I became a fish breeder quite by accident. I bought my daughter 5 guppy for a 1 gal tank in her bedroom. One of the 5 was an extra fat pregnant mama guppy. (always try to by fat pregnant guppy- they will provide you with all those babies for free) Anyhow- the mama guppy died during the night- but not before releasing 70 babies into the tank! There likely was a lot more- but the other 4 guppy were rapidly consuming them. 70 is how many were left after I moved all the big fish into a different tank.
Guppy hold 3 months worth of babies in their belly at once- releasing from 2 or 3 to around 20 of them at a time- IF they feel safe. All 3 batches can be from different fathers. The only time they release extra babies- including some that aren’t fully formed yet- is if they are about to die. The fact that she had 70 that were all alive indicates that she was holding them in for months. I never had this happen again. 32 was the record thereafter.
I was hoping they would turn out looking different than each other- but they all looked pretty much the same. This means she was in a tank that had all the same looking guppies in it.
Most breeders don’t mix their colors. They are striving for pure lines. For me- it was all about wondering how the babies would turn out- so every month or so- I’d add in a totally different looking male- Blue, red, what ever I found that looked different than what I had.
I soon noticed that every now and then- one would grow a much larger than average size tail. I became determined to make more of them- selectively breeding those with big tails with females that were extra short and were thick and wide right before their tail began. The reason for this is big tails are heavy- makes with thin tail supports soon would become deformed- their tails bending downward. Short wide tail support was necessary to hold tail up.
To have all the babies survive- move the mom when she starts having them or when the back where the dark area is looks square. The babies will come out of the pointed corner of the square. You can even see them go into labor – holding still and clenching their body every few minutes. Put them in a 1 /2 gal to gallon size jar with lota of tall fake plants and put an airstone in it as well. The mom will die if there’s no air bubbles. They often give birth early morning. Watch her closely to see that she doesnt start eating babies. As soon as she starts to look for food- or eats a baby- she’s done. remove her instantly. She will eat all the babies if left in there- within minutes.
Babies need very clean water and eat powdered flake food along with frozen skinned peas that have been grated into mush- makes them grow fast but ruins the water. They do best in a large 40 gallon tank with only a sponge type filter until they are almost an inch long. Only then can they handle the suction of a water pump filter. Keep catfish in the nursery tank to help keep bottom clean.
To control who fathers the babies- separate the girls from boys when they are still little- the girl guppy get a dark spot on their underbelly- by the tail. As soon as you notice this – move to a separate tank. In the girls tank-are also all the males with the best tails. They are allowed to breed at will- tho you wont see any babies for 3 more months. It takes like 6 months from birth to grown enough to sell.
Guppy females give birth to live babies. They keep groups of babies in different stages of development all together in the same cavity in them- and are able to control how many they have and when. Generally speaking- they give birth to 15 babies once a month- and carry 4 batches of babies at a time inside them- getting pregnant from different males for each batch. I figured out the four month holding time because thats how long it would take for the babies of a new colored dad to start to get born.
When selectively breeding anything- you need to know what to do with those that don’t make the cut. I’m not into killing animals and certainly not when you caused them to be born- so- what I did with all my extra fish was first- sell the good ones to the local pet stores. The rest I would take up to a park where tons of families gather to celebrate easter. Its been the tradition since I was little – for kids to try catch minnows and such in the shallow ponds they have up there. I took it upon myself to stock the ponds with over 500 colorful guppies the night before Easter. I did this for around 5 years in a row. I never asked permission- I’d sneek them in for the thrill of people not knowing how they got in there. I’d check the ponds about 3 days later- most would be gone. Some would be too fast and never get caught-
The main reason I did it was because in the pet store- guppies were $3.99 each! The kids that would catch fish in those ponds were from families who didn’t have money to waste on little fish. I made it possible for anyone to get to have pretty guppies for free. I wonder if anyone noticed that they didn’t show up last year? I moved away so – sorry kids….
I BROUGHT 2 BIG FISH BACK TO LIFE THIS WAY
12″ Giant orange gold fish about 7 years ago- he lived for 3 more years
14″ butterfly Koi-last year- was still alive when I last saw her before I moved.
BOTH DIED FROM TOXIC TANK WATER
The problem with raising large fish in tanks instead of ponds is keeping the water clean and stable.
