Phanaitthi On the Pigeon Blood Discus
Internet interview by Fred Goodall, translation by Ms. Nutsarun
01 June 2001
This interview was conducted through Ms Nutsarun translating questions
to Kitti Phanaitthi and then translating the answers back into English.
This interview was granted in an effort to correct some mistaken
impressions and quotes translated by a former employee. In order to make
this easier to read the questions are left out. All questions and all
answers were repeated, confirmed and verified in order to be clear about
all information in this article.
Kitti started breeding discus " in 1970, selling them only in
Thailand and considered himself a hobby breeder as he only worked with Red
Turquoise and Brown discus." By "1972 he gained more experience
with breeding discus and more confidence, as he could develop never before
seen colors of discus, just as colorful, healthy and round as his friends
who bred from the same lines, but who used hormones which he did not. He
invited his friends to come view his fish and as they were all surprised,
he got the impression he could succeed as a professional discus breeder.
At this point he started to export discus to other countries."
In 1991 Kitti Phanaitthi showed the "Pigeon Blood" discus at
Aquarama in Singapore. Every book, magazine article and internet story
pretty much agrees with the preceding. What follows is what is different.
"Mr. Kitti, did you develop the Pigeon Blood or did you find it in
another breeder's tank and buy it and market it?" "In early 1989
I visited a friend of mine, a hobbyist discus breeder, one fish in a tank
of Red Turquoise discus caught my eye. It had yellowish - golden skin,
violet stripes with blue tones, but much black dust from mouth to tail. So
much black dust the body looked black, like a dying discus. It also had
yellow eyes. My idea was to buy this fish from my friend and cross it with
my discus which I thought were beautiful discus and that I could with many
many crossings, remove the black dusting and see what the fish would look
like. I like to experiment and see what colors can come from crossing
"I made an offer to buy this fish from my friend but he refused to
sell it as he thought it must have great value if I wanted to buy it, so I
said ok, no problem. Six ( 6 ) months later, still 1989, he contacted me
and offered me the fish because he said no one wanted it, they said it was
an ugly fish. He was a friend and he was having a hard time so I made a
good offer to him so he could take care of his family, 100,000 Thai baht,
about 3,000 USD. The fish was a 5 inch male most likely of Red Turquoise
blood, I took him to my hatchery and paired him with some of my female Red
Turquoise. Finally I got fry from the pairings, 50% Red Turquoise and 50%
the start of what is now the Pigeon Blood. From these pairings I kept
crossing the strange looking fish, until in 1990 I had what I thought was
a cleaner and beautiful, never before seen type of discus."
"I Had photographs taken and sent those to my breeder friends all
over, including Singapore and Malaysia. The name Pigeon Blood was thought
up by me alone, I was thinking of the name in Thai, but needed the name in
English. I did not read or write English, and still do not, so I asked
everyone I knew who knows English to help me translate the Thai name into
the proper English name. "Pigeon Blood" is that translation and
it sounded good to me, so I used it as the name. Please understand that
the translation is exact words, but the idea was Golden Orange-Red."
"By 1991 I had around 100,000 Pigeon Blood discus in my hatchery
to keep up with the demand for this fish. I was selling to Japan,
Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong on large regular orders. The Aquarama
introduced the Pigeon Blood to the western world."
"In 1991 for the Aquarama, I think I took around 5 big sized
Pigeon Bloods and about 15
3 1/2 inch Pigeon Bloods. After the trouble with the judges at the
Aquarama I invited anyone interested to come to my hatchery and with their
own eyes see my methods, see that no hormones were used. Jack Wattley came
and he bought some of my Pigeon Bloods, I think that said more than any
words can. This is the story in detail of how I created / developed the
Pigeon Blood and how it was named."
"I have a new generation of the Pigeon Blood, red eyes, less black
dusting, richer reds, more white on the body. This generation is from
different crossing than the original Pigeon Blood, it is not
"improvement" to the old line. I think this line will lead more
new types of discus as I experiment."