Big Size Red Melon Discus

Posted by Dr Koh on Sunday Apr 6, 2014 Under Fish

Saw this in the local fish store today. RM79. Quite nice colour. Clean and perfect fins.

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Lost Six of my discus fish

Posted by Dr Koh on Friday Apr 4, 2014 Under Fish

My discus tank has been a disaster  since 2 weeks ago. Tried many methods, changed water daily, use RO water, medicinessss…and till today I removed the sands in my tank to keep the water cleaner.

I have lost 6 discus in this event. Four adults and two juveniles. The adults are blue super eruption, Penang eruption (one of my favorite fish), snake skins fine lines, and golden crystal (I like this one too). The two juveniles are one giant blue snakeskin and one red turquoise. The Golden crystal and snake skin fine lines died today. The snakeskin is already in bad condition last night, didn’t expect it to be able to last till today’s noon. The golden crystal showed bad sign this morning, and after water changed, it left at 2.45pm.

I got really tired with the condition of the fish. Quite helpless feeling when seeing the fish dying, as I have run out of idea and solutions.

At the moment, another adult fish red super eruption is not showing good sign. It tilt to one side, and laying on the floor. I hope it can make it and get back to health.

I am left with few more fishes. Adults: Snakeskin, leopard, super eruption, blood pigeon. Juveniles: giant blue snakeskin, red turquoise, 4 x red melon, 2 x red snakeskins, 3 x checkerboard. These are all in my 4 feet tank.

i have another two adult fish in my small tank. They are one pigeon blood and one albino Snow White. These two are not mixed with the other fish, so they didn’t get sick. Good news today…after changed the water in the small tank, they spawned again. This is their third round, hopefully they can succeed this time.

Back to my main tank. After water change and removing the sands, most of the fish look fine and active now. I shall get the water clean up again tomorrow or Sunday, remove the leftover dirt at the bottom.

 

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Discus Fish 31st March 2014 (Monday)

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Mar 31, 2014 Under Fish

The fish condition seems to have improved, after I added some medicine to the tank last night.

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Tried feed them bloodworm this morning, most still have no appetite. No rushing over the food. Just two cubes and still the fish can’t finish them. (In old days, they can take 6-9 cubes!)

This is the very first Snakeskin discus that I got, my daughter called it the “BRAIN fish”, as the patterns on the body looks like brain. :p The fish has gone through many sickness, and this time he is recovering well.

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My Giant Blue is still dark and clamped fin…

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The Leopard Snakeskin (Penang Eruption) still sick, but much better than last night. You can see the whitish slim on the skin is peeling off…should be in the recovering stage.

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Just a reminder how great my fish look like when they were all healthy! Photo taken on 12th March 2014 (19 days ago).

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My Discus Fall Sick

Posted by Dr Koh on Sunday Mar 30, 2014 Under Fish

All my discus fish fall sick since 3 days ago.

This is how the fish look like 3 days ago. All of them started to group together at corners. Some even laid flat at the bottom. I was so worried and regretted that I might lost all the fish. :((

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I was shocked when I first saw this! After waking them up with net…then only I am a bit relief. No, they are not dead…but resting flat at the bottom…they must be really tired or sick…

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Not really sure what caused it, but I have a few possible suspects…

1. Disease from new fish?
This is the highest possibility, as I have added 1 new fish to the tank 7 days ago, and another one 4 days ago. I suspect the small fish I added 4 days ago is the culprit. Too bad…I didn’t quarantine them before adding them to my fish tank. Never will I do that again, as the risk is simply too much for the 27 discus I have in my tank!

This is what I added 7 days ago. A Golden Crystal – 5.5″.

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This is what I added 4 days ago. An Albino Golden Crystal. This is just a juvenile, around 2.5″. I bought it because it is cheap for an albino (RM30), but I shouldn’t have put it into my tank without quarantine, as it already shows sign of sick in the local fish store. All fins clamped.

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2. Medicine poisoning?
I added some medicine to the tank 4 days ago when I noticed one of the fish is sick. I added Befuran to the tank, and this is the usual medicine I use. I am not sure if this caused all the fish to fall sick or not.

