A New Albino Gene?

A recent Facebook post on an angelfish groug brought up the Albino gene in Dantum angelfish.  It reminded me of an article I put in our former newsletter about the albino gene. It’s the kind of observation that is important to me and thought I’d share it on the blog.    Normal Albino of the past 25 years. Albinism is rather common in many ornamental fish varieties. However, it is just recently that we have become aware of the fact that it appears to commonly occur on more than one gene location. It’s been several years that we have known it to be on at least 2 locations in our bristlenose pleco varieties. Breeding two albino plecos together and producing a percentage of wild-type (non-albino) is a good indication of albino on a different location in each parent. That first occurred in our spawns back about 10 years ago. Recently, at an IFGA Show in Michigan, a few of us were invited into Simeon Bonev’s fishroom. Simeon keeps mostly guppies, but he had a tank of angelfish he had gotten several months back. They came from Israel and were labeled Albino Altums when he brought them in. He asked my opinion of them and I said that while they certainly were not a variety of altum, they were different. They probably have some wild blood in them, but that wasn’t what made them unique. The color was slightly different from the albinos I’ve kept for the past 23 years. After a few question it got interesting. Turns out, this fish’s offspring do not start out with the pink eyes and are somewhat silvery... read more

Wild-cross Koi Project Update

We occasionally get requests from people who would like to see an update on a project.  Wild-cross projects tend to be some that are most often asked about.  I should do these updates more often.  It’s not the writing that gets me. It’s the photography. I used to think that I would love it. Just give me a high quality camera, which I have, and I will really enjoy taking all sorts of photos. I guess that’s not the case. Apparently I just don’t have the patience for it. Probably sounds strange coming from someone who has been raising angelfish for 40 years, but if the pictures don’t look as good as the subject I will work at it for a while then I hear that little voice in my head saying “Well, enough of that”. I just got done wasting an hour on some angels that didn’t want to cooperate, so… I’m going to do the update and go with what I got. Fortunately I got a few decent shots the other day so they aren’t all bad : ) You may remember that we took a large wild Peruvian Scalare male and bred it to a high quality veil Koi female. All wild crosses are interesting and unique. Body shape, color, and temperament make each cross well worth the effort, however, the F1 generation creates a somewhat bland looking silver gold marble ghost. The Gold Marble gene from the Koi is co-dominant with a bit of marbling showing through, but not much color. The stripeless gene that creates the blushing trait tends to break up the bars on... read more

Orange Crayfish

As a kid, who didn’t like romping through a stream looking for crayfish? They were a bit scary with those pinchers, yet they weren’t quick enough to actually pinch you very often.  I must have caught several thousand when young.  When I got older, I found out they were good to eat – better than lobster – really!  I always had an appreciation for them, but never really sat back and watched them where they were comfortable in their habitat. Well, let me tell you, after having them for several months while raising and observing them, I’ve come to appreciate them on a different level.  They are fascinating animals!  They are territorial predators – they even eat each other in the wrong situation.  However, provided with hiding places and ample food they are more than happy to co-exist among themselves and with most fish. We’ve even put baby guppies in their tank, so they could eat them, and as far as I can tell, they haven’t eaten any, or at least not many.  Anyway, it’s their behavior that captures your attention. Watching them is really a lot more interesting than watching most fish.   It’s always been a chore recommending a fish for a young child to keep and care for.  They seem to want a goldfish bowl with a goldfish, but few understand how difficult and poor of a choice that it.  Sometimes they can be successful with a couple guppies or a betta in the bowl, but only if the environment is warm enough and they are very good at feeding correctly.  Now, my recommendation would be... read more

Flake Food Offering Upgrade

Fish food is one of those products that needs regular monitoring, research,careful thought and experimentation in regards to improving it.  We personally test new formulations on a continual basis. In fact, there is hardly a time when we aren’t evaluating at least one new formula. After accumulating the results of a lot of recent experimentation, we have decided now is a good time to upgrade our formulations and make changes to what we are now offering to our customers. In some cases, it’s a small improvement to an existing recipe. Others are completely revolutionary in their makeup.  And a couple are simply a name change to better represent what we are offering. It will probably take us a week or two to get the website fully changed over to the new selection, but some are already up. You will see more changes over the next couple weeks and we didn’t want you to be caught off guard when looking for one you may have ordered in the past, but is not there now.  Some flake types will be dropped completely because they offered little over what another in our line already has.  Where we drop a flake type, we will recommend the improved version that replaces it. Our main goal has been to develop flakes that fit into a “Wellness” program using holistic ingredients and supplements. For years, fish foods have been a combination of mostly proteins and fats with very little attention paid to the effects of various vitamins, minerals and hormone stimulating compounds.  Health is so much more than a few macronutrients and more research and attention... read more

