Beginners Discus Article

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I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts
Jan 3, 2004
Since my learning curve has taken a huge leap since I wrote this article I think its time to do some Updating, namely in the "grading" or judging area of a good quality discus.

The first thing that should be mentioned is coloration, small fish 4" and under, SHOULD NEVER show adult coloration. If they do, its because they were hormoned, or heavily color fed. The homones are more likely, and are extremely dangerous for the fish, a few months down the road you will either have a dead fish because of internal organ damage, a washed out colorless fish, or an infertile fish. Another reason to avoid those fish is because it is fully possible that they are in fact stunted, meaning they were givin poor water quality and or feeding which caused them to halt growth but not development.

One big factor in choosing a fish is overall shape, eye size as compared to the body, even anal and dorsal fins, a CLEAR caudal fin by clear I mean no black pigment at all, color is acceptable but must be balanced, FULL color on the anal and dorsal fin (no clear spots near the ends), Clear pectorals, and even ventral fins. Pigeonblood strains should be as clean as possible. That is no longer an acceptable trait and is extremely easy to get clean pigeons now.

For shape, what you look for is that the body of the fish forms a circle, or an oval up and down.

Here are a couple great fish.

This one took Grand Champion at the ACA show this year.

And one of the PigeonBloods from Stendker also from the ACA

Thanks Luis at DAAH for the pictures.

Now, both of those fish are extremely round, VERY large, both are pushing 8" or so, the eye size compared to the body is rather small. Both have excellent balance in the anal and dorsal fins as well as the ventrals, full color on all, the tails are clear, and the pigeon lacks any peppering.

Also one last thing to look for is chipped eyes, basically you look at the eye, and it appears that a small little chunk had been taken out of the pupil, usually a U shape, avoid these fish.

Now barring genetic problems, good clean water and a good rich enhanced diet will eliminate most deformities. Sure you can keep the fish healthy with minimal maintence, but you won't attain a good quality fish that way unless you bought them as adults at 5-6" already. Growing young fish out with only 30% or less water changes a week will not yeild a high quality fish. Growing young fish out requires a lot of work, minimum of 20% daily changes, lots of food, and lots of maintence. Despite what some of the people on the forum may tell you about these fish.

If you can only do weekly changes, stock low, and do large changes, 75% or more each week. Its the same principle as sure fish can live without a correctly sized tank or water changes, but whats best for the fish. Some people don't care, or don't want to learn. Provide the best you can for the fish you get, if you can't or are unwilling to provide the best, choose something else that you can.

Edited to remove unflattering and unwelcome comments. Please obtain the permission of a user before criticizing someone's fish. OG

One should not post pictures of their fish if they are afraid of criticism, especially when they claim their fish to be good quality stock...
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