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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.



LISTS OF THE PENANG DISCUS


  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.



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