Thinking of breeding fancy guppies
Hi I'm looking for some info on fancy guppy breeders.
I have kept guppies since I started in this hobby and think they are very interesting and beautiful....BUT I am so sick of seeing obvious poor breeding lines/inbreds in all the LFS near me, and of buying and 'breeding' guppies only to have them die for no apparent reason/become deformed.
I would really love to buy a few fancy guppies from good breeding lines and breed them in my tanks. I have no idea where to find good fancy guppy breeders in my area, despite searching online. I don't really want to buy them online and have them delivered if I can avoid it.
Also, if you breed fancy guppies, any tips or good websites would be much appreciated! I am very interested in genetics and would like to learn as much as I can about this too.
I started breeding Guppies to use the culls to feed my Piranha but I'm actually enjoying having the Guppies more than the Piranha to be honest.
I've searched everywhere to find breeders in this country but after a few generations of raising my carefully selected, shop bought Guppies in 'hard' conditions, culling the deformed and weak, hybridising with different colour forms/Endlers I'm now getting much better results. The current generation are much hardier, more vigorous and healthier than before.
Part of the problem with buying from breeders is that they are often raised in perfect conditions, and to some extent that's true of the imported stock you find in your LFS, it means that the weaker ones survive and can go on to re-produce. There's a good case to be made from starting from scratch with 'mediocre' stock and treating them hard...you'll lose loads (as I did) but you'll find that the survivors are hardy and vigorous, you can then start to breed for colour, size, finnage etc.
I know many will disagree and say that you should only buy 'the best' but there are lots of stories of these strains being very beautiful but not at all hardy. My experience of starting to keep Guppies again after a nearly thirty year break in which I've kept just about everything else is that they aren't nearly as hardy as I remember them.
A good book about Fancy guppies is Aquarium Care of Fancy Guppies by Stan Shubel. I ordered a used one at Amazon.com The book I got is a hardcover by Animal Planet. It has alot of pictures and is easy to understand even for a child, Stan Shubel has raising Fancy Guppies since the 1940's and is responsible for many high-quality guppies. The book is the best I have found and I thought I knew everything about guppies. The book covers genetics,breeding techniques,breeding stock, Breeding methods, inbreeding,outcrossing and alot more. Stan Shubel was mentioned in my Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine as a top breeder so he has alot of experience.
Yes I would prefer hardy fish, I might just do that - "treat them hard".
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I am in total agreement with Marginatus His method is exactly what I had been doing,
After several generations of culling heavily
I decided to see how many I could kill out of about 24 male and female guppies., I wanted too see just how hardy they were compared to the originals I started with.
I placed each guppy in a very small cup and let them go for weeks with no water change and very little food,
I was amazed.
They were always very bright, active and excited every time I come near their cups, ate like piggies,
I actually left them there to see how long it would take for them to die, Well a good Two months later, a couple very small water changes, food only every day or two and I swore when I took them out they were some of the best fish I had,
I finally figured these guys arn't gonna croak so I dumped then in a 10 gallon with other guppies and watched the display. These guys really were some of the best looking, most acting guppies in the entire tank, I had zero health issues with any of them either, I really did expect some kind of finnage problems as most had rather large tails, But nope, they were amazing troopers.
So all in all I feel really good about my pet store guppies that I struggled to keep alive, Generations and persistent culling really does pay off.
What also shocked me was when some of these females in these tiny cups actually had babies!
and they didn't Eat them either.
Thanks Chicklet, did you find that the offspring of these fish were also more hardy?
How and when do you decide which fish to cull? Same question to Marginatus!
Unfortunately you'll find that the culls will nominate themselves, spinal deformities are all too common. Some spinal deformities will be more obvious than others and the caudal peduncle (the rear half of the body) will be obviously misshapen, with some deformities you can only see them when they're see through and you'll see a kink in the spine, personally I cull all off those to stop them reproducing. The others culls are the runts - a runt is not just a small one but rather one that is stunted and/or weak/skinny.
With some strains you'll find that you'll get alot of deaths anyway. I was reading something last week, a breeder said that he does DAILY water changes because he used to do them weekly and "they would die off one by one". To me this points to a problem with his stock rather than a problem with his water. You have to remember that the average hobbyist doesn't want to and nor should they have to do daily water changes...these are supposed to be/used to be the hardiest species in the hobby and nowadays we have to treat them like they're on a life support machine. Treating them like real Fish, letting nature take it's course and not panicking when you lose half your fry is by far the best way to cull.
What I usually do is at about 2 weeks of age I dump them all in a small tank and place them on my sideboard under a nice strong light,
Grab my specks, a nice magnifying glass, Pull up a chair and take a peek at what I got.
As Marginatus says '" the culls will nominate themselves, Those with spinal deformities have a way of jumping out at you,
Do a front view check as well as from the top down check, I look for nice straight backs, especially where the back half of the fish is,
its easy to spot in the lighter colored gups,
any that acts sluggish or doesn't have that nice looking belly, or to skinny as Marginatus stated I cull.
I also start picking and separating the males from females at this point. I look for alertness, A fish that looks sharp with more of a stocky build over an elongated one.
I like to over stock my tanks, This also help cull out the weaker fish,
every two weeks I separate and go thru my young until they are about 2 months old,
Then I just check them from their tanks,
I let my tanks go at least once a month or more between water changes, Then I do hugh changes days in a row looking for any fish that shows signs of weakness, those I pull and do away with,
Just really takes practice and just be ruthless, you'll see a big difference in just a few generations if your tough enough with them..
Thanks so much for the detailed replies.Few more questions if you don't mind!!?
How many females do you have to a male?
Do you let your fish inbreed and if so, how closely? If not, how do you ensure they don't?
Also, I have only ever had one male guppy fry the rest have been females any idea why? And how the hell they still manage to be pregnant at a few weeks old with NO MALE?!! Lol!
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I generally try to keep a ratio of at least two females to one male.
Some level of inbreeding is vital to establish consistency in your lines, if you constantly out-cross you just get completely random results and will probably end up with wild type Guppies eventually. Inbreeding is a perfectly natural process for Fish so you shouldn't be scared of doing it but you must monitor results and introduce carefully selected out-crosses as and when necessary. I've heard of a certain line of Guppies being 'pure' (inbred) for 43 generations...not something I advise you do but it demonstrates that you don't necessarily NEED to out-cross as long as you're as ruthless with culling as mother nature is.
Do you have a particular strain in mind? Some strains are created using crosses and others are from 'pure' stock so there are different methods of introducing fresh genes into your lines. Most breeders will keep at least two seperate strains of the same type and occasionally cross between them. Personally I'm trying to create my own strain so there's a fair bit of crossing going on at the moment, I will eventually increase the inbreeding to establish to characteristics I'm after.
I think sex ratios are effected by temperature but I've not had a problem with that particularly so I've never really looked into it.
I can't answer your last question I'm afraid.
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