My First Ever Selective Breeding!

Discussion in 'Guppy' started by Supreme Sawk, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. Supreme SawkValued MemberMember

    I was looking at all of my snakeskin fry that were the result of random breeding. I was thinking in my head about once she gives birth selectively breeding my sunset micariff female with Sunset, my male sunset micariff to get some good sunset fry (they are both good quality specimens). Then, I remembered my yellow micariff that had just given birth, and saw Sunset chasing after her. The idea of selectively breeding those two together popped into my head! That will produce some good sunset females and yellow males (my LFS would appreciate some yellow males, their stock came in infected with internal parasites)! I put them both in the breeder box together, and I intend to leave them together in there for 24 hours. That should be enough for Sunset to deliver enough sperm to guarantee that he will be the next father shouldn't it?

  2. NavigatorBlackFishlore VIPMember

    There is a short window after a female drops fry when a male can replace the sperm packets she keeps inside her for refertilizations. You ever notice how crazy they get chasing females about to drop fry?
    They want to replace the sperm she carries from other males before it is used for the next batch. And one successful sperm packet can refertilize several times. At the right moment, a new packet can win the 'sperm wars' that happen inside a guppy, and kill and replace the existing sperm. But there are no guarantees.
    So your male may be working away, but unless his timing is right, it is wasted effort. And if so, you don't know who the father of the fry was.
    The general idea is to raise fry from the trait you want, rigidly separating male and female the moment you know what you have. You keep unfertilized females apart, and then introduce the desired male to them so you can be certain of who contributed the genetics you want.
    If the female has previously been fertilized, it becomes a dodgy proposition with a way lower chance of success. It's right back to random breeding.

  3. Supreme SawkValued MemberMember

    Dang it! So does the female produce new eggs just a few minutes after birth? I thought it took a few days for the female to produce 'fertalisible' eggs, and in that time if kept with just one male he will most likely become the next father? I knew they became pregnant again quickly but I didn't realise it was that quick! Is she most likely already pregnant again (it's been less than a day)? Thanks for the help ;)

  4. Supreme SawkValued MemberMember

    Also, is it possible for the female to carry multiple male's sperm or will she always carry only one sperm and for a sperm packet to be replaced it must be killed by another sperm packet?
  5. NavigatorBlackFishlore VIPMember

    The eggs are always ready, and fertilization is fast. Only one male's sperm survives - they kill each other. She is probably gravid again - it's a terrible life for her, really. The window is only a couple of hours. If a new sperm packet gets in, it kills the old one and replaces it. But since you can't be sure, you can see how that messes up a selective breeding project.
    If you wait for her to use all the sperm, that can be 5 broods. She could be too old to breed after.
  6. OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    From what I have read, the window is generally 24HRs at best. I doubt it is much longer than that. I have heard people say 48HRs but that is almost 10% of the gestation period so I doubt it. It causes me to have too many tanks as I keep the strains segregated that I wish to breed. After a few birthing cycles you have a fair chance she will drop the fry you desire. As Navigator said a female can carry enough sperm for basically her entire breeding life. All you can do is keep her with the desired male and hope to over-ride it eventually.

    And to add a further complication. I have several very prolific females that will occasionally drop a half dozen fry or more mid month between large broods. Who knows what is going on there as far as fertilization windows?
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  7. Supreme SawkValued MemberMember

    Well, that's over I guess. I should have pre-planned and put her with Sunset as soon as I noticed the little ones and her lack of boxyness. It must have been literally 5 minutes after she gave birth, I could have sworn the minute before she was pregnant. She wasn't showing any signs of late pregnancy, she was active all throughout. The little ones being present and her being thinner were the only indicators that new babies were born and she was the mother. It may have happened as I was watching them, like I said one minute she was noticeably pregnant and when I saw her again she was much thinner and I spotted a few tiny fish hiding among the bushes. I think there are 8-10 of them, and that's probably all of them considering it's her first drop and the birth took so little time.

    I think she'll be able to breed for more than 5 more broods, she's not even fully grown (pretty close but not quite i.e. subadult) and can't be more than about 3 months old, I bought her as a presumably 2 month old juvenile, along with a adult red coral female (who is also expecting very soon) and a subadult neon blue female (who is now in fishy heaven due to a horrible internal parasite. It's a big shame because she was the only neon blue female in the entire shop and would have been a good mate for my blue cobra male, Lilac, who I got recently). I did see Sunset chasing after her quite violently last night and today so there is a chance but it's 1 in 5. Oh well.

