Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wild Kingdom Round 3: Something Fishy

Did I mention the guppy breeding project?

A while back we got some guppies with the intention of doing breeding to better understand genetics.

We bought some males and some females, of course. The males all died because of a parasite disaster in the big tank. One of the two females died in a separate tank disaster (the filter got disconnected).

That left one female, but that was OK because she was pregnant! A non pregnant guppy is referred to as a "male", as it turns out. From her one encounter with the unknown father, she gives birth to a batch of fry every month...for six months.

Her last batch was fairly small, so we think she is near the end. Her first batch is almost ready to breed. I believe they are ready, but we are still waiting for full color development so we can decide which ones to breed.

I have been separating the sexes as soon as I could tell them apart (3-4 weeks old). I do this by scooping them out and looking at them in a wine glass (the only "glass" glass in the house) which has led to some odd looks as well as an interesting conversation with my mother in law when she found a snail in my wine glass at 2 in the afternoon. Fortunately, she is splendidly understanding about such things!

Anyway, after sexing the last batch, the grand total is: 47 males and 48 females, counting the mother. The one male that we think is fully mature is quite striking. He has a dark blue iridescent body and his fins are red with dark spots.

In a few weeks, when the rest have colored up, we'll start intentional breeding.

We also discovered something interesting about guppies! The mother has a dark blue body and light blue fins with dark spots. When I put her in the female tank (the lower picture) she turned pale and lost her color. I thought it was stress, but I couldn't figure out what could be wrong. Then I read an article on wild guppies that mentioned that wild females were covered with "melanophores"which changed the guppy's color depending on the color she was swimming over. The guppy turned dark when swimming over dark rocks, but light over a sandy bottom. If you look at the two tanks, one has a black substrate and the other is light tan!

1 comment:

Queen of Carrots said...

Can I just remark that I'm really glad I'm not a guppy? O:-)