What Strain/Type Are My Guppies?

Goldmoon

Hello! I went to my lfs today and bought some new guppy’s to try breeding. I’d stepped away from guppy breeding for a couple of years because I was focusing more on breeding bettas, but I wanted to try getting back into it again.

This lfs in particular buys their stock from local breeders, unlike big box stores that buy from fish farms. Since I’m not really familiar with the names/strains/types of guppy out there, I just wanted to make sure what I bought is what these fish were labeled as. I know breeders will sometimes give fancy names to fish that aren’t actually that strain to be used as a marketing tool. Not trying to be rude about that, it’s just something I’ve seen quite a bit of recently and want to make sure what I got is actually what they are. Especially because if I get a substantial number of fry, I’d like to try selling them and I wouldn’t want to sell them as something they aren’t.

Anyways, they were labeled as red snakeskin guppies. I first became skeptical when I googled images of a red snakeskin guppy and didn’t look like these guys. While I’m certainly not an expert (or really even familiar with) the different color types of guppies, I’d say these guys look more like red mosaics? I’d love to know what you guys think, thanks in advance for any ideas you might have!
(Pictures of the males and females are included)
 

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e_watson09

Honestly they're likely some sort of "mutt" in terms of strain. Most often higher end and more pure strains will not end up at LFS with the exception of maybe their "culls" which are the ones they didn't see fit to keep or sell as breeders for a higher premium.

Now that's not to say you can't breed them by any means but just that I wouldn't really advertise them as a certain strain. If you're wanting to get into specific strains I'd look into purchasing from a breeder directly and then keeping all other guppies out of the tank.

The females do not look like red snake skins at all to me, the males look like they could possibly be a mix of that strain or very very low quality as they don't have the patterning you'd expect to see for the strain. To me the females just look like "fancy guppy" females you'd find at most LFS and pet stores
 

Goldmoon

Honestly they're likely some sort of "mutt" in terms of strain. Most often higher end and more pure strains will not end up at LFS with the exception of maybe their "culls" which are the ones they didn't see fit to keep or sell as breeders for a higher premium.

Now that's not to say you can't breed them by any means but just that I wouldn't really advertise them as a certain strain. If you're wanting to get into specific strains I'd look into purchasing from a breeder directly and then keeping all other guppies out of the tank.

The females do not look like red snake skins at all to me, the males look like they could possibly be a mix of that strain or very very low quality as they don't have the patterning you'd expect to see for the strain. To me the females just look like "fancy guppy" females you'd find at most LFS and pet stores
Darn, that’s kinda a bummer I was hoping that even if they weren’t snakeskins they might be some other type that the breeder just mislabeled. I’ll definitely try breeding these guys since I already bought them, but it probably won’t be as easy selling the fry if they’re just mutts.

On another note, I would buy from breeders online, but paying shipping + the cost of the fish can get pretty expensive. Maybe I’ll look into it more down the line, if I decide keeping guppies is something I really want to try getting into again.
Thanks for the advice!
 

Debbie1986

The yellow tails are lovely and the Red look lovely.

if you do wish to do breeding, you'll need to decide which traits to express and be ready for culling.

I had great success buying on ebay
Hint: put a guppy/guppy set you like in 'watch list' the seller will likely send you a discount to encourage purchase! I got my blue dragons ( 1 m, 2 fem) half price because seller ran a sale, he had 5 sets to move and destrictly dropped the price

but even buying females, they can arrive pregnant which is how I have some yellow tails on my dragons ( 3 rd generation) and coral /pink cobras ( 2nd generation)

I'd also guess you'll need 2-3 tanks, 1 for prime, the genetic you want for breeding, grow out and common

I spread out my common over a few tanks.

My pristine - ones I care to procreate are in 1 tank all together.

You can get some interesting colors with mutts. I ended up with an electric blue/orange combo I hated , but now love.

here's my primary tank
the males are all dragons

found a pic of my mutts ( last photo)
 

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e_watson09

You can always still breed these but just don't expect big prices for them. My LFS won't give credit for fancy guppies unless they're a more hard to find strain he can't order through his wholesaler. Guppies are hard because they do breed so easily that they are kind of everywhere.

I do what the above poster mentioned. I put them on my eBay watch list. I also watch for cheap auctions on aquabid. I try to order at least 2 trios when I do order to save on shipping. Like my favorite are Black Metal Lace guppies. Once I get my fish rack set up that's the first type I want to add. I see some on Aquabid right now for auction at $20/trio or BIN for $25/trio with $15 shipping. If I were to purchase that I'd message the seller and see if they'd sell me 2+ trios and what kind of pricing that will look like.

