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 Post subject: Interview with Andrew Soh
PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:34 pm 
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Hi guys, below is an interview with renowned breeder Andrew Soh for DCR. I hope it's a nice surprise. Enjoy. :fish:
Varianta in limba romana



Interview with Andrew Soh

Hello Andrew and first of all I would like to thank you for taking time to answer my questions for Discus Club Romania forum.

1)Please tell us a few things about yourself and how you got involved with discus. Also a description of your farm and the projects you were involved in.


I am a man and that is a fact! Ha!ha!ha! I have indulged in many businesses and had many successes and failures. Those industries were Aerospace; Building construction; Food and Beverage; and of course Aquaculture/Ornamental fish.

It is always a similar story told by many. I started keeping fishes like Betta and guppy at a tender age of 8. I was so engrossed in fish-keeping hobby that any extra time I had was given to that hobby but one day, because I spent more time than in my studies, my mum poured all the fishes away....*&^%#@* Though not giving up and started again, romance was only skin-deep. In 1973, I was bitten by a bug and my whole immune system was infected, infected by the virus know as discus! I was totally defenceless and succumbed to temptation. And from there on, discus, the first and only genus that was able to fully establish itself within me, were swimming in my bloodstream, 24-7. I am now Fifty-four years old...imagine how potent the virus is. It is still very much in me!!!

Recalling the initial phase of discus keeping, after having gained some experiences with handling the simplest species of discus, the tank-bred Browns, I wanted to move into the so-called ‘more difficult variants. There was a discus specialist shop I started to patronise then. It stocked the most exotic discus strains...namely the Royal blue, Tank-bred Green and Turquoise discus. There was a pair of turquoise discus that caught my eyes. Discus being extremely expensive at that time and I being a low wager, I dare not to enquire about price but made a point to go to that shop daily whenever I had the time, spent hours sitting only in front of that tank, silently admiring and appreciating the beauty.

After some time, I finally built-up the courage to ask and was told S$1,600. Oh gosh! I was a young adult then and my monthly salary was less than a thousand dollars, cannot afford to buy it straight away. So while trying to save up my salary, I continued to visit my ‘love-to-be’ daily and sitting in front for hours as though telling any other visitor “This is mine, don’t come near!”. I told the owner I love that pair and he kept telling me “Buy, buy, buy” and in my mind “Money, money, where, where money?” Finally, having saved up two month’s salary, I negotiated with the owner and even though I got a small discount...they still cost more than my one month’s salary...more than a thousand....

Happily, I brought the pair back and put them into a new small tank of less than 40 litres...next to the TV so that I can admire the pair while watching my favourite shows. Singapore has a pretty warm climate (25C to 28C) and heater is in fact unnecessary. But because it was my more than a month’s salary lovers, I WANTED to pamper them with the ‘Best’....I INSISTED!!! So, I went to an aquarium shop to buy a heater. Being a young adult and having spent so much on a pair, I took the option to invest on a cheaper version of heater without thermostat (Those with thermostat were very expensive then).
Being my prized possession, I told everyone in the house not to touch that tank. Every morning, I would turn on the heater at 7am and unplug at 8am before going to work and as no one is to go near my private restricted area, I would come back at around 6 in the evening, plug and on the switch for an hour, feed the discus and remove the heater’s plug. Raising temperature by a few degrees can stimulate appetite. I thought everything was well-organised and under control. I did a make-shift bed next to the tank and would watch them swim about till 3am daily... disregarding all family members around me because I was with the king of aquarium fishes and I too should be a king....because I was walking with kings!

A week into keeping those precious darlings and on a Saturday, my niece of 8 came to our house while I was away to work. When I came back in the evening, I was greeted by my sister “Andrew, don’t know why your discus are floating sideways”. I immediately rush in only to see two cooked discus!!! The water was ‘near boiling’. I cannot believe my eyes and did not want to accept the fact that they were dead. I kept standing there for hours, poking them gently once in a while....hoping that they will eventually move...but it was an endless wait.

I forgot to remove the plug that morning before going to work and my niece switched on the television the whole day...plus...no one is allowed to touch that tank. Maybe if I were to allow them to touch my tank... the pair may still be alive... Also there was no hand-phone then.... Of course I cried.....more than a month’s salary....cooked within a week!!! This was the most disheartening experience. I refused to discard them and instead, packed them each into a plastic bag and put in into the freezer and would bring them out daily to look at them...hoping at least one of them would jump up!

