ChicagoDiscus.com     Cafepress Store

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 31

Thread: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

  1. #1
    MVP Oct.2015 discuspaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Surrey, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    3,810
    iTrader
    1 (100%)

    Default January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    I'm very pleased to present the first spotlight for 2016 - A lady who needs little introduction to many of you and who you know as having contributed mightily to assisting many new members over the years.



    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 - I'm an old lady and I've been happily married to Tim for just long enough that I can get away with calling him “Hey you!”. My hobbies vary by the season, the year and the decade. Yup, now you know my dirty little secret – I get bored just as soon as I feel that I've either mastered a task or learned all I can from a subject. Then I just move on to the next exciting thing that peaks my interest.

    I've been to college three times in the last 40 years. I somehow managed to actually graduate each time too, so I have a degree in English Lit (Pictured myself as the next Emily Dickinson), one in Biology (had dreams of becoming a doctor that time) and a degree in Computer Science (Finally decided I needed to actually make some money).

    I'm half owner of 1 dog, a Plott Hound, Tim owns the other half (I'm the stay at home half if you're wondering and he's the hiking in the mountains with the dog half). If you've never met a Plott hound, you simply MUST go find one and say hello. They were bred for wild boar and bear and can also run a mountain lion to ground. Might take a few days, but they are tireless and fearless and won't stop till they've treed their prey.

    Addie Plott Hound by Simply Discus, on Flickr

    Outdoors, Addie is a high energy, joyful dog who is super gentle with humans and endlessly on the run out in the fields.

    Addie-Dog1 by Simply Discus, on Flickr

    In the house she's content to just curl up at your feet and can sleep for 8 hours straight without moving a muscle. Uh huh, at times I have to check to be sure she's still breathing!

    We also have 2 cats. Long story short, we had to put our 18 year old Maine Coon to sleep a few years ago. Tim decided that the only thing that was going to get me out of my grief was to get a new fat cat. We found Tilly at a shelter. She'd been neglected, abused and then given up for adoption when she wouldn't “behave” with 3 small children. They'd declawed her to stop her from scratching, then tossed her outdoors for the winter to teach her a lesson, then threw a fit when she started biting at the kids when they “played” with her. ARGH!

    So we took in this fear-aggressive gorgeous 1 year old cat and she's slowly learned that not all humans will hurt her and that a few can be trusted to pet her.

    Winter Fur on Tilly by Simply Discus, on Flickr

    But she was lonely and I had the bright idea one day that adding a young cat to the house might help her feel more comfortable. Somebody stop me when I get these bright ideas!!

    That weekend I brought home a 2 month old kitten. Ok, so I thought he was more like 10 months old thanks to the information at the shelter and given his fairly large size.

    Max quickly wormed his way into everyone's hearts and then I took him to my vet and was told “Hey Toni, you do know that this guy is still a baby, right? He has baby teeth!”

    So this is a pic of Max at 3 months old, the day I found out how young he was. And also a pic of what Tilly thought of Max back then.

    Max at 3 months and Tilly not happy with new kitten pics[/B]
    Max-3-Months-Old by Simply Discus, on Flickr

    Tilly not happy with new kitten
    What-Tilly-Thinks-of-Max by Simply Discus, on Flickr

    And here's Max all grown up. He's 40” long but skinny and is just a big ball of fluff and love.

    Max at One Year by Simply Discus, on Flickr


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

    A - Oh my gosh, I have to go back to the mid 80's with this question. I saw my first discus in a tank of angel fish at a LFS in Springfield, MA. I was in the store looking for some interesting fish to add to my community show tank. At first I thought he was a deformed angel fish! No long fins and very gray in color. But something about him with his hints of blue on his face intrigued me.

    I asked and was told that he was a Heckel discus, or so the guy thought anyways. He explained that he'd gotten a tank of these baby discus along with the parents and that every other one of them had already sold. Said if I bought some angels he'd toss in the discus for $9. I was all over it!!

    That little guy was about 2” long when I brought him home and dumped him into my 78F, undergravel filtered, overstocked community tank with lots of fake plants and rocks. He joined all sorts of tetras, dwarf gouramis, hatchet fish and something they used to call a dolphin fish (man could those suckers jump!). And of course, he came home with 3 angel fish.

    I still feel badly that I had no idea what he truly was or how to care for him. He managed to live well in my tank, but I know he would have thrived in warmer waters and with better feedings.

    I sold him to my LFS when I was moving to Texas. By then he was about 5”-6” and the store owner was a wee bit overwhelmed at the idea of having a discus, but loved him and kept saying “Wow, I never knew they got this big!”. Oh if only he knew how big my discus get these days!

    That discus is what made me want to own an entire tank of discus fish.


