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Culling Pink Gills


JohnF

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A 1000+ shubunkin brood is now about 3 months old; most fry have now exceeded 1".

5% look very very promising and have been put in a seperate quarters for top attention.

20% reverted to steel grey colour.

20% have 'lack shape perfection' and will be humainly discarded.

Most of the rest have all positive qualities, including early colour with beautiful patches and good body shape, but are pink gills; some on one side, others on both.

Most of you have a heart for all specimens, but sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind and upgrade your stock quality. Should these be discarded?

Thanks.

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The pink gilled fish are calicos. Some of the prettiest colored fish there are! The pink gills are seen in young calicos on one side or both and are simply an indication that there ia a lot of white pigment in the fish. They are often white bodied or white with patches of color. Some of my favorite fry are the calico ones.

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Thanks for your immediate replies.

Most literature state that shubunkins that are single self-colour or pinkish white, are not considered to be of any value. Gills that are pink seem to lack pigmentation.

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but if they are not considered any value you can keep them. just because they are not show material does not mean they do not deserve a good home with some one who will love and care for them!

hope that helps

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Thanks for your immediate replies.

Most literature state that shubunkins that are single self-colour or pinkish white, are not considered to be of any value. Gills that are pink seem to lack pigmentation.

I know that a good shubie has to have blue inner pigmentation, equal amounts of red & black on both sides and such and such, but lots of people seem to like pink goldfish, especially the kids. Maybe you should try selling them pink-gilled ones to ur local pet store instead of discarding them.

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The "pink gills" are also called "soft" gills. It is considered a major flaw in many types of shubies - Bristols, etc. as is the solid "black button eye".

In some lines of shubies, the soft gill and black button eye go hand in hand and can be used to identify the fish that will be solid pink - or off white - as you state. This is definately not true of all breeds or even lines of goldfish, though.

Many of the fry that look transparent when they are very young are destined to be calicos. If you see a fry with visible metallic scales, that one will be red (orange) The "white" or better transparent ones, pinkish ones, can become blue calicos - the most highly prized - and you should not cull those. Only cull the fish with metallic, reflective scales if you need to reduce the numbers, and if you want to keep the calicos.

As stated above, in many breeds and lines of fish, the soft gill and even the black button eye indicated a fish that will have calico colors. In my first 1000 fry, I was quite worried about the "pinkies" and the "greenies".... but since I have a very strong facination with genetics, I decided to grow out as many as possible - good, bad and otherwise - to see what, exactly happens.

In my particular cross, the soft gilled, black button eyed fish commonly developed into nacreous or calicos. This does not mean they were good calicos, with color that was pleasantly distributed about the body - but they were decidedly calicos. Many, did, indeed, also simply develop into pink/white fish with soft gills and black eyes (matts). If the fish demonstrated unmatched button eyes, it would become calico. Matched button eyes could either be a matt "pink" fish or it could indicate the nacreous (calico) fish.

I had another cross between the same female and a different male that produced 100% nacreous fry - all appeared to be soft gilled at 4 weeks, yet developed calico colors shortly thereafter - heavy on the red.

I also have been breeding intensely for blue color. I have been told that the fish that will eventually be blue - or in the case of a calico - heavy on the blue - are the fish that have soft gills/white color. They can stay "white" for up to 2 years! before finally changing to their adult color of blue. So, unless you are secifically after the classic "shubukin/mottled" fish with reds etc. give a few of the whiter ones a chance. Look for "white", and not as much "transparent", fot the ones that may become the most dramatic blue calicos or blues in adulthood!

I have two from one of my earliest spawnings that are the most impressive in body type, yet are "white" I have been told to wait, wait, wait, for they may be the ones that match mom and dad fish and become a gorgeous netted blue!

I think what I would suggest for you is to keep as many of the soft gilled fish as you reasonably can - particularly the ones with only one black button eye. Select the ones with the best body conformation - and ignore, for the time being, all color concerns. You may even wish to count and see what percentage of the fry appear to be soft-gilled/matt, what appear to be nacreous/calico, and what appear as "greenies" or metallics. (The greenies will, most likely, be solid red/orange.) This may give you a better idea of the quality of that cross for future breeding purposes.

