The 4th edition of the discus World Championship Napoli Aquatica 2015 took place during the month of September in the Italian city of Napoli.
Renowned for the quality of its organization and its international aura, this contest has always attracted a crowd of visitors.
It is an opportunity for the organizers to create a true pole of attraction for Aquarium lovers, with several competitions as for example for the betta, or the aquascaping.
Visitors can also make contacts with many brands and dealers present during the event.
After being invited to the 4th edition of «» NaQ World Discus Congress 2015 " (World Congress dedicated to the discus competition) ; I did for the first time the long drive up to the town not far from the Vesuvius, where the Margarita pizza is a gift from heaven and where football Diego Maradona is a successful icon...
An event that I propose you to discover here on Fanatik-Discus...
Diego Maradona, always present in Naples…
A bustling city
The warm hospitality of the Neapolitans
I will not begin this article without thanking the Neapolitans who crossed our path. After having somewhat prepared this trip, I admit that i was delighted with the atmosphere of this city.
Constantly on activity, Napoli bubble up ! Obviously, It is not advisable to pace up and down some neighbourhoods, But what authenticity...
Because if our passion requires us to do many kilometres, It also allows us to meet beautiful people and discover new cultures...
A small fish market of district
So I had the great pleasure to discover on my road, the beautiful facility of Matteo Paolieri, an Italian discus enthusiast. I thank once again, Him and his wife Rossella for their warm welcome !
In Matteo's place… Life is sweet
A true pole of attraction
Napoli Aquatica 2015 (NaQ) hosts the World Discus Championship but also other competitions. Furthermore, It is interesting to be able to walk in the middle of the stands that offer their extended know-how.
An uninterrupted flow of visitors
It must be admitted that attendance is impressive. Located near a large shopping centre, the event benefits from the flow of visitors in the area as well as a smoothly conducted advertising campaign.
Apart the web site of Napoli Aquatica 2015 already beautifully directed, the World Championship also have communication relayed by huge panels at the entrance of the city.
This is no less 25 000 people who have surveyed the alleys of the NaQ 2015 during the three days of opening. (Organizing source)
'Live' Aquascaping to Napoli Aquatica 2015
Best in show 2015
Quality of the World Discus Championship 2015
The discus were divided into 9 categories : Wild discus, the pattern discus with Brown base color (Turquoise and snakeskin), the pattern discus with yellow base colour (Pigeon blood), Solid blue, reds, the yellow, red spotted, the albino (solid or pattern) and the unclassifiable (Open).
To judge the 200 fish presented, the organizers had invited a panel of 5 international judges chaired by Carmelo Arico (Italy). Cüneyt Birol (Turkey), Hiroshi Irie (Japan), Kuo - Yun Kuan (Taiwan), Manfred Göbel (Germany) and Mike O' Sullivan (England) had the difficult task to elect the most beautiful individuals in the World Discus Championship.
And with €5000 offered to the owner of the discus elected "Best in Show" (Most beautiful fish of the competition) It would seem that this amount was a sufficient source of motivation to make beautiful discus integrate the contest !
Some fanatics in the Championship…
The quality of discus presented was good. With however a lower level for the wild discus category and "yellow" category of maybe questionable interest. This yellow category will be also questioned during the World Congress 2015.
In some categories, the podiums were very difficult to decide with sometimes 6 fish with very close notes.
However it remain some physical defects in some fish that could deserve to be more sanctioned.
One of the big winners of this edition will be the Malaysian breeder Tony Tan in which most winning discus are coming.
The best Italian hobbyist breeder will be also designated at the discus World Championship 2015.
With a little more than 20 enteries this category still not attract a large number of enthusiasts.
The podium will be 100% Italian with Enzo Famulari who won 1st and 3rd place and Valerio Rizzo the second place.
Three Brown discus who will have one thing in common : Absolutely attractive behavior. Most of the time, I need to spend some time to make pictures for this category of discus, or even contort me.
A simple finger placed on the front glass of the aquarium and these three fish literally jump in front of us !
Noted that a pair of "Heckel cross" discus was placed in the wild category, but replace in Open category.
For these three fish, I admit to have a preference on the 3rd elected fish that has, in my opinion a better forehead..
Discus first in wild from the Italian Enzo Famulari
Left the second from Valerio Rizzo, to the right the third from’Enzo Famulari
One of the peculiarities of the World Discus Championship, This category create some debates.
