by Bob Larsen, South Jersey Guppy Group


Throughout this article I will assume a person wants to breed quality fish. Some people only desire seeing a tank full of pretty guppies. These fish as you know come in a host of different colors, both in finnage and body colors. There are also albino guppies. Do not misunderstand me, I have no problem with guppy keeping of this type. There are hobbyists, however, that would like to breed and raise some nice specimens. The mistake this person makes is mixing some nice fish. They will mix half black reds with half black greens and other colors. It is possible that a few half way decent fish will be gotten, but that luck will be short lived. In order to set up a real breeding program, you must first decide what strain or color type you like the most. You will also be looking to attain at least one trio (1 male and 2 females). If you have lots of tanks, two trios would be even better. You should have at least seven or eight tanks per trio. Now comes the tricky part. That part is where to obtain the breeders. You want fish from a reputable breeder. I suggest going to the IFGA (International Fancy Guppy Association). The IFGA has a website with all kinds of information. Just click on the show link. Future shows are listed. You can also check current and past year show point standings. At this point you can connect the dots and find out who has been winning, say in the red class, not only this year but for the past five years. Many times you will see the same name over and over. That person might not place first each year because the competition is tough, but he still shows consistency placing in the top four for a number of years in that color class. You can also hit the show link for upcoming shows and results after the show. You do not have to be a member for that. Between the IFGA website and local all species clubs, you might find a guppy club, a show, or an individual in your area. Once you find a breeder, you can call or email this person to get started. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $30 to $100 for a trio, plus shipping. You might even be able to visit the breeder and view his operation. This is the best. Stress the need for young fish. I prefer to set up breeders at between three and four months of age. People who come to my house see the big show fish and want them. This is not what you want. Remember you are buying GENETICS, not a showy fish. Most breeders I know have at least two or three lines of prize fish. If you can only get one trio, ask for the females to be from different lines. Otherwise, you would probably get a male and two sisters. This situation is totally acceptable as long as the breeder knows what he is doing. Also let us go back to the two trio scenario. You could request one trio from each line. This scenario gives you the best end result. You would now have a breading program that should last for years. One more thought would involve pregnant females. Many breeders keep their young together, where as others, (myself included), separate males and females as soon as their sex can be determined. Receiving pregnant females should be a plus. The recipient would get young from those fish quickly. This is helpful if you lose a male or female from the original purchase. In the case of buying fish from a breeder who separates the fish, you could ask the breeder to set up the trios for you and ship a week or two later. My last thought involves internet sales. You can see gorgeous fish on this media. What you get can be a completely different animal. It depends on the genetic makeup of the fish, where they came from and what was done to them. The genetic makeup of these fish could be what we call hybrids for example. Hybrids generally are a cross between two different lines of fish that are compatible. I can take for instance, blacks and cross them to half black purples and come up with some super blacks. If you took these fish and bred them, more than likely you would get a mixture of colors of black and half black purple, but nowhere near the size of what you saw in the picture


Bob Larsen