Fancy guppy, platy, molly and swordtail pedigree types

fancy guppy delta tailed guppy

fancy guppy veiltail champion

Fancy guppies, platies, mollies and swordtails

All the four popular livebearers available in your local shop are pedigree varieties or cross breeds. You will not find wild type (fish found in the wild or resemble fish from the wild) livebearers for sale. These fancy livebearer fish have been developed over many years of selective breeding. They are usually mass produced from tropical fish farms from the far east and Florida.

Pedigree in livebearers is measured by how close a particular fish is to an ideal fish in terms of colour, pattern, body shape and fin shape.

The laws of genetics applies to livebearers as it does to all other animals. You would be wise to learn the basics of mendelian genetics. Mendel’s law means that if two parent fish of different colour breed then the young will not be a blend of the two colours. If a pure red guppy breeds with a pure blue guppy then the young will not be

fancy guppy female champion

purple. The young will be either all red or all blue depending on if red or blue is the dominant colour. However the other colour has not disappeared it is still there but hidden behind the dominant colour. His second law means that every gene is inherited from an individuals parents – half from the mother and half from the father. When reproduction takes place then these genes split apart and recombine with genes from the other fish in complicated but predictable ways.

Mendelian_inheritance

Livebearers are ideal fish for selective breeding

Basic livebearer breeding for beginners

More advanced breeding techniques

Of all livebearers the four main livebearers (guppies, platys, mollys and swordtails) and their close relatives are ideal fish for selective breeding because fish such as guppies do not breed true. Every guppy differs from its parents slightly. These slight deviations can be developed over the generations to create new fancy varieties. That is why they have proven so popular with breeders. The other livebearers breed true most of the time so take a lot of work to produce new fancy varieties.

Guppies and mollys are closely related and it is sometimes possible to interbreed them to obtain a feature from one species to the other to create a new variety. Likewise swordtails and platys are also closely related and can interbreed to create new varieties.

male and female fancy guppy mating
male and female fancy guppy mating

If you want to be successful in pedigree breeding always select parent fish that are healthy, are in their breeding prime in terms of age and do not have any genetic defects.

When buying pedigree stock great care must be taken when buying the female in particular. The female’s pedigree is not obvious and just because most females look alike does not mean that they do not carry pedigree genes because they do. Using any old female for breeding is likely to result in a mongrel brood which is pointless.

When breeding for pedigree then you must apply selective breeding techniques.

1. Choose the best male and female that most closely fits the pedigree profile you are after

breeding pair hi fin tuxedo swordtails
breeding pair hi fin tuxedo swordtails

2. Culling. This means you must kill off or dispose of young fish that do not match the pedigree profile.
However you must wait until the young fish are half grown before you can tell whether there is no chance of them becoming good pedigree specimens or not. Remove all fish that do not make the grade. Also it makes good sense to separate young males from young females to prevent unwanted breeding. But beware that some young males develop late and may look like females longer than other males. Keep an eye on this.
This separation of males from females allows you to grow the fish until they hit their prime and then picking the best two without the fear of unwanted pregnancies

Fancy guppy pedigree types

short round tail Moscow guppy
short round tail Moscow guppy

Pedigree guppies have a standard body length that excludes the tail fin of 1 inch which is 26mm. This is because of cross breeding with mollies to obtain black genes then crossing back.

The tail types are divided into short and long tail types.

Pedigree guppy tail fin shapes

Short tail types do occasionally occur naturally in the wild. The short tailed varieties are the round-tail, spear tail and spade tail.

The long tailed varieties do not occur in the wild but are the result of extensive line breeding to lengthen and shape the tail to a defined pedigree standard. The long tailed varieties are flag tail, veil tail, fan tail, delta tail, lyre tail, double sword tail, bottom sword tail, top sword tail and pin tail.

Snakeskin delta tail guppy
Snakeskin delta tail guppy

Pedigree guppy colours

After fin shapes, colour is another important factor in pedigree
Guppies are described with a basic background colour together with an overlay colour called cover. This technically refers to the different layers of pigmentation and other iridophores that refract colours in the guppies skin.

