Standard of the discus : Still plenty of work ahead us ! (part 6)


Today, there is no definition of the standard of the discus breeding. As I explained in the introduction to this series of articles (Discus the situation in competition) Present discus to designate the most beautiful is a rather recent activity.

Unlike betta breeders, or Guppy breeders (to quote only the fish), the discus breeders lack clear regulations allowing them to know how their fish will be assessed.
Our contests should I think be inspired by the other universe of breeders in order to define a comprehensive regulation and particularly that should be known by the public !

In order to give a guideline to breeders who wish to select and raise their discus to present in contest.


Be inspired by our predecessors

Various systems already exist in many hobby. Why repeat the mistakes already made ? Why not observe what exists among fans of guppy, Betta or even Canary birds ?
So, you could be able to see the number of marks given for the fish are not coming from few criterias, that complete regulations (category, scoring system, standard) are public and available for breeders, that breeders are part of the taken decisions .

Also, several national and international federations gather breeders to organize and discuss about the regulatory.

I invite you to take a few ideas on the site of the IBC for example, which exposes a comprehensive document on the standards of the fighters doing 139 pages ; evoking even a code of ethics for its judges....
Or even the IKGH, the WGF and the GSR (France) for guppies.


Explanation of the Koi carp morphological competition standard during the JBL Propond opening 2016


Lay the first stones of standard of the discus

It is obvious that I would not realize here and alone a "new" standard of the discus. Nevertheless, I think that we must begin to lay the foundations for a work that will evolve over the time.

It will indeed start one day to define criterias of the "ideal competition discus fish". So I propose here to discover some of my proposals.

These proposals articulate goshawks ratings criterias that I was suggesting you to study in the article "the discus rating system".

I think that this standard of the discus should be split into 2 Parts :

The morphological standard AND standard category (pattern and color).


*The morphological standard of the discus


What are the important morphological criterias?

I think we could define the morphological standard as all of the phenotypic criterias common to all types of discus of the categorization that I was suggesting. (On the way to a new classification)
The morphological traits would be defined by the ratings criterias adopted in the scoring system. (Here, I would take the rating system that I was suggesting you in the article "the discus rating system".).
Also, the standard should define the note of "attractiveness" translating inter alia the health of the discus.

In this general standard we would find the definitions of these characteristics :

* Shape : With the definitions of accepted types (round, high body with photos to support)
* Size : With in my opinion the definition of the optimal size. Fish larger than the size defined by the standard should not have "extra points". In order to not encourage doping practices making unduly grow animals.
* Eyes : shape, size of the eyes, symmetry
* Fins
* Scales

The definitions of each criteria of the standard of the discus must be proposed, developed and illustrated. Of course, It would be specified in the description the faults of each evaluated criterias.
These faults and penalties could be the subject of discussions and debates in order to estimate the importance of each.


*The standard of the discus by category (Standard of the patterns/colors)

color-pattern-standard des discus

It is linked to the categories and will be the definition of the phenotypic criterias that allows each individual to be assigned correctly in the classification, then evaluated (On the way to a new classification).
The category standard will define the specific characteristics of colors (eyes and body) and patterns of the discus.

In this category standard we would the definition of these characteristics :

* Eyes : color (Special case of basic phenotypes "snow white")
* Colors : Base color and surface color for pattern fish, Shine, Contrast for the pattern fish.
* Patterns (pattern fish) : Uniformity of the distribution of the pattern.
*Color repartition (solid fish) : Uniformity of color on body of the solid fish 100% and 90% solid. The definition of phenotypes "solid" 90% will also be specified.

The definitions of each criteria of the standard must be proposed in a developed and illustrated way. Of course, It would be specified in the description the faults of each evaluated criterias.

These faults and penalties could be the subject of discussions and debates in order to estimate the importance of each.

Andrew Soh in his book "Discus the naked truth" or also Martin Ng in "Discus catalog" for example had well illustrated the various desired phenotypes or not criteria by criteria.

For the development of such a standard, such work could be very helpful as a basis of work.


Structure our approach...

You will understand it, the regulations governing the discus competitions is a vast topic. Some points are even the subject of long debates within discus communities.

I still remember the standard of the betta that an American judge had shared with me following a competition in Blois (France)… It was more than 10 years ago and I still wonder : Why have we not such documents for our discus ?

Yes, the work is huge and yes everything can not be quickly defined. We need to structure our approach and discuss with the willingness to progress concretely on these topics.

There are already successfull notation systems in some contests.

But I think we can improve our systems of classifications to open our contests to a wider range of breeders (Including "old school" variety breeders).

And above all... all of this should be made public and available !

If we do not take that direction, the competitions will gradually lose their interest and will continue to lead to contestations and the frustrations.
It's time to bring our contest more clarity and transparency about their course.
It's time to put this down on paper...


About Author

Discus Breeder and Discus columnist, Yann Hoiret share on the website Fanatik-Discus his experience and passion for the King of aquariums. From 2014 He worked as a writer for the french magazine "AquaMag", the German magazines "Discus Live" and "Discus yearbook". He participated as an international judge in France Discus show 2014 and 2016 in Arvert, au Greek Discus Show 2014 in Athens, Discus Show in Paris Grigny 2015, 2017 and 2019, au FIDO concurso 2016, 2017 and 2018 Spain, au Nordic Discus Show 2018 Sweden, au France Discus Show 2018 Cognac, Discusvrienden the discus competition 2018, 2019, 2022 in the Netherlands.


  1. Andrea Sassi on

    Dear Yann great job!!!!
    Now it is important to start to made a standard also for the Discus strains.
    I think that it is the right way to go…. to give a breeder good directions… and also to the discus-lovers a way for choosing good discus.

  2. Yann Hoiret on

    Hello Andréa,
    Thank you very much for your kind comment…
    Yes, this is planed… But before do it, it was important to validate here some points with the majority of the discus community.
    Even if i had presented this work during the France Discus Show of Arvert 2016, it was important to publish this…
    Next step is quite already done… i just need to structure this.
    just have to say…
    Keep on discus!!!

  3. Pedro Pablo on

    Hi Yann,
    Congratulations for do this hard work.
    I am a breeder in southamerica, and here there are many *discus fanatics*.
    keep doing this work.

  4. Yann Hoiret on

    Hello Pedro!
    I’m very happy to know that there are also southemericans discus fans that read my website!
    Thank you for your support! 🙂
    Hope to read again some comments coming from this part of the world!!!
    Keep we Discus!

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