The France Discus Show 2016 took place routinely in the small town of Arvert in Charente Maritime.
It is with a lot of delay that I present this contest because it took place in the month of April 2016... But don't we say not "better late than never " ??? "
For this edition 2016, I had the pleasure to respond positively to the invitation made by the association SODA in order to join the members of the jury.
This allows me to approach the subject with the privilege of seeing a part of the backstage. I give myself as a goal to offer my point of view of judge.
Futhermore I will try to bring an original approach by giving the floor to Xavier Jeanmaire ; President of the organizing association SODA.
A France Discus Show 2016 very expected
The wait was great. This event sparked an interest that will be widely beyond the borders of our hexagon.
Whether on the forums discussions or on social networks, many were those who expected this "DISCUS weekend"..
Strong of the growing success of this contest, foreigners were more numerous to inquire about the France Discus Show 2016.
The Facebook page of the contest was born, The SODA website has been changed. All members of the association turned to one goal... The party could start !
The news of the contest...
Again, this year will have a lot of news. The France Discus Show 2016 will surprised us on various aspects.
On the side of competition, the categories have undergone some changes ; So, the open category has been split in two : A "Solid open" category and a category "open pattern"..
In order to promote the diversity of the participants, These have been limited to two maximum registered fish by category. So, We couldn't see more than two times the same name of owners by category. What is more, registered participants were asked to be present on the event.
This new rule has been accepted and has allowed to bring together 23 independent participants with a vast majority of amateurs (Next to 70% of registrants).
On the side of nationalities, the event has attracted some french, Italians, Spanish, Maltese, an Indonesian, and English also sometimes representing their partners Brazilian , Malaysians, Qatari or Singaporean.
A contest that continues years after years to open up to overseas while keeping a significant implications of hobbyists.
With such figures, the France Discus Show 2016 hoisted at the level of the best European participations.
This edition has also designed the best amateur breeder (all nations combined) of each category showing the willingness of organizers to congratulate their commitment and work.
New releases around the event
Arriving in the room... Surprise ! General implantation had totally changed. Access to the contest became free. The presence of several booths reminded the aspect of a "trade show.".
Local and international sponsors had answered present. Dennerle and Eheim represented by "Art Green Garden Center" stands were stormed.
This should encourage these professionals to repeat the experience for the next edition !
Many enthusiasts come to sell their small reproductions with the presence, of discus importers and the stands of material ; all was quite successful.
Difficult not to find happiness !
To complete all these animations of the weekend, visitors were able to attend the gala dinner. Always very friendly, It will allowed to spend joyful moments between passionates.
The gala dinner is always a success!
Our Italian friends enjoying life 'A la française '.
In the room or behind the scenes… the good mood!
Three conferences were also scheduled. So, Christophe Gourdon and Alain Merlin shared their journeys to the heart of the Amazon. For my part, I had the pleasure of presenting the concrete proposals in order to change our contests.
Xavier Jeanmaire view (President of the jury 2016)
As I introduced you in the introduction, Xavier Jeanmaire (President of the SODA association and president of the jury France Discus Show) has answered some of my questions. Focus without transition on his opinion and impressions...
Xavier Jeanmaire president of the jury
Yann Hoiret : Xavier, With hindsight, What is your analysis of this edition 2016 ?
Xavier Jeanmaire : The cru 2016 was satisfactory with 6 nationalities, 122 fish in competition and 23 persons committed with half hobbyist participants. The mutation toward an Aquarium event and the presence of brands was greatly appreciated. Fans have answered this because we recorded about 1500 visitors on the weekend.
YH : I knew that you were 'debriefed' this weekend with members of your association SODA, What were the feelings ?
XJ : Members of SODA are very disappointed with returns. Everyone talked about the disease brought by one of the participants (NB : Occurring in several participants after the event) and not of the tremendous work that our members have provided. We had made great efforts to limit these risks : We had quarantine tanks, planned the necessary for treatment of fish who could get sick. Planed separations for the arrival of the fish etc. They are a little bit demotivated.
A very nice affluence…
YH : After the contest, some somewhat questioned the quality, the impartiality or the proximity of your jury. Some foreigners also would be reluctant to sign up for competitions with juries 100% National, can you express your feelings on these topics?
XJ : This was 4 editions that judges are french. There was one of each national club. We are a national competition where foreigners are welcome. We had 122 fish in competition with limiting the engagements... so the biggest competition in Europe of the year 2016. With 6 countries represented, I think that this result is interesting even if our judges are french.
We organize the contest with a small budget. Judges are unpaid here, come and judge for us cost them money. While it is true that I consider them as friends, people who I am indebted.
Since 4 years the results have not suffered contestations, maybe not this year for the election of the "Best in Show".. But for me during this edition, no fish stand out of the crowd.