    See above.

    So, I guess I'm going to have to get a new virgin female to breed with Sunset. Or perhaps I should just forget about this selective breeding malarkey? I honestly don't know if I have the space to do some proper selective breeding. The obvious answer is to get rid of most of my fish and use my tank for selective breeding, but I don't want to do that. I can't keep any tubs outside or anything because it gets too cold for guppies outside even in the summer months sometimes, and they'd just freeze to death in the winter. I'd have to fit a good temperature control system into the tubs if I wanted to do anything outdoors. There is the conservatory where I could keep another tank but my parents wouldn't let me do that. I'm pretty much out of options. I can't put any new tanks in my room because the biggest thing I definitely have space for is my old 5 gallon, and that's really not sufficient. PERHAPS a 10 gallon, but in all honesty that's still pushing it a bit. What do you think?
  8. OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    Given your situation, work on the 10G plan. I use 5Gs for fry tanks. For adults, at some point it's just an sick tank waiting to happen when parameters go bad if you keep more than one or two adults. Tiny tanks are just fine for breeding or birthing though, ad eventually you'll need one. Don't give up on the selective breeding because it is fun. But starting out you need to have similar guppy strains when you can make that happen eventually. The result will be far more predictable. You are dealing with recessive genes in many cases. All cobras is a decent plan fine, or perhaps some orange-yellow fish together. Or halfblack blues and purples together. Not that you said you were going to, but for example if you mix a blue neon with a sunset orange guppy it is entirely possible you will get a couple attractive fish, or maybe even zero. Most of my fish are expensive strains that are highly inbred a dozen generations or more deep. Not that that is all good but they breed extremely consistently. I have purchased petstore females that look very similar, and they drop zero fry that look even remotely like the mother. I am starting too ramble. Try your luck at selective breeding, but for now get a couple fish that appear similar. Then try to refine the tail shape or color over a couple generations. You can start with very different strains, but it can take an incredibly long to get what you want. I'd lose interest. Some of the quality guppy strains you see took literally ten years to develop.

    And if you have a yard, plan on a small outdoor tub next summer. It's a lot of fun even if it only lasts a few months. A 20G storage tote is pretty inexpensive. You might be surprised the temp swings a guppy will be fine with if you get get some fry dropped in the tubs. Just have to keep them out of direct sun, and don't push your luck too far when fall arrives. I have sponge filters in mine but many don't do that. Take a pail out there now and then and do a mini WC just to keep the water reasonably clean.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  9. Supreme SawkValued MemberMember

    So if I were to keep say 1 male and 1 female in a 10 gallon that would be fine? The male would only stay in there for a week as I wouldn't want the female to become too stressed by the male, especially as the pregnancy progresses. I also wouldn't have more than one female at a time because otherwise I'll end up with too many fry at once. I want to stick at about 20-30 fry at once, and two females will most likely produce double that. After that I'll keep all of the fry together for the first month, then I'd divide the tank in half and put males in one side and females in the other. At about two months or so I'll take most of them to the LFS, cull the worst ones that aren't too appeasing to look at and will produce more ugly fry if they ever breed, and keep the best ones to make the next generation. I'd then keep the best ones separated by gender for another month to let them fully develop before breeding, and then I'll take the ones that look good but aren't the best and put them in the main tank where they can live their life and also as a possible backup if anything ever goes wrong with the selected pair, more specifically the males, if I currently haven't got room for them then they would go to the LFS as well, and the best male and female will be left in the 10g together where they will create the next generation. After a week, I'd take the male out and put him in the main tank, and if there is no room currently then another male will go, as this male was selected for a reason and can be used again if I feel like a backcross should be done. As for the female, she will share the same fate as the male, except she is no longer a valid breeder as she has been around other males. Rinse and repeat.

    I'd also like to mention that I'd start off with a yellow micariff female and a sunset micariff male, which in theory should produce yellow males and sunset females, with possibly a few yellow females as well. So nothing exotic will be crossed or created, although I'd probably have a go at crossbreeding them with something at some point to see what I get. To keep the pure strain going I'd have to raise the crosses in the main tank, as obviousl- wait a minute, I just got an idea! I could still raise them together, in the exact same manner, because if I separate by gender then no crossing will be possible! Problem is though if I did that I'd have double the fry. I'd work it out.

    Sound good?

