Facts about color enhancing hormones usage on discus fish

Effects of color enhancing

Color improvement: After enhancing you can see nice patterns and colors. It looks colorful and beautiful. When treated, discus will show their colors even when they are 1.5 inches to 2 inches in size.

Negative Effects:

  1. Color fades when the effects of the hormones wear off. Their colors will be less vibrant
  2. Growth rate will be stunted. Their size can no longer grow to the maximum size compare to untreated discus
  3. Shape will be distorted. As they grow it will no longer be round as they used to be
  4. Unable to breed. If exposed to overdose usage, their reproductive organ will be affected and will lead to inability to breed.

Usage of color enhancing hormones

Research and Strain Developments: Breeders would want to know the outcome of patterns and colors early before they mature. Otherwise they have to wait until they are 4 inches to 5 inches in size or 6 months to 12 months. With color enhancing, breeders can see the patterns and colors when they are 2 inches in size and will save on development time.

  1. To know the result after crossing whether or not to continue the research and develop
  2. To find out the qualities of the new strains after crossing
  3. To show or review colors and patterns early.

Commercial / Competitive reasons: Aquarium shops, importers and discus shops will request for enhanced discus to please their customers. They would be able to buy them at smaller sizes which will be cheaper and do not have to wait long before they can sell them. This will enable them to keep their cost down and have a higher sales turnover.

Uniformed hobbyist will usually choose treated discus as they can see their colors and patterns compare to an untreated one, which would be dull and uninteresting in comparison.

For example: Leopard snake of size 3 inches
A: untreated – Dull color, no pattern, round
B: color enhanced – Colorful, nice pattern, round

Which fish is good? Mr. X will say that B is good. Mr. Y will say that A is good. Mr. X feels he is right because he sees the fish very colorful having nice patterns and round body. Mr. X is a hobbyist and he believes what he sees. However, he does not know what he sees is not true. The fish is still round as the enhancing is done short while ago. After a few weeks he sees the color fades and the fish not growing. The body is not as round as before. Then he realizes he is wrong. Mr. Y is right, as he is an experienced breeder. He can see the future of the fish in months later.

Thus the dealers will demand the breeders to do the enhancing, as the buyers are hobbyists. They are not breeders.

Do you agree on enhancing? Anything against nature is not right or ethical and we do not agree on its commercial usage. We do hope that hobbyist will choose untreated discus and to put the effort to learn and care for them. Be patient, you will see the genuine color and patterns later. Treat them with your tender, loving care, as a hobbyist should, they would grow to their maximum size with their natural colors.

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