The base colours for guppies are

Grey This is the wild grey/olve green type colour
Albino This is the lack of black pigment cells. There is an albino version called the glass-belly that has no pigment at all and has the pink eyes.

gold coloured guppy
gold coloured guppy

Gold Yellow colour but when black pigmentation is present appears bronze
White This is formed from white pigment cells and the lack of other colour forming cells.
Blond This is a light yellow colour. They have dark eyes.
Silver This is when the shiny iridophores overlay white pigment cells.
Blue Guppies don’t have blue pigment cells. Blue is created by black pigment cells that are refracted through iridophore cells creating an iridescent blue. They lack the red and yellow pigment cells.
Cream
Pink
Lutino
fancy guppy pedigree colours

Cover colours and patterns are a secondary layer of colour that gives the guppy its final colouration. Patterns include leopard skin or snakeskin, while emerald is a cover colour.

black lyretail swordtail
black lyretail swordtail

Fancy swordtail pedigree types

There are 3 basic fin types in sword tails
1) Normal fins – as in the wild type
2) Tall fins – where the dorsal is larger than normal
3) Lyre finned – where the all fins have extended edges in a lyre shape. This sometimes results in a lyre shaped gonopodiumm that is so deformed that such a fish cannot mate.
Sword tails come in several ground colours but not as many as the guppy.

Sword tail ground colours include:

pineapple male swordtail
pineapple male swordtail

green
pink
gold
albino
blond
white
silver
cream
There are so far 3 cover colours in Swordtails: Black, red and orange. The orange covered fish are called pineapples.

The common swordtail varieties are:

berlin cross swordtail female
berlin cross swordtail female

Berlin cross swordtail.
This originated in Berlin. This is a red sword tail with a black spotted body. This variety does not breed true. You have to cross a red sword tail with a red sword tail with black spots. That is why it is called a cross.
Frankfurt cross swordtail.
Originated from Frankfurt. The front half of the fish is red while the rear half of the fish is black. This variety also does not breed true and has to be crossed from a red with a Frankfurt cross.
Hamburg cross swordtail.
Originated from Hamburg. Has yellow fins, black body with blue/green metallic scales on the sides.
Wiesbaden Cross swordtail.
The fish is black with shiny scales. The top of the fish and the bottom of the fish are either red or green.
Green swordtail.
This has a green body with a red zig-zag band on the side.

red lyre tailed sword tail
red lyre tailed sword tail

Red Swordtail.
Both the ground colour and the cover colour is red. This gives the fish a deep red colour. The red albino has no ground colour but does have a red covering colour. The resulting fish is red with red eyes and a red tail. But its colour is not as deep as the normal red sword tail.
Tuxedo sword tail
The body is two thirds matt black covering a red ground colour. The black extends over most but not all of the body. The back is usually red.
Wagtail sword tail
Red bodied fish with all black fins. There are white, orange and yelow bodied varieties but all must have black fins.

Fancy platy pedigree groups

There are two basic species of platy that are closely related and over the years they have been interbred.
The maculatus platy is deeper bodied than the variatus platy. The maculatus platy comes from warmer waters than its close relative. The variatus platy grows more slowly than the maculatus platy. Most varieties have been developed from the maculatus platy with interbreeding to bring the varieties over to the variatus platy.

sunshine platy variatus
sunshine platy variatus

Fancy platy fins.

The point at which the body and tail meet should be a nice gentle curve and angle will be penalised by judges.
Most platys have tall dorsal fins that are square or flag shaped. Some platys have a brush like tail that is similar to the spear point tail in guppies.

The ground colours for platys are green,red and albino

The cover colours for platies are red, blue, marigold and black.

Well known platy varieties are:

comet platy = where the upper and lower edges of the tail fin are black.
2 spot platy = where the base of the tail has two dark spots. One above and one below.

mickey mouse platy
mickey mouse platy

Half moon platy = Where the base of the tail has a black crescent band.
Moon platy – where there is one large rounnd spot at the base of the tail.
Salt and pepper = Where the base colour(white) is dotted over with black dots all over.
Blue mirror platy = This variety has a green/grey base colour overlaid with shiny blue scales on the sides.
Coral platy = This variety is foreshortened so looks chubby. This variety is deep red.
Bleeding heart platy = This variety has a blond ground colour with a red patch on its breast and red bands coming up from the red patch.
Tuxedo platy = The body is two thirds matt black
Wagtail platy = Red bodied fish with all black fins.

Variatus platy colours

The only ground colour is green/grey
Sunset platy = This variety has bluish sides, yellow dorsal and red tail.