3. Chlorine poisoning?
I changed water 4 days ago. I did use anti-chlorine, but then I added water quite fast into the tank. Could it be the reason?

4. Salt poisoning?
I added some salt to the water after water change. Is the salt I added too much in quantity? Again, not sure…

5. Scared / Frighten
I switched off the light of the tank 4 days ago (at night), but in the middle of the night, I decided to check out on the fish and switch on the light in my dark living room. All the discus got so scared with the sudden light, and hit here and there. Then all of them hided at corners. Bad bad me…however, the next morning all seems fine (or not?)…

6. New sponge in the filter?
I changed the sponge in the filter 4 days. Could this be the reason for the cloudy water? I didn’t notice anything scratch on the filter though…

Or, it could be the combination of several or all the above?

I did water change starting 2 days ago. After a full water change (using RO water, so no more chlorine), I added some medicine again. The fish seems to get better after water change.

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I put a little bit of food to the tank, some started eating, but still not as active.

However, I noticed yesterday that the water becomes very cloudy. So I did another water change (90%) yesterday. This time no more medicine, and just pure RO water. Fish seems to be improving in condition.

This is the photo from today (30th March 2014 – Sunday). Fish started swimming more freely in the tank. They still have no big appetite, eat only a little. A few still at corners and dark.

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The water still doesn’t look that clear, slightly cloudy. What caused the water to be cloudy is still puzzling me. I might do another water change again today.

The good news is…so far no loosing on the fish, and all are recovering…no more new fish to my tank. I shall concentrate on growing them and keeping them healthy!

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(This is my tank on 26th March 2014 before the fish fall sick…hope they will back to health soon…)

Update 30th March 2014, 9.53pm 

Did water change again today. This is the third continuous day of water change. Water was still cloudy even though I did water change yesterday, so I thought it might not be good for the still sick or weak fish. So, though tired, I have to do it again today.

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Done the water change in the afternoon, and now at 9.55pm the water is still crystal clear. Whatever that caused the water to be cloudy should be gone or too minimal to notice now.

Fish still in stressed condition, though water quality seems to have improved a lot by now. Hopefully by tomorrow morning the fish will get free swimming without fear again.

update at 11pm

the fish don’t seems to be improving. Some have whitish eyes…which looks partially blind. Some fish are really dark, seems worse than yesterday. So I decided to use medicine again. Poured in 25ml of magic fluid into the tank. Hope for the best tomorrow…

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My Discus Tank – Done Water Change Today

Posted by Dr Koh on Wednesday Mar 26, 2014 Under Fish

Just done water change today. The fish loves the clean water.

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Pasir Gudang International Kite Festival 2014

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Mar 25, 2014 Under Family

We visited Pasir Gudang International Kite Festival on the 22nd Feb 2014. It is a SUNNY day…yeah…real sunny that the sunshine can BURN skins!

Nevertheless, it is a nice family outing for us.

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Visit to Jusino (Tripod) Factory in China

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Mar 25, 2014 Under Photography

Lydia and I representing ShaShinKi (Jusino distributor in Malaysia) were invited by Jusino (professional tripod maker) to visit their factory in China in Sept 2013. It is a nice trip knowing how the professional Jusino tripods were made.

Purchase Jusino tripods at:

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My Discus Tank – 25 March 2014

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Mar 25, 2014 Under Fish

My 4 feet tank, got around 27 discus fish inside. Yes, a bit too crowded, but is OK. Just have to change water more often, and hopefully the fish will continue to grow healthily.

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Close up…

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Until I get another tank… :p

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Aeroplane Colouring by Emmanuel

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Mar 25, 2014 Under Family

It is good to let the kids do the colouring according to their own imagination.

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Colouring mind expressed in his work.

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Golden Crystal Discus

Posted by Dr Koh on Friday Mar 21, 2014 Under Fish

Finally got my hand on this strain. Golden Discus, some called it Golden Crystal.

The one I got is not Albino (red retina) strain, but I love the red ring surrounding the retina! Much nicer than the Albino strain I saw in my local fish store, with uneven red circle on the eyes. Mine seems much more beautiful though the retina is black. Love the body colour, though shape can be better (more disc shape / round would make it perfect).

