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Beginners Luck, The Ups And Downs
By Sherry Wells
Deep South Fancy Guppy Associates

      I was searching the web and found this great site, Aquabid. I had been raising fish for several years and thought wow what beautiful guppies. Looking through, I couldn't believe my eyes, show fish? Allot of the fish for auction said that they were IFGA quality fish, what was the IFGA. After searching some more I finally found out what the IFGA was, and found a club in my area. I joined and found a great support group with a lot of knowledge. Now for deciding what color of fish that I wanted to begin with. I knew that I wanted IFGA quality fish so I started searching through the auctions that advertised this. Red, greens, blues, blacks, snakeskins, bi colors, just how is a person going to chose with so many colors to chose from. Finally I opened a auction, this is what I wanted, I had never seen such an awesome fish, Bronze.

      After asking all the questions that the IFGA suggested that a beginner should ask, I bid on the fish. Then three days later I get the email, I won. Ok, one of the first stepping stones I faced was, shipping those fish to me. I had never heard that a fish could survive for a couple of days with out O2. I worried for several days about getting those fish to me. Then I received the email that they should be there the next day through AirBorne. I waited all day and no delivery, I finally called them, it was Friday and we were in there out section, it would be Monday before they got here. Needless to say they pulled the fish and off we go to the air port, to pick them up. When we got there, we immediately opened the box, they were alive and swimming around in the bags. I was addicted!

      Waiting for the first drops was a night mare, one female dropped and I missed it. The second female looked hit, I separated her from the others. After two weeks still no babies I returned her to the other tank, then found a single baby in that tank. I scooped it out but it didn't live. I couldn't tell with these fish if they were hit or not. I know that I drove my group crazy with questions (and still do). They looked as if they were hit, but no babies. Finally someone suggested that I add some salt and raise the temps in the tank. Still no babies, so the waiting began Finally I gave up, maybe I needed more females or something. Then I noticed that the female looked like she was going to drop again, putting her back into the drop tank again the waiting begin again. This time Bingo, I had my first drop, then several more after that.

      Now we drive a truck, but we were getting home nearly every night then. So the daily water changes and feeding took place at all hours of the day and night for these babies. Besides we had a son home and if we didn't get back home then he could at least feed flakes to these fish. We came home and a heater had gone out, I had lost my breeders. Ok, I still have the babies. In the mean time, I had an accident, so then I was home all the time with them. Changing water and feeding them, became the main concern then. Live foods then began to worry me, I had read that they grow huge with live foods. I got Miroworms from a club member, then I started to try and hatch BBS. I haven't to this day hatched any BBS, between them not hatching and the grandbaby drinking them, they never had a chance.

      My first show approached, and I was so excited. I read everything I could find on shipping, and had a list made making sure that I did everything right. This was going to be my first attempt at shipping fish, and the worrying began again. What if a bag busted, or what if I didn't tie it tight enough and water leaked out. The day finally arrived and with all the directions printed out I began I measured out the water and netted the first fish, poured him into a bag and tied it as tight as I could. The problem was when I tried to place that first bag into the second bag, it took me thirty mins to figure out a system, but I survived and the fish were on their way. They made it and three placed, which was icing on the cake, then they made it back home again.

      The second show arrived and it was hosted by my club, I could hardly contain the excitement. I was going to be able to see all these fish in person (?), to see all the colors that I was missing out on. Another thing I saw was how much work these clubs do to host one of these shows. Saturday morning arrived and I bagged my fish, off we went. When I got there we had placed alot on the bench but I was so tried that I really didn't notice them that much. I got to really see them, and I was floored. Now I thought that mine were huge, and they were considering that they were way bigger than any other guppy that I had ever had. But if one of mine happened to jump out of its bowl into another's, they were going to be eaten by these monster fish.

      OK, time to rethink this. One was DQ, not enough bronzing. They were way too small, so I really need the BBS. Auction came, and I added a purple delta male, to cross with them to improve the bronzing. Tom Allen was there, and his article on Bronze had just been published. This really helped me, and Tom was kind enough to talk to me about my fish. I also got some HB Blues that the other half wanted, and then some bi colored blue/green. I came home and put them in a quarantine tank for a few days and everything looked great, so I went on and put them in their regular tank, and the other tank that I had set up for the others.

      Lessons learned even if it was to late. One, never place fish sent to a show back into your tanks, set up another tank just for the fish going and coming back from shows. The heater went out again on the HB Blue tank, I lost nearly all of them. The HB Blues looked funny, then the second day looked fuzzy, ick. I started treating them for ick with Melafix. I also added some salt, I was getting desperate. Then I had a fish floating in the tank next to them, I took the net and grabbed it out. I had just contaminated that tank, by not thinking. Then I start bleaching everything, trying to keep it out of the other tanks. I noticed that several had red spots on them, along with the cotton fungus. Tails clamped, floating, I was losing fish fast. Doing at least 50 % water changes and medicating, still losing fish. I thought that it was just getting the males, then the females looking just fine started dying.

      I'm still not through with this, I keep on searching the tanks I have left. I put down all my fish except for four female bronze and the purple delta, which haven't shown any signs of disease. This first year has been a lot of ups and downs, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. There is so much to learn, and I don't think I have ran out of sites on the internet yet to read. Right now I am in the beginnings of adding my fish room, and I am beginning all over with the fish. This first year, I feel like, has been nothing but lessons learned, mostly the hard way. But the on the up side, I have a wonderful club, got to go to my first show, and placed with my minnows. So not so bad for a beginner.

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