Review by: Fred Goodall
Title: Discus I & Discus II
Authors: Heiko Bleher & Manfred Gobel
Photo's: To many to count
ISBN: 3 - 927991 - 00 - 7
The old saying "You can not judge a book by its cover" is especially
true of this solid blue, no cover picture, two volume photo and text
adventure into the realm of the wild discus in volume I and domestic /
captive bred discus in volume I I which gives us a view into what is now
known as the beginnings of today's domestic strains / variants. While "
Discus " boasts the best close up views of each 'type' of discus this
book is not just a "picture book", it is a study in wild and domestic
discus with a illustrated guide teaching the reader how to notice the
"fine points" of each strain shown. In the opinion of this reviewer the
text on Dr. Eduard Schmidt - Focke by Heiko Bleher is an wonderful and
important notation in the history of discus often left out of today's
information on discus. That text is a gift from Heiko for those who own
the book and as such I choose not to discuss it here other than saying I
found it very informative and have not found it anywhere else.
The authors have written a book full of information on the discus yet they
have created a book that simply can not be put aside once picked up. Text and
great photos take the reader from habitat to aquarium that might be in our
homes. Along this trip one is taught by Mr. Bleher and Mr. Gobel about wild
discus, captive bred / domestic discus, "grading" a discus, caring for them,
anything and everything one could want or need to know about discus. Along with
the detailed photos of fish and "names" in discus are the maps of Amazonia keyed
to waterways where wild forms live and are collected from.
Every few pages the authors gift us with insights and "tips" on things
discus. Sometimes these bits of information share the human behind the famous
"name" in discus other times the authors share a bit of themselves with us,
sharing their wonder of the "king".
With the latest available supplements to the two volumes one has best
pictorial guide through the wild caught and early domestic discus available. Add
to this the page by page strain "guide" of: average body size, body shape, upper
head profile, breast region, finnage, body pattern, pattern color blue / green
and base color brown / red and one has a sort of selection guide in photos,
illustrations and text.
I rate this book as a must have and once in possession it is hard to set
aside / put down once picked up and opened, let alone read. Most books have a
lot of "hype" and then contain little "holding power"... some how this book has
nearly no "hype" now... but has great value to anyone wanting photos of all the
wild discus of which two experts agree on the "classification" / "naming" of the
wild forms. These volumes have something for everyone, majestic photos for those
wanting a "picture book", informative text for those wanting help in identifying
discus while learning how to "grade" discus and for those who want to read about
the "names" in discus from the late 1990's back, the authors have some
"surprises" tucked away in the pages. These passages also give us a bit of an
glimpse into the personality of the authors.
Those who know me from the DPH Forum know that I seldom "rate" books and that
I have a very very short list of "must have" books, these two "hidden" jewels
are obviously on my list. Below are the "usual details" regarding number of
photos and pages and while important I believe "feel" and "tone" along with
"content" are what we should examine when advising others on buying "this or
that" book on discus so the "statistics" mentioned last : with all the
supplements there are over 300 pages, 470 great photos in D ring binders.
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