    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'm not an expert on strains. I know the ones I love best and which ones I'd like to see improved, but breeding has never been an option for me, other than when my discus chose to surprise me with fry.

    The strains I'm currently in love with are the eruptions. Any and all of them! I have a pair of Eruption Leopards in my tank at the moment and the colors, the markings and the way that they change color depending on what angle you view them is, to me, delightful.

    In general, blues are real favorite of mine. Here's a pic of a tank of my blues from a few years ago:



    You'd think that I'm a big pigeon blood fan considering how many of them I've raised, but actually, I much prefer wilds, the various turqs out there and some of the redder of the brown based discus.

    And this one is my favorite turq. He's a jumbo Red Scribbelt at 8.5” and his colors are breathtaking:



    I have no projects in the works at the moment, my time has been very limited for the last year so I've resigned myself to simply growing out a new batch of jumbo discus. For this project, I'm raising them in a planted tank. It's a ton of work! But I've proved to myself that I can do it, and now I need never do it again... ever!


    Q - What do you feed your discus?

    A - I'm very basic with foods. I mix up a variety of flakes that include Cobalt discus flakes, immune booster flakes, spirulina flakes and beefheart flakes. I feed that mix twice a day. In between the flake feedings I use Al's FDBW's with spinach. Fewer feedings for adults, plenty of feedings for juvies and sub-adults.


    Q - What is your most exhilarating moment with discus?

    A - There were two of them. The first wasn't an actual moment in time. It was the moments when I pulled my flachen and marlboro red out of the tank to measure them. I'd already had the thrill of measuring 4 of my discus at 8”, but those two got measured again at 8.5” and then 9”. They filled a dinner plate.

    This is a picture of my biggest guy, the Marlboro Red. He's hanging out with a 5” sub-adult and to his left is a 6” sub-adult. He never seemed to mind being the monster in the tank.



    Timeline on my first batch of discus - the Hans group of five

    4-2011 - 4 inches


    6-20-2011 - 6 inches


    8-31-2011 - 6.5 inches for smallest and 7 inches for largest


    6-2012 - 7.5 inches for smallest and 8.5" for largest.





    My other thrilling moment was the first time a pair successfully bred a batch of fry. Watching the process from wigglers to free swimming was exhilarating.


    Q - What is your most frustrating moment with discus?

    A - Oh heavens, you can head down to my homestead section to read the entire horrible story, but I'll give you the reader's digest version here.

    I accepted a group of 4” discus as payment for a job I'd done. They were in QT and I was being super careful about it, but then one Saturday I was in a rush to get all my WC's done and when I was scrubbing down my main tank I looked down and realized that I'd grabbed the wrong scrubbie brush from the rack. I was using the wet brush from the QT tank that I'd just cleaned.

    Three days later the discus in my main tank were sick. By the end of 2 weeks I'd lost 3 of them. By the end of a year of battling one illness after another, I'd lost all but 3 of them. In total, eight of my jumbo discus were dead.

    I learned a lot from that awful experience though. I learned that meds aren't always the best course of action, even though your emotions are begging you to DO something.

    Clean fresh water on a daily basis once you've run a single course of meds to treat the biggest issue. Just water. Took me a year to finally stop doing the meds, rest, another round of meds, rest and on and on. And not one bit of it saved a single discus.

    These days when I have an issue, I place the affected fish into a hospital tank along with one of my healthy, easy going discus who is a good eater and I change water – tons of it.

    The buddy fish helps them to continue eating and to feel comfortable in the tank and the clean fresh water is my only “medication”. So far it's been working to cure my sick discus for over 2 years.

    Growth rate of my Golden Sunshine - 4 to 8 inches.

    6-23-2012 - 4 inches
    2

    8-6-2012 - 6 inches


    3-2013 - 8 inches



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

    A - No, no plans.


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

    A - I have a grown son who adores them and has followed along with me as I've learned how to raise them and care for them. He'll be taking in my current discus in the spring.

    My husband? Uhhh, not so much interested! He listens to me prattle on and one about them and nods his head at the right times, but other than that, the only fish he likes are the ones at the end of his fishing pole.


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

    A – Not sure others will find this amusing, but here goes.

    In my very first batch of discus I had one that I named Fred the Flachen. He was a very outgoing discus with tons of quirks. This is Fred:



    At that time I had a few small swords plants and some substrate in my tank. And every morning I'd wake up to find half the plants floating at the top of the tank. I'd replant them, and the next morning they'd be uprooted again.
    I finally turned out the lights one night and left the moonlights on so that I could see what was going on in there.
    Sure enough, about 5 minutes after the lights went out, Fred shot to the bottom of the tank and began nudging the plants till they floated to the top! It was on purpose! I pulled out the plants and substrate at that point, which made cleaning a lot easier and also meant that I didn't have to replant every morning.

