the last 2 years. I like them all, I just wish I could get some fry.

Q - What is your favorite strain?

A - No particular favorite, I like them all! That's the problem with space constraints..

Q - Any tips on raising discus that you have learned?

A - Don't mess with the pH, get the biggest tanks you can and Water Change, Water Change, Water Change!

Q - What do you feed your discus?

A - Hikari Frozen Blood Worms, Brine Shrimp, ONF-1 and 2 flakes, Tetra Crisps, Tetra Bits and Black Worms. Not all in the same day obviously.

Q - What is your most exhilarating moment with discus?

A - Seeing my blue diamonds tending wigglers on the cone.

Q - What is your most frustrating moment with discus? Everybody has those horror stories to share!

A - Seeing the same BDs eat the wigglers as they went free swimming. I also had a Blue Turq female stop eating and nothing I could do would save her. I finally wound up having to put her down.

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

A - Bigger area, more tanks, more discus! I'm not going to be selling any fry I produce, just refining my technique and seeing how many newbies I can convert to the hobby..

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

A - They think I am insane but they tolerate it. My kids love them and one of my sons first words was FISSSSHHHH!

Q - We all know that you have an intensive knowledge of RO and water quality systems. Please let us in on how you came to be so skilled and any advice you have for those of us who might be interested in RO technology.

A - I paid most of my college bills repairing/maintaining household RO systems for a water company here in Chicago. I am operating my hobby on a shoestring budget and I knew what the RO parts cost. When I got on the board, I saw the all the mystery surrounding RO stuff and the outrageous prices, so I decided that I could pay back some of the great advice by teaching people about RO filtration and providing the equipment as cheaply as I could.

My main piece of advice for people interested in RO technology is that almost all RO units are made from the same components with minor differences. If you want to purchase equipment, go with someone who has a reasonable price, offers complete kits, will answer your questions and can be contacted easily. Too many out there are hard to reach after a sale is made.

Q - Do you have any thanks or credit to give for your success with discus? Any mentors or colleagues who you think deserve some kudos?

A - How long can this interview be? Wow, there are literally hundreds of people on this board who I have taken advice from but there are a few standouts, Al the Brewmaster, Carol Roberts, Cary Strong, Paulio and the others who get the frantic phone calls when I see some stringy poop or a dark fish in a corner. I can not say enough about the great members here who have made me a success with discus because of their posts. Thanks To all!

Q - Can you think of anything I left out you would like to bring up -either personally or discus related?

A - I think the above says it all on the discus end of things, but I'd like to thank my family for putting up with this obsession/mania that I call my Hobby.

12-18-2003, 02:26 PM
I know its been a rough couple months and that i say this all the time when you do these interviews,,, But Thanks again... and I mean it everytime! :)..now talk to Sandra and figure out when you are coming down here again....The stout should be bottled by then! :)

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, and thanks for the help here with The Ro water questions and The occasional Moderating. ;) The only thing missing here is some updated photos of your Fish :)


12-18-2003, 02:29 PM

Thanks for sharing !!!! See that wasn't that bad !!!! What a honor knowing you !!! You are a class act !!!



I wish you a very joyous holiday season and will be thinking of your family. I wish your wife the best !!!! Another great spotlight !!!


12-18-2003, 03:29 PM

I have to say the spotlights is one of my favorite thing to read. I really appreciate all the time you put into putting it together. It happens so seemlessly that alot of us take it for granted. As always great job. I hope your wife is feeling better.

I have persoanaly benefited from Randal expertise. Thank you for the great stuff.


12-18-2003, 07:15 PM
Nice interview guys! Way to go Mr RO! Frank ;D

12-18-2003, 07:25 PM
Thanks John and Randal!!

Great story and a great person! Glad you are here 8) 8) :D

I hope I remember everything not to tell your wife when I stop in :o ;D

12-18-2003, 11:09 PM
Good read Randal and John..Thanks. ;)

12-19-2003, 12:14 AM
Fish Pics you want? Fish Pics you get.

Please excuse the quality of some of these, I am still trying to figure out the new digital.

First Pic;
Proven Pair White Fish of Some kind X Wild Brown

12-19-2003, 12:16 AM
Pair of Pigeons (I thought) I have since found out they are both females... ::)

12-19-2003, 12:17 AM
The Blues; Proven pair of BD's

12-19-2003, 12:19 AM
Male Blue snake lookin' for love

12-19-2003, 12:20 AM
Spotted Blue Turq (GLD!) X Red Turq

12-19-2003, 12:24 AM
Group Shot,
RSG, Orange Pigeon, 2x BlueWhites, Red Turq X Wild-F1, White panda, Rose Red Cross (GLD!)

Pairs in the group: RSGXPigeon, BluewhitexBluewhite, Red Turq x Rose Red

White panda paired up with the above blue snake.

12-19-2003, 12:25 AM
Little more detail on the Blues (They're from Matt Parson BTW) and the White Panda

12-19-2003, 12:27 AM
A closer shot of one of Cary Strong's "Frankenstein" Crosses Rose Red x with something...

