PROFILE: Dave Polunas

I’ve been asked to write this article as an introduction for myself on our S.J.G.G. website at , so here is goes. I’ve been a member of the South Jersey Guppy Group since 1972 and have been raising and showing fancy guppies ever since. My first encounter with tropical fish was with guppies at the age of 10. I went over to a friend’s house and saw a 5 gallon tank in the kitchen window with about 50 guppies of various sizes in it. When I asked about them, I was told they had their babies alive and the parents and babies could live together. Needless to say I left that house with a cleaned out mayonnaise jar containing a dozen guppies of various sizes and one big pregnant female. Thus the beginning of a lifelong hobby and passion for raising beautiful guppies of all color varieties.

The hobby has been good to me and most important I’ve made a lot of guppy friends along the way. People who also share the passion for raising, showing, and just plain talking about breeding this remarkable fish. Many of these people have been judges or members of local clubs in the International Fancy Guppy Association (I.F.G.A.). I became an I.F.G.A. certified judge in the early 1980’s and a member of the I.F.G.A. Judging Board in the early 1990’s. Its been a pleasure and an honor to be involved in the association this way. I recommend that anyone who is serious about showing and competing in the fancy guppy hobby to get a copy of the I.F.G.A. Judging Book and study it from cover to cover. In this book it spells out exactly what the judges are looking for so you can breed your fish to meet the standards.

Like most serious breeders in this hobby, I’ve had a number of different fish room and room designs with different tank sizes until I’ve found what works best for me. My present room measures about 10’ x 12’ and contains 60 tanks. Approximately 30 tanks in the 2 to 5 gallon size and 30 tanks in the 10-20 gallon size.

All my breeders are kept in the 2 gallon tanks. I usually set up the 2 best males in a strain with four of the largest best shaped females which are their sisters. I use a line breeding technique instead of breeding first cousins because it produces more uniform matching fish in a strain. My fish are bred brother to sister for 3 to 4 generations and then the 2 lines I keep of each strain are crossed both ways and new lines are started with the best F1 batches.

When the females are well pregnant they are moved to 5 gallon tanks to drop their young. They are put into 8inch breeding traps with Hagen spawning grass until they drop. Once the fry are born the trap is removed and the fry spend their first 3-6 weeks in the 5 gallon tanks. At this point they are transferred to 10 gallon or 20 gallon tanks to spend the rest of their lives. I usually keep 10-12 females with 20-25 males in each 10 gallon tank initially and cull heavy as they grow larger. When the fish are about 3-5 months of age, the breeders are picked out and the number of fish per 10 gallon left is in the 10 to 15 range. The fish, depending on their strain and fish room temperature , reach show age at 5 to 8 months.

My feeding routine is to feed dry 3-4 times per day ( different flake foods crumbled to a small size) and live baby brine shrimp twice a day. I stop feeding the baby brine shrimp when the fish reach 5-6 months old as they no longer need it. A beef heart paste food is fed twice a week 4 to 8 hours just before siphoning. Too much beef heart paste can foul the water so I only feed on a water changing day. The beef heart paste I make contains other ingredients including cooked shrimp, strained carrots, and vitamins. The guppies attack the beef heart like it was their favorite food.


I do two water changes a week ranging between 10 to 50 percent depending on the age of the fish. Young fry get 50% changes until about 3months old and older fish at show size age get only 10% change. You need to do the water changes on a regular schedule or the fish will not obtain maximum size.

During my 25 years of breeding fancy guppies I believe I’ve tried every color strain that was available. Some worked well under my raising conditions and water conditions and other did not. My advice is to just try several strains and then stick with what works best for you. As for my favorite strain, its probably whatever catches my eye at a show or attention on a particular day. Therefore, they are all my favorite strains. I enjoy any strain with good vigor and shape that is pleasing to the eye.

I’m currently working with pastels (whites), snakeskins ( 3 types), H/B Blues, H/B purples, H/B yellows, H/B reds, plus a few variations of the above strains. You’ll always find something new or different in my fishroom every six months or so. This keeps the hobby fresh and interesting. I’ve got guppy fever.! Just catch it and enjoy it!

For more information: email
Dave Polunas at