This material will be useful for those aquarists who are addicted to breeding and storing guppies. However, the recommendations below can be applied in the practice of breeding other types of aquarium fish.
Any self-respecting aquarium breeder should clearly set goals. To begin, you must determine the main goal to which you will strive.
It can be both pedigree guppies and groups obtained as a result of successful selection. However, you may have a non-existent breed group, which can be obtained by combining several characteristics of known guppy breeds.
It is best to start breeding fish with creating your own line and breed, and when you have enough experience, you can try to create more complex tasks. If you buy in a pet store or on a bird a healthy male guppy, which does not have any hereditary defects that do not contradict the standards, you can be sure that you complete the task.
However, in order to achieve this, you will have to grow several generations of healthy fish, selecting at the same time for reproduction only the best producers that will meet their goals. You should not disappoint and deceive yourself after you get the first generation of fish.
Only when you already have the experience of studying the line behind you, can you begin the experiments of breeding a new breed of fish.
For breeding and breeding guppies it is best to use young producers: fantail and large-fusible males, as well as fork and short-fledged females from 3 months old. In addition, for reproduction, it is better to choose not those producers that have distinct signs, but those fish that have a large set of different characteristics that meet your high requirements and the task.
When selecting fish for a tribe, it is better to discard fish with all sorts of flaws that are difficult to eliminate: the dorsal fin is short, the back is rounded, the thin base of the tail fin, or a defect in coloring. You should not use for breeding too clumsy and large individuals, because all your attempts will be doomed to failure.
Try to set real and mundane goals in front of you – to fix the repeatedly noticed signs.
First you need to strengthen the dominant traits, and recessive is best cultivated in future generations. To keep a group of fish you need an aquarium of 10 liters in volume. The aquarium should be densely planted with live plants so that the inhabitants can find shaded areas and a place to swim.
Mandatory in the aquarium should be a bush of javanese moss. The light in the aquarium should be optimal for vegetation, the water is clean, the hardness of which should not be less than 5 degrees, the active response of the environment is 7 pH, and the water temperature is from 25 to 27 degrees.
Filtration and aeration of aquarium water should be around the clock.
In the equipped spawning ground it is necessary to plant a selected male meeting all the stated requirements and several selected females. Females are spawned in the evening, males – in the morning. This is necessary in order to weaken the dominance of females in relation to the male.
A few weeks later, when the females abdomen is rounded, they must be transplanted into separate containers. With a male, only one mature female should be left. All remaining females before spawning are not advisable to frequently replant from one aquarium to another.
It is advisable to make eye contact between the severed fish.
The success of breeding guppies for the most part depends on the feeding of producers. Feeding fish should be repeated and regular, especially for the young.
Cyclops, small daphnia, artemia, tubule and bloodworm are considered to be full-fledged feeds for producers. Only before feeding, the strawberry and bloodworm must be crushed.
As a substitute, you can use expensive feed mixtures.
Guppies are omnivorous aquarium fish, in the diet of which it is necessary to add food of plant origin in sufficient quantities. It can be Riccia, chopped lettuce and spinach leaves.
Spawning itself is best done in small aquariums up to 20 liters. After spawning, the female must be removed from the aquarium.
Young animals are grown in the same aquarium until the first signs of sexual maturity appear in the fish.
But, you can do a little differently: spawning can be done in a 5-liter aquarium, and at its end fry with spawning water can be poured into a 20-liter tank. Such a capacity is needed in order for the young growth to have optimal conditions for growth in the first weeks after birth.
This moment is considered to be the most responsible in the process of breeding guppies, as the quality of farmed fish directly depends on it.
If you are not able to create optimal conditions for all young stock, it is better to leave some of the fry. Some inexperienced aquarists prefer only males, and females are grown as it will.
This is wrong, because the quality of the future offspring will depend mostly on the females, and not on the males.
With selective manipulations, males and females need to be seated in different aquariums as early as possible. The reason is that after the first fertilization the female can bring fry up to 10 times within a year.
But if a bad male fertilizes her, for breeding research it is no longer desirable to use this offspring.
In order to get good fish-producers, 2-3 liters of water should fall to one female, 1 liter to a male. The density of planting for spawning can be increased, but under the condition that there will be round-the-clock aeration and filtration in the aquarium. Take care not to overfeed producers.