Very nice shape and very nice fish. I think it's a male but I'm not 100% it's still pretty young. I think it's paired wit the red turq

12-19-2003, 12:29 AM
One of Paulio's RSG's very young male it's spotted up lots more since I took this pic.

12-19-2003, 12:34 AM
Another group tank,

Marlboro Gold and Orange Pigeon (Chewal6), Spotted Turq and Marlboro Red (Wattley), Scribble Turq and Blue White (Matt Parsons), Red Snake X Red Diamond (lower Right Hard to see) (Dennis Hardenberger), Violet reflection, Cobalt

12-19-2003, 12:35 AM
Great Interview John and Randal!

I love the story about your wife's uncle--its funny the different paths that get us into this hobby.

Randall--nice fish--I love that brown, the BDs and the red spotted turks--looks like you know your discus as well as your RO systems!

Nice spotlight guys,


P.S.: I'll post my data on the ammonia rejection by the three different RO systems over the holidays.

12-19-2003, 12:35 AM
Orange you glad there's orange discus?

12-19-2003, 12:37 AM
The Fish Office/RO assembly plant/Home office/etc

12-19-2003, 12:54 AM
Nice Interview! Nice Discus :)

Carolina discus
12-19-2003, 01:27 AM
Nice interview! Could you post a few more pics of the red turk that is pictured with the red spotted turk? Where did you get that fish?

Nice interview John.

12-19-2003, 02:02 AM
Thanks for another great interview John. Boy, I wish my office looked like that ;D

12-19-2003, 03:49 AM
great interview and discus pixs

12-19-2003, 03:59 AM
Here you go Eric.....

I was told that fish is called a Checkerboard Turq. This particular one is a proven female.

12-19-2003, 04:00 AM
Another one...

12-19-2003, 04:05 AM
I also got some SWEET fish from Jeff@discusfarm.us yesterday. Talk about a great deal! Not only did I get Great Fish at a great price; He didn't charge me shipping AND sent someone out with the fish to help unpack! :o

JK; His brother Jason lives in the Chicago area and carried the fish on his flight for me. I picked both of them up at Midway airport, it's about 5 minutes from my house.

Jeff and Jason are a great couple of guys with some awesome fish! :thumbsup:

12-19-2003, 04:08 AM
I got Domestic RSG's Which are a type of spotted turq and Red Turq's. You can see both types in the above and following pics. They are all in the 3-4" range.

12-19-2003, 04:10 AM
That's bubbles on the tank glass, I just did a W/C...

Here's the little pigs chowing down on Blackworms. All of them ate after 2 hours and there were no signs of stress from their shipping ordeal. Excellent packing Job, no ammonia burns or anything...

12-19-2003, 04:12 AM
Last one, Look at the spotting on this little guy.. Sure looks like a lepoard to me...

12-19-2003, 04:21 AM
Great interview guys. Randal looks like they are setteling in just fine. ;)

12-19-2003, 08:22 AM
Nice discus Randal. I like the RSG's. Hope you get some babies from those.


12-19-2003, 02:37 PM
Great Interview Guy's,

Hmm somehow I get the odd feeling you don't have enough Tanks Randal. lol


12-19-2003, 04:02 PM
:thumbsup: Sweet! Thanks for the interview! I love the pics! Good luck Randal especially in getting more space! And lots of luck with the Wife! ;) ;D

12-20-2003, 12:30 AM
They are doing great, all eating and no problems.

Ronald, You're right, but I'm working on it...

Dan, I figure about 4-5 months 'till they start going at it..

Ronrca, I'm slowly wearing down her resistance!


12-20-2003, 02:03 PM
great interview guys


12-21-2003, 10:58 AM
nice to hear more about you Randall and see your fish.
lucky guy getting some of jeffs fish. your fishroom looks great..hope you get that garage...think you need the whole garage!! forget cars etc...

12-22-2003, 01:46 AM
Nice Job Guys ;)

12-22-2003, 03:25 AM
;DNice Interview and thanks for the pics Randal!

You have some beauts there!

Jean ;D 8)

12-22-2003, 09:45 AM
good interview! nice fish too!

12-24-2003, 06:53 PM
Nice job, Randal.

So, looks like I should pay another visit just to see your new fishes!!! :o :o :o


12-25-2003, 03:09 AM
Randal, may I use some of oyur pics for a project I have to do for school?

12-26-2003, 12:37 AM
They're pretty crappy, but go right ahead. I'm not one of those people that gets bent out of shape about image sharing....


01-10-2004, 06:29 PM
Nice to meet you Randal. Sweet find on those last ones you got there!


01-14-2004, 10:58 PM
:bounce2: :bounce2: :bounce2: Nice fish & tank set-up Randal. Great pigeons, & I esp like that wild brown. Don't know how you get it all done!! You really do need that garage, lol,, Dottie ;D ;D

01-17-2004, 12:26 PM
Very Nice