I plan to enter a small number of my
discus into the International Discus
Championship in Duisburg, Germany in
September and October 2010. Can you give
me a few pointers as to what I must show
on the fish in order for them to compete?
Jack Wattley is worldwide the most
recognized name in discus breeding.
Breeder, judge, collector, scholar, Jack is
the foundation on which modern discus
keeping has been built. He has been
sharing his experience and knowledge—
and the discus he breeds—with aquarists
throughout the world for decades, and just
one of his many awards was his recent
Lifetime Achievement award from the
ACA. Long past the age at which most
people retire, he still serves as ambassador
of discus and goodwill across the planet.
I’ll give you the general guidelines
that are used in most of the national and
international discus shows, many of which
I judge in. I will be at the International
Discus Championship in September and
October to give a discus presentation and
will be happy to see you there.
The panel of judges at these discus shows
should be experienced in having judged
discus in the past, and they will be presented
with a number of categories to be judged. At
least a few of these will be of fish that are
favorites of the judges.
Before explaining some things to look for,
I want to include this brief disclaimer. I
personally move toward fish that are at least
close in looks to my original “turquoise” and
“coerulea” color forms that I developed and
named, and other judges may have similar
biases. However, good judges will not allow
that to affect their final scores.
Another consideration is that a discus
breeder may have worked through as many
as three generations of discus breeding to
develop a beautiful new color form. That
fact may be taken into consideration based
on a judge’s preferences.
There is a general agreement among discus
groups as to how the fish should be judged in
a fair manner, and you have planned to enter
your fish at the Duisburg show, so you might
want to consider these brief points.
The size, shape, and color of the discus
eye can many times be the first things that
judges look at when judging. If the eyes of
your fish look even a bit enlarged, your
discus will be placed into the 50 percent of
fish that won’t be judged. In many discus
shows there are too many fish to be judged,
so the bottom half of these fish in quality
will be red-carded.
I think you do a great job with the
strains of discus you market. I was
talking to my local fish store’s sales