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Why Do Discus Fish Have Black Spots (Peppering)

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Return To: What Are Pigeonblood Discus Fish

 Black spots on Discus fish, also referred to as peppering, was introduced with the arrival of a new strain named Pigeonblood Discus in the early 90’s. Until this strain appeared, Discus fish naturally had nine vertical black bars which mother nature gave them as a means to camouflage, or blend in with the vertical reeds and grasses in their natural habitat. This new mutation of a Red Turquoise did not have the standard nine bars, but instead displayed freckles though its body and face. These freckles are nothing more than a genetic mutation of the once black bars which Discus fish can display. It is not at all a disease or fungus which needs medication to treat, just purely a skin pigmentation. The freckling will fade in and out just like bars do depending on the mood of the fish and its surroundings in the aquarium. If the aquarium has a dark bottom or backing then the freckles will be very pronounced, almost overwhelming. On the other hand, if the bottom is white with a light background the freckles will fade and not be as noticeable.

For years, breeders have been selectively breeding Pigeonblood Discus fish to produce more vibrant colors and fewer black freckles, also known as, “clean” this practice allows Discus fish to show more brilliant colors without the black freckles overpowering the other colors of the Discus fish. This is not to say that fewer freckles are more desirable, only that we are selectively breeding to offer more choices.

Read More: How Many Discus Fish Can I Put in a 100 or55-Gallon Tank