A hobby turned into commercial entity in 1989, known as Associates Aquarium Pte Ltd, a discus specialist-shop at Outram road, acquired a 1.95hectares of land in 1994 to further my fish-breeding thirst. In that farm were more than 1000 tanks for discus production and more than 100 huge cement tanks for other productions. Also in the farm was artemia production....growing artemia to adult size to distribute to local aquarium shops.

In that farm was our indulgence in research and development is the heart of our farm which included improving treatment system and good husbandry practices and strain creation. New fishes like Koi swordtails and new guppy-variants were created....and also trying to create albinism in Betta using the same technique used to create the discus albino.


2)I know that you may have something to do with the origin of albinism in discus. Can you give us some details? And also about koi albino swordtails?

I believe this information is in both my books, but I will try to explain here and keep it brief. Yes, it was through my genetic-engineering research back in 1990 that triggered albinism in discus. But thinking that those exposed to mutational media did not convert to albinos thus unsuccessful, I sold that batch to Wayne Ng and in the F1 of my exported batch, 4 Albinos were produced. It came from the Alencer discus that I bred. Unfortunately, the 4 pieces of Wayne’s Albino died at 2 months old. But through trade, another breeder in Hong Kong who bought that stock had a spontaneous sprouting of 12 Albinos (only once) and those 12 were the precedent stock of the present Albinos all over the Globe.

As to the Koi Albino Swordtails, albinism was long established in the swordtail arena. But the Koi pattern was created in my farm through genetic manipulation. I do not know whether you believe in what I am about to say, “I talk to fishes”...and that is a fact. I have a fair good sixth-sense. When I saw a white spot on the belly of a swordtail, I told him “I want to change you into a Koi-like swordtail for miniature ponds”....and from there onwards, I cross him with different sub-strains and even different species under the same genus. I kept telling the offspring to change and have been sitting in front of those tanks for hours on end....even after midnight.

Finally, one perfect white-swordtail with a red dot on the head sprouted spontaneously. But it died in less than a month...and when I thought all hopes were gone, another sprouted from the next batch.....and that one single Koi swordtail became the forefather and precedent of all Koi swordtail you see now in the world. In other words, all Koi-like swordtails came from one fish....one common forefather. Interesting?


3)I have noticed that a considerable percent of the discus keepers, especially beginners want to own and reproduce the so called "pure strains" of discus. For some of them out-crossing does not sound like a good idea, although it's have its importance. What can you recommend for a discus hobbyist who wants to maintain and improve a discus strain? What principles should apply?

There are different schools of thought and I am in no position to say who is right or wrong. In the definition of Heiko, they are not ‘Pure strains’ but ‘Species’...hence the Green; Blue; and Heckel and Brown being part of ‘Blue’ in the wild.

Therefore, maintaining a particular species may be quite noble but may be unable to attract wider participation in the hobby. We should never forget that all of us have been breeding wild discus and they were also the only materials we had in the past. It is through mother-nature’s injection of mutants that resulted in wider gene pool and variants. So what all breeders have been doing is natural and acceptable, a path in evolution. Do we as modern humans wish to marry primates...like monkeys and apes?

In studies on evolution, we humans are primarily from the apes so is it fair to say that re-creating apes to rule the world a noble course? Mutants are nature’s contribution to change and inter-species cross-breeding is to encourage improvements in phenotypic expression. Inter-race marriages produce beautiful Eurasian girls, yes? According to some historians, there are supposed to be 5 species of distinct races. So should we accept the mixes or should we cast them out of society and call them ‘Freaks’?


4)Agree that what is found in nature there can't be named properly as strains, but species. In fact I was refering to the domestic, man-made strains which some of them are unstable or work in progress but still there is a general perception that they will “breed true” just because they have a fancy name and come from an exporter with a nice website. Can you describe shortly for our readers how a domestic strain can be maintained in long term in order to prevent serious degeneration?

One suggestion is to keep out-crossing the discus to prevent degeneration. But then again, as you said, the strain will be unstable. So well-planned genetic line breeding is important to maintain a bloodline and prevent degeneration. You might find some information in my second book.