I am not against the entrance of foreign judges for our contest but I also find that the french judges are not often invited in international competitions too.
Strong participation of breeders for this edition 2016
YH : I know that you exchange a lot in order to evolve this event. With regard to the installation of the wild/tank raised Brown category; you have proposed for the first time to my knowledge aquariums with sand but also dark water.
Are you satisfied with the results of this test?
XJ : Yes for me this presentation was a success. The fish were in perfect health, very colorful with no sign of stress. However, I think that we will not offer wild category for the next edition. They are not numerous enough and finally I often wonder : Who are we to judge what nature does?
YH : What would you like people remember from this edition 2016.
XJ : I hope that the people who came spent beautiful moments of sharing, Exchanges, meetings and conviviality.
Regarding the people who emit finally low constructive criticism on the internet ; I think they should go their way... These events are made for the real passionate discus lovers with risks, but also all the joys it can bring to us.
Also, I am also delighted that the work of small hobbyist breeders was this year awarded.
Meeting with many enthusiasts!
YH : Xavier, We will normally find the France Discus Show in 2018. Can you tell us some reflections projects, or some informations that could give us desire to join this event?
XJ : Yes of course. We would like to extend the same kind of event of Arvert but in a larger room . This with a most important fair to give more space for stands and professionals.
We plane to take strong measures to participants not complying with our expectations and bring great vigilance on diseases.
Limit the number of aquariums to 100 in order to focus on quality over quantity. Internationalize the jury if we have the means, with judges who would have the same philosophy as our. We have to agree with what must be considered a beautiful discus.
And of course always keep a place for hobbyists.
A mitigated opinion...
Access discus presented for the competition the first time is always a very exciting moment for me.
I have different sensations. Firstly, the excitement of discovery where I will review all of the fish, category by category to find out what the breeders proposed us.
Did the participants took risks by bringing unusual phenotypes? What is the general level? It is somehow a temperature taking to prepare for the challenge that awaits us.
Then, very quickly, a sense of responsibility invades me. I think to those breeders who have spent enormous energy to raise, prepare and present the animals we have infront of our eyes.
The moment is important, give the best of yourself, do not make any mistakes, focus in order to be ready to detail more than 100 fishes.
A white leopard in the category 'open pattern. (Patrick Sammut Malta)
There are competitions where some animals detach easily from their opponents. This year, I must say that it was more complicated. The best individuals are those who combine the morphological qualities with qualities of color and patterns.
This year, I have to say that I had the feeling that the concurrents were a little more focused on the qualities of color and patterns, even if sometimes forsake the morphological aspect.
But, the France Discus Show rating system rewards rather the morphological aspect.
So, We could see very beautiful discus with holes in the head, major defects of spine on colorful fish etc. To this was added the difficulty of judging some shy animals. Despite nice qualities I think that several fish would have deserved better if they had better behavior. Would be due to a problem of preparation ?
As we will see later, These timid discus deserved no doubt other notes.
We must also rule on this famous "double Chin" which all judges do not agree.
Also, We saw less common varieties such as white reds, Golden blue diamond, or even white spotted snakeskin. Some subtleties were therefore to take into account...
Judge this kind of phenotypes demand to clearly appeal to his knowledge !
The wild/tank raised Brown discus
The existence of this category opens debate. Indeed, wild discus participants think with reason that their fish have less chance to win. Face to Brown discus born in captivity with a "wild look" the fish from the natural environment require it is true a bit more time to acclimatize and show their attributes.
However, the France have a beautiful community of Brown discus breeders. A phenotype it is true, does not really find his place in most international competitions.
On the other hand, Wild discus registrations are few in number and their number is not sufficient to create a complete category...
What to do ?
I think that for long-term, the ideal would be to create a wild discus category (With so far 4 categories) and place the tank raised Brown discus in the 'Open Solid' category. So, This could encourage wild discus holders to register their fish.
According to philosophically point of view, It must be admitted that wild categories can bring to relexions...
Finally, These categories are they not mainly for professionals? This category would not be elitist for hobbyists ? (The wild beautiful subjects being purchased at a high price) On what criterias judge those animals from the natural environment ?
To keep a positive mind, It should be noted that the environment proposed to these fish was very good.
Clear sand, dark water due to cattapa leaves... It was the first time to my knowledge that such conditions were proposed to the wild discus.
Fish appeared very comfortable in these conditions and I think that this deserves to be renewed !
Discus winner from Franck Ramezi France
The french amateur breeder Franck Ramezi will won 2 trophies in this category. With a 1st and 3rd place, He could not hide his emotion during the awards.
Daniel Indarta coming from Indonesia will win the second place (On Left). Right the third of Franck Ramezi.
