By Frank Schwab
After you have acquired your new Guppies, you will need a breeding program to properly maintain the quality of your strain. Without proper breeding techniques, even SHOW GUPPIES will revert back to looking like the wild guppy in a few generations. When breeding your Guppies, it is best to work on only one area at a time. So you need to decide what it is you want to improve in your strain. You may want to increase the size of the tail, make the colors brighter, increase the length of the fins, etc., but it is best to work on one thing at a time. There are three different breeding methods you can use with your Guppies.
These are INBREEDING, LINEBREEDING, and OUTCROSSING. I will give you the general basics of all three.
Let's start with INBREEDING. The advantages of this method are in fixing a fin conformation, a particular color, or color pattern. In this method, you will use closely related fish, such as brother to sister, father to daughter, or in-backcrossing son to mother. Basically, you will look for the best male and female of a spawn and breed them together. You then continue to do this on down the line through the generations. If you develop an exceptional male, you would breed him to his sister, and if possible, back to his mother. This would give you a higher percentage of closely related fish for the development of an inbred line. This will help you to develop fish that look alike both in color and pattern.
Now let's take a look at OUTCROSSING. A hybrid Guppy is a fish or group of fish resulting from a cross of unrelated fish. Many breeders have used this method to produce their SHOW GUPPIES, but once developed, it is very hard to establish your strain. Some people have developed beautiful new varieties by simply crossing everything they have together with the hope of finding the right combination. After this is done, the problem is getting the new line to produce the same type of fish. I would recommend selecting another line of fish with an established line only to improve the finnage or color of what you have. This can provide you with that little extra your fish may need to push them over the top.
The Third method, LINEBREEDING, is probably the safest and most efficient form of Guppy Breeding. It is important to keep good records for this method. To start a linebreeding program, you would take a male and breed him to two of his sisters. Then keep the resulting young from each female seperate. The F1, or next generation would again be bred brother to sister, keeping each line separate. This is continued for about six generations. At this time, you then take a male from one line and cross it to a female from the other line and vice versa. Then you once again keep them separated. If you pick the correct fish for your breeders, it is possible to do this for years, and still get quality fish. This is really a form of INBREEDING, but by running another line to cross back into, you can maintain the better qualities of the fish that can be eventually lost through a strict INBREEDING program.
BREEDING AGE. It is best to breed your Guppies while they are young. If you wait too long, your older females will not produce as many babies to work with. I hope this information will help get you started. FRANK SCHWAB