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Thread: What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

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    Registered Member HappyFace's Avatar
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    Default What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

    I thought a good discus has to be round when the fins are clamped (round body then fins add height). I thought anything less than this meant it's a bad breeding or a runt. I see an egg/kite body shape and amazing fins on a lot of discus that people consider very good quality. Can a select grade discus have an egg/kite shaped body with nice fins or is that an A grade? Is select grade when they have high foreheads, super round bodies (even with clamped fins) and flat faces (my favorite)? Or is select grade referring more to the color of a good quality discus?

    Some of my new discus are egg/kite shaped. They look nice with their fins erect but ugly when their fins are clamped.
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    Last edited by HappyFace; 01-13-2018 at 04:27 PM.

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    Platinum Member Larry Bugg's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

    From a judging standpoint..... we look at the total discus (fins included) to be round.
    Larry Bugg

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    Atlanta Area Aquarium Association - BOD

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    Platinum Member Larry Bugg's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

    From a judging standpoint..... we look at the total discus (fins included) to be round. Select grade or A grade is just a adjective the seller uses to sell the fish. While there are standards used when judging a discus the seller uses the standard he chooses and usually the one that will bring him the highest price. Just like there are no standards with names. A breeder/seller can tell you he is selling you a new strain when it just has a new name.
    Larry Bugg

    NADA BOD Member
    Atlanta Area Aquarium Association - BOD

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    Registered Member HappyFace's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bugg View Post
    From a judging standpoint..... we look at the total discus (fins included) to be round. Select grade or A grade is just a adjective the seller uses to sell the fish. While there are standards used when judging a discus the seller uses the standard he chooses and usually the one that will bring him the highest price. Just like there are no standards with names. A breeder/seller can tell you he is selling you a new strain when it just has a new name.
    Wow. Thank you for sharing this. No wonder I'm having such a hard time finding discus I like. My standard appears to be different even from show quality. I always thought fins were just the icing on the cake.

    I like to see a round ball body without the fins (like this spotted eruption discus). I love a high forehead though (like the white butterfly pic) and I like when the top fins are high making the discus look tough, a bit high bodied.
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    Default Re: What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bugg View Post
    A breeder/seller can tell you he is selling you a new strain when it just has a new name.
    I relate to this. I see the same discus called different things by different breeders. That's why I was wondering about my new "Albino Super Crystal." I haven't seen one quite like it before though so I don't know what to think.

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    Silver Member Willie's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

    Sellers will advertise "select grade" or "A grade" to signify that their discus is better than usual. If every discus they offer is "select" or "A grade", it would certainly suggest a lot of BS. Sometimes, you see offers where only a few discus strains are described as "select grade" or "A grade". The same strain may also be offered without the "select grade" designation or called out as "B grade". These will be priced lower. That makes sense to me. Of course, it's up to your eye to confirm whether or not the designation is deserved. Just saying it doesn't make it so.

    Also, discus are not like widgets. In every tank, there's one best looking discus and one dog. Hand picking is best. If you cannot do that in person (most of us cannot), it's important to develop a relationship with the seller. (I'm always amazed by people who show up in my fish room to demand the best discus and ask for a discount in the same breath.) Hobbyist who believe they can get the best discus at a great deal from a seller they're dealing with for the very first time are simply naive. This is another good reason to focus on sellers at Simply. They probably know you from your posts, even if they don't always comment.

    When I buy discus, I will look hard at the "select grade" or "A grade" fish and pick those if I believe they deserve the higher price. I'm going to invest 500 - 600 water changes to get them to up adult size, so $20 - $30 doesn't make much of a difference.

    As for the fish in your picture, the first two are poor quality discus. As you pointed out, the first one is a football. The second one has an oversized head and the diameter of the eyes suggests that it's a stunted adult. The third fish has a "parrot" type beak. You'll also notice that its ventral and dorsal fins are not symmetrical. I generally don't comment on fish quality, but in this case, you specifically asked. There is a thread on Simply devoted to assessing discus quality. You'll find good tips for judging discus quality there from those who compete at NADA and other discus competition.

    Willie
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    Registered Member HappyFace's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie View Post
    Sellers will advertise "select grade" or "A grade" to signify that their discus is better than usual. If every discus they offer is "select" or "A grade", it would certainly suggest a lot of BS. Sometimes, you see offers where only a few discus strains are described as "select grade" or "A grade". The same strain may also be offered without the "select grade" designation or called out as "B grade". These will be priced lower. That makes sense to me. Of course, it's up to your eye to confirm whether or not the designation is deserved. Just saying it doesn't make it so.