Therefore, you will notice that the podium is occupied by three fish born in captivity.
Daniel Indarta, Franck Ramezi and the judge Alain Joris.
The Open Pattern category
The podium of this category was totally won by foreigners. Our Maltese, Spanish and Italian friends won't made the trip for nothing !
Franck Ramezi Meanwhile won the best amateur trophy of the category with a 4th place 0.02 point on 100 from the third place of the Italians Andréa Sassi et Antonello Greco.
All of the fish in this category had medium grades on the morphological criteria. But the notes of general impression or color will brings back all.
Discus first of Patrick Sammut Malta
Left, The discus of Marcelo Quezada (Spain), on the right SG Discus (Italy)
The category Open Solid
The first place in this category was won by the amateur breeder Jean Marc Sentenac. He beat the Italians Antonello Greco and Andrea Sassi as well as Daniel Indarta of Indonesia.
I think that Italian breeders can be disappointed with the second place. Their pigeon white butterfly discus was very good. But the judges all had difficulties to assess this discus. Very shy, It was particularly difficult to see that the "double chin" this fish was less pronounced than the discus coming first.
The note of body shape (Which included in this contest the assessment of the "double chin ".) here is important in the system proposed to the judges. The shyness of this white pigeon discus butterfly will have misled us and do not allow to observe it well...
On the other hand, the fish engaged by Jean Marc Sentenac had a remarkable behavior, swimming constantly in front of his aquarium glass. The lowest note of this fish will be precisely obtained on the shape criteria. But other points of judgment will bring it enough points to win.
Jean Marc Sentenac receiving his prize from judge Christophe Gourdon.
The strong point of the third fish from Daniel Indarta was its remarkable golden color. Its shape will be its weak point. Finally, This albino discus will be flown on the third step of the podium in a rather medium quality category.
Jean Marc Sentenac France
Left the second from SG Discus, right the third of Daniel Indarta (Injazz Discus)
The solid blue category
The smallest category of the competition has been won by Patrick Sammut (Malta) representative of IP Discus, Marcelo Quezada (Spain) and Francis Hu (England).
The first was a solid color cobalt discus with an impressive size. Of the three fish of the podium, It will have obtained the lowest note on the shape criteria. (6.29 against 6.43 and 6.71 for his pursuers). But the general impression and its "electrical" color will have filled this.
Marcelo Quezada and the judge Alain Merlin
The fish of Marcelo Quezada (Second) was well balanced and rather overall harmonious. A nice blue diamond discus. His weak point is the lack of uniformity in its blue color.
Francis Hu (third) Meanwhile, he proposed an interesting golden blue diamond discus. This variety we few met and its pastel blue color was interesting.
Discus competitions are events allowing us to observe rare varieties. And when they are of good quality, This is always a pleasure for our eyes...
Francis Hu and french judge Marc Vermessen
The pigeon blood category
This phenotype is always very popular. Indeed, the winners where found in the middle of 18 fish registered.
However, the three most beautiful fish were quite easily separated from others. Patrick Sammut and Marco Vella both from this beautiful island of Malta won the first places. In third position, We find the accustomed Andréa Sassi et Antonello Greco specialists of pigeon blood phenotypes from Italy .
Jeremy Dhieux (France) Meanwhile received the trophy of the best hobbyist.
First, Patrick Sammut (Malta)
The first fish was slightly better noted on the shape. Same for its color with an interesting contrast between the background and surface color .
On other criterias, the ratings were fairly uniform.
Left the second from Marco Vella, on the right the one of the Italians Andréa Sassi et Antonello Greco.
From left to right: Antonello Greco, Marco Vella, Patrick Sammut, Jeremy Dhieux and Judge Philippe Diep
The Red category
As a red breeder forms, I was surprised to the overall quality of this category. With the first five discus with more of 70 of 100 maximum points... What ask better ?
I admit I had a nice heart stroke for one of the fish on the podium. Indeed, the fish from the Italian amateur breeder Francesco Penazzi who presented a white red discus was very high level.
Long time that I had not seen a so nice red white...
Discus second from the Italian Francesco Penazzi
For me, the most beautiful red discus of the category. There is not much to complain about it, A double chin next to the limit. With the average judges notes, It will make lose the first place.
Note the color of the eyes of this fish which is pretty good regarding its variety (White red).
This fish reaches second place in its class behind the Red Golden Diamond discus of Marco Vella (Malta).
Winner Discus from Marco Vella (Malta)
Despite its small size, This fish has shown a beautiful harmony, and good notes on overall criterias evaluated. Personally I had less appreciated the front of this fish which formed what some call "Parrot's mouth "..
You will notice the selection work done by the breeder Tony Tan (Where this fish was born) about the distribution of the color red. The red is present on much of the surface of the body with until opercula.
