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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Last Decade With Swordtail Guppies

The Last Decade With Swordtail Guppies

© Alan S. Bias
Permission granted for nonprofit reproduction or duplication of photos and text with proper credit for learning purposes only.

ca. 2003/4 fishroom
Shortly after relocating to Montana in Nov. 2002 the guppy bug bit me again.  Initially I set up a small 30 tank fishroom, which I expanded to nearly 60 tanks a couple years later.  Considering how unstable and acidic the water in the Bitterroot Valley is, I did fairly well.  PH shock was a constant battle when doing water changes or even moving fish from tank to tank.

It took 2-3 generations to acclimate new fish to this water.  It was that unstable and I am too stubborn to age water before changes.  The only good thing seemed to be once a tank clamped up and were successfully treated, it rarely happened to these individuals again.  Frequent midnight runs to the main Post Office in Missoula, MT with my son Kyle to pick up fish in below zero temperatures became the norm for several years.

ca. 2003/4 fishroom
While Double & Top Sword Guppies would fill my tanks, Vienna type Lower Swords would still be my primary focus.  Of notable mention, I would initially secure stock from the following breeders to fashion my lines.  The influence of many are still the basis of my strains today:

1.  Tomoko Young (HI) - Grey Bodied Lower Swords & Albino Lowers Swords.  I would incorporate the not only the albino trait, but also their X-linked yellow finnage into my lines.
2.  Darryl Tsutsui - (HI) - Schimmelpennig Platinum Double Swords.  From this line I would select for long flowing double swords / dorsals and a minimal clear area between the swords to meet IFGA standards,culling all lyretails.  They would serve as my primary show line in IFGA double sword classes.  Eventually placing a tank entry in Best of Show.
F3 Penchoff Full Red Double Swords
ca. 2005/6
3.  John Penchoff - (IL) - Gold & Grey Bodied Penchoff Full Red Double Swords.  These were a recent creation by Johns efforts as a breeder.  They are probably the most striking and beautiful Double Sword created in North America in the last 25 years.  They met with marginal results in shows with the IFGA's long standing bias for clear caudal swords.
4.  Late Dick Johnson - (AZ) - IFGA type Grey Bodied Lower & Double Swordtials.  While our idea of a "perfect swordtail" differed , Dick and I would regularly correspond, swap and show against each other for the remainder of his life.
5.  Marty Lawson - (VA) - IFGA type Gold Body Double Swords & Purple Moscow Deltas.  The latter of which would produce some very interesting crosses with swordtails.
6.  Enrique Patino - (WA) - Anette Wulff's Lace Snakeskin Double Swords & late Håkan Turesson's Coral Red Albino Double Swords. From these double snakeskins I would develop my show line of Vienna Lower Swords, which did well in IFGA shows.

ca. 2005/6 Gold (Blond) Vienna Lower Sword
From this broad selection of genetics, in conjunction with some IFGA type lowers and a couple non-descript common type guppies found at local pet shops I would develop a series of strains over the next several years that would occupy my interests in both maintaining fixed strains and test crosses.  While fixed strains always take up 80-90% percent of my tank space, I always allow the remainder for experimenting with available genotype found in my fishroom.  The results can be quite rewarding with planning and a little bit of luck...    


1 comment:

  1. Your guppies are Gorgeous.
    I am just getting back into fish keeping after many years, but I much prefer short finned fast moving guppies to the torpid solid.
    If the guppy association prefers solid color fish, maybe it is time to found another association.