    Also, discus are not like widgets. In every tank, there's one best looking discus and one dog. Hand picking is best. If you cannot do that in person (most of us cannot), it's important to develop a relationship with the seller. (I'm always amazed by people who show up in my fish room to demand the best discus and ask for a discount in the same breath.) Hobbyist who believe they can get the best discus at a great deal from a seller they're dealing with for the very first time are simply naive. This is another good reason to focus on sellers at Simply. They probably know you from your posts, even if they don't always comment.

    When I buy discus, I will look hard at the "select grade" or "A grade" fish and pick those if I believe they deserve the higher price. I'm going to invest 500 - 600 water changes to get them to up adult size, so $20 - $30 doesn't make much of a difference.

    As for the fish in your picture, the first two are poor quality discus. As you pointed out, the first one is a football. The second one has an oversized head and the diameter of the eyes suggests that it's a stunted adult. The third fish has a "parrot" type beak. You'll also notice that its ventral and dorsal fins are not symmetrical. I generally don't comment on fish quality, but in this case, you specifically asked. There is a thread on Simply devoted to assessing discus quality. You'll find good tips for judging discus quality there from those who compete at NADA and other discus competition.

    Willie
    Hi Willie. Thank you so much for your insights and recommending a thread on Simply devoted to assessing discus quality. I will check that out.

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    Registered Member HappyFace's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

    I really like the parrot beak and bigger top fin on the pink one. Now that you mention it Willie, I can see that they would be considered flaws. I think it looks cool though. He reminds me of a Moluccan Cockatoo I once had.

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    Registered Member HappyFace's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

    Separated at birth. Maybe not. They're similar color and both have a poofy top though.
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    Default Re: What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

    Definitely a family resemblance, .
    Whenever you feel stupid, remember that there are people out there looking for Pokemon.

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    Registered Member zhuls1's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

    discus.jpg

    Here is an example of a high quality discus. I think one of the problems with most discus is they don't have much of a "chin", that is just under their mouth it is quite tucked in. I am quite a fussy person though and 90% of the discus on this forum are not of the quality I personally would be happy with. Real quality discus are hard to come by, especially here in Australia. My advice is to ask to see pictures of the actual discus you are receiving before a seller sends them. Or better yet, if you can, see them in person. Ask them if you can pick from a picture or video of the discus. Also, try to get in as soon as a shipment arrives for whoever you are buying from. The best chances of getting good discus is to make good relationships with the importers and try to get in within the hour of them recieving a shipment, this way you can pick the very best of the bunch. I know the retailer I buy from, when he posts pictures the nicest ones will sell within the hour, so be quick.

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    Registered Member HappyFace's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie View Post
    Definitely a family resemblance, .

    Quote Originally Posted by zhuls1 View Post
    discus.jpg

    Here is an example of a high quality discus. I think one of the problems with most discus is they don't have much of a "chin", that is just under their mouth it is quite tucked in. I am quite a fussy person though and 90% of the discus on this forum are not of the quality I personally would be happy with. Real quality discus are hard to come by, especially here in Australia. My advice is to ask to see pictures of the actual discus you are receiving before a seller sends them. Or better yet, if you can, see them in person. Ask them if you can pick from a picture or video of the discus. Also, try to get in as soon as a shipment arrives for whoever you are buying from. The best chances of getting good discus is to make good relationships with the importers and try to get in within the hour of them recieving a shipment, this way you can pick the very best of the bunch. I know the retailer I buy from, when he posts pictures the nicest ones will sell within the hour, so be quick.
    Beautiful discus. <3 Thank you for the good advise.

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    Registered Member HappyFace's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is a "Select Grade" and "A grade" discus?

    I've been looking at Daca show discus from what I can see, 7 out of 10 discus have an egg/football shaped body with excellent fins and 3 out of 10 have very round bodies. I included a collage with some of the discus in the show with what I consider to be an egg shaped body. In 2017 show 2 winners had what I would consider egg shaped bodies with excellent fins and the rest were all extremely round. I including picture references of the 2 winners with egg bodies.

    It would seem that judges do look at the whole body plus fins but when they award ribbons they prefer the more round bodied discus because only 2 discus that had egg shaped bodies were chosen as winners.
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