The inside scoop from Aqualand Pets Plus on Poecilia reticulatus
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Quite a Range.
Guppies range from the
prettiest fishes to the plainest. Not
all guppies are created equal. You’ll
see five or six basic types:
Within each type you can find wide variations. This variety is part of what makes the guppy such a popular fish.
Same Species. Every guppy is the same species. Keeping the sexes, sizes, and strains separate plays an important part in raising them successfully. Guppies are a product of heredity and environment. Both play an extremely important part in their appearance, color, and size.
Show Guppies refers mainly to the large, colorful tails of the males. Females are not as colorful. Really good show guppies at an affordable price come from Singapore. The fish farmers on Singapore are true artisans. Each male looks as if it came out of a cookie cutter.
Males and females of the same color from Singapore don’t always come from the same strain. The big boys told me they used to snip the male’s gonopodium to decrease competition in the old days. They’ve now come to realize that most Americans are too lazy to raise quality show guppies.
Some of our show gups come from Florida. Most Florida fish farmers rear their gups in ponds. They feed erratically. They cull less than Oriental fish farmers. They send a more variable but hardier show guppy. Singapore guppies, raised under near-perfect living conditions, sometimes fall to pieces when they hit our less than perfect American tanks.
Line-Bred refers to several generations from the same stock with little or no out-crossing. This means no new blood into the line. Pure strains often deteriorate over time if people fail to cull the less desirable specimens before they breed. If you want a specific blood line, you want to join the IFGA -- International Fancy Guppy Association. They put on a heck of a show. Get more info at ifga.org.
Hybrid Guppies result from crossing two blood lines. You get really big bodies and tails (good-looking fish) that do not breed true. Some of the babies will resemble their parents. Most won’t. To most people this is not important. To true guppy fanciers this is a very big deal. They pay top dollar for true-breeding lines.
If you cross two guppies from different blue strains, you often get hybrid vigor (along with the blue color). This makes a nice looking product to sell while keeping the non-true breeding offspring from competing against the original stock. Pretty tricky, eh?
Semi-Fancy guppies usually come from crossed stocks or from line-raised guppies that are reared incorrectly -- the way most people take care of them. They grow about two-thirds the size of their parents because most people don’t know how to raise show guppies or won’t put that much effort into it. (Like the farmer who didn’t want to buy the book that would tell him how to grow 20% larger crops, because he already knew how to farm at least twice as good as he was already farming.)
Feeder Guppies are so-called because most people feed them to other fishes. Feeders look very much like the original wild stock. They start breeding when they hit one-inch long.
Most feeders are smaller in body and finnage. Yes, they are sold at a younger age. But even if reared to maturity, they won’t approach the size of mature show stock. However, some of the females get big.
Age plays a big part in the size of a guppy. Retailers sell them at four to six months of age. They grow larger in your home aquaria -- especially the females.
Age devalues the worth of a guppy. Huge specimens don’t have long to live. Guppies live about two years. The really large specimens have seen better days. Of course, if you are looking for large spawns, those big females won’t let you down.
Average female guppies produce two to three dozen fry every 28 days. Feeding them worm flakes increases litter size tremendously. We’ve had several reports of spawns larger than 100.
Guppies and other “livebearers” carry eggs in their body. These eggs hatch (usually) at the same time she releases them. Moving her right before her due date can trigger premature delivery. Sometimes you see these half-hatched eggs. They have little chance of survival.
Joe Beard, Cornersville, TN, March 15, 2009
Hello Larry, I noticed you had pictures of baby guppies but none of the actual birthing. So I just took this one today. If you want to use it on your website you can. I figured it would give people a good understanding of the process, if they have never seen it. Thanks,
A: Nice pic. I'll add it to my gup page tomorrow. LA
Running on Instinct. Fry that emerge fully developed have a better chance. They instinctively hide in the plants or gravel. They better hide. Their moms are quite capable of eating the whole litter in a day or two. Yes, the moms eat their babies. Saves them the trouble of coming up with all those names.
Protect Your Fry. Plant heavily and feed heavily. Frequent small feedings pay big dividends. The best starter food? Newly hatched brine shrimp. The babies love it and the moms like it better than their babies. Second best? Microworms, IF you keep your fry in bare tanks.
Breeder Traps? Some people use “breeder traps.” Putting mom in a tiny plastic box makes her fry too easy to find (and stresses her). Use a 10-gallon tank, if you plan to save the fry. Baby guppies need room to run from mom. Dim light also helps them. Hornwort to hide in increases their chances considerably. Add a mystery snail to clean up the excess food. Use a sponge filter to clean the water.
Nutrition plays an important part in every young fish’s life. They love the newly hatched brine shrimp. Feed it often but not exclusively. Flake foods contain more of the nutrients they need. They prefer live shrimps. They need the variety in the flakes. For fastest growth feed five times per day.
Change the Water Often. Clean water helps guppies grow faster and helps them ward off diseases. Massive water changes with aged water will yield spectacular results. You cannot change too much water if you age it and use a water conditioner. We said this was work earlier.
Limit the tank population to 20. Ten is better. Crowding stunts their growth. Don’t mix big ones with the little ones regardless of sex. The larger ones give off a so-called “growth-inhibiting hormone” that slows the competition. (Many think this is merely their waste products.)
Vitaminize with “guppy vitamins” or feed foods with vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 stimulates their appetite and helps heal split fins. Most of the foods these days contain vitamin B12.
Watersprite grows like a weed in well-lit guppy tanks and vice versa. An affinity exists between these two symbionts. They utilize each other’s waste products. Floating at the surface directly under the lights, watersprite grows an extensive root system. In addition to purifying the water, the roots serve as excellent hiding places for the helpless fry. They also harbor tasty and nutritious miniature critters that tiny guppies snack on all day long.
in the mid-seventies to low eighties work best.
Gups grow faster in warmer water but also die earlier.
Last Words. As we warned you earlier, raising quality guppies is hard work (but fun). Within this single species you can find a variety of types (and costs) of guppies that fill a wide spectrum of needs for different hobbyists. More is probably known about the genetics and husbandry of guppies than any other species except show goldfish. And bettas are in that category also.
Pamela Warns, Chicago, IL, October 28, 2013
Hi from Chicago. Love your website. I have kept fancy guppies on and off for a long time, and have found that putting one female platy (maculatus) in with the guppies keeps the male guppies from picking at each other. No idea why, but it works great! I usually choose a relatively small, dull colored platy so she does not stand out very much. My tanks are small, you might need two platies in a large tank. The guppies do not bother the platy. I would be interested to know if anyone else has noticed this. Your friend, Pam Warns
A: Intriguing observation. I'm adding it to my Guppy Page. Thanks. LA
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