Intro ADA 2001

Intro ADA 2001


The 2001 Australian Discus Association Show
By Jan Mikula.

The inaugural Australian Discus Association show was held on the 28th-29th July 2001 at the Penrith Panthers Exhibition Center in the West of Sydney. The show was run in conjunction with The Great Australian Fish and Reptile Show, with the main sponsor being PIJAC. Close to 12,000 people attended the show over the weekend and this was enough for the sponsors to commit to shows planned for Queensland, Sydney and Melbourne in the future. It appears that the next discus show will be held in 2003.
A number of exhibitors were present from pet/aquarium shops to reptile clubs and industry representatives from the Aquarium fish producers association of Australia including Tasmanian Ornamental Fish Farm, Bay Tropical Fish Farm, and Kilcoy Ornamental Fish Farm . The main attraction proved to be the 148 discus tanks that were on show , with plenty of queries forwarded to the ADA table.

As a new member of the club, I wanted to meet with the people I had spoken to via the computer over the past 12 months or so and to view the quality of fish that they had on offer and I guess just to help out where I could. The following is a diary account of my experiences leading up to the show.
Tuesday 24th. Left Tasmania (for those not in the know, it is the island just under mainland Australia) and arrived at Sydney airport to be met by Henry Buchegger who had offered to put me up for the 5 nights I was there. I had organized with my boss to send some fish up with me and we picked up my 2 boxes of fish and went back to Henry's place. Henry kindly gave me the use of one of his large tanks in the house for my fish. We had dinner and then beer consumption, followed by a walk out the back to his fish room. When I'm at work (although my boss doesn't think I do any), one of my jobs is water change etc. his discus room which has a bit over 100 tanks. I had seen some nice fish and I even thought I had some, but to be honest I was a bit 'blown away' with what Henry had in there. Not only were they very nice fish but they were enormous. It was nice of him to provide a chair and a few cold beers to just sit and enjoy his fish room. I could have stayed in there for a few more hours but we had a long day ahead of us and had to get some sleep.
Wednesday, 25th. We woke early, well Henry did I had a small sleep in and then we loaded the trailer with water storage tanks. We headed over to Trevor's place and got some more storage tanks. Only had a brief glimpse of some of his fish and unfortunately we had to be on our way. Drove to the convention center to look over the facility. First impressions were that it was way too big for the show but as the days progressed I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. We were shown the layout by Ann and her trusty helper (sorry forgotten his name) and set about filling the storage tanks so that our water would be ready for filling the tanks on Thursday/Friday. Henry had to go to work so I spent most of the day there getting to know Trevor and Peter, and then went back to Trevor's place. Luckily Trevor had a side entrance to his fish room because there was no way known to man I was walking out in his back yard with those two massive dogs of his. Trevor's partner Madeline said they would only lick me to death but being the chicken I am decided against it. He had some very nice browns and snakeskins in his room and it was one of the more 'nicer' fish rooms I have been into. By this I mean there was nice wood paneling around his tanks and it wasn't stinking hot in there either. Unfortunately time ran out and I didn't have as long in there as I would have hoped. Went back to Henry's fish room and enjoyed the rest of the night with a few cold beers and good company.
Thursday 26th, This was the day that absolutely wore me down. Arrived early again to a hive of activity. Trucks and people were everywhere and I got to meet a few more members of the club and we set about organizing the tanks etc. Each entrant in the discus show was provided with a 24"x18"x18" tank with a light, heater, and filter. Its amazing what unpacking 200 heaters, filters, reflectors , tanks, and lights etc. does to the system over the hours, running on auto-pilot comes to mind. (the reason it was 200 of everything was because there was another stand there by the Aquarium fish producers association of Australia and we set up their stands also). I didn't mind though because those that were there wanted everything ready on time and their company was good so I wasn't complaining. We went back and had to pick up Charlie, another interstate visitor. I met Peter Ng also and we had a great dinner provided by Henry's wife, Liz and his daughter Kathy. Spent the night 'talking fish' and then had a well earned rest.
Friday 27th, The eve of the show. Virtually all the work had been done on the show tanks the day before so just had a few finishing touches such as putting up the backing etc. on the tanks and setting up the ADA table. Felt rather good seeing what we had accomplished. It was interesting watching the other exhibitors madly running around trying to get their stands set up in time. Left at lunchtime, picked up some new packing bags and went home for lunch. Around 2pm headed into Henry's fish room to start packing his fish for the show. There was three of us in there and the process went quite well. I thought it would have taken longer but we were happy with the outcome. Had a couple of beers while we waited for Peter Ng to turn up with his fish. He needed oxygen for his bags and Henry had a small cylinder which he used for Peter's fish also. Left for the convention center around 4pm. Arrived and waited to see where the fish were going to go. One major point had been over looked in our haste to get the tanks set up, and that was which tanks were to hold the different classes of fish. I am not permitted to write what was said by many, however no one was too happy with the situation. Shaifellah Yeng (honored guest of the ADA), Ronald Chan, and Ronnie Teo arrived around 6.30 pm and we proceeded to organize the tanks into classes. The classes for the show were blue diamond, red turquoise, pigeon blood, brown based, red spotted, spotted snakeskin, snakeskin, open, and a grand champion. This was a long process as obviously care was needed so as not to stress out the fish. It was good to see one of the judges, Ronald Chan, getting stuck in and helping people with their fish and fixing sponges etc. I had heard about his albinos that he had at Aquarrama this year and he showed me some photos of his fish over a couple of drinks on Saturday night. He was a surprise package, I certainly didn't think he would have been as 'down to earth' as he was, a very nice bloke.
Ronnie Teo had fish in quarantine up at Bay Tropical which had arrived in Sydney around 2pm. Someone had gone to pick them up from the airport, however they didn't arrive at the center until 9.30pm. They were in good condition however we still had to class them. We finally finished there around midnight and went home .

