Photo: Male Lemon Peacock Cichlid
Sometimes our customers send to us fish they would like for us to raise. One such fish came from Fish Gallery in Houston (http://www.thefishgallery.com/Houston) in November 2012. We received a couple dozen one to two inch golden, black eyed juvenile peacocks. I wasn’t very impressed with the fish since I expected them to grow up as washed out pale yellow fish. But, Fish Gallery is a good customer so the fish were placed in a grow-out tank just to see what they might look like as mature fish.
A few months later we inspected the fish. I didn’t really expect there would be any fish I’d want to keep and wasn’t really surprised except for a single male. There were approximately even numbers of males and females. The females were pale yellow with black eyes. The males were all yellow and black eyed, but one was more of a lemon yellow color. I liked him. He wasn’t spectacular, but he showed promise. He was set up with all the females. The other males were sold off as mixed peacocks.
Fry were produced from these fish and grown up. Out of the resulting fish were two very nice males, both superior to their father. The photo shows one of these males. I retained both as breeders. The two males were given a couple dozen of their brighter colored sisters. We recently processed those fish and yielded over 200 juveniles. These will be grown up and sorted for breeding.
As I typically do when attempting to develop a new strain of fish, I plan to keep breeding daughters (grand-daughters, great grand-daughters, etc.) back to two selected males until a son is produced that is closer to what I imagine the final strain to be. In this case, I imagine a bright yellow (lemon) fish. I kind of like the male in the photo. The sky blue face and fins with some yellow to orange fin stippling I find attractive. So, I’ll be happy if I can set the strain and produce males just like him.
Many people question our practice of intensive inbreeding. They seem to believe this is a bad practice. But, most of our domestic animals, both agricultural and pet, are highly inbred. While I can give theoretical justification for inbreeding, our results speak for themselves. Our highly inbred mollies routinely sweep shows. They are large (the most common comment when people see them), healthy, hardy, and beautiful.