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Thread: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

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    MVP Oct.2015 discuspaul's Avatar
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    Default Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    I'm very pleased to present the December 2015 member spotlight on ARDAN - a member who many of you know has been with the forum since its inception in 2002, and who served as a moderator for 10 years !



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

    A – I am happily married to my wife Renee for 34 years. We have 3 wonderful children, our oldest son is 31, our daughter is 28, and our youngest son is 25. I am a welder/metal fabricator by trade and have been doing this for 35 years. What makes me tick is that I love to be challenged to learn new things and fix things. My hobbies are making things out of wood, acrylic, and metal. Most hobbies fill the garage and basement.

    My Wife and Daughter


    Oldest Son


    Youngest Son on the Left



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

    A – In the early 1970’s I had a paper route in Billings Montana and I would deliver the newspapers from 2:00 a.m. until 4:30 a.m. A small pet shop moved into my route and that was my favorite place to stop and gaze at the fish. Not long after that I applied for a part time job at the pet shop, started collecting tanks and fish. Within a couple years I saw some discus in a book and mail ordered some discus. I was hooked.




    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 really love snakeskin discus and the variants such as leopard snakeskin, fine line snakeskin and such. Pure yellow are also a favorite as a descendant of the browns. I also think wilds are awesome, but do require a bit more work depending on your water situation.




    Q - What do you feed your discus?

    A – Primarily I feed fdbw from Al. I find the fish do very well on this food and water quality does not degrade as rapidly as from many other foods.


    Q - What is your most exhilarating moment with discus?

    A – There are quite a few thrilling moments, getting new discus, first egg layers, but most of all when I finally had a successful spawn and watching the fry and parent interactions and care of the parents.






    Q - What is your most frustrating moment with discus?

    A – Twice I lost all my discus to freak accidents. Once I was aging the water and not using dechlorinator, it never was a problem, until one day the city raised the chlorination level by ten fold. I was in a hurry, changed water and went outside. When I returned all discus were on the bottom or gasping for air. All were lost.

    The other time, there was a large power surge due to a lightning strike, we lost some wiring, but worse it stuck my heaters to the on position. When I came home from work the tanks were over 100 F. All discus lost. The lesson, don’t oversize the heaters and use good quality heater controllers.


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

    A – At this time I have been doing some downsizing due to a major work slowdown. Hopefully someday in the future I can breed some discus again, time will tell.




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

    A – My wife really enjoys seeing the fish especially when there are eggs or fry or new beauties to look at. She fully supports this and all my hobbies.


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

    A – I did have the opportunity years ago to visit Cary and his hatchery. It was a real thrill! Many discus in various stages of raising fry. Fascinating! I would love to see many of your hatcheries and I think all the pictures I have seen of the different hatcheries that many of you have are truly amazing!


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

    A – I think discus will always be a hit, due to their unique and beautiful varieties and their unique shape, but most of all in the way they care for and feed their fry. I also think that wilds are always going to be in demand for the challenges that they pose.


    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 – I have made many friends through the forum and learned so much from so many, that first I must thank all of you for sharing your ideas and knowledge! Others of you have become great and important friends for life through Simply Discus!

    There are two people that really stand out as mentors with discus. First, Cary of Great Lakes Discus. What a guy! I consider him to be a great friend and one of the most knowledgeable discus and fish people you will ever find! His knowledge and experience is vast. Diseases are one of his many specialties. I learned a lot from Cary. Thanks Cary!

    Second, my great friend Al of Simply Discus! We spent many hours on this site together through good times and rough patches while I was a moderator and now a sponsor. Al is a very dedicated person to this discus hobby and very dedicated to this forum. When I lost my discus due to the freak accidents, Al was right there, sent me some discus from his personal collection! Got me going again. When I was thinking of starting this part time business of Ardans Creations, Al was there, giving me a lot of insight on how to obtain my license and federal ID number, and many other facets of running a LLC. Thanks Al!

    Glass Assortment



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

    A – Water quality and stability including cleanliness of the tank are the most important things in discus keeping. Starting out right with good quality discus, then take care of them with a good home for them.


    Q - How has Simply Discus helped influence you in the hobby?

    A – There are so many really good, good people here with so much knowledge that they share openly and freely, that it is just amazing! It’s not only the influence on the hobby, but the influence on life itself. This is a place not only about fish, but about people. That is really special!


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

    A – Well, I have tried to help people. That has always been my goal here. I wrote many articles on water and on diseases and tried to organize them in indexes to hopefully help people learn. Those areas have always been a special interest of mine in fishkeeping, so I tried to learn more about those areas from books and from others here on the forum. Then I tried to organize them into articles to share with others. These are not perfect, and things change especially with regards to availability of different treatments, but hopefully they might help people.


