The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Guppy

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Yippee's picture
Yippee

Guppy

For those of you who are fish enthusiasts, do you know if there is a world record for the size of guppies?  My baby fancy guppies are almost 4 inches long and they are still growing.  I'm day dreaming that may be I have a chance of setting a new record?


Yippee

copyu's picture
copyu

From Wikipedia:


The guppy (Poecilia reticulata), also known as the millionfish,[1] is one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish species in the world. It is a small member of the Poeciliidae family (females 4–6 centimetres (1.6–2.4 in) long, males 2.5–3.5 centimetres (1.0–1.4 in) long) and like all other members of the family, is live-bearing.


From my long experience, if they are really guppies, you can probably claim the world record title now!


I've been out of the fish-breeding hobby for about 4 years now, so I could be wrong...I wonder how you're taking their measurements, though...

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Hello, copyu:


These guppies are the offspring of two guppy parents I purchased from a pet shop.  Therefore, they are REAL baby guppies. Thanks very much for your information.  In fact, I'm more curious about their growing potential than setting a record.  I measured them by lying them inside a net on a table. 


Yippee

JoMama's picture
JoMama

LOL ... I'm just trying to keep my new Betta ... named Bill ... alive ... can't have chickens ... my dogs would eat 'em.  :o)


Guppies like to "PRO-CREATE" ... learned that years ago ... LOL!

copyu's picture
copyu

Sorry about that!


Do you have any photos, by any chance? I can think of a couple of genera that look (quite a bit) like guppies and have the same habits and reproduction, but that grow much larger. (Xiphophorus, Mollienesia, just for easy examples...)


I'm only asking, because I knew most of the local fish-breeders, where I lived before, and learned many of their 'secrets'...I was a guppy-breeder for a very long time and I used to sell the fish I produced. [There was no 'profit' on my part—I sold the fish, which paid for the food, accessories, etc, that I needed to continue in the hobby.]


I used to give 85-95% 'live food' to my guppies, but I can hardly even visualize a 'nearly-4-inch long guppy'! Still, everything from viruses and bacteria, right up to aquarium fish show remarkable ability to mutate and evolve in relatively short periods of time...I TRUST you, but still find it hard to believe. (That's MY problem, not yours!)


Thanks for sharing, anyway!


Cheers,


copyu

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Lucky me to have found a fish expert like you!  Like bread baking, this is another new hobby I picked up last year.  I've settled with the current tanks of guppies after a few 'deadly incidents' of gouramis and gold fish.  My guppies do not get the VIP treatments as yours.  They only have flakes and dried shrimps.  I'm not with my guppies right now but I will take a picture of them next week to show you.  I'm not familiar with the species of fish you previously mentioned. Hope the fish in my tanks are true guppies as I thought.


Just out of curiosity, to whom did you sell your fish to? I'm guarding my fish like my own kids.   I have no plan of selling them.  It's fun to see them grow.


Yippee    


 

copyu's picture
copyu

...used to buy my fish.


I would buy nice fish from them at $1-3 each and I sold them my 'babies' at 10 cents apiece, hundreds at a time.


They trusted me, so they knew they didn't have to 'quarantine' the fish for more than a couple of days before sale and it was 'easy money' for them. I never received any cash...I would just use the money they paid me to upgrade my filtration system, or to buy another breeding tank.


I'm sure they sold some of my 'best' male guppies for $5-10. Through selective breeding, I got them to be BLACK on 80% of their bodies and about 15-20% of their (mostly orange) tails. These were considered 'great breeding stock' in those days. [The 'dream', back then, was to produce 100% black male guppies...]


 

Yippee's picture
Yippee

If I sell my guppies now, I would get less than $2!!!


I have separated the boys and girls after I witnessed a tragic child birth. It was a lengthy and difficult labor which lasted a week.  The mom's belly ripped open and eventually died. From you experience,  is it normal that the females die after giving birth? Was there anything I could have done to prevent this tragedy?


Yippee

copyu's picture
copyu

Female guppies are not quite "born" pregnant, but they are usually pregnant before you can tell which are the 'girls' and which are the 'boys'...They don't 'come into season' the way some other creatures do. The females store fertilized eggs inside their bodies until they're ready to give birth.


There could be many reasons why females die after giving birth—parasites, disease, age...Is your aquarium water crystal clear and the right temperature? Is the pH and hardness and salinity OK?


I've read that the females have some ability to control their own reproduction...they can re-absorb babies that don't have a chance if, say, the water quality is bad, or the food supply is short, or low-quality. (In nature, that means the rains have failed and the streams are drying-up...etc) They certainly won't 'burst', anyway, just from a pregnancy.


