Review by: Tony Vaughan
Tittle: "Discus – The Naked Truth” by Andrew Soh
Colored pictures: Many
When I met Andrew at the International Discus Championship in Germany
in 2002 he told us about his book that he was going to release. A little
later than expected it has finally arrived and take it from me it was
well worth the wait. Below is only a brief explanation of what’s
included in “The Naked Truth”………….. Here are the secrets of discus
keeping in black and white and this is the Whole truth, and nothing but………….”The
If you only have one discus book in your collection make sure it is this one.
The first chapter - Selecting the Best
Andrew starts off the book with a helping hand on how to select the best discus
possible. Straight away the subject is taken to a level never seen before in
this hobby. One where all discus forms are studied including the eight different
types of foreheads, it then moves onto discus deformities and the things to look
out for when purchasing discus. The rest of the chapter covers the rest of the
fish, gills, eyes, fins, scales and then General condition. Things like movement
are explained in detail as are tell tale signs of underlying problems that may
not be apparent to the novice discus keeper. This chapter has very detailed
diagrams (all drawn by the author !!) along with a vast amount of very
beneficial information to anyone wishing to buy discus and not only that it
would also show you what to look for when judging a fish for yourself.
The second chapter – Culture Tank Systems
In this chapter the advantages and disadvantages of seven of the most popular
tank set ups are covered. This includes set ups from a single tank with sponge
filtration to breeding set ups of multiple tanks with complicated water
recycling systems. Things like water changes, feeding, parasites, biological
activity, growth, evaporation, breeding and lots more are covered. “All system
tanks work, but some work better”, Andrew Soh”
The third chapter – Breeding
The prerequisites of any breeding project are covered first, things like
lighting, shadows, aeration and water quality are explained in detail. It then
moves onto water quality and food for both fry and parents. At this point the
chapter launches into the breeding process, which is aided with step-by-step
pictures. The whole process is captured from a pair with a spawn right up to
when the fry have grown to 5cms / 2 inches – truly awesome !
The fourth chapter – Artemia Culture
In 1997 Andrew’s company took on a project, “Commercial Production of Adult
Artemia”, needless to say the project was a huge success. Artemia is one of the
best foods that fishkeepers can give their fish. During the project they used to
harvest 20kg / 44 Lbs of artemia a day!!! (I am so glad I was not the one paying
for the artemia eggs after seeing the pictures) Andrew shows us how to hatch
them from capsules and raise them onto adults, very handy for any fish keeper.
In the past I have had limited success in the raising of brineshrimp to adults
so I am looking forward to giving it another try using Andrew’s method.
The fifth chapter – Sexing
At the 2002 Discus Championship in Duisburg, Germany Andrew gave a seminar on
sexing discus. This was amazing in my opinion and was one of the reasons why I
was looking forward to the book. He has a method that I’m almost sure with a bit
of practice everyone will be able to sex discus at a fairly reasonable size.
Andrew covers the external signs like fins, lips, forehead and overall size
before delving into stuff like milt sacs and egg sacs. Very graphic diagrams and
also dissection photos accompany this.
The sixth chapter - Grooming a Champion
In this chapter Andrew shows us how to select and groom a champion fish. It
covers everything from eyes, gills, fins, and overall shape. He then talks about
culling and conditioning and water quality and feeding prior to competition.
“Always strive to produce the Best” – Andrew Soh
The seventh chapter - Discus Genetics
This chapter starts off with a look into the genetics of the Swordtail (Xiphophorus
species) and gives a very detailed explanation of some of the different strains
of swordtails. This is another fish that is close to Andrew’s heart. It then
moves onto discus and their genes and also gives us a very detailed explanation
on breeding traits. He gives us some great explanatory diagrams to show how to
clean and create strains.
The eighth chapter - Import Quarantine Procedure
Nowadays with the sale of discus more popular than ever it has become imperative
to quarantine new arrivals regardless of where they have come from. This is to
ensure no cross contamination takes place and to make sure the new arrivals
return to full health after their arduous journey as quickly as possible. Andrew
has a nine step method which if followed I’m certain would prevent a lot of fish
losses after importation. “Prevention is better than cure, and curing discus is
a nightmare” – Andrew Soh.
The ninth chapter - Diseases and Treatments
In this chapter parasites are explained giving definitions of ecto & endo
parasites, protozoa, fungus, worms, bacteria and viruses. Andrew proceeds to
give a scenario and a solution to the 6 different scenarios which are covered.
How to repair broken fins is also covered and I must say I have never seen this
method mentioned before, again giving very detailed drawings as reference.
The tenth chapter - List of Commonly used drugs and chemicals.
In this chapter of the book, the title speaks for itself. The most popular
medications for all sorts of parasites are covered including the recommended
dosages. Andrew is extremely well known in Asia for his successful treatments of
diseases and has also given seminars on discus health. He has also designed some
of his own medications to treat some diseases.
The eleventh chapter - Frequently Asked Questions
In this section Andrew takes the most commonly asked questions from more than 20
of the most hotly debated topics which include questions on water, feeding,
breeding, rearing and many more.
Andrew does not have blood in his veins, he has Amazonian water and there are
lots of little
Discus swimming from his head to his heart and then to his soul. In this book he
Us a glimpse of his heart, something difficult for anyone to do.
The book is full of fascinating information some of which has never been in
print before now. In my opinion Andrew is more than a discus expert, more like
Doctor Dolittle of the fish world. He has a passion for discus that I have never
seen before, he explains things in an uncomplicated manner and is as
knowledgeable as you will find.
This isn’t the kind of book that you will read and put away, it is more like
a reference book that you will go back to again and again, everytime I read it I
learn something new. He has not gotten where he is today without being very
successful at what he does, he has even designed some of his own medications.
Andrew has given talks all over the world and I’m sure that we have not heard
the last from Andrew Soh.
Tony Vaughan for DPH
With thanks to Andrew Soh
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