    As for putting them in the garden, I honestly don't think they'd do very well. Most of the time where I am it's only 18-22c, I know they can easily survive at that temperature but broods would take much longer to develop, and if there's a cold spell it could easily prove too cold for them and end it all, especially if it happened in later August/early September, when it's starting to get colder anyway. I think they'd survive and even thrive in late June and July (which is the hottest month) but I'd be a bit cautious of leaving them out in August. As I said I could put some sort of heater in (especially if it's a smaller tub) that would keep the temperature in the later part of summer but I don't know. Anyway, I'll stop there and wait for you to respond.
  10. OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    A lot of info there lol. First of all, as far as the "ponds", that is 10 months from now. Do this approximately right and by then you will have a stupid amount of extras with no place to live without being crowded so there is really no risk. Just keep your mind open and we'll revisit it later. I have fishing that cost $25 USD PER FISH! They can supposedly only be kept at 80F or they will die. Now hatch out some of their offspring in my water and don't baby them and the game changes. So far they have seen 63F to 85F and all is well as they are beautiful and breeding. And yes you can put a small heater in to extend the season. Leave a few fish out and see what you can get away with. The survivors will be bulletproof. I sell my fish and I am not abusing them, I am merely providing fish that are tough like real guppies from when I entered the hobby. Few even used heaters back then. The key is use about a 20G tub. You'll see people using 5G buckets but the temp swings are way too volatile. Guppies can withstand wide temp swings, but not in 4 hours.

    And yes a couple adults in a 10G is more than fine. LOL the forum would absolutely lose their mind if they saw how many fish I grow out in a 10-20G because I sometimes have no choice due to the need to segregate strains. (even though I have 11 tanks and mini ponds currently). But you have to watch your water. I do small WCs constantly. Guppies can deal with some nitrates but you have to have a well cycled tank with adequate mineral content and clean fish before it gets easy. I use a lot of heavy feeding plants. You are dealing with LFS stock. Once you get healthy fish you stop adding LFS disease bombs to your tank. Sadly the current stocks are just dirty. Add one dirty fish and the whole thing blows up. Once you get a clean tank for a few months and some fry drops in your water it gets far easier.
  11. Supreme SawkValued MemberMember

    Okay, I'll keep my mind open to it. It really seems like it might be worth doing from what you're saying.

    I honestly completely see where you're coming from with this, my LFS's stock is riddled with all sorts of diseases. Their last shipment of yellow micariffs was wasted with internal parasites. The lot of them. Every single one developed severe wasting disorders that follow on from internal parasites. My one definitely had it, and I think he was the one who was responsible for introducing it. Thanks to that, half of my stock got it and died. I couldn't medicate because fry were already being born, and who knows what and adult dose could do to a little baby? My cycle was also new, shaky and pretty non-functional because of the nitrite explosion from adding too many new fish too soon. If I started medicating, it could have completely destroyed what remained of the cycle, and led to even more problems and the extinction of my stock. Granted, that probably greatly aided in the spreading of the parasite, but if it was never introduced in the first place then I never would have had that problem. Not that I'm saying it was their fault at all, they came contaminated. Why they didn't try and medicate and/or euthanize very ill ones I'm not sure, and I will ask them about it when I'm there again, but at the end of the day if the suppliers took greater care of the fish then they wouldn't come in with the disease. Keep in mind here that I'm just getting started.

    Then we move on to the females. Fvck me. There isn't a healthy fish in there. Literally every single one has either the aforementioned internal parasite, or they have some sort of unidentified disease. They get clamped fins and don't swim properly. All of the Yellow HBs seem to have the exact same condition which indicates that they came in with it, all of the sunset micariffs have the parasite and still look like juveniles even though they have to be 5 months old by now, which is the work of the parasite taking all of it's nutrients. Then there's the red tuxedos, the ones that are left (they've either been bought or have all died) are inactive as all h3ll and look like they are just sitting there waiting to die. That happened to one of the red tuxedos I bought, she just became inactive and was sitting down at the bottom waiting to die, and I ended up having to euthanize her. The other red tuxedo got the parasite. It's horrible, and even worse is that the descendants of my own pseudo-strain (the black-red tail guppy, the ones I bought are both dead) are all also ill. I don't know if there's any way I can save the strain, it will depend on if there are any still alive when I go there again. I honestly feel so sorry for them, they all have to live in that little death pit waiting to die or be taken to a tank where they spread it to the other inhabitants. Like I said, I really don't hold the LFS at fault, they are really friendly blokes and they do care about the fish, that's why when I go there again I want to discuss possibly treating the ill fish and saving some of them. Some of them, especially the ones that have the advanced stages of the internal parasite would probably be better off being euthanized, it's probably already a living for them and they might have permanent damage. For the parasites, it'd probably be best to feed some medicated food such as PraziPro, and for the unidentified disease a general antibiotic and antifungal should probably do, and if they don't get better then either the disease is too advanced or it requires a more specific and stronger antibiotic. Then, we need to work on eliminating the stocks that are coming in contaminated and bring more in from the ones that are coming in healthy. Another good step would be taking more in from private breeders who are much more likely to breed healthier stock. One of those'd be me with the micariffs, but back to the point at hand.