    And then Fred found something new to entertain himself. I had a glass thermometer inside my tank attached with a suction cup.

    With no more plants to nudge around, Fred quickly took to nudging the suction cup till it came loose. Then he'd nudge the floating thermometer all around the top of the tank. And I mean around, and around and around. So that got removed too.

    Fred also learned to “flap” at me in excitement when he saw me approaching the tank for feedings. He'd flop on his side and flap his fins madly. The fin at the top of the water would create huge splashes that got more and more frenetic the closer I got to the tank. Can't tell you how many times I walked away with a wet shirt back when Fred was alive.


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

    A - I hope that as time goes on more and more people give discus a try. The reputation for being a difficult fish to keep has been around for a couple of decades so I think they intimidate a lot of novice fish keepers.

    The other problem is bad information floating around on the internet and in LFS's. When you spend several hundred dollars on a batch of small discus at your LFS and then they die off one by one because you've been given bad information on how to care for them, it can turn you off of discus forever.

    The Simply Discus forums are an invaluable source of good information, so the larger the group here grows, the more success people have and the more the word that discus really aren't hard to keep (if you follow basic rules) spreads. And that's all good!


    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 - Oh gosh, there were several key people who gave me the confidence to jump in and raise my first tank of discus. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be enjoying discus today.

    Discus Hans was wonderfully patient with me and we emailed back and forth weekly as I grew out my little ones. Skip helped me with sage advice on how to set up my tank. John Nicholson and Turq64 were instrumental in offering advice on water changes and basic upkeep during that first grow out period in my new tank and John has always been there for me whenever I've had a question or problem.

    Second Hand Pat has become my partner in crime when it comes to discus and we plunge in and learn together as we deal with things that crop up.

    During the long illness in my main tank of jumbo's Jim Hall and Rick Owen were my lifelines.


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

    A - I'd tell them to figure out how to make LARGE daily water changes as easy as possible, and then DO them!


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

    A - Hmmm, I've always been a clean freak when it comes to my fish tanks. Back in the 80's it was common practice to only do a 15% water change once a month on tropical tanks. I did 30% per week on my community tanks, and even more if I saw anything that looked like a problem. I also kept the inside of the tank squeaky clean because I couldn't stand the site of leftover food and poop in the tanks.

    Fast forward to 2010 and Simply Discus. When I read that I'd need to do daily water changes to grow out discus I was shocked, and then happy. It made perfect sense to me!

    Now I just can't imagine ever going back to 30% once a week, even for my non-discus tanks.

    Simply Discus has been the source of a wealth of information for me for the last 5 years. I can ask any question and get answers that I trust. The folks here have proven to me over and over again that they know what they are doing.
    They aren't always easy going when they answer, and they may seem extreme and fanatical to anyone outside the hobby, but the proof is in the pudding, as my Mom used to say. Follow the advice and you get big healthy discus!


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

    A - I'm not sure I've been a mentor! I do try to lay out easy to follow plans for people dealing with new tanks and/or sick discus.

    That comes naturally to me – I think in a linear and logical way in everything I do, so I tend to write the same way. I know that some people on SD laugh when they see that I've posted yet another long and windy set of points on a thread, but it's the only way that makes sense to me. And hopefully it makes sense to the person who posted and asked for help.


    Q - Do you have any other hobbies or strong interests you'd like to mention ?

    A - I love love LOVE rock hounding! As a kid I was always finding bits of quartz and interesting agates whenever our family went on picnics to the mountains in upstate NY. I treasured and hoarded them.

    And then in the 4th grade my school class took a field trip to the Herkimer Diamond Mines and I was hooked on searching for shiny objects.

    My husband and I retired and moved to the high plains desert of Idaho back in 2007 and I've been digging up shiny things ever since. There's a reason they call Idaho The Gem State!

    My husband, Tim, plans out the trips based on destinations that I choose, then we load up our ATV and our dog and set out for the day or the weekend.

    I've been lucky enough to come home with Star Garnets that were large enough to create rings and necklaces for my daughters and granddaughter.

    Pics of the designs and the final rings and necklaces.







    I have a collection of smoky quartz crystals that I cherish and there are topaz in several colors, one nice sapphire, a few aquamarines, epidote, thunder eggs, picture jasper, Christmas jasper, snowflake obsidian and so many others that I'd take an entire page if I listed them all.



    And through it all, Tim follows along very graciously and even helps by looking for “low hanging fruit” as we walk up and down hillsides. Then again, when you have this to stare at all day, I guess watching me digging in the ground isn't really too boring?