Even if it seems that the yellow color genetically exist ; the possibility to colour pigeon blood base discus with yellow pigments makes this category may be not so relevant.
Are these fish truly representative ? Other varieties could deserve to have their own category.
The first from Tony Tan
Left the second from Tony Tan, right fish from Jessica Cannilla
Always very difficult to select, these discus often have qualities at the height of their flaws...
As I often say, join together a quality pattern (With points covering up the operculas of the discus) and an harmonious shape is a real challenge !
Generally, the selection of a good pattern, well punctuated and uniform is done at the expense of other characters.
Here, the winners have deformities on their foreheads. Deformations which are, however, less important than on other fish competing in the same category. Especially "double chins" (see photo below)
The three spotted discus winners from Tony Tan
Four fish not rewarded with big flaws of "double manton.
The albino discus of Napoli Aquatica 2015
Once again difficult to select varieties. The shapes are in my opinion often the weak point of the albino varieties.
The second elected fish from Chen's Discus is in my opinion the most complete. A great success.
The first discus has a pattern of good quality but its shape remains for me at a lower level of the second.
The spotted snake skin are already very difficult to select... Then I let you imagine with the albino gene added... a huge challenge !
Discus albinio spotted snake skin winner from Tony Tan
Left and right, the second of Chen's discus and the third from the breeding of Tony Tan
Fish from the "open" category
In this event, There were only one "open" category bringing together the discus that could not enter the other suggested categories ; whether solid color or pattern.
I truly believe that separate this category in two can be beneficial by separating these two major types of patterns.
During this Napoli Aquatica 2015 I saw beautiful subjects that i find difficult to decide...
The winner, a ring leopard could also be placed in the category red spotted (As you can see in some contest). A rather elegant discus.
The second, a beautiful heckel cross that do not need introduction because this variety is now part of the Malaysian breeder Tony Tan values.
This fish was registered in the 'wild' category since settlement allowed discus from F1 and F2.
This heckel cross was however reclassified in the "open" category by the organizers which seems to also be more logical.
At the third place a butterfly snakeskin which could be surpassed by one or two beautiful snow white discus or even a white butterfly.
It seems that these fish were maybe not at their best during the day of judgment. I'll let you enjoy lower the level of these discus.
Leopard ring from Tony Tan elected first
Left the second, an heckel cross of Tony, right the third of Steve Proctor (Line Ricky Lim)
Left a snow white from Chen's Discus, Right a white butterfly from SG discuscoltura
The pigeon blood category
This category will be part of those who have collected fewer participants with albinos and yellow discus.
But the level of some participants was rather interesting.
The three winners were beautiful shape and very regular patterns.
In this category, visitors were able to see some beautiful pigeon blood which however failed . I invite you to also enjoy these beautiful fish...
The winner in pigeon blood from Tony Tan
Left the second from Tony Tan, right the third of Steve Proctor (Line Ricky Lim)
Two fish that didn't win, on the left the one of Tony Tan (4th), right the one of SG Discus (8th)
The Red category
As red discus breeder, I think that you won't be surprised to learn that it is a category that I observe with attention...
From today, It can be said that breeders have a good mastery of the red color. They are numerous to try to get this color on the head of the fish.
Indeed, for example, it is not very common to observe discus with red opercula. But however they will have to be careful of making this quest for color does not come at the expense of other criteria that seems to me essential such as shape, the harmonious forhead or what English speakers call "the double chin" or in french "double menton" .
there were very beautiful fish in competitions and this category will allowed some beautiful specimens coming from hobbyist breeders. It will also be Sergio Casati who will win the prize of the best Italian breeder with one of these red melon discus.
I'll let you enjoy here some beautiful specimens overview during the contest.
One of the specialty of Ricky Lim… first in its category
The second and third of Tony Tan
Discus red melon elected most beautiful fish presented by an Italian amateur breeder
The Red Golden Diamond of Francesco Penazzi 7th and 8 th
The solid blue in Napoli Aquatica discus 2015
The four discus arrived in the first places will literally crushed their competitors. All from the Malaysian breeder Tony Tan, These fish had impressive sizes. A beautiful uniformity of color and a striking electric blue.
There would have been no scandal if one of these fish was elected "best in show".. (The winner of this category will also be elected "best in show" at the Shanghai competition in China a few weeks after)
The winner approaching perfection, even if its small fault of colour on its dorsal fin could make him lose more points.
