THE FULL RED
Unquestionably one of the most, if not the most,
popular show guppy in the new millennium is
the strain known as the “full red.” The full red
fancy guppy is red throughout its body, from head
through large delta tail. It is a fish you will only
see in all its glory at an International Fancy Guppy
Association (IFGA) guppy show—go to www.ifga.
com for locations and schedule.
This was no easy feat of selective breeding. Full
color throughout a guppy has been a challenge
of guppy breeders ever since there were guppy
breeders. In the 1990s the blue-black Moscow guppy
made its appearance, from the Russian city where
many-a-good fancy tropical fish have originated.
This fish showed its color from head through tail.
I always thought the full red was essentially a red
Moscow, but it appears this may not be the case.
Both strains probably developed independently of
one another, and indeed the current red Moscow is
a cross between these two fish.
The full red is probably of American origin. One
account was by a breeder named David M. Reaume
who discovered a sport in his red guppy tanks around
1993 or 1994. He knew it was special as it developed
extra red coloring over its body and onto its gill
covers. The sport’s immediate ancestors included a
fine petshop red guppy male and gold guppy female,
and a flamingo half-black from Homestead, Florida’s
Summerland Fish Farm. Go figure!
Reaume quickly converted his entire 6-tank
breeding operation over to developing an all-red
guppy. His story is one that all prospective fancy
livebearer breeders should read. It is a story of
dedication and frustration, with small successes
building up over many years, marked by constant
setbacks with impurities. It is hobbyists like these,
folks, to whom we owe much gratitude.
When Reaume’s full-red breeding program began,
he was plagued by infertility problems in subsequent
generations. The red gene also apparently “skipped”
every other generation. When it did express, the red
body trait initially only appeared in 10 to 15 percent
of offspring. Reaume hypothesized female choice
and multiple gene interactions as culprits.
Reaume was also dealing with pesky white tips
on the dorsal fins, and hump-backed traits in
about 20 percent of his males. Fortunately, he also
discovered his developing full reds to be longer
lived and slower to mature (and show color) than
show guppies. A few years later, all-red females
began appearing in the breeding tanks.
Reaume also did something else that is
commendable. He shared his new stock with other
breeders so the strain would not be lost. Many a
great strain of livebearer has vanished into history
because of the competitive privacy or lack of interest
among breeders. Wood’s lyretail mollies circa 1970
and the red jet swordtails of the late 1950s are just
two examples of now-extinct strains.
Charles Pratt, the editor of the IFGA’s Bulletin,
reported Reaume’s story, and has observed that the
full red still does not reliably produce full delta or
non-ragged tails. But with time and dedication, I’m
sure this will be solved as well. You can’t keep a
guppy breeder down after all!
The full red guppy.
You probably won’t find full reds in your local
pet shop. Your best bet is to join a local guppy club,
attend an International Fancy Guppy Association
show and auction, or join the IFGA. Members also
receive a wonderful online bulletin.
Speaking of shows, the Annual IFGA Weekend
will be hosted by the New England Fancy
Guppy Association, November 2–4 in Seekonk,
Massachusetts. Besides being the biggest guppy
show of the season featuring fish (like the full red)
that will make your jaw drop, there will be seminars
and guest speakers, a giant auction, banquet, and
fishroom tours. You do not need to be an IFGA
member to attend or visit the show. More details
are available on the IFGA website ( www.ifga.org).
Don’t miss it!
Submit your best fish photo
and be in the running to win a
$250 gift certificate to your favorite pet shop.
To enter, follow the steps below:
For more information
on participation contact:
Log-on to MillionDollar TropicalFishPage.com
Review rules for participation.
Fill out the entry form and submit your best fish photo.
The first 200 photos will be posted to our site for
contest participation. Photos will be displayed
for voters to view.
Voting will take place for 60 days and will begin
only after the first 200 entries have been received.
Winner’s photo will be featured in Tropical Fish
Hobbyist and the winner will receive a $250 gift
certificate to your favorite pet shop.