Select Aquatics of Erie, CO

                       Breeding the Puntius padamya "Odessa"




                * Page 1:  Odessa Barbs,  Origins of the Odessa Barb

                  Page 2:  Overview of Breeding the Puntius padamya

                  Page 3:  Step by Step Specifics of How We Breed Them Here

                  Page 4: An Easier (But less Yield) Way to Breed Them

                  Page 5: Growth rates

          * I will use Photoshop to clean up a photo, but there is no enhancement of the red in any pictures of the Odessas- They really are that red!

          The practices described in these next pages will work well for most any danios, barbs and some tetras you may wish to spawn,
          and much of what I describe here is now routinely used here to breed many thousands of Odessa barbs, but none of this exists in 
          most texts on the breeding these types of fish..

          Often the broad needs are mentioned- this is how we meet those needs. This essay is strictly on the Puntius padamya, one of a
          few species sold in stores as the "Odessa Barb" Other species can be bred using these techniques, provided that essential
          water parameters are met. Some species, for example, may breed well under these circumstances, but may also require a pH or
          hardness that will need to be created for spawning to occur.

          Once those issues are met, this method can be used. Manipulation of light can also be used to trigger spawning in some species,
          but it does not have the same effect on the Odessas. Hopefully these next pages will inform you on how get them to breed, and harvest
          and raise the fry, your research on the water conditions required by another species will still be necessary.



                                Since 2006, through numerous breeding cycles, the best fish were isolated and used as breeders to selectively breed
                              for a deep velvety red, with rich black markings. Selecting for the yellow back ground in the dorsal is also a trait I look for.



     Breeding the Odessa Barbs is not difficult, in that they are a fish that when ready to spawn will do so pretty consistently, and predictably.
     This fish is considered one of the fastest swimming fish you can keep in the home aquarium, with an intensity of color that rivals salt
     water fish. Any need for a water change, or improvement in their environment is often made clear as their color will dull or become
     washed out. Their color is best with good oxygenation and some water movement, low to moderate light conditions, plants for security,
     and surrounding color is slightly subdued. A group of the healthiest males will look like very unhappy fish if put into a brightly lit tank with,
     say, white gravel, no place to hide for security, etc.

     Like most egg scatterers, they will eat their eggs and the eggs of other females spawning nearby. The young are nearly microscopic, at 
     the size of the smallest rainbow or killiefish fry. The challenge is simply maintaining consistent, adequate water quality, through carefully
     maintaining a balance between the food going in, the young's increasing water quality needs as they grow and produce more waste, and 
     your efforts to maintain water quality with 3-4x per day water changes during their first month. The fry are large enough to be handled
     with a net at 30 days, and must be divided up into grow out tanks at that time, as the number of fry will overwhelm a 29 gallon tank.
                                                A group of 3 month old unsexed, uncolored, young. Males and females are nearly identical.
     The specifics of breeding them in a home aquarium is by necessity more difficult than what commercial breeders do to breed them, who
     use large ponds, and net out fish on a regular basis. The process of breeding them in larger numbers in a home fishroom may seem 
     involved, but within the confine of a glass aquarium, you must maintain control of the breeding process, feeding and water quality.
     You can also visually inspect every fish to pull those that do not reflect the line you are developing, as well as select the absolute best fish
     as breeders. HOWEVER, they are extremely hard to catch, and going for a specific fish in a group of these guys with a 4 or 6 inch net
     really is impossible.

     THEN, once they know what you are up to, and get spooked, they all wash out of color, and any hope to find the fish you wanted is lost.  
     You need to wait a half hour for their color to fully return, and do it again. This "standard way" will never work.

     What works here is we gently scoop up a bunch in a large 10 inch black mesh net, and do not remove it from the water, or crowd the fish
     too much. The net is then rested over the corner of the tank. and with a 2 inch net, we pull the fish that suits our needs. The fish are then
     slowly released, and a new bunch is gently scooped up again and the process repeated.


                                    Odessa fry just a few hours old.                                                         Young males beginning to color out at 6-7 months.

     Incredibly beautiful male odessas were available fairly consistently in the pet trade until about 7-10 years ago. The Odessa barb is not
     an easy fish to make work commercially - but it's bright colors made them worth the effort. The males take 6 months for their color to
     first appear, and about 8 months before they are ready for sale. The females, though attractive, have a near total absence of the red
     and black that make the males so attractive and popular. So to raise them commercially, they must be fed and grown out for a number of
     months, and then 50% are culled, because they are females. They do breed consistently, in that their coloration is generally very good,
     but about 5% of the males will still need to be culled to maintain their consistent appearance.

     Recently a wholesaler contacted me, as he heard I had this line of the Odessas. He was very interested in obtaining them, and he
     confirmed they are no longer available in the hobby. He asked if I could produce 2500 a week. After getting off the phone with him
     I did the math, figuring what it would take to consistently produce 2500 males only, every week, given that they must be kept for
     8 months before being sold, and 50% that are brought to sexual maturity must be culled as they will be females. I figured I would
     have to have 80,000 fish on hand, at various stages of grow out, not to mention the water changes 3x per day, 7 days per week.
     I declined.

     Though a lot of culling needed to happen with those I originally received, their color after many years of breeding my absolute best
     fish has produced a very spectacular line. I have been told that others have this fish and are breeding them as well, which is good,
     for otherwise they will be lost to the US hobby. If you are selectively breeding this fish and reading this, I would like to talk
     with you and possibly swap fish!



     Much has been written about the origin of the "Odessa Barb", and that name has been attached to more than one species of fish.
     The fish of this article were long thought to be a hybrid, and many still claim that its origins are unknown. From having had
     a number of researchers contact me since advertising them at this site, and conversations with many other fishkeepers,
     this is my current understanding:

     They are originally from Burma, and brought by sailors to Odessa, Russia, where they were obtained by a small group of expert
     hobbyists who learned to keep and breed them. (Herbert Axelrod met with these breeders, and the encounter was photographed 
     and published in a couple of publications). I was told not too long ago that wild specimens of the fish I am breeding have been
     collected, and they are in fact not that dissimilar to the fish kept in the hobby. Determined to be a distinct species only
     recently (it is not a hybrid), it has been named Puntius padamya, and I have been told recently that they may have been
     put into a new genus. But they are not a hybrid, they were first kept and bred in Russia, and they are from Burma. That is my
     understanding, but of course, only for as long as the information I received is effectively challenged. I actually had someone
     claim to have and offer original wild caught fish, from Burma, but I didn't pursue it at the time. (I was skeptical). 
     If someone knows more about this, please do not hesitate to drop me an email!




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