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Bill's Fish Pages


Home | About Me and My Hobby | BETTAS pg-1 | BETTAS pg-2 | Guppys | Breeding and Selling Guppys | Hatching Brine Shrimp

the meager wild guppy

the less meager fancy guppy

Let's talk guppys. Or is it guppies,,for the sake of this page or two we will call them guppys. I remember back around 1970 this kid in my class brought in a bowl with these tiny little fish in them. They were plain,,like baby minnows,,they said they were guppys. They were the wild form of guppys and today's guppys are a far cry from the wild type.
Most of the guppys you see today in pet stores come from the far east. They come from breeders in places like Hong Kong and Singapore. A few of the fish farms in florida breed them too,,but they just breed the far eastern strains that nowadays are very weak and they usually die when people buy them.
Many years ago, 15-20 or so, there was a disease that broke out that started to spread among the guppy supplies. It was believed that it started at the breeder level and was originated by an introduction of a pathogen from live food sources. I think that the selective breeding process has alot to do with it as well. The strains are weak and are left succeptible to disease, be it viral or bacterial.
There exists however, a source of good healthy guppys,,and that is the American breeder. Surprised? There is a whole subculture of serious guppy breeders in the USA that produce fabulous quality strains and these are usually NOT seen in aquarium stores. Most of the serious guppy hobbyists are not in it for the money(yuck), but for the love of the fish. I'm more interested in the money myself.
So how can you get healthy guppys? There are a couple of ways. If you are comfortable with having fish shipped to you, then you should seek out a good guppy breeder to get stock from. The premier organization in the USA is the IFGA. It IS an international organization but in the USA it is the only real good source of fish. Many breeders advertise on other sites, an easy place to go would be Aquabid. Price scenarios in this case would be $30.00 to $50.00 a trio. A trio is one male and two females. LET ME SAY THIS, there are many unscrupulous(is that a word?), people who claim to have this strain or that strain and when you get the fish they turn out to be less than desireable. Do alot of research if you are going to buy fish sight unseen and pay lots of shipping costs. If you have a large fish club near you then go to their meetings and inquire about fish auctions. You can get good strains at auctions at a reasonable price. If you buy the fish hobbyist magazine called FAMA, you will find a few reputable guppy breeders in the classified ads in the back of he magazine.
Anyway, let's say you are like most people and you have limited funds, you don't feel very comfortable shopping on-line or you just don't want to pay shipping. Well then you need to start from scratch by buying a store guppy.
You will have a tough time because like I said before, most store guppys are not very healthy. Why aren't they healthy? Let me give you a brief scenario as to how they end up in your local shop. In the far east, in places like Singapore and Hong Kong there are breeders of tropical fish. These people have small tracts of land,, maybe a half or even quarter acre. These people do not have beautiful homes or buildings,,they are shantys and metal quansun huts. The ground is mud and they use whatever will hold water to breed their fish in. There ARE a few breeders that have proper hatcheries but these are far and few in between. The breeders supply fish brokers with their fish. The brokers collect fish from these little breeers and fish collectors as well. The fish are shipped to transhippers in Los Angeles, the they are shipped to florida fish farmers. Many more are shipped to smaller wholesalers around the country. During the many stops and shippers, the guppys are put in many various types of water. Many far eastern breeders use very salty water to keep their fish in. This is to keep the dreaded guppy disease at bay. During many of the stops the fish are medicated with anti fungal, anti parisitical and antibiotic meds. This has a profound impact on the fishs' health. These fish are VERY stressed. Many die enroute and the very few that make it to your store have survived a rigorous regimen. Of course, most stores do not use high levels of salt, and most stores do not medicate or even quaranteen. After a very short time the guppys start to die off in the store's tanks. ALOT of stores will not even buy guppys anymore.

The less glorious but nonetheless important female
Note the dark spot or "gravid" spot by her anal region aka "butt"

My "elusive" strain of snakeskins
I never purported to be a photographer

Why bother even getting guppys then? You must be asking this right? Well they are one of the most beautiful fish in the world(by many peoples' standards, not mine). Well, since the general health of imported guppys is bad, and many stores do not like to buy them, then the only answer is to provide locally bred healthy guppys!! I will talk about selling them on the next page.
Let's get you started then. Let the search begin! You must go to EVERY store in your area and examine the guppys they have available. You will only be buying ONE or TWO females. Most stores do not sell virgin females,,they have been kept with a hodgepodge of males and will be pregnant. Guppys that have been with males are ALWAYS pregnant.
Female guppys can have many succesive broods of fry while only having been with a male once. Many people call this "superfetation", not an accurate word but we won't get into THAT!
What you should do is get a 10 gallon aquarium and set it up with lots of plants and make sure it has been established for a few weeks before you buy your guppys. The tank will be a nursery and birthing tank. I don't like seeing breeder traps used,,they cause more problems for the females and babies than they are worth.
After your tank is set up go to the stores and EXAMINE the fish. If your local store has locally bred guppys then you are in luck! If they are foriegn bred guppys then you must look carefully. Watch the fish. You do not want to buy any fish if you see any of the following: shimmying,,that is,,the fish are swimming by twisting their bodies back and forth instead of using their fins, grey patches,,,the dreaded guppy disease presents itself by grey patches or loss of color in the body of the fish,,females show this more,,their bodies are bigger. The disease causes a wasting away of the fish,,,and it kills quickly. Don't buy any if the fish are just hanging under the surface,,not swimming,,or if they are just laying on the bottom. A healthy guppy should be swimming constantly,,,moving around nonstop,,,ask the store to put a little food into the tank,,,,the fish should immediately go for it,,,if they don't don't buy them,,and for GOD's sake,,,don't buy the fish if the store won't feed them,,,in fact,,never go to that store again.
Look for one or two females that look healthy and have rounded bellys. Don't buy them if the bellys are flat. There is a gravid spot in the anal region(see pics), this is an area where you can see the developing young,,it gets large in expecting moms.
Pick no more than two females and take them home to their tank. If they are pregnant, and they should be,,,then they will have their babies in a few weeks. Healthy female guppys have babies every 30 days or so,,,they can have from 20 to 50 or so babies each time. If your tank is heavily planted then very few babies will be eaten by the females. When both females have given birth I HEAVILY SUGGEST taking them back to the store and never buying any more. You have your brood stock to start on your adventure of creating yor own home bred fish.
I will get into more detail breeding and selling on guppy page two. See you there!

a less than spectacular strain of "purple" tails

You might consider a book like this if you plan on getting serious about guppys

In my never ending quest to encourage reading, I need to recommend finding a book on guppys to read if you plan on breeding them, especially if you plan on breeding them for money.
Make sure there is a chapter on genetics.