Saturday 28th, Show day. This was almost an anti-climax for me in the sense that we had spent so much time there and worked hard to get it done that it didn't seem that exciting. This didn't last long however once people began turning up and soon the convention center started filling up. The ADA table was always kept busy with people asking questions or buying fish from the stand. Shaifellah Yeng had brought 60 of his books with him and they were all sold by the end of the weekend. I purchased one which has pride of place in my library.
The business side of things started around 10am with the judging. The judges for our show were Bing Seto (USA), Ronald Chan (Hong Kong) and Shane Willis (Australia). Without getting political here, it was a good group of judges because they hadn't worked together before or even met so we felt confident that those fish that won their classes deserved to do so on their own merits.
I had taken up 8 fish for the show but didn't hold out much hope for them. I took them up to support the club because I didn't realize that there would have been that many fish entered into the show. I was surprised when 3 made it into the final of their classes. One of them came third in the open class (blue ghost), which surprised me even more. Sorry for the self indulgence but I couldn't help it.
When the judges stopped for lunch we went home and relaxed for the afternoon at Henry's place. His wife Liz cooks up a fine meal so I enjoyed going back there. We cleaned ourselves up and headed back to the show because there was a dinner that night for the ADA members and the major sponsors PIJAC. This was a fine affair and was enjoyed by all (maybe the alcohol consumption added to this). We went back to the convention center around 11pm to check on the fish and the security guard kindly let us in once he realized who we were (we got friendly with him over the past 3 nights so he knew us well). Once all was checked we went home and slept well.
Sunday 29th, Final day. Woke early again and went out to the show. I didn't have much time there as I had a plane to catch at 1pm. I had a final look around and took some photos of the winning fish etc. and said my good byes to those people I had met. I was sorry that I didn't meet other people that I had spoken to over the internet, however when booking my ticket I had been told the wrong dates for the show so I missed out on meeting them.
I enjoyed my time in Sydney and met some wonderful people and look forward to catching up with them more in the future. Henry, Liz, and Kathy Buchegger were great people for putting me up for the time I was there as too were Trevor and Madeline, the two Peters and Charlie for looking after me. Thanks again for making it such an enjoyable time for me.

As this was the first show, I think the ADA has done itself proud. For a small sized club when compared to those overseas a lot was accomplished during this show. Obviously there were a few things that went wrong but these will be fixed over time and the show will get better. The sponsors did a great job and I'm sure with their support, hopefully more people will enter their fish at the next show.
The quality of fish at the show was good, some even exceptional, and quite a few of the overseas contingent were impressed with what was on offer. It is no secret that in Australia we only get a majority of C and D grade fish and our quality in the future would obviously improve if we were able to source higher grades of fish. Hopefully the contacts made at this show will form a foundation in which we are able to start getting A and B grade fish into the country.
Of the classes judged, Australians took 7, including grand champion and Ronnie Teo from Malaysia won the red spotted, and spotted snakeskin classes. Henry Buchegger won three classes plus grand champion. See, I told you his fish room was worth a visit.


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