Guppy Rebound

At long last, my dream of a guppy tank is coming true. After months with no guppy babies, a few finally appeared. I watched in horror as the surviving platy adolescents hunted them down and ate them.

Three hours later, my 29-gallon tank was finally platy-free. The last eight brought the total removed to more than 60. Surviving the platy purge were two sailfin molly males, a pair of otocinclus (algae eaters), a panda catfish, six adult guppies (four males and two females) and a few guppy babies.

Three pairs of red cobra guppies went into the tank last May. Ending up with the same number more than six months later was surprising. Two of the six (one pair) are offspring of the originals. She’s young. He has the cobra pattern without any red. The other female is original. The other males could be offspring or original.

Soon after removing the platies, the guppy population exploded. The tiny guppy fry are at risk until they’re too big for the parents to eat. Tracking individuals is impossible, but they grow fast and are safe in a matter of days.

Schools of fry of various sizes come out of hiding at feeding time. Unlike earlier broods, variations are already evident. In addition to the “normal” drab color, some are yellowish. A few are darker. I’m curious to see how the variations play out in the adults.

Fancy guppy varieties are the result of selective breeding. Professional breeders separate the males and females as soon as possible. Once they mature, breeders select males with desirable traits to put with healthy females from the same brood. That process is repeated numerous times to create a new variety.

Setting up more tanks is out of the question. Since I won’t be separating the sexes, the likelihood of creating a new variety is low. By the time the difference between males and females is obvious to me, it’s too late.

Given the population explosion, overcrowding is inevitable. Sooner or later, I’ll have guppies to re-home or surrender. What happens after weeding out fish with undesirable traits? Time will tell. As always, I’ll keep you posted.