Interview With :: Shiva Nair

Interview With :: Shiva Nair

Postby Tirtha » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:07 pm

Hello Shiva, we know you as the most successful and popular breeder of discus in India. And we are lucky to get you active in our forum as an expert. We wish to ask you some questions regarding Discus and your experience on breeding them.

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Before we start, please tell us about yourself.

I’m Shiva Nair. I’m 49 yrs old and happily married. I have 2 sons. I am working as Sales Manager – (Marine Lubes & Fuels ) for Iftex Oil & Chemicals Ltd ( Representing CHEVRON one of the Oil Major Company and associated with Shipping Industries.
As far as discus fish is concerned actually I am hobbyist turned breeder and eventually become one of the supplier of Quality discus in India. My hatchery is located at Dombivli and have around 75 tanks. I have around 25 pairs breeding at time. My Checkerboard discus won Grand Championship in Discus Competition held in Mumbai in 2010 along with 2nd and 3rd place in spotted category. I got second Runner up in Spotted Category in 2012.

Since when and how have you started keeping discus?

Same as others, I started keeping fishes like gold fishes, guppies, Betas etc at the tender age of 10. That time I don’t remember, if I saw any discus fish in my locality.
In 2002, I fell in love with discus. I took some discus of around 2 inches for me. Like other fishes live worms were feed to these discus on daily basis (since beef heart was out of question that time). After few days most of the discus died. This was the turning point in our discus keeping. We started studying on this beautiful fish, we spends hours on internet, took print outs of all good write ups, read them, and implemented them. During this time I also came in contact with good people like Carey Pereira, Andrew Soh and Colin Heng, which helped me to improve upon my discus keeping. Soon after few years there were lot of tanks in my house and lot of young Adult discus. Today I am handling small hatchery and also planning to set up one more Discus grow out unit with 100 tanks in Madurai.

Other than Discus which other fishes did you keep or would like to keep in future?

I don’t keep any fishes other than discus; but will like to own some rays and altum angels.

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What is by far your most successful breed? Any rare specimen?

Super Melons & Leopard Snake skin.

Did you keep or intend to keep wildcaught/wildstrain discus and breed them?

Till now no. But will like to work with some wildcaught discus in future.

What is your views on keeping discus healthy in a planted tanks?

I have not yet kept any discus in planted tank myself, but I think selecting proper feed and good filtration system is key to keeping discus healthy in planted tank.

How important is lighting and tank background color in keeping discus in good shape, size and color?

If you follow the basics like sourcing good healthy discus, regular feeding, Massive Water change I think you will able to keep discus healthy and if your discus is healthy it will grow well in size and color. Although one should not keep the tank in dark.

Please share with us some details on the feeding, filtration system and water change schedule.

We follow feeding, and water change schedule strictly, no compromise on this. We ensure that we feed our discus on same time daily. We feed 3 times a day and do 100% Water change daily for all grow out tanks and 50% for the breeding tanks. We don’t depend on any filtration system, We only have sponge filters in each tank. We believe in daily massive water change.

What should be the minimum size of a tank for a beginner who wants to keep discus and what is the ideal size of discus one should buy?

It is good if you provide discus with minimum 200 ltrs tank and start with 10 discus of minimum 2 inches. Feed them well, do good WC and you will see better result.

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Which strains do you suggest beginners to start keeping with?

For Beginners it is better to avoid starting with Albinos. Turquoise, blue diamonds are ok.

What are the best possible tank mates with discus in a display tank?

Cardinal Tetras. Now-a- days it is common practice to keep some plecos in discus tank. These plecos should also be properly quarantined and then only introduce them in your discus tank.

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How do you condition the water to breed the discus and to keep them healthy? Any additive you use in water to maintain pH, KH etc?

The tap water we get here is very good, in which discus breed without any adjustment hence we don’t use any additives in water.

What do you suggest to the hobbyists to stimulate spawning?

