About Frank

Welcome to my fish website!

I never thought I would have a website of my own, but at the suggestion of fellow hobbyists, friends, and especially my wife, Robin, I have put together this website in order to share my knowledge of over 40 years in fish keeping, and to also make fry from my breeding colonies available to you.

For those who don’t know me, I live in the Pittsburgh area, and belong to some of the fish clubs in Western PA and eastern Ohio. I am an active participant in many of the clubs, live auctions, and swap meets in the region.   Over the last few years, many have asked to see my fish room or have asked what type of fry I may have available in addition to the animals that I bring to auctions and swap meets. Although I have given many tours of my fish room and am able to share my fish and offspring at regional events, this website is the best way to share my fish room with more people while also showcasing the fry that I have available from my breeding colonies.

In my many years of experience, I have found that the most satisfaction I receive from this hobby is sharing successful experiences with fellow hobbyists and helping someone else avoid some of the failures we have all experienced as amateur fish keepers. Thus, for each of the fish on this website, I have outlined the tank set ups and conditions I use that have allowed me to successfully raise and breed each type of fish. Granted I am sure some experienced hobbyists will second guess some of my set ups or techniques but, after several years of trial and error, these are the ones that have worked best for me. Although I can make no guarantees that these methods will work for you, at the very least I hope to present an alternative method to raising fish to someone that has tried everything else, or offer a tip that may trigger your fish to breed. Lastly, what I preach is patience. It took me 25 years to learn how to breed and raise discus, now it’s a piece of cake – not really!

First, I would like to share a little info about me and why I have been such an avid hobbyist and maintain 60 plus tanks and am still searching for the room to add another one (or two!).

There are three milestones related to fish keeping that really stick out in my mind that have left a lasting impression on me. Going all the way back to the “little guppies that could” from my childhood, to an impressive conversation with a professional fish breeder that both inspired and encouraged me, along with gaining recognition from esteemed colleagues in the fish breeding and keeping circles, I have become increasingly passionate about keeping and breeding fish and am excited to share my knowledge and experience with you.

The first milestone goes all the way back to 1972, when I was a boy growing up in the Wilkes-Barre, PA area.  Back at that time, I was maintaining a 5 ½ gallon tank with a box filter. As best I can remember, I had guppies, zebra danios and mollies. During that summer our house was part of the devastating Agnes flood, and was completely submerged in 27 feet of water. For those of you that may remember or were part of it, many homes were destroyed and some city blocks were completed levelled. Three days after the water receded and my family was allowed to go back and see what we could salvage, three of the guppies from the 5 ½ gallon tank from the floor above were swimming around in a puddle of water near our old coal furnace. Imagine my surprise! Gently, I collected these 3 troopers and placed them in a mason jar where they lived in our temporary housing for another few months. Although only guppies, these little guys carried me through this hard time, and I recall dreaming that someday in the future I would carry on my hobby with perhaps maintain a larger tank or two!

Years later, I encountered my second milestone with my first purchase of discus in the 1980s from Dr. Wattley. After reading his book cover to cover at least three times and saving up my money, I ordered and received my first ever shipment of fish in the mail – four Wattley Turquoise discus. To my surprise, Dr. Wattley called me the next day to see how my/his discus were doing. He spent nearly an hour on the phone with me and allowed me to pick his brain on how best to maintain his discus. I bet I asked him 25 questions and he patiently answered every one! He even gave me his beef heart recipe, where to this day, I have the pencil scribbled note pad page inserted in his book. The fact that a world renowned discus breeder took the time to assist a novice fish breeder left a major impression on me, and taught me early on that helping another hobbyist provides the most satisfaction and leaves a lasting impression on both hobbyists. For those of you that have purchased some of my fry, you know that I put my cell phone number on each bag and have logged many calls helping the new owner get the fish settled while also troubleshooting any issues – again, to me this is the most rewarding part of the hobby. Much like Dr. Wattley on the day after he sold his fish to me, I get the same excited feeling and parenting instinct to make sure that my fish are in good hands and am excited to help in any way that I can.   The day that feeling leaves me is the day I will quit this hobby!

The third milestone happened in 2012, when I received a phone call from the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium indicating that they had received my name from the president of the Pittsburgh Aquarium Society. They were looking to revamp their Tanganyikan aquarium and were told that I had quality fish. They then asked me if I would be willing to donate some of my fish to the aquarium to restock their display tank. I was floored that the aquarium society thought that highly of my fish. Over the last year I have donated three breeding colonies of melanogenys, paracyprichromis and orange tale utinta cyprichromis to the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium. With the permission of the zoo, I have attached some pictures of their tank: click here to take a look. It is also my understanding the tank has garnered some significant attention.

Career wise I graduated from Penn State University in the late 1970s with a degree in environmental resource management with an emphasis on freshwater resources. I also interned with the PA Department of Natural Resources as a water quality specialist and, at an early age, experienced the thrill of electrofishing and kick screening as part of an effort to chart streams in the Pocono area of PA.

I have worked as an environmental consultant for over 30 years, with a special emphasis on biological treatment and upgrading wastewater treatment plants. Thus, for those who visit my fish room, it is obvious that I am very big on large sumps and trickling filters for my large tanks, and biological treatment using sponge filters in my smaller tanks. I can talk someone’s ear off about biological treatment, but will save that for those who really want to hear it!

My goal over the last few years has been to eventually work part time and spend more time on my fish breeding hobby and with fellow hobbyists. However, given the ever occurring bills that come with rearing four children, I still, unfortunately, have to work for a living. Due to my work travel schedule, I can’t seem to find the time to attend the fish club meetings on a regular basis, and have limited time for fish room tours. So for now, as I write this bio on a plane to my next job site, this endeavour on the Internet seems to be the best way for me to share my knowledge and passion for the hobby with you and offer you some of my fry to care for and enjoy as much as I do.

Thanks for reading.  I look forward to hearing your story.

Frank
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