This shot is taken under RED light.

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This one taken under white light (showing more truthfully the colour).

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Below is the group in the tank at the local fish store…

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I almost wanted to get the other Golden on the left…but at the end decided against it.

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In memory of my beloved Grandma…

Posted by Dr Koh on Friday Mar 21, 2014 Under Family

In memory of my beloved Grandma…rest in peace returning to Jesus Christ on 28th February 2014…

These were taken during the 2014 Chinese New Year…

These were when my grandma was admitted to Kuching general hospital…

Goodbye, grandma. We will meet again in heaven later.

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Introduction

I got an email from Panasonic on reviewing their Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm 1:1.2 ASPH. Lens (What a lengthy name! Let’s call it Noct from now on…) few weeks back. Yes, I have expressed my interest in the lens when I got the Panasonic DMC-GM1 for reviewing last month.

To show the best potential of the lens, it must be coupled with the best camera from Panasonic. So, they offered the GX7 together with the Noct. I am happy with the package offered, and receive the set 2 weeks back.

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It is a complete set as per what you will get outside. The lens comes with a hood, which is quite long (as long as the lens itself).

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So I decided not to use the hood, and keep it in the box. All the photos I took in this review is without the hood.

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This is the first image I took with the lens. Very shallow depth of view.

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The power of the lens is definitely at its shallow depth of field, making the subject very 3-dimensional looking.

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One of the really good feature that I love about the GX7 as compared to GM1 (as previously mentioned as lacking in the GM1) is the instantaneous preview of the captured photo on the LCD at the back of the camera. This is really useful and and great for photographer that came from DSLR background. With the GX7, if you decided not to review the images, you can just continuously pressing the shutter button and it will continue shooting and previewing at the same time. I believe it is the processor / image engine inside the camera that makes such a big difference from GM1.

Nocticron Specifications

Focal Length 42.5mm
Comparable 35mm Focal Length: 85 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/1.2 – 16.0
Camera Mount Type Micro Four Thirds
Format Compatibility Micro Four Thirds
Angle of View 29°
Minimum Focus Distance 1.64′ (.5 m)
Magnification 0.1x
Elements/Groups 14/11
Diaphragm Blades 9
Filter Thread 67 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.91 x 3.03″ (74 x 77 mm)
Weight 14.99 oz (425 g)

 

Close Focusing Distance

For my style of photography, I prefer to go close to my subject when taking photos. Though the Nocticron is quite a long lens (85mm in 135 format), but minimum focusing distance is quite short (50cm). This is good as one can go very close to the subject and still able to focus and take close distance shot.

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Very shallow DOF at F/1.2 aperture, yet the focused path is still extremely sharp!

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F/1.2

The reason of getting this lens is for its F/1.2 aperture. This is also the reason why one pay so much more price for such a lens (Besides the Leica name stamped on the lens). Hence in my two weeks shot with the lens, I took most photos with the largest aperture setting.

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Below is a 100% crop view (click to view full size)

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Besides pleasant BOKEH, F/1.2 produces very sharp photo at the focused point. I am very pleased with the sharpness and BOKEH combination from the lens. One can create a very artistic shot with such aperture.

Nocticron Built Quality

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The lens is made by Panasonic, but with a Leica tag on it. Being a lens with Leica tag, it is of the highest quality in Panasonic lens line up. The Nocticron is of no disappointment. The body is made of metal (magnesium alloy?), and even the hood is made of metal as well. Manual focusing is extremely smooth, and the AF/MF button is easy to access. There is also a OIS on/off button below the AF/MF button, I set it to ON though throughout my test.

Nocticron 42.5mm Focal Length

I do find the Nocticron to be a bit too long the focal length when taking shots of the fish in the aquarium and photos of my kids. On a micro 4/3rd camera with 2x crop factor, effective focal length becomes 85mm. Yes, this is a lens for portrait photography.

