our livestock catalogue below display a detailed outlook on what's available from our retail store

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Superior Quality DISCUS - specialists in the field, we have a great source of information on discus here

MARINE fish and CORALS - the ultimate stage in the hobby, the marine and reef aquariums

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Different Types and Strains of Discus

There are basically four 'species' of discus found in their natural habitat of the tributaries of the Amazon. (Note that there is a recent discussion on naming another discus species, Symphysodon tarzoo). These four are shown in the first group of photos - from these four, breeders using selective breeding of natural and genetic mutations, have produced literally hundreds of variations differing in shape, coloring, patterns, etc... These "man-made" strains of discus are displayed in the lower section.

Natural/ Wild Species:
Photos in this section are from the book, "Discus...as a hobby" by Jim Quarles
heckel Heckel Discus Symphysodon Discus - Found in mostly Brazil's Rio Negro, this fish has a distinguishing dark "fifth" stripe and has both red and blue varieties. It's named after ichthyologist Johann Jacob Heckel and is the most difficult discus to keep, because it likes somewhat softer (and lower pH) and warmer water than the other species. It has two subspecies, the Blue Head Symphysodon Discus Discus - which has a blue head (obviously!), and the Symphysodon Discus Willischwartzi.
brown Brown Discus Symphysodon Aequifasciatus Axelrodi - Found near Belem and Rio Urubu, this fish used to be the most common discus species available to hobbyists. It has a nice brown body with the brown ranging from a yellowy-brown to a rusty reddish-brown and it has colorful streaks in it's fins and often times on it's head too. Many hobbyists believe the Brown discus is the easiest to keep and breed in captivity.

green Green Discus Symphysodon Aequifasciatus Aequifasciatus - Found in Lake Tefe', the Coari' , Nanay, and the Japura regions of the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon, this fish has a wide range in color, varying from a yellowish green to an olive green to a solid green to a light brownish tan. Many have noticeable green stripes (known as "Royal" Green) and several have red spots on the sides of their bodies.

blue Blue Discus Symphysodon Aequifasciatus Haraldi - can be found in near Manaus, the Purus River and Manacapuru in Brazil as well as Leticia, Peru. This fish has a wide variety of "blueness", some appear to be more colorful versions of the Brown Discus, while others, (designated "Royal Blue") have blue stripes/ striations on their bodies, head, and fins.

"Man-Made" Cultivated Strains:
Photos in this section were taken during visits to various fish breeders and shows
blue turquoise Blue Turquoise Discus These beautiful blue fish are usually entirely blue with red patterns/ striations on the body, dorsal and anal fins, and on the gill covers. Many of these were originally developed in the United States by Jack Wattley from several crossings of wild and tank raised blue and green discus. There are some "high bodied", "solid blue", "red striated", and "high finned" varieties.
red turquoise Red Turquoise Discus This red fish has a turquoise striations running horizontally from head to the base of it's tail. There are also several varieties of this strain; some have yellowish bodies (with turquoise and red stripes) while others have been crossed with red spotted greens to create broken line patterns on the sides. Many of these were orginally developed in Germany by Dr. Edward Schmidt-Focke.

pigeon blood Pigeon Blood Discus This "man-made" fish usually has a creamy yellowish - orange base color, highlighted by bright red eyes and trimmed off in black stripes and spots. The tails of pigeon blood discus are almost always black. Some of the varieties of this strain have more or less straitions/ black spotting and/or creamier body coloring. This strain was developed by  Kitti Phanaitthi in 1991 from a mutation in Thailand. It's been said if you can grow these pigeon blood discus out in bright lights, the black spots, "peppering", will be less.

blue diamond Blue Diamond Discus Around 1990, a few breeders from Malaysia (including Kheng Huat, Hock, Phang Teck Beng, and Lee Koon Yen) and Hong Kong (including Sunny Lo Wing Yat) had noticed that several of their blue turquoise discus fry were transparent in color and when these fry grew out, they became a solid blue color, lacking patterns on the gill covers, fins, and stress bars (the colbalts and blue turquoise will have patterns and stress bars). A good quality blue diamond discus will continue to have the solid blue color in addition to red eyes. Some blue diamonds will have a slight yellow coloring on the caudal (tail) fin and some will have finer sized scales.

leopard skin Leopard Skin Discus Unlike most of the "man made strains", the leopard skin discus is a result of selective breeding from two types of wild red spotted green discus originating from different areas and not a genetic mutation. This was done by Hong Kong breeders, Sunny Lo Wing-Yat and Rocky Ng, over the course of eight years. They were available in the marketplace in 1993. Variations of the leopard skin discus are the size of the spots with some having rings as well as spots and "rings within rings" - those which have blue highlights within the red rings.

snakeskin Snakeskin Discus Back in 1994, two breeders in Malaysia Ronnie Teoh and Ah Liang, as well as some other breeders in other parts of the world, discovered that they had discus which showed 14 stress bars (instead of the usual 9). Unlike the 9 bar discus, these would pass on the very fine striation pattern and the 14 bars. These fish were cross bred with other strains to produce the wide variety of snakeskin crosses that exist today: blue snakeskin, red snakeskin, pigeon snakeskin, solid snakeskin, red spotted, golden snakeskin, and recently, abino snakeskin.

leopard snakeskin Leopard Snakeskin Discus During the middle 1990's, many breeders were crossing snakeskins with several other strains of discus. One of the Malaysian breeders, Teoh Beng Chye successfully crossed some leopard skins with snakeskins and introduced these in 1997. Leopard Snakeskins are among the top strains in popularity right now. Variations include sizes of spots, spots on the gill covers, webpatterns on face, and some have a golden base coloring.

snow white Snow White Discus One of the earliest information as to the origin of this strain comes from Robert Chin of Malaysia back in 1995. He had purchased several wild brown discus for breeding and had noticed that the fry produced from one pair were transparent. When these fish grew up, they became colorless including their eyes. Contrary to belief, the origins of this strain are from the brown discus and not a ghost strain. Sometime later, the red white variety was created by crossing a snow white with a sold red discus.

golden discus Golden Discus The original gold discus was the result of a breeding of brown discus by Malaysian breeder, Kim Keng How. Interestingly,"Kim" is the Chinese character for "gold". The original fry grew up to become fish with a golden base, white stripes covering the front half of the body, and red eyes. Later refinements developed golden discus with less white markings. Golden discus are often cross bred with pigeon blood discus to eliminate the black 'peppering' on the bodies and the black fins of the pigeon blood - a true golden will have a transparent pectoral and caudal (tail) fins.

san merah San Merah Discus Back in 1992, Singaporean breeder, See Chow San (Ah San), began crossing wild Ica brown discus which were a reddish brown fish with a 5th bar (like the heckel discus). The word "Merah" means "red" in Malay. His goal was to create a strain of solid red discus without stripes or patterns on the body. Two years later, he was able to remove the blue striations on the forehead and about 5 generations later, he was able to have his fish produce fry which grew up lacking the stress bar. Later, he improved the intensity of the red coloration.

albino Albino Discus Making a first appearance in 2000, the albino originally was a mutation of a wild alenquer. Since then, breeders have created several albino strains, such as albino turquoise, albino blue diamonds, albino snakeskins, albino leopard snakeskins, etc...
From wikipedia.org: Albinism (technically hypomelanism or hypomelanosis), is a form of hypopigmentary congenital disorder, characterized by a lack of melanin pigment in the eyes and skin. Most forms of albinism are the result of the biological inheritance of genetically recessive alleles (genes) passed from one or both parents.

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