It is also acceptable to have strains that are unstable in their phenotype. They are discus after all. Accusation of giving ‘Fancy names’ seems to come most frequently from wild discus exporters and I think it is unfair. Is it not the same for taxonomists to name the discus species...Green, Blue or Heckel after their own names...fanciful??? If these people are not forgiving and accommodating, then we should name discus as discus-species 1, discus-species 2 and discus-species 3.....and betta sp. 1, betta sp. 2 and so on. With so many new variants with phenotypic differences, what should we call them then...the tank-breds? Should I sell a strain under “With thin 2 mm light bluish-green stripes on the body with so-and-so numbers of scales with 6 nos. of 1mm stripes on the face, red dots in-between the strips with 11 stress-bars on a greyish-brown base with half red iris of helicopter body shape”. How would a seller describe the next strain he wants to sell...A+B+Y+9S+H+II+3+W+Q?????

Because the phenotype is polygenic trait and not one of Dominance and recessive, there is a certain degree of resemblance between parents and offsprings....just like humans...though never 100%. So, that is O.K. It is important when a seller sells you a discus under a particular name and you have seem the parents’ picture, that the purchased discus must eventually have more than 70% of the characteristics. That is my opinion...and I hope you understand what I am trying to decipher.


5)It's been said that Metronidazole administration can lead to liver damage. What is your experience with this at farm level? I know that you have had dissected a lot of fish and also you have sent fish to the vet for examination.

I have not experienced such and in all my observations, there is no direct relation between metronidazole and liver damage.


6)Also many people advocate that beefheart or beefheart mixture is detrimental to digestion. What is your opinion on this?

Many vets, biologists and breeders blame or finger-point at beefheart and porkheart mix. The simple truth about these people is that they are ignorant of the real cause of constipation or sudden deterioration of health. Just because it is a common sight to witness well-fed juveniles having bloated belly of beefheart, the next time they witness a sick discus with bloated belly, they immediately point to beefheart as the cause.

I have fed such to Discus and as can be seen, even 10 days old fry can ingest and digest the meat-meal well and there was good growth. The rate of growth is also a good gauge or indicator of metabolism and the feed-efficient ratio of the feed.

Therefore, when a discus has constipation, it could be of other reasons that have affected peristalsis and could be infection, irritation, excessive mucus-secretion or too much organisms in the gut and may not necessarily be a direct result of the feed they ingested.


7)You formulated some supplements for fish and a medicine. Can you tell us the story behind those products especially Pro-more?

No one will create something if it is an end in itself. And along the route to inventions or scientific researches, there are always some unexpected results unveiling themselves along the way and to me those are bonuses.

Pro-more was a bonus in my quest to eliminate the aquatic virus ‘Iridovirus’. As not being a scientist/ pathologist by qualification, I can only invent my own method to fight the virus and I chose to enhance the immunity of the fishes to allow the immune to produce more cytotoxic cells equipped with more lethal weapons to perform the search and destroy mission....finally triumphing over the virus, eliminating it completely from my farm.

I also used the same concoction to fight and eliminate tetra hymena from guppy and in high dose, was a great success. The only to achieve perfect elimination in the world.

The bonus from this was that those fishes under treatment were breeding furiously and successfully.....resulting in better and higher fertilisation rate and quantity of fry. Hence, Pro-more was born!

Fishes fed with pro-more supplement has an increase of 30% more eggs or babies produced. The best a normal guppy could give birth is 150fry....but after 2 a month on pro-more, it was able to give birth to 184fry. So did the swordtails....and discus, I had a maximum of 600fry in one spawn.


8)I understand that your second discus book "Discus, Problems and Solutions" has just been launched. What aspects are treated in the book? The first one "Discus, The Naked Truth" it's a great book.... just to say the least. Please tell us, what was the motivation to write these books?

The content inside the second book, "Discus, Problems and Solutions" are as listed below:

-Breeding – ensuring better success with Albinos and the infamous four weeks syndrome
-Induced breeding – how to force-breed…the clinical method verses the natural method
-Genetics – In-depth discussion - phenotypic expression through genetic manipulation
-Faces – Changes in the face pattern and mutants
-Recipe – Necessary properties and recipes revealed
-Pro-more – Power in breeding
-Pro-growth – Growth rate and growth potential
-Fucin – Power in treatment
-Diseases, Treatments and Autopsy – Holistic approach
-Frequently asked questions - Discussion

What motivation to write the second book? Because of you guys, my newly-made buddies in the forums. After the first book, I started to engage in the forums and I came to know that there are still many questions unanswered in my first book and many new infections that needed new methods to control and newer solutions.

So to ensure as much information as possible in the discus arena, I disseminated as much of what I know, in hope that the basic prerequisites of discus are satisfied and discus enthusiasts do not need to ‘reinvent the wheel’ or ignorantly ride on the learning curve again.