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

    A – Well I hope this next years NADA event is the best ever! I think NADA is a great Association that really promotes this hobby in a positive way and I think more importantly it brings people together in a very fun and a very educational way! I hope to be able to make it in 2016. It would be the first one for me and I hope that many others can make it their first one too!


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

    A – It was always a primary goal. I have bred many different fish, but discus was one of the more elusive for me.


    Q - Any advice for aspiring breeders, or any tips on breeding or raising discus?

    A – Start small, control your enthusiasm for going too big too soon. Don’t get tank fever like me too soon. LOL Always maintain water quality and start with good healthy discus and feed them well with high quality food.


    Q - Do you have any other hobbies or strong interests you'd like to mention, besides your business as a sponsor here on Simply ?

    A - Some of the hobbies I enjoy are doing things with my family. We enjoy fishing on Lake Michigan and inland Wisconsin lakes. We enjoy power motor sports including NHRA and Tractor Pulling. We also attend the Milwaukee Brewer baseball games occasionally. It’s a lot of fun when it’s with my family!

    Me on the right next to John Force at NHRA Drag races



    Q - You've been a member of the forum since it's inception in 2002, and you were a moderator for approx. 10 years. That's a lot of service to the forum. Do you have any comments about this longevity ? You persevered for a long time - was there any period during this time that really sticks out in your mind ?

    A – Really it was all about the great people that I worked closely with! I always looked up to Ryan Smith and his great knack for being able to address different situations on the forum and I looked forward to his posts in the Admin section! Ryan is a great person and it was a privilege to work closely with him. Paul was another one that was a great friend and cool headed Admin, great to work with. There was April who knew everyone and everything in the discus world. Of course there always was and always will be Al…… can’t say enough good things. The list goes on and on as to the great people that devote time and talent freely. I say thanks to all of you, you won’t ever be forgotten!


    Q - Please tell us some things about your business - what occasioned you to get this going and when ? You have great talent in creating the lovely artwork that you have, and in developing the long list of gift items that you carry in inventory. How did this all come about - did you take any art classes or anything like that to develop your creativity ? Can you share with us how much time you devote to it, what it means to you, the good parts of it, and perhaps the not so good ? Is your family involved at all ? What specific product or products are you most happy with, and are the most popular with buyers ?

    A – Almost two years ago now, I was working on some things that could be of use to Simply Discus and Al talked to me about possibly starting a small business and selling the items that I was making. All items that I make I learned on my own through trial and error and by reading on the internet. I have devoted many hours to learning the crafts mainly because I like the challenges and I like to make special gifts for my family. The only downside has been the sizeable investments made, but I love doing this and maybe someday it will be a break even or possibly a profitable adventure. In the meantime I am making sure that I don’t overdo it and start to lose the joy I get from doing it. That is important in anything in life. I am still trying to find my niche in the market as this is still a very young venture, but this year I concentrated on casting my own snakeskin and other skin pen blanks in acrylic and then turning them on the lathe and incorporating them into pens. I also developed a “feel it” series of pens, where the tanned skins (into leathers) of various snakes, reptiles and stingray, are glued to pen parts so that you can feel the unique scales and skins of these animals. I think it is a really cool thing to be able to touch and feel the vastly different and rare varieties of skins.

    My wife is always my go to person to evaluate my products and give me advice. I value her advice very much as she has a really good eye for how things look and go together.

    "Feel It" Anaconda Snakeskin



    Q - Anything you'd like to add regarding the popularity or availability of any of your pieces as gifts for special occasions, like the upcoming Holiday Season ?

    A - Most pens are one of a kind, but I have made custom colored pens for customers or pens with different glitters cast in acrylic. I also have a vast array of different woods from many parts of the world.
    The laser is still a new and expanding part of the business. I really enjoy taking a photograph of people or pets, running it through special software that I have and inscribing it on drinking glasses. It takes a lot of time to get it “right” but it then becomes a “very special gift” for the customer. To learn about the laser I took online courses. Included in these courses were standard prices charged by businesses running lasers. I price my products below the industry standards, but it still seems expensive. Pricing is based on materials and laser “run” time. Custom work is very time consuming, but also very rewarding as I work through the challenges that it poses. I hope this may help people understand some of what it takes to make the things I make.

    Caiman Crocodile Skin in Acrylic on a Cigar Pen



    In closing, I really would like to thank Simply Discus for putting me in the “Spotlight”. It is a great honor!
    And most of all Thank all of you for being a part of this forum! Everyone brings something to the tank!

  2. #2
    Homesteader MKD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    Congrat Ardan. Great family, fish and works you have there. You're so talented. I can't draw or draft a nice picture. I wish I have your talent.

    Enjoy,

    tony
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    Platinum Member and Homesteader nc0gnet0's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    Great read Ardan, hope to meet you soon!