I have to constantly back away from the subject when shooting, in order to frame and cover the shot that I want. My style of shooting is that I prefer to be closer to the subject in taking shots. However, for portrait of lady, it is just fine. It gives a very pleasant framing of shoulder shot of your subject.

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Very sharp yet retaining a pleasant BOKEH in the background.

The lens has an AF / MF button on the body to allow you switching between Autofocus and Manual Focus. When changed to MF, the GX7 automatically turns on the magnifier at the center of the LCD to show the focus of your subject. A good feature for precise focusing.

GX7 Battery Life

Battery life of GX7 is impressive. I get over 600 shots in a single charge, with around 5% of flash shots. Lens is in Autofocus most of the time.

Video on GX7

I done a short video shooting using the GX7 and the Nocticron, handheld, and the result is quite good.

GX7 records in full HD resolution, which is impressive. Sound quality is so so though (one should get an external mic if you want good sound quality in video recording)…so the above video I used other music to replace it.

Conclusion

This is an expensive lens, so you pay for the F/1.2 glass mainly. If you are looking for a great portrait lens, you will not be disappointed. If you shoot often at F2.8 or F4, then this lens might be overkilled for you (for its weight and high price tag). Pleasant BOKEH combines with great sharpness, Panasonic Leica has created another great lens to their line up.

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Discus in my aquarium

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Mar 11, 2014 Under Fish

Some of the discus strains that I have…

Snakeskin

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Leopard Snakeskin

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Bunga Kertas for my house

Posted by Dr Koh on Sunday Mar 9, 2014 Under Family, House Reno

Our neighbour has this BUNGA Kertas (paper flower) blossom at their house. Every time when we passed by, my wife would say how nice it is the flower, and how much she loves the colour and if we have such blossom in our house.

I went looking for the tree last Friday, and managed to get one that is of nice looking at the nearby nursery. The tree took delivered on Saturday, and I planted it straight away next to the children swing. Hope my wife will like it.

Beware when buying such tree, as most are transplant at the branches with different colour strains on the main tree, and some trees are already rotten in the main trunk, and surviving only at the transplant area (giving you the false impression that the tree is still very much alive). It will not last long if such is the case. To check is easy, just use your fingernails to scrub the skin of the main trunk and sub-branches a little, if it is still green inside, then it is still a living one. I have seen two at the nursery that were reserved by others with rotten trunk…though the branches still blossom nicely.

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Paid RM300 for it, so it better be a healthy tree that can grow and last… :p

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Meeting Forrest Discus

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday Mar 8, 2014 Under Fish

I ordered 4 discus fish from a very famous discus exporter in Malaysia, Forrest (Teo) Discus. He is staying in Johor, about 45 minutes drive from where I stay. So he made personal delivery of the discus fish that I ordered last night.

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A very nice guy, willingness to share his knowledge and experience in discus fish. Am happy purchasing the fish from him and met him personally.

I bought two Forrest Red Turq and two Forrest Giant Blue SS.

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Very quality fish from him, though price is higher than local fish store, but I am still satisfied. :)

Picture below is we checking out the condition of the new fishes after adding them to the tank. No, Forrest doesn’t recommend adding fish to existing tank without quarantine, but since I have no extra tank, he gave me some tips to try minimize the risk.

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Forrest was quite surprised with the quality of the discus in my tank, bought from local fish store. Some are great quality (the red melons got praises from Forrest). :)

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Partitioning my Aquariums

Posted by Dr Koh on Thursday Mar 6, 2014 Under Fish

After seeing TWO PAIRS of my discus spawning, I decide to make a special home for them, isolating them from the others, to avoid disturbance to their next spawn and hopefully will have success of wigglers later.

Initially thought of getting some free flow partitions from local fish store, but it is not available. So I only bought the holders (RM0.50 each) from the store, and went to a stationary shop for a plastic type of partition to DIY the dividers myself. The outcome seems good!

My main tank (4 feet), and I created about 1 feet for the pair. It should be a very comfortable place for this pair. My wife asked why put an ugly toilet pipe in the tank… :p

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I decided to remove the driftwood from the tank to have more space for the discus in the tank. Looks much more spacious now.

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On the smaller tank outside my house, I have this pair.