9)Also you wrote a non-discus book called ‘Thrusts That Last’. . What it is about and how it was received?

One thing I have to say, "Thrusts that last" is a very good book. At Singapore S$35.00, it is able to solve men’s long-term sexual problem/performance...and maybe save their marriage too. It is not pornography...definitely not!!! It is an educational book that most women would like their husband/partner to possess.

It is about inability of women to achieve female orgasms through penetration, but the real cause lies with the men. You can choose not to believe me. Open your computer and search for that topic. There are millions of websites discussing the agonising issue of women and true data have shown that an average of 65% women never had an orgasm in their life and only less than 1% of the global population have it regularly but nothing is talked about the mode of achieving it. Most of the women accepted the fact as their own sexual incapability but it is untrue. It is the inferiority of men...shame on these selfish men???

Please do not discount my character...which I think some do. Upon the word ‘SEX’...wow...porno... “It is a taboo issue....why talk about it”. I was a dumb, dumb in sex years ago and finally found out the cause of the problem and invented some assuring methods that can improve performance to the hours. My book is the only one in the world that attacks the problems head-on, solve them with a straight-forward approach and all methods proven to work...simply and direct.

The purpose of writing ‘Thrusts That Last’ is to help men in generally.....the 99% problematic men. It was also written for my children so that they do not need to reinvent the wheel! It is not Karma Sutra, it is a better book, an educational book, and the only book in the world with workable solutions for men.

Many writers try to con readers by taking the word ‘Orgasmic’ as ‘Orgasm’ to make the book sellable. In my dictionary hence my book, ‘Orgasmic’ is not ‘Orgasm’ and ‘Orgasm’ is ‘Orgasm’.

Sales of the book? Not as hot as I expected it to be....because men are very shy and fragile in the heart. Most men can never admit failures and their sexual incompetence. They prefer to hide their incompetence and claim they are heroes on bed. The only way truth will be exposed and my facts prevail is to have a private one to one talk with all the 99% global sexually active females.


10)What else do you enjoy to do?

I love everything. I am a Jack of all Trades....master of some...ha!ha!ha! I love aquatic pets, planting, eating, cooking, parachute cum sky-diving, fire-range shooting, racing, bowling, occult science, fishing and crabbing, dissecting fishes, singing, home deco-design and trouble-shooting problems.

I am master in the follow:

Cooking-Chinese

Best trainee in sky-diving

Marksman in shooting-100metres and 300metres

Bowling- Once average 190points. Best score in tournament 263points a game

Dissecting fish- Discus

Singing-Karaoka-sounds like All-in-one, the Platters.......etc....

Occult science- Palmistry

Fish- Discus...ha!ha!ha!


Thank you very much Andrew once again for your kindness to answer my questions.

You are welcome!! I am not arrogant, readers. They are facts. I love all things in life and I embrace them all with enthusiasm and unquestionable dedication and is my character to embark on any given interest full heartiness. Never give up, never say die!

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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Andrew Soh
PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:37 pm 
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Hi Ciprian, and respect for Mr. Andrew Soh!
Ciprian, you have produced a special event for this forum and for lovers of Discus Community in Romania. I read and read again the interview… The kindness of Mr. Andrew Soh to reveal us very interesting details from his private life and also, from the Discus World, simply delights me. I hope this interview will be an incentive for as many of us to “put hands” on books written by Mr. Andrew Soh. Also, I hope that this DCR interview to be the first of a series that we all want to be as long…

Congratulations, Ciprian
Respect, Andrew!
:sal:

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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Andrew Soh
PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:38 pm 
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Very interesting interview Ciprian.
As can be seen from the interview even the most famous discus breeder start almost from nothing but with passion and dedication his dream become true. I appreciate the work of Mr. Soh for creation of a new strain (even if there are many who keep “chimp” in their tanks). I also read his interventions on several forums from abroad.
He is a true friend of discus breeders and keepers and not hesitates to give advices to anybody who is in need. I also appreciate the friendly approach to anybody who need his advice. I hope that all of us to take Mr. Soh example and share our experience with others on this forum.

Good job Mr. Soh
Thank you Ciprian :D

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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Andrew Soh
PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:38 am 
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septi wrote:
I hope that all of us to take Mr. Soh example and share our experience with others on this forum.

Someday, maybe... :D

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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Andrew Soh
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:25 pm 
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where can i find this books, beside ebay and what whold be the corect price for them?


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