Ornamental fishes are attractive colourful fishes that involve in various characteristics, which it kept as pets in confined space of an aquarium for fun and fancy. The culture and export of ornamental fish in Malaysia have expanded rapidly in recent years same as the production of food species due to population growth. So, the colouration of ornamental fish has plays the most important role in attracting owners to keep these fishes in their house.
Guppy, Poecilia reticulata (Peters, 1859) has been known to be popular in aquarium fish. It is known as million fish (Agbayani, 2007a), because of hardy, captivity breeder and the beautiful coloured of the male. This species is widely studied as a model species ecology and evolutionary biology and has had a long and popular history as an ornamental fish. A wide of colour and fin shape variety of strains have been developed and differ by aquarists (Axelrod et al. 1985; Sakurai et al. 1993; Wischnath 1993). However, through selective breeding with a different type of wild guppies are developed into “Fancy guppy”. It has involved in many variety and strain of finnage or colour classes (IFGA, 1999).
The economic value of guppy has been considering in ornamental aquarium species and widely cultured in commercial fish hatcheries due to vast colouration, pattern and vintage shape (Tlusty, 2002). This fish has developed in the ornamented aquarium because of their higher number strain produced and become extremely popular in the aquarium trade. A major producer of this fish has included Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan (Frose & Pauly, 2004).
Guppy are classified based on their phenotype characteristic rather than genotype like colouration. There are several varieties of guppy are well known today such as tuxedo, platinum, albino, mosaic, black Moscow and etc. Inheritance of colour in guppy are high in varieties of strains and traits are produced from crossbreeding, selected breeding, and hybridization.
Selective breeding involves the choosing of the parents that have particular characteristics of interest were it can produce offspring with more desirable characteristics (Hosken & House, 2011). Guppy is interesting fish for studying the expression of phenotype since they are colourful and easy to take care. The breeding experiment between different colours can be set up easily.
In Malaysia, demand production of guppy is highly produced locally compared with other countries. However, the major challenge contribute to the guppy are fewer varieties produced in Malaysia compare to Taiwan and Singapore. Other major challenge contribute to this country are the understanding of guppy through the genetic control of colour trait are few in studies and so far there are very few reports have been carried out.