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They spawned (but eaten all the eggs) last night, so I have to create a peaceful place for them preparing for the next spawn. This pair seems quite old, so they should be more experienced…

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The rojak fish and crayfish (little lobsters) are on the other side of the already small tank.

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Peugeot RCZ Battery Changed

Posted by Dr Koh on Wednesday Mar 5, 2014 Under Car

After nearly two years of using, the battery (Varta brand) of my Peugeot RCZ has finally gave in.

Not sure what model is the replacement battery, so I asked in Peugeot Club Malaysia FB page, and got recommendation for DIN55 size. My mechanic checked from outter look of the battery compartment and said it should be DIN55L (L for left) model.

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Quite a headache for remove and access to the battery on Peugeot car. After much struggling, we finally got off the fuse box and removed the battery.

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The battery seems taller than DIN55, but width is same. So I just took the DIN55L as replacement. I got a Korean brand battery.

Total money paid RM260 including labor charge.

(I did called Peugeot service center in Johor, and they told me RM505 for battery, + RM40 labor charge. Total RM545. Way too much for a battery replacement! I called another Peugeot centre in Johor, and they told me similar price but no stock. However, the good technician recommend me to change outside, and said it does not void the warranty. So I did!)

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Another Spawn from my Discus

Posted by Dr Koh on Wednesday Mar 5, 2014 Under Fish

Was surprised to see another spawn from a different “surprised” pair of my discus. Didn’t expect these two to be a pair. I thought both of them were male.

The female fish is a Super Eruption Leopard, while the male fish is a snake skin (the very first that I bought).

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I can see the action of the female fish laying eggs on the water filter in the small tank, and the male fertilizing it.

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However, being in such a small tank with many other small fishes (cray fish, shrimps, tiger barb…etc.), the eggs have little chance to survive. The parents might get too tension too!

Yeah…this morning I found zero eggs, all being eaten by the parents I guess. I need more tanks! :p

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Discus Spawning! But…

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Mar 3, 2014 Under Fish

These two have been acting very defensive lately, and I have moved them to a separate tank (20 gallons) few weeks ago together with my other fishes (mixed of different fishes and crayfish as well).

Yesterday I decided to switch place them with another fish that I want to medicine with. Again they act very aggressive to others, and I was forced to put another adult fish out due to injury.

This is the male fish (I guess…)

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Few minutes ago after back from work, I saw a surprised in the tank after switching on the light. EGGs!

Sadly, within minutes, one of the parents (I think is female) has eaten up all the eggs. :(

I manged to capture some photos before the she ate up all the eggs.

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Quite a lot of eggs when I first saw it…

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Expert said the pair will spawn again in 7 days time, so I better get well prepare this round, with less disturbance to the pair and separation.

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Super Eruption Discus Fish from Local Breeder

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday Mar 1, 2014 Under Fish

My local breeder has sent me the following discus fish strain Super Eruption.

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New Blood Pigeon or Checkerboard

Posted by Dr Koh on Wednesday Feb 26, 2014 Under Fish

Bought a new discus today. RM75.

Size is 4″ in Asia measurement (tip to end of body) or 5″ in USA measurement (tip to end of tail).

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Love the white body with very clear red pattern on the body. Shape can be better (not so round), but I think is still fine. I like the red eyes too. :)

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New Discus to my Tank

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday Feb 22, 2014 Under Fish, Photography

When fish shopping yesterday…didn’t saw any special one that I like. So at the end I just bought these two new strains that aren’t available in my tank yet. RM30 each, around 2-3 inches.

I chose the first one for its shinning blue. I think it is a mix of blue diamond with leopard.

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The 2nd one I think is a Blue Turquoise.

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Both looks very healthy and active, which is the other reason why I bought them.

(There is a guy that bought 4 adult fish during my visit to one of the fish shop, making me envy…I told my wife about it…and she asked why didn’t I bought those? Am glad that she support my hobby… :D)

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Discus at Local Ship Store

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday Feb 15, 2014 Under Fish

Went to a local ship store again today…window shopping only…my tank can’t take more fish… :p

Quite big, adult ship 5-6 inches. RM70 (USD22) per fish.