    -Rick
    Ex-President-North American Discus Association-NADA

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    Registered Member John_Nicholson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    Great read.

    -john
    Please check out http://forum.discusnada.org/

    SOS Crew Texas

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    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    Ardan,

    I'm Honored to be your friend and to have known you all these years! You helped make Simply what it is today ! Thanks for sharing! and I hope we can meet up at NADA 2016!

    Seriously, anyone out there looking for a unique gift this Holiday Season...get in touch with Ardan, for true handcrafted gifts!

    -al

    Thanks for the write up Paul! Another great one!!
    AquaticSuppliers.com Freeze Dried BlackWorms and other foods your Discus will Love!!!


    >>>>>We really could use your support. Please DONATE HERE Thanks!


    Al Sabetta
    Simplydiscus LLC Owner
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    I take Pics.. click here for my Flickr images

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    Homesteader Keith Perkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    Great read, and I love the picture of you with John Force. I would have known him even without your introduction, especially with his name so big right above his head on that awing. Hope to meet you in person soon and see you at NADA 2016, maybe even have a drink from a piece of your awesome laser cut glassware.

    President - North American Discus Association

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    Registered Member rickztahone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    Great read Ardan! You have such a talent my friend! You are progressing nicely with your photos as well . Wishing you the best with all your custom work, and I hope to get more merchandise from you soon. Take care.

    Click here to view my 75g Acrylic Tank w/ Bean Animal Overflow with 40g Sump Thread

    Also, click here for my 25 group of discus grow out thread


    http://i3.cpcache.com/product/162117...ht=75&width=75
    Want to look like Al did at his ACA talk with his white Simply Polo shirt?(You can catch Al's awesome Discus talk HERE)
    You can get this and many more items such as T-shirts/Polos/hoodies/cups from our merchandise shop:
    Cafepress.com

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    Registered Member Ardan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    Thank you for the kind words Tony!

    Ardan
    Quote Originally Posted by MKD View Post
    Congrat Ardan. Great family, fish and works you have there. You're so talented. I can't draw or draft a nice picture. I wish I have your talent.

    Enjoy,

    tony

  9. #9
    Registered Member Ardan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    [QUOTE=nc0gnet0;1186142]Great read Ardan, hope to meet you soon!
    Thank you Rick! I hope to meet you soon also!

    Ardan

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    Registered Member Ardan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    Quote Originally Posted by John_Nicholson View Post
    Great read.

    -john
    Thank you John! I hope to meet you in July

    Ardan

  11. #11
    Registered Member Ardan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    Quote Originally Posted by brewmaster15 View Post
    Ardan,

    I'm Honored to be your friend and to have known you all these years! You helped make Simply what it is today ! Thanks for sharing! and I hope we can meet up at NADA 2016!

    Seriously, anyone out there looking for a unique gift this Holiday Season...get in touch with Ardan, for true handcrafted gifts!

    -al

    Thanks for the write up Paul! Another great one!!
    Thank you Al! Your comments, your friendship mean a lot to me. The time working with you has been a great honor! I hope to see you at NADA 2016 also.

    Ardan

  12. #12
    Registered Member Ardan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Perkins View Post
    Great read, and I love the picture of you with John Force. I would have known him even without your introduction, especially with his name so big right above his head on that awing. Hope to meet you in person soon and see you at NADA 2016, maybe even have a drink from a piece of your awesome laser cut glassware.

    Thank you Keith! I hope to meet you soon and we will definitely have to have a drink! I guess John Force's name above his head is a giveaway isn't it. LOL

    Ardan

  13. #13
    Registered Member Ardan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    Quote Originally Posted by rickztahone View Post
    Great read Ardan! You have such a talent my friend! You are progressing nicely with your photos as well . Wishing you the best with all your custom work, and I hope to get more merchandise from you soon. Take care.
    Thank you for your kind words about the photography and thank you for all your help with that! It is very much appreciated!

    Ardan

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    Registered Member Moon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    Great read Arden. I've known you on and off since 2003. I'm fishless now but still keep in touch with SD.
    Joe

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    Homesteader Altum Nut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Member Spotlight for December 2015 - ARDAN

    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    Great read Arden. I've known you on and off since 2003. I'm fishless now but still keep in touch with SD.
    Joe
    Glad you chimed in buddy...

    Great spotlight Ardan...
    You seem to have a close knit family who would put up with you taking up 1/2 the house for your hobby. I'm still amazed on the quality and craftsmanship in your pens and other products.
    I too am a big fan of Snake-skin and Leopards as you mentioned.
    I'm 99.9% I'll be attending Nada 2016 so it would be a pleasure to finally meet you.

    Well want to add that Paul with anyone who assisted hit yet another spot-light out of this park...Great job once again.

    ...Ralph
    "Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."
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