With excessive feeding, your pets can become completely barren. If you plan to go on vacation, it is better not to feed the fish at all, than if you assign this occupation to an inexperienced “helper”, since you can be left without fish at all.
The fact is that the monthly fasting for fish will not bring any harm, and the producers will quickly restore their reproductive functions.
To select guppies, you do not need large 100-liter aquariums in your arsenal; the main task is to have many small tanks. By the most conservative estimates, even if you will not grow all the litters received from the female, in order to keep one line you need at least 7 aquariums.
It is not recommended to raise young animals of different sizes, since the presence of larger relatives will inhibit the development of smaller fish. Some experienced aquarists grow pets in flow-through tanks without plants and soil with a tight fit.
This method of cultivation is considered more technological, because without live vegetation it is easier to catch, reject and sort the fish. Only beginners aquarists better to start to gain experience and to use this method is not worth it.
As a rule, experienced breeders use several pairs of fish in spawning, but ideally you need to use 1 – 2 dozen pairs belonging to the same breed group. On average, one female per litter can bring about three dozen fry.
If you want to get about half a thousand fish every month, there should be from one and a half to two dozen pairs of producers in your arsenal.
With such a small in terms of genetics, the number of producers capable of reproduction increases the likelihood of closely related crosses, which leads to inbreeding depression of offspring. This negatively affects life expectancy, slows their growth, and deformities become more frequent.
In addition, fecundity and, in some cases, infertility in females are reduced in fish.
At the same time, when carrying out selection work, it is necessary to periodically resort to closely related crosses. All subsequent rebounds must be carried out according to the similarity of signs, and, very often, aquarists resort to unconscious closely related breeding.
This can be avoided if you know the genealogies of all manufacturers and adhere to a certain breeding system.
In genetic studies there is the opposite of inbreeding – heterosis. This is expressed in the fact that, according to some characteristics and properties, hybrids become better than their parents: the general condition of the fish is improved, the higher growth rate and larger size, increased vitality and fertility.
In general, heterosis is peculiar only to fish from the first generation, which are obtained as a result of crossing unrelated forms. In subsequent generations, when the hybrids cross each other, the heterosis effect is greatly reduced.
In natural habitats, guppies are so numerous that casual encounters between brothers and sisters, father and daughter are almost impossible. However, guppies have adapted to closely related crosses: males are more often replaced by generations than by females. Males in nature are smaller and more often predators eat them.
Under natural conditions, there are up to ten females per male. And this is despite the fact that both females and males are born in approximately the same quantities.
Taking into account this situation, one more problem can be solved – providing producers and young animals with food, which contributes to an increase in population and reproduction intensity.
But in aquariums, the situation is somewhat different. Here comes to mind one feature – the diversity of populations.
Each population of fish consists of several races, which in certain periods breed and spawn in different parts of the reservoir. At the same time, the probability of encounters and the exchange of individuals during the spawning period are not excluded, which leads to a reduction in the danger from inbreeding.
Accordingly, the aquarist has two options to prevent inbreeding depression.
- First option – increase the population of fish to the desired limits and keep them together to ensure random crosses. At the same time in the aquarium should be the same number of males and females.
- Second option – breed guppies along the lines. To ensure planned crossbreeding, you must keep each line of fish separate from each other. In addition, for viviparous fish, it is imperative to observe the condition that males and females are kept separately from each other until the very moment of mating. In both cases, the most important job of an aquarist is rejection of manufacturers who do not meet the requirements and standards for the task.
If you improve the conditions of detention and reduce the density of planting fish, then you can get quality manufacturers, from which you can select future producers for the tribe. Finding quality males is much easier for females, they need to be viewed from different angles in good light and to identify various visible defects.
But to pick quality females is much more difficult. Quite often they have to be evaluated by posterity.
For this, it is necessary to select 3-5 females for mating with one male. The offspring from each female should be kept separately, after which they are compared and carefully screened.
In addition, like males, females also need to be examined from all sides in good light for the presence of various physiological defects.
When you gain enough experience in the care, improvement and creation of one group of fish, you can start breeding a new one, where you will need to cross the best and most attractive breed groups. Just do not forget to set real goals.
That is, if you want to get a group of fish with forked tails, and among the selected producers of similar fish there, you can even not try.