Both gold fish and Koi pollute the water very quickly with their poop. And while I spent hours and hours every week working on filters, tank cleaning, water changes- it still got away from me.
The main symptoms of toxic water is that your fish clamps its mouth shut- doesn’t move gills or open mouth for short spans of time- then will open and close mouth/gills a couple times and stop again. If you ever see this behavior- you’ve got to get your fish OUT of that water within like 10 minutes. Forget treating the water- or changing half the water- it wont be enough. Another symptom of toxic water is red appearing in their fins and tail. It’s blood cells that have hemorrhaged.
My first fish to die was my “feeder” 22 cent gold fish that grew to be a foot long with a fancy tail.
The power had been out for a few hours the day before- The next morning – the fish had some red veins showing in his tail. (That’s the other symptom of toxic water) I grabbed my bottle of pond rescue – treated the water and checked the canister filter-It was pretty dirty but mostly it smelled toxic! Something had gone very wrong in the chemistry when the power had gone out. I unhooked it and cleaned it out completely. There was no saving any of it to activate the new filter. Took like an hour to clean it all out and set it back up. I hooked the filter system back in and watched the fish swim around for around 1`5 minutes- He seemed a little better- but the water had become a little cloudy while the filter was off.
I walked away and worked on a project in my bedroom for a few hours. Someone knocked on my house door and as I walked past the tank to answer the door- I saw the goldfish dive downward-flipping onto his back as he glided into the far corner- back arched and gills flared- I remember yelling NO!!!! He wasn’t breathing or moving- he was totally gone. Instinctively I ran to the tank and grabbed him and lifted him up out of the water- plunged him back under and lifted out again. Did this about 7 or 8 times before his mouth opened. (no gill movement. Eyes glazed over- totally limp. I yelled for my friend to come fill up my spare 30 gal tank- I started holding him over the airstone bubbles and I continued to lift him out of the water every few minutes- also pulled him backwards thru the water- forcing both bubbles and water thru his gills.Moved him to the clean tank with all the bubble stones (4 or 5) pushing all around his face and gills.
2 hours past before he showed any sign of life at all- his eye rolled around and looked at me- it was another hour before his gills fluttered. total of 4 hours before he moved his mouth. at 5 hours he finally moved his body- This whole time I was holding his body in the correct upright position- air bubbles and pulling him over and over backwards thru the water. I still lifted him up and out every 5 or so minutes- this would trigger him to take a gulp of air. At 6 hours- he made his first effort to swim. It was about 3 more hours before he was able to stay upright on his own. I smashed up green peas(frozen/thawed/shell removed) and put them in his mouth. I force fed him for 3 days before he finally pooped. He slowly got stronger and was fine by a week later.
Same happened to my Koi years later. This fish took 30 minutes for a sign of life. 6 hours before could stay upright by herself. She was fine by the next day.
It works on fish who die from their water turning toxic.
It took over 6 hours to recover enough to allow me to let go of them at all.
It failed to work on guppies or small cory cat fish or angel fish.
IF YOUR FIGHTING FISH JUMPS OUT OF HIS TANK AND YOU FIND HIM DRIED UP STIFF AND DEAD ON THE FLOOR.
As long as the ants haven’t gotten to him-and his eyes haven’t shriveled- he likely isn’t really dead. Pick him up- put him back in the water and stir him around – lifting him out at least once per minute- after around 5-10 minutes- his body will soften and he should start pumping his gills. Takes about an hour before he can surface for air by himself so you’ll have to lift him up at least once every 3 minutes. I saved 4 or 5 this way.
Why is this possible? Fighting fish breath air. The only reason to be in water for them is to keep fins wet. They can actually drown if unable to reach the surface to get air.
Cats like to catch fighting fish!
A note about fighting fish-
First- fighting fish don’t live long when kept in a small container. Its cruel. They will live up to 3 years if kept in a 1 gallon tank with air bubble and under gravel filter system. Unlike most fish- the cleaner the water- the healthier the fish. Always change all the water. Always make sure they have access to the surface (dont put them under plants) If they are in a filtered 1 gal tank- change the water once every 2 weeks. IF THEY ARE IN A CUP OR OTHER NON FILTERED CONTAINER change water once every 3 days.
They are VERY sensitive to dirty water.
For healthy fish- feed frozen(thawed) green peas pressed thru a clean garlic press- one pea 3-4x per week. If in a 1 gal tank- keep a few cory cat fish in the tank as well.