You can easily see when a female is 'ready' to drop her babies, by the size and darkness of the 'gravid spot' near the rear fin. All it takes to make her 'drop the load' is a water change and some really good food...live, frozen (or freeze-dried) brine shrimp (or their larvae) make excellent food, as do "daphnia". 


PS: I just found an article on "Sexual Harassment" in wild guppies! Ridiculous! This is a case of a fairly ignorant reporter trying to 'anthropomorphize' the guppy. They're NOT humans...not even *slightly similar* to humans...but it's 'human nature' to project our fears and wishes onto our pets and the rest of the natural world.

copyu's picture
copyu

but we've come this far...it's possible that other females ripped the pregnant female open for some 'live food'.


It's possible that she was holding back from some perceived problem in the fish-tank. Have you heard of guppy breeding traps? They are needed, because mothers will eat their own babies.


If you wake up one morning and see a dozen new babies, you can probably assume that two-thirds to three-quarters of the brood have already been consumed by the mother, herself, or other fish in the tank...I know it's not pleasant, but it's life!


Sorry!

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Even though I had no prior experience of maintaining an aquarium, I managed to prepare a tank dedicated to the female prior to the arrival of the babies. I wasn't with her 24/7 but I separated the babies to their nursery tanks as soon as I spot them. I only learned about the breeding tanks after the fact.  Now looking back, the water quality could be a factor that contributed to her death as you mentioned.  


I was aware that females, once conceived, can store fertilized eggs and have babies later on.  Since being separated from the males in the last six months, the females haven't had any "accidents" yet. I've been praying for things to remain constant until I'm ready for more responsibilities.  I'm really not looking to turn a hobby into a part-time job, which will definitely ruin the fun. 


It took me about 2-3 weeks before I could distinguish the genders by the anal fins. The girls, as you will see in the pictures, may have already been pregnant. 


Yippee 


 

copyu's picture
copyu

and you sound like a very organized person, despite being so busy. You must be a great baker! 


Six months' separation from the males is a pretty good way to ensure that the females won't drop any more babies, at least until YOU are ready. (Some real experts say 4 months is enough...I never had enough tanks (or time!) to plan my breeding schedules or to keep accurate logs. All I knew was the 'average' gestation periods and I worked around that.


You're right to worry about the hobby becoming a 'job'. I let the fish dictate to me way too often. I had tanks at home and at work (I was a school-teacher—seems like centuries ago!) and it was up to me to keep the display tanks and the class-room tanks in good condition over the long school vacations—there were no automatic feeders in the budget in those days. Cleaning and water changes are manual labor no matter how you look at it!


PS: I definitely didn't mean to 'put you off' of these beautiful fish with my last comment. I should add that I have only witnessed that sort of episode a couple of times in many years of keeping them. I recently read a blog devoted to guppies and they suggested we can 'condition' our fish to be cannibals or to be 'good parents' depending on how stable we keep the aquariun environment. Interesting read and I agree with the opinion of the blogger...


Very best wishes,


copyu

Yippee's picture
Yippee

What a relief to hear your assurance that no more babies for now.  Thanks for sharing your expertise with me.


Yippee

copyu's picture
copyu

I just love aquariums and tropical fish and I have a soft-spot for the guppy and other live-bearing genera. They're still the most interesting fish, for me.


I'm not sure you'll be happy, though, keeping the females and males apart for too long. They could very easily 'fret' themselves to death and waste away. Their lives are short and, like most creatures, their only real 'purpose' in life is to feed and reproduce, to pass their DNA on to future generations.


The best solution, if it's possible, is to get the sexes together in a heavily-planted tank that gets regular (but not 'zealous') maintenance. The slow-swimming babies will get eaten, while the quicker ones will always have a special nook or a leaf to hide behind when the 'big fish' hassle them. Regardless, sooner or later, in a healthy tank, you're going to have WAY too many fish. Then you'll find some way to get rid of them—give them away to a neighbor with a tank, sell them to a pet shop, or get a friend interested in keeping guppies...


Guppies are prolific breeders because they are the 'favorite food' of most creatures that share their rivers in the wild (including guppies and other live-bearing fishes.) It only takes a few percent of survivors from each brood of fry to become adult and pro-create and their job is done. 


One more point, just for your information. You may know this already, but the larger the aquarium you have, up to a point, the easier it is to maintain. [Let's not talk or think about 'emergency water changes' just now!] One three-or-four-foot tank is a much more 'stable' environment than three or four two-foot tanks and ten times easier to clean and maintain than many separate tanks. If space is limited, one 3-4 foot tank for 'display' and one small tank (say, 2-foot, underneath the main tank) for quarantine/breeding/hospital/baby-raising/plant-growing purposes is the near-perfect setup for a home aquarium hobbyist. (Just MY opinion, of course.)


Very best wishes,


copyu 

Yippee's picture
Yippee

your information is much appreciated.


Yippee