Hawaii platy variatus
Hawaii platy variatus

Hawaii platy = Matt black body with a yellow dorsal fin and a red tail fin.
Marigold platy = This variety has a yellow back and yellow dorsal fin. The lower half of the fish is orange as well as the tail being orange.

Fancy molly pedigree types

There are two closely related molly species in the hobby. The normal molly and the sailfin molly. Over the years they have been occasionally interbred in an attempt to create new varieties or improve existing varieties of molly. The normal molly has a small dorsal. Other fin types for the molly include a tall dorsal fin type, a veiltail fin type and a lyretail fin type. Note that some males with fancy fins have difficulty breeding because the gonopodium (being a fin) is also affected. So the male cannot fertilise his female.

female dalmation molly
female dalmation molly

The main colours for mollys are

Black, white, and green

The main molly pedigree types are:

Midnight molly = black body with a red dorsal fin
Albino mollys are common
White molly = silver white body and fins
Piebald molly = white molly with black dots all over
Golden molly = golden yellow molly. Some golden mollys have are overlaid in marbled black.
Liberty molly = blue sides and red edged fins .

How to set up a home-based breeder business

Setting Up A Home-Based Aquarium Fish Breeding Business: An Overview

Setting up a home-based aquarium fish breeding business can be an exciting step for any fishkeeping enthusiast to partake in. While experience goes a long way in ensuring the success of your ambitions, just about any aquarist can begin breeding and start realising profit in the fun and rewarding business of fish breeding at home.

Why home fish breeding works

breeding tanks
professional breeders multi-tank set up

When you visit your local aquarium fish store and take a look at the various imported species of fish that they offer, chances are that a great deal of them come from commercial breeding farms that, in some cases, can be separated by hundreds or thousands of kilometres of distance from the store itself.

Naturally, this presents problems for the local store owners: namely, the health of the fish during transport. The local store has to pay for the number of fish they purchased regardless of how many of those fish show up dead-on-arrival or battling sickness and stress. These newly imported fish undergo a quarantine period where they are nursed back to health during which the shopkeeper will not be able to sell them.
 
For this reason, many local stores are more than willing to purchase their fish from local suppliers who can provide healthy, happy fish at similar prices and with a greater chance of their continued survival. Fish which can be put up for sale within days. If you are interested in setting up a home-based breeder business, you can earn a decent living through a reliable network of these local stores.

The Internet also provides a great way to make a profit through your home-based breeder business, especially through using local classifieds websites that let you undercut the local fish shop entirely, selling and delivering your fish directly to customers who, if they are pleased with your fish, will become repeat customers and pass the word on to their friends.

How to begin setting up a home-based breeder business

juvenile discus fish
juvenile discus fish in growing on tank

Naturally, the first thing that you need to do is choose which species of fish you would like to breed. Buying quality pedigree fish can pay dividends in the long run. In general, you can expect to get a higher price on species that are harder to breed successfully, or on common species that you can breed with specialised morphs or colours, ie of high pedigree. It is just as expensive to breed and raise expensive fish as inexpensive fish but the returns are greater. It is better to compete on quality than quantity.

 

 

• Killifish are a popular choice, but need a lot of involvement to breed;

• Discus fish are difficult to breed, but can earn breeders a healthy profit and are always in great demand.

• Angelfish are easier to breed, but are not likely to gain a good price unless you pick a specialised colouring or finnage.

• Guppies are easy to breed, and make an excellent beginner’s breeding fish. Some specialised varieties can even fetch good prices.

Pedigree livebearers

• Bettas are easy to breed, but you will have to specialise— for example, pedigree bettas such as koi bettas are highly desirable.

pedigree koi betta fish
pedigree koi betta fish

There are many other options available, and a successful fish breeder will want to have a selection of species available. Once you become established as a fish breeder, you will develop a good reputation and begin to get repeat customers who will be interested in other species you can provide.

Once you have chosen your fish, you can begin grouping them into suitable pairs or spawning groups. This will require sexing the fish, which is a simple process for some species and a very specialised one for some others. There are several important traits to consider in your pairs or groups that will yield higher-quality results in the resulting offspring:

 

 

• Markings, colour and finnage. Choosing fish that display attractive markings and bright colours should produce similarly attractive young. Many people are impressed by the colouration of tropical fish, and this factor will play an important role in the value of the fish you breed.

Similar markings and colours should be paired together, as differences in these attributes will often produce unattractive young. It is generally good advice to avoid crossing different strains of fish for this reason.