Longfin Confusion

For years I have watched people offer standard fin bristlenose for sale to people, stating that these fish carried a gene for longfin. I felt very bad for the people wasting their money and worse wasting the next year or two raising and breeding these standard bristlenose just to findout that all of the babies would look just like mom and dad. As recently as last week we received a call from a customer wanting to place an order for some standard fin, or “normal” super-red bristlenose that carry the longfin gene. It is an understandable mistake to think that the gene that is responsible for the longfin trait might be recessive, but this misunderstanding has been going on far too long now. We are primarily known for our work with angelfish since we have worked with the longfins or veiltails in angels since the 1970’s. It is well known, and has been for years, that the gene responsible for veiltail in angelfish is dominant. In other words, if the fish carries a gene for longfin, it will be a longfin.  An article written in 1982 for FAMA magazine by. Joanne Norton described the veiltail gene as follows: Veiltail in angelfish is due to an autosomal (not on a sex chromosome) dominant gene (Sterba). A double dose of the gene for veiltail results in a very long, droopy tail. The double-dose veiltail is smaller and less vigorous than the single-dose veiltail and is not a prolific breeder. A mating in which both parents are single-dose veiltail is unsatisfactory because this produces 25% normal, 50% single-dose veiltail, and 25% double-dose veiltail. You... read more

Our Platinum Blushing Pair

  This pair is the result of a 3-year project to create a wildcross Platinum Blushing pair.   They are F2 Peruvian wild-cross.  Our experience has been that the gene for Blue, when homozygous, causes some negative effects on angelfish.  The fry are weaker, slower growing and not quite as fertile in many cases when they mature.   We developed this project to see if we could combat these problems.  This female always puts down spawns in the 1500 to 2000 range.   We couldn’t ask for much more at this point.  The fry have been vigorous and are growing well, though still not as fast growing as most other strong strains.  On the plus side, fertility was fantastic and hatch-rate was as good as it gets.  Body shape and fins are tremendous, so overall, we are very happy with the results.  Their offspring will likely be for sale sometime before Feb/2015. Comments are welcome.... read more

Angelfish That Are Group Spawning

It is not uncommon for angelfish to spawn in a group. It usually happens when there isn’t enough space in the tank for the number of fish it holds, so that a pair can successfully defend a territory.   The problem is that literally every time they spawn in a group, they also eat the eggs almost as fast as they lay them.  So, what seems like it might have been a good thing, is actually a sign that the pairs need to be separated and given their own tank. In this video,  there are 6 fish participating in the spawning, and a few fish that are not allowed to. (sorry for the video quality, but it was a very dark tank, with mostly darker colored Orange Marbles in it).  I don’t often have a camera on me when this happens, so I grabbed this short video even though conditons weren’t ideal for viewing. Hopefully you can see it well enough to make out what was happening.   As usual, the eggs were eaten as fast as they  laid them. Here’s another video I took awhile back:   Once we move a couple pairs out of this tank, the remaining fish are not likely to group spawn again.  As always, comments are welcome.... read more

Angelfish Fry at Feeding Time

This is a feeding of live artemia given to angelfish fry that are a few weeks old.   The lighter colored fish are the koi from a Koi/Wildcross mating. Our procedure for feeding artemia is to feed once, maybe twice per day for the first week after free-swimming.  Then, twice per day for the next few weeks, when we then transition them to dry foods.  To transition, we feed artemia in the morning, and then no artemia in the evening.  Instead, we put in a very small amount of fry-sized dry food – but not nearly enough to feed them all even a little bit.  After a 2-3 days of this, they are vigorously seeking the dry food and we then start adding a bit more each time.  Within a week, we can completely remove them from live feedings of brine shrimp if we choose to. As always, comments are encouraged.... read more