    Sorry I started going on a bit, but that's how much I actually care about this diseased stock.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  12. Supreme SawkValued MemberMember

    Also, how many fry at any one time could I have in a 10 gallon? I'm assuming my general number of 20 to 30 is within boundaries but how many could I have maximum?
  13. OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    Briefly I have as many as 50 fry in a 5G but I have a place to rotate some after they grow in a few weeks. The sick fish from the LFS thing is tough. I have no idea what your options are for sources but you'll have to work through it before it gets better.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  14. Supreme SawkValued MemberMember

    So would 20-30 (probably less by then because you've got to account for the ones that get out-competed and the bentbacks) be fine in a 10g for the first two months?

    Yeah, they'd have to be off limits to customers until the 'enclosure' is disease-free and no new ones are coming in ill. That's going to be the hardest part, making sure no ill ones come in, because if they do it's going to cost the LFS more money and plus they need an enclosure where they can put new arrivals before they are verified to be all healthy. It will be long and hard but if everybody involved stays committed then I think it can and will be done. It's also probably going to involve me making frequent visits to them to make sure everything is going well but hey, it could get me a weekend job maybe (I'm 14 so that's old enough for a weekend job iirc), or they might give me something for free for helping them, maybe a nice 55 gallon tank? Okay I'll stop dreaming now. I don't really care if they give me anything for helping them, I'm doing it for the fish and the customers.
  15. OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    Probably yes if you pay attention to the water but you are on the edge. Fed properly they will be getting large by week 8.
  16. Supreme SawkValued MemberMember

    Oh I know how quick they grow, my oldest are just over 6 weeks old and they are already approaching juvenile-hood (gonopodium development in the males is just about starting), and that's with adults and under stressing conditions for the first month or so. How large in inches should they ideally be by week 8? If they are large enough by then then the process of eliminating most of them and keeping the ones that are turning out to be the best can begin and I'll only be left with a few per gender.
  17. OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    It depends some on the strain. When developing a strain some will obviously not be up to standard by week 6-8. It can take another month for full color to pop. By then they are young adults capable of breeding.
  18. Supreme SawkValued MemberMember

    But generally how large will the average ones ideally be? Just to give me a general idea so I know if they are growing properly. I know it differs but there's got to be some sort of rough blueprint?

    When you say 'By then they are young adults capable of breeding', do you mean after the next month or by 6-8 weeks?

    Yes, that's why I'm going to separate them from 1 month old. Any that can't be identified by sex or visibly aren't growing properly by 5 weeks will be cut. I know I could be throwing away some good colours but colour isn't everything, and you've got to keep some genetic integrity when it comes to growth, size etc..
  19. OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    Mine are about an inch long at six weeks. Certainly before 8 weeks. That's about the earliest you can positively sex them when the gravid spot shows up. Usually a few more weeks for the gonopodium to appear. The females start to appear pregnant by 1o-12 weeks. Some will drop fry by 16 weeks but that can definitely vary. Large fry drops come later when they are full grown.
  20. Supreme SawkValued MemberMember

    So, how long are yours compared to the adults? Half the length? My largest ones are probably just about half the length of my adult females including the tail. Weirdly enough, my second-oldest ones who are 6 weeks old tomorrow seem to be on average larger than the oldest ones, who are 5 days older than them. They must be maturing faster. I've seen a couple of the second-oldest males pursuing some of the second-oldest females so they've hit puberty for sure. I'm expecting them to hit their growth spurt soon. I'm definitely seeing some larger tails so they are getting a move on. I haven't seen any of the oldest males pursuing anybody yet so they haven't hit puberty yet. All of my female fry appear to have gravid spots, and have done since they were about a month old. Also, really? Yours don't get gonopodiums until 11 weeks? How do they breed before then? Don't they need their gonopodium to mate? Saying that though, my ones are becoming sexually active with little gonopodium development, although that changes very quickly. Iirc the gonopodium only takes about a week at most to metamorphose.

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