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The below are sold in pair, much more expensive at RM300 per pair.

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New Discus Adding to my Tank – Leopard Snake Skin

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday Feb 15, 2014 Under Fish

I have long heard and only able to see this strain of discus in the internet, and finally saw it yesterday at my usual visit local fish store.

Leopard Snake Skin (Some said it is Golden Eruption Leopard and Super Eruption Leopard). Not sure there are two different colours for this strain, but since they looks like a pair, so I bought both.

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Another shot, but different colour / lighting / WB.

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They are not in the perfect condition, but at RM100 per piece (6 inches adult size), I think it is still a bargain. Another fish shop quoted me RM300 for another pair (I am not so sure if they are pair).Learn the terminology of fish parts.

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One of the bone on the dorsal fin has broken off.

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This one has a perfect dorsal fin, but the pectorial fin has some damages. (not visible in the photo)

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I hope they will mix well with my other discus in the tank. Going to get a new tank soon…maybe. :)

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Panasonic DMC-GM1 Review

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday Feb 15, 2014 Under Photography

Introduction

I was contacted by Panasonic Malaysia personal in early Jan 2014, to ask about reviewing their latest micro 4/3rd camera, the Panasonic DMC-GM1 with the world smallest zoom lens 12-32mm. I told them I would be keen to review it, if they can arrange to have the unit loan to me during Chinese New Year (30th Jan till 5th Feb, during my holiday back to my home town). It would be a perfect timing for me to test the camera out as a family man (which is where the camera is targeting at).

Panasonic representative delivered the camera to me on 27th Jan 2014 (Monday), and immediately I am already impressed with the weight and responsiveness of the unit. Besides the GM1 and 12-32mm lens, I also received a Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F/1.7 ASPH (46mm filter size) and ​Panasonic DMW-HGR1 Grip with it.

  • Panasonic DMC-GM1 Digital Camera
  • Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F/3.5-5.6​ ASPH MEGA OIS (37mm filter size)
  • Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F/1.7 ASPH (46mm filter size)
  • ​Panasonic DMW-HGR1 Grip

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At the same time, I also have the chance to play with the newly announced Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH Power OIS Lens for a few minutes…and WOW…what a lens! I will review the lens in more detail if I can get a loan unit from Panasonic Malaysia later.

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Below is the test shot of the 42.5mm F/1.2 lens which really shows its sharpness and bokeh power. Lovely!

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100% cropped shot (click to view in full)

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Back to the Panasonic GM1. It is not exactly compact for my Jean’s pocket (GM1 + 12-32m lens), though with a little squeeze, I can still slot it is. Taking out require a bit of force though, and most of the time the lens cap will get drop off. However, it is perfectly fine for my wife’s handbag, and no…she doesn’t complaint. No way I dare to put my Nikon D4 body into my wife’s handbag… :p

Chinese New Year Journey

My journey back to Miri starts from my flight from Senai (Johor) airport. With the compact GM1, I can take it in and out easily from my camera bag (I brought along a Nikon D4 as well just in case I am not satisfied with the performance of the GM1 during my CNY holiday). Fun shots at the airport, first few shots are satisfying.

I purposely created the silhouette effect as you can only get one exposed properly, either OUTSIDE or INSIDE the building.

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The famous and delicous Famous Amos! My kids love it!

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Food Photography with 12-32mm MEGA OIS lens

My family and I have a Chinese New Year dinner at Merits hotel in Miri, so I have the chance to snap some nice buffet food there.

Panasonic 12-32mm lens is quipped with MEGA OIS, so it is good for low shutter speed, and without mirror bounce (as in DSLR), one can shoot at much slower shutter speed than DSLR. As a DSLR user myself, I find this extremely handy and important.

GM1 + 12-32mm lens (17mm, 1/30s, F/4, ISO3200)

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100% crop (click to view full)

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Another shot GM1 + 12-32mm lens (17mm, 1/30s, F/4, ISO3200)

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100% crop (click to view full)

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Last shot of food GM1 + 12-32mm lens (17mm, 1/30s, F/4, ISO3200)

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100% crop (click to view full)

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At ISO3200, noise is obvious but still acceptable. I use AUTO ISO setting the camera all the time, so letting the camera chose what is the best ISO to produce sharp (high speed) photo at low light. There is no colour shift at ISO3200, which is impressive in my opinion.

