Understanding Veil in Angelfish

Veil is a trait that is dominant over standard wild-type fins. It causes the fins to be longer than on a standard-type fish. In one dose (heterozygous), veil causes the fins to be longer, but not narrow or droopy. Fish that are homozygous for veil will typically have much longer fins that tend to be narrow, and as the fish ages they often droop quite a bit. This is not the only gene that affects the look of the fins but it's the only one where we understand it's inheritance characteristics. Other genes can affect the width of the dorsal, the amount and length of the trailing filaments on a veil, and possibly even a gene(s) that creates what is considered a "ribbon" fin. Ribbon fins are very narrow and the caudal will droop and point to the bottom of the tank on an older fish. Since we don't understand the inheritance characteristics of these other traits, we can recognize when parent fish have them, but cannot predict what percentage of the offspring will, if any. There are likely several other subtle traits that are controlled by different genes, but once again we don't understand their inheritance characteristics, so it's difficult to promise offspring with a matching trait.

Approximately 60% of people order veils when getting fish. Many prefer the look of veils to standard fins and assume that they will get similar fry if the parents both are veils. What they often fail to consider is that the desirable heterozygous veils that many like, will produce 25% homozygous veils that some don't like. The double dose veils will also grow slower and are generally weaker fish. Decades of breeding and raising fish have led us to the conclusion that the best cross for producing good looking veils is by mating a standard fin angelfish to another with normal-length veil. Although you can produce 100% heterozygous veils by crossing a superveil (homozygous veil) to a wild-type, this cross is not always the most desirable. The double dose veil parent is often weaker and doesn't breed as well. The much stronger standard finned fish can often dominate the situation and cause pair problems. The heterozygous veil crossed to a standard will produce 100% strong, fast-growing fish of which 50% will be the normal length veil. Not only that but if you're looking to resell the fish, approximately 40% of people prefer the standard wild-type fins and will look elsewhere if you don't have them.

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