Honestly $15-20 shipping (for priority) isn't all that bad when you purchase multiple fish so that's always my goal. I try to avoid importing guppies currently, generally some will die off which makes it really expensive and most of the strains I like are already in the US with breeders working with them.
 

Goldmoon

The yellow tails are lovely and the Red look lovely.

if you do wish to do breeding, you'll need to decide which traits to express and be ready for culling.

I had great success buying on ebay
Hint: put a guppy/guppy set you like in 'watch list' the seller will likely send you a discount to encourage purchase! I got my blue dragons ( 1 m, 2 fem) half price because seller ran a sale, he had 5 sets to move and destrictly dropped the price

but even buying females, they can arrive pregnant which is how I have some yellow tails on my dragons ( 3 rd generation) and coral /pink cobras ( 2nd generation)

I'd also guess you'll need 2-3 tanks, 1 for prime, the genetic you want for breeding, grow out and common

I spread out my common over a few tanks.

My pristine - ones I care to procreate are in 1 tank all together.

You can get some interesting colors with mutts. I ended up with an electric blue/orange combo I hated , but now love.

here's my primary tank
the males are all dragons

found a pic of my mutts ( last photo)
Your fish are beautiful! I have actually bought fish off of eBay before, just never guppies. I’ve had good success with the sellers I’ve purchased from and I’d definitely consider buying off of the site in the future. For now, especially since I’m just starting to get back into breeding guppies, I was hoping to start with stock I could get locally since it would be a little less expensive. I’m pretty bummed out that the fish I got are mutts. But, I’ll work with them for a little while and see what comes of it. (And I’ll also do some reading on guppy genetics to see if there’s a way to make these “mutts” into something more desirable by crossing them with a specific strain).

I’m not in the hobby to make money, but selling some fry at some point would definitely be nice! I already have a “mutt” tank set up for some random guppies I’ve acquired over the last couple years, so I have a place for the “less desirable” fry to go once they’re born.

Thanks for the advice and sharing pictures of your fish!
 

Goldmoon

Okay, so after some very preliminary reading online, I see that guppies are a lot like bettas (my favorite fish lol), in that there are not only a ton of color variations but also different tail types as well. I looked for resources on breeding guppies for form, but I wasn’t able to find much. I know that when it comes to breeding bettas there is specific things you want to watch out for, like “humpbacks”, long analfins (mostly in halfmoons), excessive rays, etc.. However, I wasn’t able to find anything like this for guppies. Does anyone know of any sites or other resources I could use to help me determine good form when breeding guppies? Also, if anyone knows of a guide on guppy color genetics where the patterns and/or colors are listed in terms of genetic makeups, I’d definitely be interested in looking that over too! I will continue looking but I haven’t been able to find much yet.

Also, I know it has been determined that the guppies I bought are mutts. However, when I looked into the different color patterns of guppies I noticed that the description and images of mosaic guppies matched what my females look like. Is there a possibility that the females are mosaics? From what I’m seeing, I completely agree with what has been said about the fish… they’re definitely not red snakeskins, but the males are possibly showing some influence of those traits in their phenotype. I’m just curious about the females moving forward, and it’s totally fine if they’re mutts too… I just want to be sure.

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: I just discovered the “tiger mosaic” and “snakeskin mosaic” strains of guppy, could that be achieved by selectively breeding these pairs so the fry eventually display both the mosaic-looking pattern tail and the snakeskin-influenced body? Or would that not be a possibility with these fish?
 

Debbie1986

yes, the yellow looks Mosaic imo, but I'm no expert

find a type that you like all traits, for me it was the Black Moscow. Spunky little male, perfect coloration and nifty tail type ( flat on back) imo cannot go wrong with black goes with everything

they were my 3rd guppy I added to my tank to try and make my genetics stronger because isolating a gene (pure breed) tends to make any animal weaker after many generations. And since we cannot isolate fish like we do horses, dogs and cows- I just hoped for good results and got my electric blue./orange mutts with Moscow flat tail. I'm growing out around 50 fry currently. no coloration as yet.
 

e_watson09

Okay, so after some very preliminary reading online, I see that guppies are a lot like bettas (my favorite fish lol), in that there are not only a ton of color variations but also different tail types as well. I looked for resources on breeding guppies for form, but I wasn’t able to find much. I know that when it comes to breeding bettas there is specific things you want to watch out for, like “humpbacks”, long analfins (mostly in halfmoons), excessive rays, etc.. However, I wasn’t able to find anything like this for guppies. Does anyone know of any sites or other resources I could use to help me determine good form when breeding guppies? Also, if anyone knows of a guide on guppy color genetics where the patterns and/or colors are listed in terms of genetic makeups, I’d definitely be interested in looking that over too! I will continue looking but I haven’t been able to find much yet.

