The Asian Blau Gene
Albino Blue Topaz – Photo by Bruce Yates (Bayway). Used with permission.
When trying to create new varieties in your fishroom, it helps to know what genes are there and how they work. The Asian Blau gene is one of those that I have in my line of Albino Blue Topaz. Let’s take a look at this mutation.
I’ve stated before that it’s imortant to know your lines. The Albino Blue Topaz is, at it’s base, a HB Red. These can be X-linked, Y-linked, or both. The albino and Asian Blau gene have been incorporated in the the genotype to produce a new variety. The Neon Blue, a HB Red with the AB gene mutation, was first produced in a Singapore fish farm. From there, the AB gene has been used to create other varieties such as the Albino Blue Topaz and Blue Grass.
Let’s look specifically at what this gene is and how it works. The Asian Blau gene is a modifier that acts differently in it heterozygous and homozygous states. First, the AB gene is dominant. In its heterozygous form, it converts red color cells to an icy, metallic blue. In its homozygous form, the AB gene affects red and yellow color cells, allowing the black pigment in the skin to be seen through the reflective blue color layer. These fish have a gun-metal blue body color and somewhat smaller finnage. They also tend to be smaller and genetically weaker than their siblings. I tend to cull males, but females can be used for outcrosses to Red males to produce 100% Blues in the F1′s. This is a good way to introduce the Asian Blau gene to other Red lines. An interesting note about homozygous albino Asian Blaus. Since there is no black pigment in the albino fish, and the red and yellow color cells have been affected, the body is a transluscent white. Again, they are weaker and smaller, but still nice fish to work with.
You will never produce a true breeding line utilizing the Asian Blau gene. That’s because you won’t produce 80%+ identical males. Mating heterozygous AB fish will produce 25% Reds, 50% Blue Blaus, and 25% Asian Blaus. Knowing how this mutation works will allow you to produce a line that is uniquiely your own. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you’re not happy with your resulting fish, you can breed the gene out by using only your Red fish. Best of luck!
Since this post was originally written, I’ve learned that the AB gene doesn’t modify red color cells, they are removed. I still agree with the rest of what I have observed.
Moscow Tiger Bronze
I had been in search of this particular strain of Guppies for a number of years. The last time I’d seen them for sale was about 6 years ago when I was heavy into breeding Moscow Guppies. I purchased 2 trios from Steve Butcher on Aquabid. These were thrown from a Black Moscow line that he had been working with and would be the perfect outcross for those I had bought from Jerry Reigel, a fellow GCAS member.
The Moscow Guppy originated in Russia in the 1970′s and looked nothing like the modern, solid colored fish of today. Early examples of Moscow Guppies looked like Metal-head Snakeskins. You can see some spotting in the dorsal and caudal fins of the Bronzes that hint of their early ancestry. These early fish were exported to Germany and then to the rest of the world in the mid 1980′s. Hawaiian breeders are credited with producing the large, solid-bodied Guppies that everyone associates with being a Moscow.
Many of the modern Moscow lines will throw Bronze fry in small numbers. Females show a reticulated scale pattern over a golden colored body. Males will have a dark splotch behind the gill plate. You will also see red pigment on the peduncle. Much of this color is covered by black pigment in this line. An IFGA judge and breeder has line bred this color variety for a number of years. He told me that line breeding stabilizes the color of the males and produces a fish that is showable in the Bronze class at IFGA shows. He also uses these when his Moscow lines need outcrossing.
The importance of Bronze Moscows to your Moscow breeding program is enormous. Numerous conversations with IFGA breeders have helped me with producing large, darkly colored fish that were very hardy, fertile, and long lived. Bronze females are color neutral. Breeding to a Blue Moscow male produces Blues. A Green male will produce Greens, etc. It doesn’t matter what color line the female is from, the male she is bred to determines the color of the fry. One thing to keep in mind, using a Bronze female will darken the base body color of your male offspring. A medium Blue line will become a dark Royal Blue, a light Green becomes a Forest Green. Blacks will continue to be jet Black.
I sold my stock at our recent Swap Meet. I’m taking my Guppy breeding program in a different direction and I need the tank space. To those who purchased this line from me, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Breeding Moscows was a passion that continues to influence how I approach the other color varieties that I now keep.
Changes in the Fishroom
Well, as I said, the first blog of the new year is about the changes that I have made in the fishroom. On the left side is a wooden stand that I and my youngest son built that houses twelve 5 1/2 gallon tanks on the top and ten 10 gallon tanks on the bottom. The far wall has a 55 gallon grow out tank for catfish and plecos. Above that is a 20L that I’m colony breeding some Panda Guppies. The right side had two metal racks with three 5 1/2′s and four 10′s on top and seven 10′s on the bottom. On top of each section sat an Aquaclear air pump that ran all of the filters in that area through the use of gang valves. Ok, do you have that set in your mind’s eye? Now for the changes.
As you can see, a second wooden rack has been contructed and a few more tanks added. There are two 10′s, one 20L, and six 5 1/2′s on the top shelf with ten 10′s on the bottom. I added an Ecoplus Commercial 3 air pump to the system. It is suspended from the ceiling to allow for air circulation to help keep it cool. I originally ran a single course of 1 1/4″ PVC pipe around the room with brass air valves installed, but the back pressure was too great even with the valves wide open. The pump would squeal when it got too hot. I tore it down, lubricated the moving parts, and put it back together. I also added two 18″ drop pipes at each end of the racks and connected a 10′ pipe between them. This seems to have dropped the pressure down enough that the pump isn’t getting anywhere near as hot. As I said, I have to run all filters wide open.
I’ve also added a drain system that wraps around the fishroom. It’s, again, 1 1/4″ PVC with T’s added in to allow for places to drop the hoses for my gravel cleaners. The funnel in the bottom picture is used as my target when draining the top tanks. The hoses are put directly into the T to drain the bottom ones. A length of garden hose is screwed on at the end of the piping and drains directly into the floor drain. This has eliminated 1 hour from my water-changing schedule.
As can be seen, my tanks are not pristine by any stretch of the imagination. This is done on purpose. I challenge the immune systems of all of my fish. Any fish, fry or adult, that clamps or breaks down with anything is immediately culled. This definitely helps me to raise healthier fish.
Having the filters run wide open has a couple of benefits. More water through the filters makes them work more effectively, more oxygen dissolved in the water, and a stronger current means more muscle mass in the peduncle allowing for males to carry their finnage much easier.
All of this was done for under $300 and I couldn’t be happier with the results.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. With the new year, I’ll be posting about the changes I’ve made to my fishroom as well as some of the experimental outcrosses I have going on. I’m still trying to find some of the old blogs so that they can be re-submitted and enjoyed. Always remember, keep your friends and family close and “Happy New Year” to us all.
Sorry for the long delay, but we are finally back. Seems the database somehow got corrupted and prevented the website from being uploaded. We’ve lost all of the previous posts, but I’ll work on getting them back up as quickly as possible. Keep checking back and we’ll get this thing going again.