The Guppy is not only the most popular exotic fish, but it has been the most important in the development and spread of the aquarium hobby. Its bright colors of infinite variety, its lively habits, its ability to stand crowding, together with the fact (always so interesting to the novice) that it is a livebearer; all these assets combine to make a quick conquest of the casual observer, who gets “hooked” before he knows it. It is therefore not too far—fetched that someone has called it the “Missionary Fish,” so many have been its converts to the ranks of aquarists.
Nor are its devotees by any means confined to beginners. In a hobby like ours in which there are so many fishes from which to choose, and to which new importations are steadily added, there are bound to be favorites come up that hold the spotlight for a time. Many have come and gone, but, like the poor, the Guppy is always with us.
Another thing about the Guppy that appeals to the advanced aquarist is its adaptability to modification through selective breeding. It is exceptional in that respect, both as to color pattern and fin formation. Most of our interesting creations among the livebearers are the results of cross—breeding between closely- related species. While Mr. Guppy shows no individual attachment to any one mate, he is, nevertheless, a “good family man,” as far as species is concerned. He is usually either unwilling or unable to fertilize a female of another species. The very few of his illegitimate children have been sterile or died young.
In my time I have had my home so populated with aquariums that my wife and children have almost been crowded out. Now all that is radically changed. I now keep only two tanks at home. One is a temporary hotel for anything “new” until it is fingerprinted and photographed. The other is a small tank set up for my own pleasure and relaxation. It contains nothing but carefully selected Guppies! Admiration for them never loses its freshness.
Among the various types of Guppies that we see nowadays, there is a strain of rather large size having a dark tail fin. This is known as the “Trinidad Guppy.” The native Guppies are only about half the size of our domesticated stock, and the vast majority of them have poor colors. It therefore seems that intelligent selective breeding has certainly greatly improved on the original stock.