Also, I know it has been determined that the guppies I bought are mutts. However, when I looked into the different color patterns of guppies I noticed that the description and images of mosaic guppies matched what my females look like. Is there a possibility that the females are mosaics? From what I’m seeing, I completely agree with what has been said about the fish… they’re definitely not red snakeskins, but the males are possibly showing some influence of those traits in their phenotype. I’m just curious about the females moving forward, and it’s totally fine if they’re mutts too… I just want to be sure.

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: I just discovered the “tiger mosaic” and “snakeskin mosaic” strains of guppy, could that be achieved by selectively breeding these pairs so the fry eventually display both the mosaic-looking pattern tail and the snakeskin-influenced body? Or would that not be a possibility with these fish?
So the answer is yes and no. It depends on how much time you're talking. You *CAN* breed these fish and selectively breed over multiple generations to get the traits you want to show up. Now I do not believe these will ever become the pure strains you're talking about but yes you can selectively breed to get the traits you want. Usually this takes at least 3-4 generations to start to see what you're looking for and often even longer for the strain to start breeding true.

Creating your own strain, which is essentially what you'd be trying to do, takes a lot of time, patience, and heavy culling. [Culling doesn't have to mean killing this could mean giving to your LFS as fancy guppies for example]

Basically, you'll want to breed these. Grow out the fry into breeding maturity. Pick the ones that have the best genetics you want and breed those. Some people add them to the original tank of breeders, some keep them separate and breed this new generation on its own. Then rinse and repeat. Always keeping the best back for what genetics you're looking for. First few generations any that you don't keep will be "culls" which you can trade into your LFS or try to sell as fancies. People still like them they just won't pay high prices for them, my LFS doesn't pay anything for guppies unless they're a harder to find strain.

You could also always keep an eye out for more males that have that patterning you're looking for and add them in for future generations. To bring in more genetics. Just keep in mind new genetics mean you won't know what will show up.


The females you have really just look like fancy guppies most pet stores carry. Usually they're some sort of mix with Yellow Cobra to get that tail. I've noticed most of the females pet stores and LFS have the cobra gene in them, usually they have more color than a standard female guppy which is why stores carry them. Most people getting guppies want color :) Females are so hard to know what they really carry. It could be ANYTHING as they don't display the colors and patterns like males do. Unless you know EXACTLY where the female came from often you can't definitively tell what strain(s) she came from.
 

Debbie1986

re: "Females are so hard to know what they really carry. It could be ANYTHING as they don't display the colors and patterns like males do"

this is very true

My 2nd generation females have dusky nearly slate grey body with green or yellow tails because they are blue dragon/black Moscow mix.

the males are much easier to guess genetics.
 

emeraldking

Hello! I went to my lfs today and bought some new guppy’s to try breeding. I’d stepped away from guppy breeding for a couple of years because I was focusing more on breeding bettas, but I wanted to try getting back into it again.

This lfs in particular buys their stock from local breeders, unlike big box stores that buy from fish farms. Since I’m not really familiar with the names/strains/types of guppy out there, I just wanted to make sure what I bought is what these fish were labeled as. I know breeders will sometimes give fancy names to fish that aren’t actually that strain to be used as a marketing tool. Not trying to be rude about that, it’s just something I’ve seen quite a bit of recently and want to make sure what I got is actually what they are. Especially because if I get a substantial number of fry, I’d like to try selling them and I wouldn’t want to sell them as something they aren’t.

