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Eggs, Discus and BBS
I know this is a killilist but the comment by Bob Goldstein on Discus,
egg yoke and Jack Wattley brought out the history buff in me. Probably 90% of
the hobby thinks that Wattley developed the method of raising discus fry away
from the parents on commercial egg yoke smeared on the sides of old enamel
photography trays. That assumption is not true at all. The man who is
credited with developing this method of feeding discus fry away from the
parents was the late great Carroll Friswold of Altedena Water Gardens in
Southern California. Friswold was one of the last of the really big one man
hatchery operations and, starting in about 1961, he worked on developing
methods of raising discus fry away from the parents. He was aided in his work
by Dr. Charles Wall, who developed the first Cobalt discus in the 70's.
(Bing Seto bought out Dr. Wall in the late 70's and the Cobalt became Bing's
Cobalt Discus. It was a heckel cross and very different from the Cobalts
Now, what is really interesting is recently I ran across a great article
from 1960 or 61 in the old Tropicals magazine (great killie articles) out of
Chicago, and the AKA's own Harry Matson was the resident discus guru then at
Tropicals and he published an article all about raising discus fry away from
the parents on smears of egg yoke in a 5 gallon tank. Oddly enough, as
reported by Friswold in one of the two books on raising Guppies he wrote for
the old Pet Library series, Friswold was in Chicago at about that time and
starting working on his egg yoke ideas at about that time. Did he meet
Matson? Did he read Matson's article? I would have to assume he did.
Friswold published his famous booklet "ANYONE CAN RAISE DISCUS" in about
1968, where for $15 he told you how to raise discus on the egg smears.
Matson's article and method (not nearly so well thought-out) was at least 7
years before Friswold's so he should get the credit, but the story does not
Rosario LaCorte met Matson and remembered the article on raising discus
away from the parents and asked Harry about it. Harry said that Kyle Swelges'
(of red phantom tetra fame) father, who ran the excellent Rainbow Aquarium in
Chicago and who first sold Altum Angels, had suggested the egg technique to
Matson. So maybe Swelges should get the credit.
I have a letter from Jack Wattley crediting Friswold as the source for
Wattley's (slightly altered from Friswold's original) egg yoke method of
raising discus fry away from the parents.
Imagine if Matson's 1960 or 61 article had not been forgotten. Another
case of re-inventing the wheel over and over again.
See, a knowledge of hobby history does have some meaning.
BBS is one of the best foods for putting good finnage and color on
young fish. Feeding is not just all stats and growth rates. There is also the
overall development of the fish. I have no idea if the substitutes are as
good as BBS for developing color and finnage. LaCorte has a trick that he
says really helps to insure great finnage and color in fry. He mashes up
frozen adult brine shrimp and starts feeding it as soon as the fry will take
it. He says it is one of the main reasons his fish have such great color and
finnage. Rosario received some Bosemani Rainbows years ago from Charlie
Grimes and when Charlie saw the strain in Rosario's tanks years later he
simply could not believe the color and that they had been inbred for all the
intervening years. Maybe we should rethink our "a little science is a bad
thing" fear of selective inbreeding to develop real aquarium strains of
healthy robust colorful fish. This is all just anecdotal, but its 50 years of
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