Owner Chris’ documentation (with photographs) of the history of his F1 Xingu Golden Discus, their wild parents and the man who started it all Nandi Hivatal.
After countless time searching, I managed to contact the man behind the youtube videos I watched for days on end, dreaming about the fish I longed for the most. His name was Nandi Hivatal from Hungary and he himself had searched long and hard to find the fish which he had eventually obtained from an importer based in Germany! We spoke day after day and sometimes late into the night about these fish and how they were somehow different and special. Their discreet Amazonian beauty captifying us both and somehow under-rated by many.
Towards the end of Summer 2010 Nandi managed to breed his Xingu discus. Not only did he breed one pair, but of the 7 fish he had, he now had 3 pairs!! He later obtained an 8th fish which he even paired with the last remaining fish to give a total of 4 pairs out of 8 individuals! Prior to all this pairing Nandi isolated young from two genetically unrelated pairs and began to raise them. Batch A were a little older than Batch B.
In January 2011 Nandi’s fish were becoming of the right size that he had to begin thinking about their new homes. At one point I remember him saying to me that he had over 290 fry growing on (and that was from just 3 of the 4 pairs). Nandi had a friend who was travelling to London by van and who agreed to bring the fish to me. I was ecstatic beyond all belief. I had willed hard enough and made it come to reality! (Lottery ticket next perhaps?)
Within a few weeks it was February and all sorted! The fish were on their way to me and eventually arrived at approximately 12.30am at night. As you can imagine, a long night ensued but somehow was worth every minute. My eyes never closing even with the onset of 4am and having to head off to a supplier just 2 hours later. They were climatised into their tanks and settling in very happily, batch ‘A’ in one 4ft x 2ft x 1.5ft and batch ‘B’ in a separate tank of equivalent size.
As time passed, I began to notice some particularly striking individuals in both groups. Primarily the dominant males as they began colouring up and displaying their solid gold base colour without the stress bars. But also one or two with some great characteristics such as red eyes, particularly round bodies and so on.. The fish were all in tanks situated in the office and so I was able to feed many times per day, sometimes every hour from 7am until late into the night. The were fed (and still are to this day) C.E. Discus Wildheart with occasional treats of banana, blueberries, mango and an algae & seaweed complex I devised which later became C.E. Algamix Plus.
Safe to say, the two groups of fish grew and developed fantastically and by the end of 2011 it was time to introduce them to each other in their new 1000L aquarium (6ft L x 3Ft W x 2.1Ft H). A beautiful shoal of 18 young and very healthy discus was a sight I had envisioned for such a long time and never more did I appreciate having them than at that moment.
Once settled and a few months down the line, it became evident that within the group there was at least one pair beginning to form. My concern was whether they were related or not as the group were all mixed together! I had spent the last year and some watching these guys every single day and so I knew who was who. Once I established who the pairing was between (two females had the hots for the dominant male of the group) I was relieved to see that the fish I considered as the best female from Batch B had paired with my Alpha male from Batch A! Literally, the two best fish in the tank!! Great news for me and of course for Nandi who I owe all of this happiness to. So Nandi, this is for you my friend.
The breeding process I have recorded as part 2 of this blog – Coming soon.
Thank you all for reading. On a final note, I would like to say that I am proud to follow the foot steps of Mr Brian Middleton who is the first (to my knowledge) British breeder of the Rio Xingu Golden discus fish as well as Mr Dirk Schlingmann. This blog article is also dedicated to them.