First select healthy discus for pairing, feed them well, massive water change, water parameter should be within the breeding range. If these thing are taken care at their best the pair will do the rest.

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In Discus Breeding which are the problems that can be passed on to their young ones.

Bulging forehead, or parrot beak mouth, spinal deformity or elongated body shape are some of the genetic defects that can be passed on from generation to generation.

While Selecting Pairs for breeding what are the basic criteria you look for.

Healthy discus, Good shape, from good gene pool free from any genetic defects.

As per you which are the discus Strain which are difficult to breed?

Albinos are difficult to breed and even difficult to grow. Even fishes carrying pure golden genes are bit problematic, once they breed its harder to grow them.

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While maintaining a hatchery what are the basics one has to follows.

Very first you have to love discus, enjoy discus breeding and follow the discipline. You should feed the fish on time, Do regular water change and provide good water quality to discus, disinfect the fishes regularly. Never to bypass Quarantine process for any new incoming fishes.

When you keep and breed Discus, which country system you wish to follow and why?

India’s Climatic conditions especially in Mumbai and Thane District is more or less like Singapore or Malaysia. We get municipal water which is suitable for discus breeding. We can perform very large water change same as Malaysian or Singaporean breeders do.

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According to you who are the good discus breeders in India?
Carrey Pereira and Vispi Mistri.

Any breeders from outside India from whom you get inspiration?
Colin Heng from Singapore.

Do you arrange/plan to do something for the betterment of the hobby or in particular, the discus keeping hobby of India?

In India different states have different climatic condition. Water parameter and Temp differs from state to state. More and more people are getting attracted to this beautiful fish, but one should need to follow the basic of Discus keeping. This is possible only if experience successful people share their experience with fellow hobbyist. When ever I get opportunity, I try to help them and educate them on this beautiful fish. This will encourage more people into discus keeping.

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Rapid fire section:

Favourite strain - Melons, Leopard Snake skin – Fine Spotted, Checkerboard.
Wildcaught or Tankbred – Tank Breed.
Bare bottom or decorated tank - Bare Bottom
BHM/GHM vs branded discus food - BHM
Daily Water change vs good filtration - Daily water Change
Canister or Sponge filter - Sponge filter

Thanks a lot Shiva for spending your time with us, it will surely help us to spread the interest about discus among hobbyists.
Regards,
Tirtha

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Re: Interview With :: Shiva Nair

Postby tigermath » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:28 pm

That's a nice interview. It will be great if we can run a thread dedicated to discus breeding. Thanks Mr. Shiva for sharing with us your knowledge and thoughts. Hope to get more write ups from you in the coming future.
Regards,

Avik

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Re: Interview With :: Shiva Nair

Postby sjo » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:41 am

Tirtha,

I did not know a journalist hiding in my neighborhood!!
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Re: Interview With :: Shiva Nair

Postby Achintya » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:01 am

very nice interview.thanx for arranging this.
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Re: Interview With :: Shiva Nair

Postby el batty » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:33 am

Achintya must be in disneyland :P

Very informative thread, i had a question of my own actually....how do you sex juvenile discuss?
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Re: Interview With :: Shiva Nair

Postby Abhirup.mecho » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:13 am

Very interesting and informative post learned a lot here,getting more and more drawn to this beautiful fishes!
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Re: Interview With :: Shiva Nair

Postby DeepSankarSen » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:08 am

now i am getting tempted to start a discus tank!
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Re: Interview With :: Shiva Nair

Postby Achintya » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:16 am

el batty wrote:how do you sex juvenile discuss?

next to impossible :)
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Re: Interview With :: Shiva Nair

Postby Abhisek » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:19 am

Very nice job done by KAC team :)

This is surely one of the great interview from a great person :)
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Re: Interview With :: Shiva Nair

Postby Abhinaba » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:53 am

Thank you Shiva for your time. Will look forward to hear more from your side..
It was a very informative interview; The sheer simplicity of the answers is the USP here.
Very beautiful photos as well. Can we have a few more? Maybe in a different thread ..
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