    Did I mention fire opal? Yup, I've been out to collect Spencer Opal a few times and this past summer dragged my oldest son and his family out to dig them up too. My son managed to come home with an fiery opal that weighed 1.27 pounds! (I was quite jealous but I think I hid it well)
    Last edited by discuspaul; 01-04-2016 at 12:42 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered Member rickztahone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Pacoima, California
    Posts
    12,932
    Blog Entries
    1
    iTrader
    11 (100%)
    Real Name
    Ricardo

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    A great read Toni. Love the kitty pictures

    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

  3. #3
    Homesteader MKD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Garden Grove - OC Socal
    Posts
    2,319
    iTrader
    2 (100%)
    Real Name
    Tony

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    you're always awesome!!! and always enjoy your posts/threads.
    My Fish Space
    300gallon Bare Bottom Tank [COMPLETED]
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "seek peace and pursue it"

  4. #4
    Registered Member Phillydubs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Long Island
    Posts
    3,922
    iTrader
    0
    Real Name
    Phil

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    Awesome read! Thanks so much for sharing!

    I am always in awe of your huge jumbo discus!

  5. #5
    Homesteader Keith Perkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Janesville, WI
    Posts
    6,395
    iTrader
    2 (100%)
    Real Name
    CozyKeith

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    Here's hoping you don't get bored with discus...I might miss you. A very good read.
    President - North American Discus Association

  6. #6
    Registered Member Jack L's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    PA, USA
    Posts
    1,928
    iTrader
    0

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    : )

    TFS, nice read, and the short time i've been on this board i've seen you be a mentor to others!

    a heckel in a community tank!!!

  7. #7
    Homesteader Altum Nut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    3,139
    iTrader
    5 (100%)
    Real Name
    Ralph

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    Now that Toni has enlightened us with her enjoyable spotlight read...I actually knew she was an intelligent, special person but the spotlight just filled in the blanks.
    Love the furry friends...Exceptional Discus one can only dream about having in their tanks.

    Will never forget the special SD staff members involved in putting this spotlight together.

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

  8. #8
    MVP Oct.2015 discuspaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Surrey, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    3,810
    iTrader
    1 (100%)

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    Very nicely put, Ralph. Toni is indeed a very special person.

  9. #9
    Registered Member John_Nicholson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Caddo MIlls, TX
    Posts
    8,385
    iTrader
    10 (100%)

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    Good read.

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

    SOS Crew Texas

  10. #10
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Northern Ontario
    Posts
    1,202
    iTrader
    0
    Real Name
    Kyla

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    great read! it makes me want to go hunting for cool gems! we brought the kids to an amethyst mine here in my city, and it was lots fun to search for purple gems, a little rush of excitement when u come across a nice one

    i also want to say that i LOVE your long posts. sometimes explaining the "why" of a thing can help a person understand the reasoning behind advice being offerred... and understanding a concept makes it more likely one will remember it.

  11. #11
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    30
    iTrader
    0
    Real Name
    Meshell

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    FYI, you are a mentor. In my few months of stalking these forums I've already picked up that I trust your posts more than some others! Loved learning more about you here!

    Also, I loved your Fred stories!

  12. #12
    Platinum Member and Homesteader nc0gnet0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    8,093
    iTrader
    10 (100%)
    Real Name
    Rick

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    Very nice read-thank you!


    (btw, stop chewing your fingernails )
    Ex-President-North American Discus Association-NADA

  13. #13
    Silver Member Boyd Luth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Vero Beach, Florida
    Posts
    259
    iTrader
    1 (100%)
    Real Name
    Boyd

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    Always enjoy the Members Spotlight :-) An opportunity to learn, and see some of our members areas of expertise. Toni in my earliest days guided me through some simple suggestions, lol. because I really did not want to listen ( much less do the work ) about basic cleanliness of Discus cleaning....when I finally, broke down my 160, and sterilized as she had suggested, my problems disappeared :-) Thanks Toni, and Paul, informative read.....oh chit.....daily water changes.... :-)

  14. #14
    Administrator and MVP Dec.2015 Second Hand Pat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    30,437
    Blog Entries
    4
    iTrader
    9 (100%)
    Real Name
    Pat

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    Nice read Toni. That year of trying to save your discus was heartbreaking. I have learned a lot from you and consider you a good friend. Keep doing what you are doing. Talk soon.
    Pat
    Your discus are talking to you....are you listening


  15. #15
    Registered Member strawberryblonde's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Mountain Home, Idaho
    Posts
    2,982
    iTrader
    0

    Default Re: January 2016 Member Spotlight - Strawberry Blonde - TONI

    Quote Originally Posted by nc0gnet0 View Post
    Very nice read-thank you!


    (btw, stop chewing your fingernails )

    Hmmm, where did you see my fingernails Rick? Has Tim been complaining about them again??? LOL
    Toni

    120g - 10
    discus, 4 cory's, 50+ Cardinals for now... give it a month and it'll change!

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Cafepress