Feeder guppies sold in the pet stores are the inferior quality ornamental guppies with no takers.
The advent of feeder guppiesGuppies are prolific breeders having high fecundity and faster growth rate.
Only the male fish have the ornamental value and there are few takers among the hobbyists for this ornamental female fish. So the females become excess in number.
Even if the ornamental pet keeper wants the females the producer usually does not sell them for trade reasons.
Other fish breeders may be interested in the females to develop new strains.
The ornamental fish breeder stands to lose if his quality females get into the hands of other breeders.
So earlier, he had the option of killing them, feeding them to his big carnivorous pets or releasing them in to waterways.
With the growth of ornamental fish trade of arowana, cichlids and catfish the requirement of live feeder food has increased many folds.
So he puts the immature females along with drab coloured males got from his experiments and allows them to breed in a bigger tank. The progeny will be of inferior colouration. This is disposed off as feeder.
In the development of required fancy traits, all the siblings may not be useful.
As these are hardy and tolerate over crowding they can be raised in large tanks and disposed off as feeder fish.
As there is a demand for smaller size for feeding the young arowana and cichlids, the smaller and young guppies are also sold out as feeder fish.
Advantages for using feeder guppiesIt is very easy to maintain feeder fish population. Only requirement is big growing tanks and a method to remove babies and to grow them separately.
Timely feeding and timely exchange of water does the rest of the job of raising the fish.
The carnivorous pet fish require by nature live feed and their requirement of animal protein is very high.
They have a shorter gastrointestinal canal suited to high protein feeding.
Feeding them with live food helps in their growth and maintenance of their health.
Disadvantages for using feeder guppiesSome hobbyists consider that using feeder guppies as cruel and unnecessary as alternate feeds are available.
This argument is countered by others by pointing towards raising cattle and poultry for human food.
This is only to show the divergent views and not to raise a debate over it.
The real disadvantage of use of feeder guppies is that they are usually kept neglected in crowded tanks, afflicted by diseases and emaciation.
They can carry parasites and diseases to the pet fish. If they are unhealthy and emaciated, their nutritive value is doubtful.
However they can be raised in a hygienic as well as in a commercial way. With the rise in demand for the carnivorous pets market for these feeder is on the rise.
Precautions to be taken while using feeder guppiesIf you want to feed your arowana or your favourite flowerhorn with live food you have to follow some precautions so that your ornamental pet does not fall sick.
Inspect the feeder fish carefully for possible signs of attacks by fin rot, white spots and fish fluke.
The feeder must appear healthy and active.
If the feeder fish food are home delivered or you buy and bring them home, keep them separately in a tank for two days and feed them sufficiently.
Apply some medication for treating and preventing fungal and bacterial infections.
Watch for mortality. If you feel that nothing is wrong, then start feeding your pets with them.
It is always better to keep a stock of treated feeder guppies in a tank to last at least for a week.