• Fish health. Only mature, healthy fish should be used for spawning because unhealthy fish can produce sick or deformed young.

• Pair Compatibility. This is an important factor for some species of fish. For example, some species of cichlids will only form pairs after being raised together for months or years. Other species will respond poorly to induced breeding and begin to bully one another, sometimes to death.

As an additional consideration for pair compatibility, fish must be of the same species. Hybrid fish tend, like many other members of the animal kingdom, to produce sterile young.

One final tip: Keep your eyes and ears alert for any new species of breed of fish that crops up. If you feel you could successfully breed these novelties then you could make money if you are ahead of the curve.

Breeding strategies for egg-laying fish

Breeding egg laying

While livebearers are very easy fish to breed and offer a great starting point for beginners, you will eventually need to begin breeding egg-laying fish in order to realise a profit. There are five major groups of egg-layers to be considered when setting up a home-based breeder business:

• Egg-scattering fish These species of fish scatter their eggs during spawning. The eggs either fall down into the substrate, attach to plants, or float to the surface. These fish will produce large numbers of small eggs, and may eat their own eggs. So must be separated from eggs soon after spawning.

• Egg-depositing fish These fish will deposit their eggs safely on a substrate in the tank. This may be the glass wall of the tank, or on rocks or wood present in the tank. The eggs tend to be larger than scattered eggs. Some of these egg-depositing species will care for their eggs and the resulting young, while others will not.

• Egg-Burying Fish. Setting up a home-based breeder business with egg-burying fish can be tricky. These fish inhabit lakebeds that are dry for some portion of the year; the eggs lay dormant until the annual rains begin and hatching begins then. Recreating these conditions in an aquarium can be difficult.

• Mouth-Brooding Fish. Mouth-brooders are fish that retain the eggs and sometimes even the young fry in their mouth until the fish are ready to fend for themselves.

• Nest-Building Fish. These fish are not unlike egg-burying fish, except that they actively construct nests for themselves to lay eggs in. Examples include the bubble-nests formed by labyrinth fish.

Whichever type of fish you choose to breed, you must design your tank to have the necessary rocks, plants or other spawning material and enough space for the fish to feel comfortable spawning.

Designing your spawning tank

yellow lab fish breeding set up
Mouthbrooding yellow lab with previous spawning young yellow labs

Since community tanks are filled with neighbouring fish that may predate on the vulnerable young, it is crucial to grow the young fish in a separate spawning tank. Spawning tanks need to have some special construction elements to protect the young fish:

• A protected heater will keep the young fish from burning themselves against the edges of the heater.

• A slow-moving sponge filter will prevent eggs or fry from being sucked into the filtration system.

• Tanks with a dual-layer substrate are ideal for egg-scattering fish since the parents of these fish may eat their own eggs. A permeable layer that lets the eggs fall down out of reach of the hungry parents is ideal for allowing optimal spawning conditions.

• Egg-depositing fish should be provided with a healthy number of fine and broad-leaved plants. Additionally, egg-depositors that do not care for their young should be removed from the tank once the eggs are laid.

• Nest-building fish should be provided with materials with which they can build their nests. Additionally, water currents should be very low so that the nests are not disturbed.

Once you have setup your spawning tank, you need to simulate natural conditions and keep your parent fish in good, healthy condition in order to stimulate the production of offspring. With care and a little bit of luck, you should begin to see young fish appearing in your tanks, ready for sale.

You will also need growing on tanks for maximising the growth rate of your young fish. large tanks without gravel and sponge filters are ideal. This will result in fish that are saleable within 3-6 months depending on species. The earlier you can sell the young the more profit you will make.

Tips on advertising and selling your fish

Like any business, you need to be competitive in the existing market both in terms of price, quality, and advertising. These three factors are what combine to create value in any product or service, and your fish are no different.

While the price is largely determined by the existing local market, and the quality by your fish keeping experience, your advertising is only limited by how much effort you invest in the process. Taking good pictures is a must— high quality photographs of your fish will attract buyers. Invest in a reasonably good digital camera, preferably one that takes animal photos. Then, take many, many different photos and select the best.

It is especially important to include pictures of your adult fish, as well as the young, in your adverts so that your buyers have a good idea about what to expect as they grow. Investing in quality photographs can pay off with a stream of interested buyers, especially if you choose to advertise your breeding business exclusively online.

How to photograph fish