Fish Breeding: Choosing the parents

Fish Breeding: Choosing the parents

When Charles Darwin laid down the Theory of the Survival of the Fittest, he was only stating what was so very obvious in nature. The best male of the species will try to impregnate the females, and the females prefer the best male since his DNA increases the chances offspring survival. That is why many animals like the lions etc will have only one dominant male who has successfully defeated all other males in the group. This male alone impregnates the sexually active females. He continues to be the leader until a healthier and stronger male defeat him.

There is something very vital in this theory for the aquarist too. When your fish are ready to breed, it will not do to select just any pair. You need to select the male and female very carefully, unless you are breeding to provide food for other fish. Here are some pointers that will help you choose the right pair:

- Fish that have brighter colors and good markings are the healthiest in a stock. Fish that have good finage, movements and vitality are also healthy.

- The appetite of a fish is often an indicator of its general health and vitality. Only fish that have a good appetite should be selected for breeding.

- Do not use fish that appear stunted or deformed in any way.

- The age of the fish is also important while you consider mating partners. It is better to go for younger fish that are in their prime rather than choosing older fish that have almost reached the end of the reproductive lives. An exception from this rule can be if you have an older specimen with exceptional code coloration, finage or other qualities that you want to breed on.

- Compatible pairs make good partners. Always see that the pair you are choosing are able to get along well. For instance, in Cichlids, fish form pairs only after they have been put together in an aquarium for many months. If the fish are not compatible, one of them may even bully the other to death.
- Unhealthy fish and fish that are not mature enough will not produce healthy fry. You should therefore only choose healthy and mature fish for breeding.

- In case you want to experiment crossing two different strains, please keep in mind that the resulting fry may be unattractive. Never sell crossbreed fish as pure fish. Do not mix impure strains with pure strains.

- Hybrids made by crossing two different species are often sterile. It is possible to mistake the females of different species, because some of them look very similar. Hybrids should be avoided and should never be sold as anything other than hybrids.

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