Third SG Discus
In third position, We find Andréa Sassi et Antonello Greco with a nice red melon discus. Here also, few faults for this discus. No major fault, an harmonious animal with a correct shape, eyes of beautiful quality (shape, size, color) with a pretty red color.
It should be noted a slight lack of uniformity/intensity of the red on the back of the fish, but nothing really penalizing.
The category red spotted
Judgments have been not evident as we had in the same category large spotted and thin spotted.
In this category, the criteria that make a difference are the shape and the pattern of the discus.
This Discus Show France 2016 won't be an exception...
Daniel Indarta and the judge Gilles Lochet
I think the jury designated the most beautiful red spotted of the contest. This fish from Daniel Indarta (Indonesia) representing the Qatari Injaaz Discus has been the most complete.
Its pattern was also the most successful and most rewarded by the entire jury.
First, Daniel Indarta (Injaaz Discus)
You'll notice the difference of pattern with the fish arrived in second place. The points are not as distincts. There has few difference on the final grade compared to the fish from Daniel Indarta. It will be the sum of several details that makes the difference.
Second, Francis Hu (England)
On the third place and so best amateur of the category, Tran Quan had proposed a larger spotted discus.
The area of the head is particularly a success. I draw your attention to the points on gills and the head of this animal.
On the other hand, for my part, I had penalized the pattern of the body who don't have "points" at all..
Third, Tran Quan (France)
From the same owner I found this discus with large points far more in adequacy with the category. Although I would agree that the shape can be penalized because of a dorsal fin that starts late (I think it lacks a ray) and the front is curved. I found the pattern more regular and with points, Sure large.
As you appreciate the hobbyist breeder Tran Quan should be able to make future beautiful crosses !
This category will welcomed 27 fishes !
Red turquoise, blue turquoise, vertical stripes, horizontal or irregular... There was here several types of fish.
The first place of the podium will be played on the shape criteria of the fish. With a large coefficient the final score will be switched in favour of the french amateur breeder David Delgoulet.
He will correct me if I say something stupid but this discus is born at his home giving a hope to all small hobbyist breeders.
Morphologically this discus showed all the qualities expected. M. Delgoulet proposed a good size fish, with an interesting presence.
This turquoise will however lost points on the color of its eyes (Although the size and shape of these was good). The pattern/color notes was divided. The electric blue color was undoubtedly the most striking... However the pattern is the main weak point of this fish. (incomplete or broken lines)
"Old school" Turquoise fish from David Delgoulet (France)
You can for example enjoy the difference with the beautiful pattern of turquoise discus from Tran Quan second place.
Here the pattern is of a very nice quality with overall regular horizontal stripes.
On morphology, This fish had lower notation than the first, with a fault due to the size of the first rays of the dorsal fin.
Second fish of Tran Quan (France)
Close-up of the dorsal rays
The third place was won by the English Franci Hu representative the breeder of Na discus in Malaysia.
Despite a low score on the shape criteria, many points won with pattern/color criteria and a correct set will mount it on the third step of the podium.
Barely at 0.38 points on 100 maximum from the fish fourth of the Spanish Marcelo Quezada.
Third from Francis Hu (England)
A great champion disputed ?
The election of the Grand Champion discus or the fish considered as the most beautiful of the competition was the origin of many debates. It was designated among each first discus of the categories.
The 7 judges have designated their champion with a no concerted method on paper . Then, Xavier Jeanmaire the president of the jury announced the results of the vote. From the result was born a series of argumentative debates.
The discussions were about three fish. And after a long time, the entire jury decided to congratulate the morphological aspect of the future winner.
Indeed, We had not discus combining morphological qualities AND the qualities of pattern/color.
This is how we have designated the champion of the turquoise category which featured very good morphological qualities.
The Grand Champion 2016 of David Delgoulet
This is also somehow a message sent to breeders to encourage them to focus on their discus morphology and do not put it in the background with the color.
According to its rating system the France Discus Show 2016 in Arvert has always wanted to reward the shape of discus. Then finally what could be more logical than to nominate the most interesting morphological fish...
And the absence of fish, bringing together the two aspects that make an individual becomes remarkable ; the most complete morphologically was designated.
With such a decision, the contestations arrived very quickly... I also completely understand because it is not the "norm" usually encountered in international competitions.
But congratulations to Sir David Delgoulet, an amateur breeder and enthusiast for a long time to obtain this the Grand Champion trophy !
Bravo to him and again congratulations to all participants.
I give you for my part appointment in Paris for the Paris Grigny Discus Show 2017 where I will maybe evaluate on of your fish (?!)
Thanks to all those who have contributed with their photos: Philippe Diep, Alain Merlin, Patrick Sammut and Andrea Sassi