Synopsis of the
Discus Syndrome in Seremban, NSDK, Malaysia
It all started in the early sixties with Dr. Chong Kim Choy and his
wife Dr. Molly Chong. They were the pioneers of discus breeding in
Seremban and at that time mostly brown discus and the turquoise were
available. Dr. Chong and his wife obtained some wild strains like the
brown discus, the blue and green turquoise to start off his breeding and I
supplied him the live food for his discus. Thus I started as a supplier of
discus food to a discus breeder and in the process I learned the finer
points of keeping and raising discus. The Chongs had taught me a lot and
shared with me their experiences in the care and breeding of the wild
discus. However their breeding is mostly for leisure as discus keeping
then was not very popular due in part to the belief that discus keeping is
difficult and good discus were hard to come by.
The breeding methods of the
Chongs for the wilds were as follows:
The water temperature in the tank is kept warm. (30 - 32°C)
The discus were not fed for three days.
The pairs were taken out and placed in smaller aquarium with the same
They then lower the temperature with the addition of ice.
With their method they had succeeded in breeding the wild discus.
Discus keeping slowly picked up as breeders in other States in Malaysia
started to raise these fishes. Penang Island breeders became forerunners in
discus keeping partly due to the very good quality water which they had. As
the discus keeping hobby caught on, an industry was slowly created. Then in
the eighties, the discus trade in Penang boomed, becoming a multi million
dollar industry. This prompted one of Malaysia's largest companies, Guthrie
Plantations & Research Center, to venture into the discus trade. Substantial
investments were made by the company where a factory with many tanks was set
up to breed and export discus in the mid 1980's.
The Guthrie discus project was under the charge of Dr. Lau who is a close
personal friend of mine. Dr. Lau is a graduate of Tokyo University in Japan
and he holds a doctor of philosophy in fisheries. However, buying good grade
discus at that time was quite a big problem as most breeders were very
secretive about their stocks and if they would sell it will be at a very
high price. Then too most breeders will not sell to strangers or other
breeders whom they considered their rivals.
I was approached by Dr. Lau to source for good quality discus, firstly
because I have intimate knowledge of discus and secondly I have two cousin
brothers in Penang who are breeding good quality discus. Since I was also
from Penang and with my interest in discus, I soon developed good, close
relationships with many top Penang discus breeders. I bought top quality
discus for Dr. Lau from discus breeders with locations in Air Hitam, Tanjung
Bungah, Telok Bahang, Balik Pulau, Batu Muang and Paya Terubung, all in
Penang. At that period of time the most popular stains were the different
colored forms of turquoise, that is the red, blue & green turquoise and
Wattley Discus. The Red Alenquer and their crosses were also entering into
the discus scene and making their presence felt.
Dr. Lau went on to breed and experimented with a lot of crosses. He
paired the Red Turquoise with the Red Alenquer and he came out with strains
which he named Guthrie Reds, Ruby Red, Red Princess and Evening Glow. Later
when the Pigen Blood came into the picture, he crossed them with his best
Red Alenquer in the hope to produce orange colored strains but he was not
successful in that area.
All these offsprings were exported overseas to countries like Japan,
Germany, Belgium, France, Spain and the US. Unfortunately the company
decided to cease the discus breeding unit and that ended the large scale
breeding of discus in Seremban. If there are people who had imported discus
from Guthrie Plantations & Research Center in Seremban and are interested to
order very high quality discus please email me.
With the closing of the breeding facility at Guthrie, I decided to go
alone with the discus breeding and trade. In 1990 I opened up an outlet for
discus trade in my house with 60 tanks of 18" X 18" X 48". I carried on the
breeding and paired off my Pigeon with the Ghost which was creating some
sensation then. From this crossing I got the Red Jackets which possess very
strong striations all over the body in straight horizontal lines. At around
this time the Cobalt Blues were also gaining popularity. Some of the blue
based discus were given names like Electric Blue, Metallic Blue and High Fin
In the early 90's, discus fever in Malaysia was running high. 1990 was
the year Singapore Aquarama first started following the discus show in
Penang at the Glugor site. Much publicity was created with feature articles
on the discus hobby appearing frequently in the local newspapers. The
aquarists in Seremban became excited and I could not produce enough to cater
for the local demand!! I started to collect discus from other breeders but I
only collect very high quality stuff as my earlier exposures had instilled
in me a very high standard in my taste for discus quality. Soon buyers
started to flock to my place and I have buyers from Singapore who buy from
me to re-export.
Unable to cope with the demand or to increase production, I went into
partnership with a few good breeders and thus Aquadis Discus was created.
Now at any one time we can supply several hundreds of discus from 2" plus
per order of the various strains.