Ashley and I processed the Green Lyretail Sailfin Mollies today.
This a is relatively old strain of ours, having been developed in the late 1990s by crossing some Red Leopard Lyretail Mollies from an Asian farm with Poecilia latipinna, San Antonio River, which we had collected in 1998. As usual with a cross of a wild sailfin molly to a commercial line, the offspring were generally yellowish and with muddy brown blotches. But, the F2 generation had some Green Sailfin Lyretails. They weren’t great sailfins or lyretails, but a few generations of selection led to the fish in the photo.
As with most of our mollies, we maintain the Green Lyretail Sailfins in three 55 gallon vats. One vat houses the breeders, usually 6 males and 40 or so females. Another vat has the fry and juveniles from the previous breeding colony. And yet another vat is home to the young adults and adults we sell (this is called the “sale vat”).
About every 90 days we breakdown and clean the vats, inventory the fish, and reconstitute the breeding colony. First we process the sale vat, then the fry/juvenile vat. We set aside any really good fish as potential breeders. The rest are counted and placed either in the sale vat, which contains all the young adults and adults we intend to sell, or into the fry/juvenile vat to grow up. After these two vats are done, we break down the breeder vat, inventory the breeders and place the fry and juveniles into the fry/juvenile vat. The breeder vat is set up with a netting cage in the middle as a refuge for the fry. The breeders are returned and any losses are made up from the fish previously set aside as potential breeders.
In this strain, we select for males with large sailfins, wide angled lyretails with straight and long extensions, nice coloration, good confirmation, and good health. As long as our breeder males are in good health, we keep them in the breeding colony and don’t replace them (unless a young male is much superior, then the worst of the old males is replaced). With females we like robust, healthy females with wide angled and straight lyretails. Again, unless we have some spectacular youngsters we keep the older females. Why? Because we like to select for longevity. Fish that live longer are generally healthier. So, by selecting for longevity, we are selecting for health.