Watch those questionable fry as they develop. If they have good body conformation, you should be able to sell or give a few of the best grown ones to a pond store, a fellow ponder, etc. if you do not wish them. But they can be your test cases. This should help you learn the colors you are seeing in fry a bit better. Do the ones with mismatched black button eyes develop to calico? Do the ones that are matched stay "pink". Are they perhaps a nacreous pink/white? Do the "white" ones change to a dramatic blue/calico?

I know that it is very desirable to weed out the fish you do not want to raise as early as you can. But if you are just started to breed and/or have a new set of breeding fish, it is very worthwhile to take the time/space, etc. to watch and learn the conformations and colors that occur. In the future, you will be able to select and discard in a much earlier time frame.

:)

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Guest myfourgoldies

Daryl,

I just have to say I love your posts, especially about breeding and genetics, I find it so facinating!!! You are such a wonderful wealth of knowledge.

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I think every animal has a right to live, and one's that "aren't good enough" but healthy should be donated to loving homes, not discarded like trash.

Ironically enough, I'm pro-abortion. Go figure.

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This thread will not be allowed to go in that direction, ok?

Many species of creatures create far far more babies than are ever needed to "replace" the adults in the population - all that procreation is designed to do. This is done because the parents do not care for the babies - and the majority of them do not survive to adulthood to breed again. Too many babies are not supposed to live. If they did, they would overwhelm the environment, resulting in a HUGE dieoff of all the fish. In order to get just a few that can survive to adulthood, 1000s are required.

Goldfish will produce 1000s of babies per spawning. If even 2 make it, that is enough that the parents never need spawn again. In the majority of breedings a very large percentage of the fry will not live - they die because they are not "made right". In culling, we are simply choosing to end their lives before they die slowly, twisting in the currents or are nibbled and eaten by their tank mates.

In all reality, there is no place in this world for 1000s of fish that are not healthy, cannot swim correctly, cannot eat correctly, or, for one reason or another, are not capable of living as a "goldfish" should. These are humanely put down. That is what culling is. We are doing the job that the natural predators and disease and the environment would be doing in nature - we have simply removed those dangers by placing the fish in a protected environment.

Culling is a fact. If you are going to breed, you must come to terms with the fact that you will have to cull. Nature will take care of a lot of it, eventually - but many will die slow deaths with out some intervention. It is a rare person who wants to keep 1000 fish. Trying to do so will harm the entire group. Nature lets the strong survive to breed again. In fish keeping that is what culling does, also. There are usually very few that could be deemed "healthy but not good enough". Those that are close, but not what a breeder wants ARE sold - that is where most people find their fish - in the fish stores, the tanks of the big box stores, etc. These are all the "good, healthy culls".

Donating fish to loving homes is not usually a possibility. Many face being placed in the "feeder tank" at the fish store - a fate worse than death in my book. Finding homes is not possible in the majority of cases.

I am not here to argue the ethics of this - or any other matter. I feel that all life has a purpose and place on this Earth - but for many, that place may be part of a food chain for others. Sad as it may seem, that is how nature is designed.

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Well said Daryl! I concur.

I was not sure hhow I felt about the issue until I had my own fry. But when I see one that is strggling to live, or suffering, I choose to humanely cull. If I see one that is having trouble swimming or eating, I usually watch and wait for 24 hours (depending on the severity), and then make a decision if they sare still having problems. I would rather do this than wait for them to die stuck to a sponge filter being picked on by their brothers and sisters. I am not worried about what mine look like, since I would not know what to look for in the first place, but I do believe in following the path nature chose as far as culling goes.

Edited by jen626
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  • Regular Member

Hmmm....

Incidentally everyone has a heart and all of us who house fish or other pets do this out of love. I totally agree with what Daryl stated and I always point out that "you have to be cruel to be kind". How many breeders tried to raise a numerous batch and did not even manage to raise a single "good" specimen? Culling could be a sad word in every goldfish breeder dictionery. But this is the only word that can lead to great specimens and ensures that we lead top quality fish for ourselves and for the trade.

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