Anyways, they were labeled as red snakeskin guppies. I first became skeptical when I googled images of a red snakeskin guppy and didn’t look like these guys. While I’m certainly not an expert (or really even familiar with) the different color types of guppies, I’d say these guys look more like red mosaics? I’d love to know what you guys think, thanks in advance for any ideas you might have!
(Pictures of the males and females are included)
Your males are red snakeskins. Wouldn't call them cobra guppies. For cobra guppies would have a whole snake pattern in the finnage as well which these males are lacking. Those females could be snakesins as well but the pattern in the finnage show more mosaic pattern than snake pattern.
With females, it's harder to determine of which breed they are. And specifically lace, cobra, snake, mosaic and tiger females, are often called cobra if one sees one of these females. For most female will only show such a pattern in their finnage and not on the body. But if one does see a female with such a pattern partially on the body, it's most likely a YY female. And such a female does carry the dominant trait for that pattern, just like a XY male of the same strain.
Most often higher end and more pure strains will not end up at LFS with the exception of maybe their "culls" which are the ones they didn't see fit to keep or sell as breeders for a higher premium.
Well to be honest, when those guppies are coming from a wholesaler, it will be a certain breed. But most stores order a mix of guppies. That's cheaper than ordering a specific strain. At a wholesaler, guppies are in tanks of the same breed. But when a store orders a mix, a few guppies from each tank will be caught and be delivered as being a mix. This goes for males and females. But once in a mix at the store, you just don't know which male has mated with which female. And then yes, it's better to call them mutts instead of a true strain (while in fact each individual guppy coming from the wholesaler does come from a pure strain).
But I do have to say as well, that even though one ca expect that a wholesaler knows the specific strains, they do make a lot of mistakes in name giving. And I know that each wholesaler will call itself a specialist in ornamental fish, but I haven't met one wholesaler that didn't mix up names.
 

Goldmoon

Thank you to everyone who has chimed in up to this point and given me advice on the strain of these guppies, I really appreciate all of your inputs!
Your males are red snakeskins.
These guppies were sold as red snakeskins, but I wasn’t sure because they didn’t look like red snakeskins when I googled images of them. So the males aren’t mutts then? I don’t know if this helps at all, but the males have colored up quite a bit and have begun developing “mosaic” patterns on their tails, similar to the females. I don’t know if this means anything… I’ll leave a picture below.
Basically, you'll want to breed these. Grow out the fry into breeding maturity. Pick the ones that have the best genetics you want and breed those. Some people add them to the original tank of breeders, some keep them separate and breed this new generation on its own. Then rinse and repeat. Always keeping the best back for what genetics you're looking for. First few generations any that you don't keep will be "culls" which you can trade into your LFS or try to sell as fancies. People still like them they just won't pay high prices for them, my LFS doesn't pay anything for guppies unless they're a harder to find strain.
This is exactly what I plan on doing… since I already have these fish and I really like their color/patterns (regardless of if they’re already a specific strain or not) I might as well try to breed them and choose the ones I like best to try creating a line from it. And I know for a fact the lfs I bought these guys from will take fry (or sometimes buy them/give store credit for them) because they sell guppies like crazy there. So, I probably won’t have an issue finding homes for the fry if I end up with a lot.
Unless you know EXACTLY where the female came from often you can't definitively tell what strain(s) she came from
I believe the females and males are all siblings, or are closely related cousins. Since they were given to the lfs by a breeder, they all likely came from the same lineage. Of course I can’t be sure about this, but I would think since they all came from the same breeder and they all look very similar, they came from similar (or the same) line.
But most stores order a mix of guppies. That's cheaper than ordering a specific strain.
I don’t know if you were speaking generally here or not, but these guppies were in a tank with only guppies that we’re labeled as red snakeskins (it wasn’t a mixed guppy tank). Now, that’s not to say they didn’t come into contact with other guppies before, but this fish store in particular keeps all of their strains/species of fish in separate tanks to avoid interbreeding between different types of guppy, mollie, etc.
find a type that you like all traits, for me it was the Black Moscow.
I really do like the look of the snakeskin and mosaic guppy, especially after looking at more pictures of them online. I bought these guppies because I thought they looked really pretty, it would just be a bonus if I could breed them and maybe start a line! Black moscows are beautiful too, I can see why you like them :)

Here is a picture of a male after settling into the tank a bit, he’s developed a pattern on his tail and the snakeskin pattern seems to have become more prominent.
 

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emeraldking

These guppies were sold as red snakeskins, but I wasn’t sure because they didn’t look like red snakeskins when I googled images of them. So the males aren’t mutts then? I don’t know if this helps at all, but the males have colored up quite a bit and have begun developing “mosaic” patterns on their tails, similar to the females. I don’t know if this means anything… I’ll leave a picture below
Well, this close up does show the snake pattern on the body. The males may not have fully developed yet when it comes to pattern in the finnage. That could end up in a cobra, mosaic or other pattern. So, give it some time and see how the pattern in the finnage will develop.
 

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