Auto White Balance is set, and colour reproduction is also accurate as per the actual scene.

Flash Photography?

I don’t like to use flash in my photo, as I find it often producing harsh and fake effect, making our subjects unnatural. However, it is good to know that Panasonic GM1 has a built in flash, which can be activated manually by sliding the button behind the camera to POP UP the flash.

Below are shots taken with flash ON and without flash.

Flash ON

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No Flash

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The above shot seems a little under exposed, but still it is much more natural as compared to the flash shot.

With a little bit of editing, the photo becomes great!

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In some cases, you will NOT want to use flash, and let the motion and natural lighting draw the scene! It doesn’t have to be sharp always.

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Underexposed?

Talking about under exposed shot, yes, I do find the GM1 to some times gives under exposed photo. See an example below.  A SUNNY 16 day… (1/640s, F/11, ISO200).

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The photo is under exposed by 1 stop, and below should be the correctly exposed shot.

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Another nature shot…which should have been brighter.

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However, this is no big deal, as the shots from GM1 actually give big room for one to play around on the computer if he/she wanted to adjust the exposure / brightness later.

Comments on Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F/3.5-5.6​ ASPH MEGA OIS (37mm filter size)

This is a very versatile lens on the GM1. Very compact when stored, which is the selling point of this lens and which is why Panasonic bundled it with the GM1.

Below is how the lens looks like when stored.

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When using this lens, you need to first extend it out to 12mm, before you can take any photo on the GM1. The GM1 will give you a warning that the lens needs to be “unlocked” first before use, if it detected that the lens is in the “stored” position.

Below is how the lens looks like at normal 12mm position.

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In 135 format, it is 24-64mm, which is the most widely use range for general shooting. Some will find it a bit too short at 64mm, but for me is is OK. I am used to short focal length lenses.

One thing I wished to have on this lens is the larger aperture. F/3.5-5.6 is a bit too dark for my taste, and often the shots created are having deep DOF. This is perfectly fine for family usage, as you will want most of your subjects to be in focus.

The lens has great resolving power. Good details and high contrast. But for close up artistic shots, sometimes you wish for more BOKEH.

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100% crop (click image for full view)

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Overall, I think it is still a good kit lens bundled with GM1, and it is good that Panasonic has room for improvement for better kit lens in future (F/2.8 constant aperture please).

Testing out Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F/1.7 ASPH (46mm filter size)

Below is a shot of Blood Pigeon Discus fish in my aquarium, using the 20mm F/1.7 lens. (1/125s, F/1.7, ISO640). The lens gives very nice bokeh as compared to the 12-32mm zoom, and still retain very nice and sharp details when zoomed in. Another good thing about the lens is that you can focus at very close distance, so creating a wide angle close up shot, which is what I love to do. (move closer to your subject, to have a closer touch…)

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As the original file size is quite big, so here I shown a 100% cropped version of it (click to view full).

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Another shot (1/125s, F/1.7, ISO640). Discus strain is Red Melon.

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100% crop (click to view full)

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Action SHOTS? BURST MODE?
No, I don’t take action shots…but I did tried out the BURST MODE in the camera. Seems quite good.
Burst Mode
Continuous till 12 shots (3fps), then 4 shots at slower speed, and another 4 shots at even slower speed, before the camera goes to 1fps (writing and shooting concurrently).​

​The reason I am testing the burst mode is because I do find the camera to be a little slow in previewing the taken photo on the LCD, so normally what I did is take a series of shots (just press the shutter button several times), then only preview it on the LCD.

Optional Accessory, ​Panasonic DMW-HGR1 Grip

This is NOT a must have item, but since Panasonic gave me one during the review, so I just have it hook to the camera all the time. It does help grabbing the camera more firmly, but not much for me (as I have large palm). With the grip attached, you can’t access to the battery or memory card. You will need to remove the grip if you want to open the battery compartment (where the memory card is situated as well) at the bottom of the camera.

