What Will My Fry Look Like And How Would You Manage Them?

PaulJohnSmith

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Hi all, I have a pair of big ear red tail guppies, see link for picture, which I hoped to breed and have more beautiful guppies like them. The female became ready to give birth and I assume that due to them being the only pair in my tank the male harrassed the female and he/she ate most of the fry as they popped out. I only have 2 surviving fry. 
 
On the back of this I bought 2 female guppies, hoping they will take some of the male attention away from my original female and next time will drop much more fry.
 
My surviving fry are in a fry trap inside my tank and will stay there until big enough to survive in my tank with the other guppies. Obviously now these cheaper female guppies will drop fry at some point so I have a few questions for you guys:
 
1. What will the fry from my cheaper guppies look like?
2. What are the chances of them looking like the dad in the picture?
3. I have 2 fry traps, would it be best to keep the 'cheaper' fry in there and assess which (if any) to keep and remove the rest?
4. If not, how would you guys manage this situation?
 
I do not have a 2nd tank.
 
http://smithy7.tumblr.com/image/144855594294 - This is the male.
 
 
 
 

Akasha72

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Hi, fish genetics is a very complicated subject and so guessing at what the fry will look like is fraught with difficulties.
 
Firstly, female livebearers can hold sperm for up to 6 months so if she was in the dealers tank with other males the pair of fry you currently have could have a different father. If you want to be certain your existing male is the father of the fry you will need to potentially wait for 6 months +
 
Most female livebearers are already pregnant when we bring them home and this will apply to all 3 of your females.
 
In terms of setting up a breeding programme - which appears to be what you are wishing to do - I would suggest you get a second tank as a grow out tank for your fry. That way you can select the best and move on those you don't want to keep, via a lfs perhaps or through friends etc
 
It is completely normal for the parents to eat their own fry. I had a female guppy that would drop a fry then spin round and eat it immediately. My platies did this too. The best way to get a good amount of fry to survive is to heavily plant the tank. This allows for areas for fry to hide. The alternative is the breeding traps that you mention, although these can cause severe stress to the female and you should limit the time she is kept in the trap to the birthing process and no longer.
 
In terms of genetics ... as far as I'm aware you can expect for 50% of fry to be like their parents. The other 50% could be a mix of what ever genetics it took to create the parents colouration. This is based on my research into angelfish genetics and may or may not apply to other types of fish. 
 
Hope that helps :)
 
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PaulJohnSmith

PaulJohnSmith

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Hi Akasha.
 
The females were in a tank of their own in the store, I know this doesn't guarantee that they hadn't been in contact with males I am hoping they hadn't.  
 
My tank is quite heavily planted, I am sure my problem was the fact that I had 1 male and 1 female together and he never left her side. 
 

Akasha72

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yeah, we'd never recommend a one on one with livebearers. As you've already seen, the males can be really insistant and then the female becomes stressed by his incessant persistence. We always recommend 2 or 3 females to 1 male
 
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Yeah that what I have now. He still seems to hang around her alot but not half as much as he used to when she was the only female. 
 

chrisdenyer

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I don't know about guppies, but in my experience with mollies you really can't tell what colour they will actually be until they're a good 2 months old...none of my fry have kept the coloration that they were born with - I my case, it was around 50/50 for them looking like the mum or the dad, with no oddballs, but then there's only a few main colour variations to begin with...I imagine guppy colour genes are considerably more complicated! I suggest posting a classifieds ad on something like aquarist-classifieds.co.uk if you can't find a local shop that'll take them
 
Akasha72 said:
 
 
In terms of setting up a breeding programme - which appears to be what you are wishing to do - I would suggest you get a second tank as a grow out tank for your fry. That way you can select the best and move on those you don't want to keep, via a lfs perhaps or through friends etc
 
 
Akasha72, what's the lfs that you know that takes livebearer fry? I'm guessing it's an independent local shop.... I'm stuck with pets at home (eeeugh) or the maidenhead aquatics at my nearest garden centre which won't take them :( There used to be a great little independent fish shop at the top of my road but it closed down!
 
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PaulJohnSmith

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I am the same my LFS will not take them either, I normally sell them through gumtree, my facebook group or my youtube channel so wont have an issue moving the ones that dont take my fancy. I just want as many as possible to look like the parents 

 
I would be happy if half my fry look like their parents, if they drop 20 a month I would be happy with 10 keepers and 10 sellers.
 

Akasha72

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I live in North Yorkshire and I have a small independent fairly local who took in hundreds of platy and guppy fry from me in the early years ... back when I was keeping fish as a beginner and was keeping what my Dad thought of as 'easy fish to begin with'. My Dad has kept fish for around 50 years so he suggested I started with livebearers because they were easy going. 
 
