Written by Gardner McBride
Tuesday, 19 September 2006
So, you want to develop a genetic breeding strategy! Perhaps even breed a new type of guppy. The time has never been better.
Commercial breeders are bringing new types of guppies to market with distinctive colors, patterns and finnage shapes creating a geometric increase in possible breeding combinations. Add to this the renewed popularity of guppies demonstrated by the literally hundreds of guppy clubs world-wide and your chance of gaining recognition or even making a little money are better than ever.
One reason for this new popularity is that transporting tropical fish can now be safely and economically done over long distances. The other reason is the Internet. Web sites like Guppies.com give you, the small breeder with unusual fish, a chance to sell hobbyist-to-hobbyist and even, if you are very good, to the commercial market.
The frustrations for many that first try breeding guppies is that it is harder than you might expect. This is the downside of getting into a breeding program:
You need multiple tanks in various sizes. In fact, you will need about 13 tanks per type of guppy you seek to develop. You can do it with fewer tanks, but you will probably not be very successful. Give it some thought. You need to separate males from females. So with a breeding tank and two separation tanks you are up to three tanks. Now repeat that number of tanks for at least three other promising candidates for the type you are seeking to breed and add at least one "grow-out" tank for the culls to be sold inexpensively to aquarium shops. Thirteen tanks in all and you may decide to add two hospital tanks (one for males and one for females).
Guppy females are capable of holding sperm internally from approximately six matings. This means that you must be very alert to separate the immature males from females. A mistake will lower your odds of success significantly. You will be the guardian of the virginity of literally hundreds of guppy females. It may sound amusing when put like this but the serious breeders who are reading this are smiling because they know how true this statement is.
In general, when two guppies mate you only have a small chance of getting a new guppy type. In general, 25% is the best you can expect so you will be netting about 75% of the developing fish to put into the grow-out tank.
Finally, a successful breeding program will start the breeding when the guppies are about six to eight months of age. Guppies only live about two years and if you wait too long the chance of a strong breeding program is reduced.
By now you may be giving the idea of setting up a breeding program second thoughts. So, here are some reasons to think about going ahead anyway.
The guppy breeding cycle is short, approximately 26 to 28 days. This means you see results quickly. You can see results from the first trials in less than a year. This is faster than most tropical fish you could choose.
You can automate most of the process. Guppies don't jump up on you to go for a walk several times a day. You can even get away for a long weekend without too much worry.
Then there is the challenge. Now that you know the facts. The choice is up to you.
Good luck if you decide to go ahead.
Getting guppies to breed is not a problem as anyone who has kept these interesting, colorful tropical fish can attest. Using genetics is committing yourself to developing a specific type of guppy and is a challenge that will test your determination.
More information to follow ....
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 January 2008 )