Shubunkin Breeding Advice for Colour and Tail Length

by Colby
(Brisbane Australia )

Hi there first time posting, I’ve had shubunkins gold comets and comets in my outside pond now for 3 years, each year they have spawned naturally and I have had a couple survive in the pond by themselves.

This year I went next level and have spawning mops and brushes and multiple floating baskets with varying size fry growing out. I realise now from my reading that I shouldn’t put 4-5 males and females in one container to breed as I won’t know parentage. Which is what I did🤦🏼‍♂️ so I think I have 4 major questions. I really want to breed stronger blue into the shubunkins, and want to breed longer tailed shubunkins.

Do I just select for best blue and longest tails and then breed back to the parent? (guessing who the parent is). Of the fry I have the longest tail seems to be orange and black fry with no blue. Who should I breed?

I have also read that you shouldn’t breed the same colours as it can just become more washed out through the generations, with that in mind, who would you pair up out of the breeding fish? (Fish 2 & 5 are male) I also have a male comet and female marigold comet, should they ever be in the mix or are they just going to muddy the breeding lines?

What is line breeding and what do I have to be careful of. Is it just breeding offspring to parents/grandparents to try and lock a trait? How should I select my breeders?

I also have 2 interesting fish, both look like pinky’s but one is fully pearl coloured metallic and the other is a pinky with 1 orange dot, they may be siblings I’m not sure, what would this cross bring? From reading it would be 100% nacreous scales but what colour etc. I should mention though that I am not a huge fan of either of their tail lengths

Also, does anyone know where I can get good breeding stock from in Australia

First 2 pics are breeding stock

next 2 are the pinky and metallic I was talking about

Thanks so much for your help

Grant's Reply

Hi Colby
Apologies for the delay in responding, this post was read as spam and deleted after I opened it.
I had the programmers find the post, but the images have been lost. Please resend using the contact form and I will re-edit this reply.

The most important question you have asked is, “What is line breeding and what do I have to be careful of?”

Line breeding is when the offspring are bred back to the parents.
The normal scenario is you breed a pair/school of fish which may be siblings but show traits you are seeking such as colour or fin shape/length.

From this spawning, you select the best fry exhibiting the traits you are looking for.
(Note that these fry are carrying the traits of the grandparents, so faults with those fish may come through strongly).

After raising your best fry for a year or two, you then breed them back to their parent or parents that have the traits you are looking for. (Goldfish mature at 12 months but females produce better eggs at two years old).

You need to be very selective when deciding which parent or parents you want to breed back to because of the traits the fry are or are not showing.
The best fry from this spawning are raised for a year or two and bred back to their parents.

You are now starting to lock in the traits you are wanting. The grandparent’s genes are going to have less impact on the traits of the latest generation.

This cycle never stops until there is evidence the gene pool is weakening such as a lack of breeding vigour when you will have to bring in fish from another line.

Selecting which offspring to breed back to the parents should be based on two factors:
1. The fish that are closest to the accepted standard for that variety
2. What you want to see as traits in your fish e.g. increased blue colouration.

You seem to have two problems, tail length, and colour. At the early stages of improving your fish quality, you may have to make compromises, tail length or colour, which one to improve first.

If you want to retain the marigold color of your comets you would need to keep them away from the orange/red comets otherwise you will lose that colour variation.

Breeding the metallic scaled pinky with the matt would produce 100% nacreous. The colours should be good, but as for producing blues, you would have to breed them and find out, as it would be the grandparents that would have the most influence on the fry traits.

You could also use an orange/red or marigold comet instead of the pink metallic.

There is no certainty when breeding Goldfish, but with line breeding, you can certainly increase the odds in your favour.

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