The lfs never gave credit for livebearer fry but that didn't matter, it was somewhere to take them, I had a plentiful supply and they got young healthy fish for free from a source that they knew. It was win-win for both of us really
 
I had one guppy female that dropped well over 100 fry in one go. I thought she had dropsy as she was so big her scales were sticking out! That was a fun day! I had to grab a storage box from my bedroom, empty it, wash it out and set it up as an emergency tank! 
 
It's normally the small independents that will help you out ... and help you any which way they can if they are a good one. I'd advise anyone to go searching for such a store because they are worth their weight in gold :)
 
There are some fish keepers that seek out fry for feeder fish ... it's not a practice I agree with but it happens
 

chrisdenyer

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Yeah I thought it would only be small independents. I think I'm over my fry population problems...only have females now, although the adult is still pregnant (hopefully only this lot to go though, it's been 6 months now!) and I've moved everyone around and done a major re-stock recently so I haven't got anyone to eat this next lot! Might have another look around just in case...there must be someone around here! I like to re-home them if I can, but at least being eaten is natural - although not so much if you're deliberately feeding them to another fish I suppose 
I wouldn't want to deliberately breed them without a way to sell/re-home/keep them...I was in the same position as so many starters of beginning with 'easy' livebearers without knowing the consequences! In fact, I did ask for all females when I started but one was actually a male - and I didn't know enough at the time to notice before he'd had his way with the rest of them! 
 
@PaulJohnSmith, I wish I had enough space to keep 10 fry a month! sounds like a plan, hope you get some good looking ones :) Saying that I have only female mollies, I do have one gorgeous male guppy in there with them at the moment, he's always frantically trying to mate with them - there's an outside chance I could end up with some fun hybrids! Although I don't think he's actually been successful yet - he's so over excited he keeps poking them in the eyes with his gonopodium 
 

helterskelter

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PaulJohnSmith said:
1. What will the fry from my cheaper guppies look like?
2. What are the chances of them looking like the dad in the picture?
3. I have 2 fry traps, would it be best to keep the 'cheaper' fry in there and assess which (if any) to keep and remove the rest?
4. If not, how would you guys manage this situation?
 
1.Impossible to tell.
2. Zero %. You would have to know what genetics were carried by only the Y chromosome
3. Personally i would not wast my time on shop guppy fry. your not know what your get from them.
4. I would work at keeping the big ear line going as I've only seen crap in the UK, yours looks very good.
hope that the 2 fry you have there's a female and cross back to dad.
 
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PaulJohnSmith

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chrisdenyer said:
Yeah I thought it would only be small independents. I think I'm over my fry population problems...only have females now, although the adult is still pregnant (hopefully only this lot to go though, it's been 6 months now!) and I've moved everyone around and done a major re-stock recently so I haven't got anyone to eat this next lot! Might have another look around just in case...there must be someone around here! I like to re-home them if I can, but at least being eaten is natural - although not so much if you're deliberately feeding them to another fish I suppose 
I wouldn't want to deliberately breed them without a way to sell/re-home/keep them...I was in the same position as so many starters of beginning with 'easy' livebearers without knowing the consequences! In fact, I did ask for all females when I started but one was actually a male - and I didn't know enough at the time to notice before he'd had his way with the rest of them! 
 
@PaulJohnSmith, I wish I had enough space to keep 10 fry a month! sounds like a plan, hope you get some good looking ones
Saying that I have only female mollies, I do have one gorgeous male guppy in there with them at the moment, he's always frantically trying to mate with them - there's an outside chance I could end up with some fun hybrids! Although I don't think he's actually been successful yet - he's so over excited he keeps poking them in the eyes with his gonopodium 
I wont keep 10 every month, I wish i had the space for that too! haha. There always people around my area willing to buy them so dont envisage any problems moving mine. My dad has a 6ft community tank anyway so if I get desperate I will speak nicely to him lol.
helterskelter said:
 
1. What will the fry from my cheaper guppies look like?
2. What are the chances of them looking like the dad in the picture?
3. I have 2 fry traps, would it be best to keep the 'cheaper' fry in there and assess which (if any) to keep and remove the rest?
4. If not, how would you guys manage this situation?
 
1.Impossible to tell.
2. Zero %. You would have to know what genetics were carried by only the Y chromosome
3. Personally i would not wast my time on shop guppy fry. your not know what your get from them.
4. I would work at keeping the big ear line going as I've only seen crap in the UK, yours looks very good.
hope that the 2 fry you have there's a female and cross back to dad.
 
Thanks helterskelter, some very useful information. Sounds like you have a lot of experience breeding guppies.
 

helterskelter

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I've been keeping unusual guppies and show guppies for several years and rare livebearers since 1992.
while I'm not an expert i do know a fair bit.
 

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