If you have an interest in guppies, it is probably only a matter of time before you become interested in rearing guppy fry yourself. Find out how to do it right in this exclusive interview with guppy expert Luke Roebuck.
About Luke Roebuck
Luke Roebuck is a show judge with the International Fancy Guppy Association who has been raising guppies for over 40 years and has been showing them for 17 years. He currently has over 250 tanks where he raises show guppies to ship all over the world. Luke agreed to share some of his knowledge on what it takes to rear guppy fry to healthy, beautiful adults.
Interview: Rearing Guppy Fry
LoveToKnow (LTK): Luke, how difficult is it to rear guppy fry? Do they need to be fed a particular kind of food?
Luke Roebuck (LR): Guppy fry are relatively easy to raise. They are best given a tank of their own away from adults or older fry from a different batch. They need to be fed at least three times per day with high-quality growth foods, and at least one feeding should be live baby Artemia (brine shrimp) or other suitable small live foods.
Live Artemia can be hatched daily from cyst eggs and fed to all fish. Feeding from fry to adults does not change appreciably. Most good breeders tend to feed fry more often (up to six to ten times per day), and they feed the fry more live food than they do the adults because the first three months are critical for body building. We feed newly hatched artemia from newborn to death.
Many breeders separate their young by sex as early as they can maybe (two weeks after birth). Fry can be housed temporarily in one-gallon containers, but they should be moved as soon as possible after a week or two to a larger tank to allow room to grow and for the better water quality afforded.
LTK: What kind of equipment is needed?
LR: Many breeders separate pregnant females into small containers they use for breeding tanks. I also use breeding traps which allow the young to escape the mother and keep her from partaking in cannibalism. The newborn fry fall through small mesh openings in the trap and can live safely in the breeding container during the birthing process and after the trap with the mother is removed.
Some breeders use heavy fry protection instead of traps, which tend to cause claustrophobic stress on mothers and they can and do jump out! The containers are tightly covered except for a small feeding opening cut in the cover.
LTK: What are some common concerns and problems to watch for?
LR: Early culling for deformities is important, and the overall health and strength of the fry should be observed on a daily basis. Carefully observe and assess the stress level and health of the fry by observing their feeding and swimming activity. Occasionally the fry may be born weak from a stressed mother, especially if she was shipped very pregnant.
Also, fry born to a new guppy owner in different water and food environment should be monitored closely for signs of stress, clamped fins, etc. This can also occur when moving fry to a new tank. Sometimes the addition of salt and Cycle starter to the new tank can alleviate this problem.
Tips for Raising Guppies
LTK: Luke, what other tips can you share with people who want to begin raising guppies?
LR: Guppies can be a labor of love or work depending on your objectives, attitude and focus. All involve multiple tanks, and this is a labor-intensive hobby if you want to produce top-quality fish. You cannot maintain high-quality guppies in only one tank. If fry are left to grow up together with the parents, they usually don't realize their best growth potential and become stunted by the toxic pheromones emitted by the older fish with their waste products.
Many of us experienced breeders separate guppy hobbyists into guppy raisers and guppy breeders. Raisers are different from breeders in that they can feed, clean and rear guppies and their mass-produced fry with good husbandry practices. Breeders have some basic genetic knowledge and understanding of guppy strains, phenotypes and genotypes in such a way as to not only maintain or "raise" guppies, but to develop and improve strains and create new pedigreed strains.
LTK: Is there anything else you'd like to share?
LR: Guppies have been developed into countless strains and now come in every color of the rainbow. Development has come a long way over the last 60+ odd years since the early years of fancy guppy keeping. With the help fo the Internet, hobbyists and breeders world-wide have been able to communicate and share not only the hobby knowledge, but the strains as well.
There have been several breeding centers worldwide which maintain strains, breeds and show guppies based on their own local show development standards. Europe (International Kuratorium of Guppy Highbreeding [IKGH],Germany, EU and Russia), Asia (Japan, and recently Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore), USA (International Fancy Guppy Association [IFGA]), and now Brazil. These areas have developed their own strains of guppies or maintained variations from older traditional guppy breeding regions like USA, Germany and Japan. These hobbyists have connected over the last 10+ years and exchanged most aspects of the hobby.
Today we can obtain strains from all over the world that were previously only known to the local areas where they were bred. I maintain a website which briefly touches on these aspects of the hobby as well as makes available a portfolio of the guppy strains that are available today.
Learn More About Guppies
To learn more about guppies, check out the Pan Pacific Guppy Association. You can also visit Luke's personal website, Luke's Show Guppies, where he has guppies available for purchase. Another excellent resource is the International Fancy Guppy Association.
LoveToKnow would like to thank Luke Roebuck for taking the time for this interview.