In any case a nice job of selection for these four fish.
The three winners from the fish farm of Tony Tan
The first presented by its Distributor Discus Vigo (Spain)
4th discus blue diamond of Tony Tan
Carmelo Arico and Tony Tan, the great winner of the event
The Best in Show is a turquoise
Breeders were numerous to present their fish in this category, confirming attractiveness for turquoise varieties from this last years.
With 47 registrations (!!!) we can indeed claim that this category is popular.
Here also, it will be the breeder Tony Tan who won the first three places.
His Spanish representative Discus Vigo will thus win the first place in the turquoise category, the best in show (Most beautiful discus in competition) and thus... the Discus World Cup which is now awarded at this Napoli aquatica World Championship.
And what trophy! A magnificent work of art.
This category welcomed the Brown base discus , and some beautiful snakeskin discus presented.
I'd let you enjoy here a pair of shots of discus having not won a prize. I imagine that many of you would be quite ready to maintain these unfortunate losers in your aquariums!
Congratulations to the Malaysia which will have once again well figured at this Napoli Aquatica 2015.
Discus champion in turquoise and elected "Best in Show".
presented by Discus Vigo, Spanish distributor of Tony Tan
The second and third from the Malaysian breeder Tony Tan
6th and 8th, two beautiful fish from Tony Tan
Interest for competitions: Attention danger ?
Napoli Aquatica 2015 was a beautiful event. We can say that it is a professional organization of high level.
Aquascaping contests, Discus, Betta and all the professionals coming to present their products form an excellent pole of attraction.
With regard to the World Discus Championship, It should be however noted a certain tendency (Witch not only seen in this competition).
This great event, point of organ of competitions in Europe could in my opinion lose its attractiveness if it doesn't send a strong signal to the professional and hobbyist worlds .
Indeed, the diversity of the participants is hardly at the rendezvous (Just like other competitions) and the World Championship could be able (Due to its aura) to show the way to borrow in order to gather a maximum of participants from diverse horizons.
Where are the amateur or professionals breeders from Germany ? Where are the beautiful discus from Singapore breeders ? Why very few breeders of Eastern Europe were not coming ? (The last Polish competition had indeed welcomed a good number of hobbyists) Where are the Brazilians exporters of wild discus and their splendid fish ?
Sergio Casati Award here with the title of the best Italian amateur breeder
A trophy that could be open to other nations?
There are certainly many blocking points it seems difficult to overcome (Particularly at the level of the costs related to the trip, accommodation, registration etc.) but I think that we should also bring more teaching on the contest itself in order to democratize the participation of amateurs.
In this edition 2015 next to 50% registered fish were coming from 3 professional breeders (Breeders and/or their representatives distributors). I absolutely do not challenge the quality of fish that have won. They totally deserved to win, judge by a quality jury carefully selected.
But this fact does not encourage, in my humble opinion all professional or amateur breeders to participate. We are maybe witnessing a form of elitism in contests that become financially increasingly less accessible to breeders. I even think that professionals will choose some manifestations to abandon other.
The World Discus Congress proposed a biannual way during Napoli Aquatica editions that must help to bring more clarity about the process of the world Championship, its rating system and its categorization.
The creation of a standard becoming in my opinion absolutely necessary…
This, to allow all the participants or those who aspire to participate understand how their discus are evaluated.
Otherwise... I fear that the enthusiasts or professionals turn gradually away competitions. (Even if professionals need this for notoriety on the Aquarium market)
It is necessary to mobilize together to find solutions and to facilitate access to this kind of events.
Let us remember that the old Duisburg World Championship in Germany has lost its attractivness over the years ; with effect cancellation of the event by its Professional organizer. Because we must not forget that an organization of this magnitude requires to be supported by a professional who (And it is legitimate) wait a minimum of return on investment.
An association of amateurs could not organize such an event...
He have to stop to hide us behind the argument of a market at half mast ; the discus lovers are numerous. They just expect a sign...
I hope you have enjoyed this report, I also invite you to discover my debriefing dedicated to the 4 th World Congress of the discus which took place in Naples during this edition of the World Discus Championship of Napoli Aquatica 2015.
Congratulations to the organizers of Napoli Aquatica 2015 who have achieved here a very nice event.
I invite you to find all the photos (including some unpublished here) on the Fanatik-Discus Facebook fan page.
I dedicate this report to my friend Francesco…