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(The blue tint is due to lighting. The grip is in black in whole)

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The grip is full metal construction, so is solid.

Summary

First of all, this is NOT a comprehensive technical review of Panasonic GM1. I did not go into every features of the camera and test out their functionality. It is NOT the purpose of this review anyhow.

This review is mainly from an user experience using the GM1 as a family camera for daily use or special events or holiday occasion.

Now…my feeling of the camera…

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Praises

Solid built. It feels good in the hand, and I am impressed with the quality of it. It is definitely not the cheap P&S feel.

Touch screen LCD. I especially like the touch screen LCD at the back of the camera, very handy when reviewing photos, as you can just slide it left or right (like what you did with your iPad or smartphone). Use two fingers to enlarge or zoom out.

12-32mm lens is very compact when stored. However, it can be a little annoying as every time when you want to use it, you will have to turn it to 12mm first, from the lock down position. MEGA OIS in the lens is nice.

Accurate colour reproduction. I am quite happy with the WB of the lens so far.

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Low noise at high ISO. Using auto ISO, I have no problem with the camera at even ISO3200. Impressive performance as compared to my previous Nikon D200, but of course not as good as my current D4.

Rooms for Improvement

Photo Preview is a bit slow. I wish it can be shown instantly on the LCD after every shot, not waiting half to one second then only shown.

I do find many of the shots taken by the GM1 under exposed by 1/3 to 1/2 stop. It is of no big deal, as it can be easily corrected in computer. However, for those who like to share photo directly without editing, this can be something to take note of, so that one can dial in +0.5 exposure when taking shot. Yes, this feature is available in the camera.

Battery power of the camera can be better. I didn’t count exactly, but estimated of around 450 shots before the battery runs flat. That is 99% shots without flash. So, make sure you have a spare if you brought the camera for holiday trip oversea (which you have access to power supply at hotel at night), and make sure you charge the battery at night before the next day shooting.

Last word…

RECOMMENDED :)

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Wild Discus Fish

Posted by Dr Koh on Wednesday Jan 22, 2014 Under Fish

My first WILD Discus. Not in great condition, as the owner didn’t take good care of it. Beaten up by Red Parrot. Found it in an aquarium shop, where the owner changed to rear other type of fish and put the Wild Discus there. According to the owner, he bought it in Singapore at SGD$250 two years back.

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I paid RM130 for it (Aquarium owner makes some profit out of it for sure). Around 4″ size. Hope it will get well soon and get along well with my other discus.

Wild discus is from Amazon river. Yes, caught in the wild.

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Another TWO Discus Fish! Pigeon Blood!

Posted by Dr Koh on Sunday Jan 19, 2014 Under Fish

Got a surprised call from my frequent visit shop owner this morning at around 10.30am, that he now got 3 discus that I wanted.

Below is what I missed getting few days ago (all bought by an owner…)

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Am excited and happy. Got the permission from my wife and off I went! Reached there within 20 mins, and am happy to see a pair of Pigeon Blood Discus!

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The third discus is of different strain, checkerboard I think, so I didn’t get it. In fact, I am glad that the Pigeon Blood is a pair (male and female).

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5″ adult fish, costing me RM75 each. Am happy with the purchase. :D

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My aquarium corner

Posted by Dr Koh on Thursday Jan 16, 2014 Under Fish

Previously before having the aquarium, I have these two newspaper cutting on the wall.

Instead of just keeping them in the store room, I decided to hang them higher on the wall behind the aquarium. Looks NICE! :)

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One of the two large Discus!

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Changed Aquarium Water

Posted by Dr Koh on Thursday Jan 16, 2014 Under Fish

Changed water for the first time.

The wood in the aquarium has caused the water to change brown fast. So everything seems dark even with light on.

Removed and added 1/3rd of the water. Now looks great!

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The Large discus are still very coward…got scared when I pumped in the water. Body got hurt again. :(

Now all hiding at the corner…

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My baby, Emmanuel!

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Jan 14, 2014 Under Family

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