The Freshwater Ornamental Fishes
THE DISCUS TRAIL OF MALAYSIA
The Discus fish has been in Malaysia since the early sixties and at which time it was kept by a few hobbyistd because of the high price, also being rare and new; the variety available at that time was the "Brown Discus" (Symphysodon Aquifasciara Axelrodi). Discus Breeding was a challenge to the early hobbyists as little was known of its' breeding habits and water quality requirements. Given water quality almost similar to the homeland of the Discus in the Amazon River - Soft, Acidic and Warm Water. Attempts were made to breed the Discus fish but not without failure as it was through trail and error. Thus, the first variety of Discus successfully bred was the "Brown Discus" in the early sixties. The Hechle Discus (Symphysodon Discus) was imported or brought in by hobbyists for their own collection. The Heckle Discus was also bred with success to a certain extent but attempts made to cross with Brown Discus was much easier and thus a new variety was born - "The Heckle Brown Discus". In the late eighties and early nineties new strains were imported from the famous jack wattley - the "Wattley Turquoise" and Dr. Eduard S. Focke's the "Red Turquoise". These were soon bred, produced and found a good market in Singapore. At about the same time Hong Kong and Bangkok Discus also made an in road into the Malaysia Discus Market. Penang Island lead in the breeding and export of Discus. As it has the best water quality required for breeding and raising Discus - pH value of 6.8 to neutral and a conductivity 60 to 80 microsiemens. At the height of Discus Breeding in Penang (1987 - 1993) there were about 30 Discus farm of various sizes, ranging from a 100 to 500 Grow-out tanks with 20 to 50 breeding pairs and about 120 home-breeders with 30 to 80 tanks with 10 to 20 breeding pairs. (Grow-out Discus tanks are usually 250 litres and breeding tanks are usually 125 litres, though smaller capacity tanks are used depending on the preference of the breeders.) With the success of Penang Discus, the Discus fever soon spread to other states of west Malaysia like Johor (North of Singapore Island) well known for its Tropical fishes; Negeri Sembilan; Selangor and Perak. Within a period of a year or so, breeders in these states soon were able to breed and produce quality Discus to cater for their own exports.
BROWN DISCUS Known as the Brown Discus (Smyphysodon Aquifasciata Axeldori). A very red colored Discus of this strain is also found in the wild. PIDGEON BLOOD A variant form of the Pidgeon Blood with its origin from Thailand. Still a popular fish among hobbyists. GOLDEN SUNRISE DISCUS A hybrid of the Golden Discus and the variant form of the Pidgeon Blood Discus. Photo shows the female tending to the frys. Under stress the black dots will be displayed on the finnage and body which can be mistaken as a Pidgeon Blood Discus. The difference is in the eye. HECKLE BROWN A Brown Discus with a prominent Heckle bar at the center of the body. These are progeny of a Heckle and a Brown Discus. GOLDEN DISCUS Its Fore-Parents were mutants of the comimon brown as in Photo No 1. Through selective breeding, the nine stress bars have been out-bred and the result is a Golden Discus without any stress bars! The first mutant strain caame from the humble brown Discus. The frys were different, they had a yellow base and some of the stress bars were absent. There was no commercial value then as it was considered defective and had to be sold at offered price! It was known as "Albino Discus" but the name was changed to "Golden Discus" which is appropriate. SNAKE-SKIN DISCUS A second generation of Snake-Skin Discus. In trying to improve on the colour of the eyes (originally the eyes are somewhat similar to the Ghost Discus) the swirling blue lines are not expressed but some red spots appeared. In 1994, the Snake-Skin Discus of Penang origin attracted the attention of Discus breeders and hobbyists frrom far and near. The Snake-Skin Discus was the most expensive of all Discus produceed. At a size of 6cm, it cost RM1,800 (US$750) each at the early stage. This variety has been exported pratically through out the whole world. It is now being bred in Hong Kong, Taiwan and even in China. SOLID TURQUOISE DISCUS A barless and solid-colour Discus, known as the "Diamond Blue". The above is one of the four colour variants. The next mutant strain that came after the "Ghost Discus" were discus that exhibit no stress bars over its' body, with a full brilliant blus, or a Turquoise with a tinge of more green. They were very similar to the ones bred in Hong Kong known as the "Blus Diamond". Thesee "All Solid Turquoise Discus" were reportedly came from Dr. Eduard S. Focke's strain of Cobalt Discus of Germany. All in all there are four different variants of this mutant strain produceed within a short period. GHOST DISCUS There is much contrast between the earlier Ghost Discus and the present form is much cleaner looking and has a yellow forehead. From the wattley Turquoise came the "Ghost Discus". In the Ghost Discus the absent of the stress bars was almost complete except for the bar at the tail end and over the eyes. It was entirely different from the parents.
The Freshwater Ornamental Fishes