Art XXII
Research and study of the Ginga kinubali pattern
RUBRIEK: Guppy Kweek           English Translation

Oops there goes my firm drunken oath: THIS is my -for now- last article about guppies. The reason for this was the question about the authenticity of purchased guppies. These were ginga's -in full ginga kinubali, which at the time were the breeding product of the Japanese grower Kenjiro Ta-naka. Googling his name will unfortunately yield nothing: the best man has died in the meantime, and his site has been taken off the Net, so that at most you will get a Japanese baseball player with the same name as a re-sult. The transience of existence is reflected today, to the extent to which one can or cannot be found on the Internet. Tanaka's name remains asso-ciated with the guppies he has bred, but there are no more publications about him; maybe in Japan, but not here. His ginga's are his progeny.

Tanaka probably named his cultivated strain - literally translated "rice pastry" - after the beautifully decorated cupcakes that adorn the tables in Japan for dessert. I don't know if they were decorated with red stripes, but the photo above on the left is the best I've found that can approximate the image in my imagination. Because the ginga guppy, is a gem with vertical red stripes on the back body. These stripes are neatly parallel to each other, and of regular thickness, so that they appear to have been "painted" with a brush, as it were. They appear to have been carefully applied with calligraphy, as befits Eastern culture.

To understand why these red stripes look best on the blonde (=golden coatinglayer) guppy, it suffices to compare the two pictures on the right. See for yourself why a red rose looks so much better on a golden scale (= the sun); and a blue rose on a silver one (=the moon). To put it in Eastern terms: red and gold are yang (active, radiating, masculine,..) while blue and silver are yin (passive, absorbing, feminine,. ...). The red stripes therefore come out so muchbetter on the blonde ginga than on the grey ginga.

The red ginga -ginga rubra- caused a furore in the 80s, because it appea-led most to the imagination due to its flamboyant appearance. It's no open secret that Tanaka got his strain by crossing guppies with endlers. After all, the Zebrinus pattern in guppies is less thick and less even. Compare the stripes on the Snakeskin and the Wiener Emerald with those on the ginga, and you'll see what I mean. The stripe pattern in endlers is thicker and mo-re even, as can be seen in the Yellow Tiger, for example. The hybridization with endlers happened in the 80s, because the guppy breeding started to bleed out and everything had already been taken out of the guppy's genetic material. Crossing in endler patterns and colors brought a new lan to gup-py breeding.

The ginga rubra was a huge success, and from far and wide everyone wan-ted to get a few fish from Tanaka. That was then, but since then its novelty and sensation have faded considerably. And for a few obvious reasons. Primo, every self-respecting guppy breeder has already bred this strain. Second, and as is always the case when the trend has passed by: what now? After all, like any strain, this strain is also subject to the phenomena of regression: in offspring, the strain gradually starts to lose its calibrated properties. This is a completely natural process: the breeder carries through selection a narrowing of the hereditary material to a well-defined genotype and chosen phenotype, while NATURE tries to counteract this impoverishment by opening it up again. to break into the wild form with a wider heritable potential. Moreover, by switching from breeder to breeder, sometimes inferior or bland specimens were sold for the real stuff , so that the quality of the ginga deteriorated. And who would check or control that, if Tanaka himself was no longer there?

But to the regret of those who envy it, these criteria can still be establis-hed today by a careful investigation into the roots of the ginga strain, and understanding from there what could go wrong. Important are: the num-ber of stripes (varying from 4 to 6) as well as their length. When these stripes begin to decrease in number or when their length begins to shrink to spots as wide as they are long, the strain slowly but surely begins to lose its properties.

Subsequently, one tried to replicate Tanaka's work, by crossing the ginga with variants of, for example, the Vienna Emerald. The American breeder Bias in particular has made the claim to have bred a new sub-strain, which he has named the ginga sulphureus. Although they are often beautiful fish, this claim is superfluous: because the lace tail pattern is already present in the original gingas (see photos above). That lace tail is one of the primal strains of the gup as I have explained in the The Genealogy Table Of The Guppy Strains, and which is not only the basis of the Lace- tail at Snakeskins, but also partially occurs at the Vienna Emerald. If a property was already present, one should not posit that he introduced it.

What was new, were the color variants that one then continued to cultiva-te. See above left examples of purple, pink, "orange" and green gingas. Their success was relative and of course dependent on one's own personal preference, but personally I prefer the ginga pastel, where there is a deli-cate balance between all these colors (photo above) . It also demonstrates the great richness of variety present in the ginga. At the same time, his greatest quality is also his greatest problem, because a little too much input from ANOTHER strain, and that subtle balance is gone.

On the left is a gallery of guppies that CANNOT claim the Ginga label, with arguments as to why.
The first is the product of an incrossing with a Bunt Vienna Emerald. He therefore shows the green caudal spot merging into a yellow lace tail, which, however, does not match the chocolate color of the body. The stri-pes are typical Vienna meanders, but therefore irregular in shape. Conclu-sion: This is a Vienna Emerald.
The guppy below has the same crossbreeding background. In this speci-men the stripes are indeed nicely parallel, but they resemble a zebra (Ze-brinus). Strictly speaking, the orange dorsal fin is all that comes from the ginga, and the green sheen on the fore body is not in harmony with the rest of the color pattern. Conclusion: this is a Vienna Emerald.
Number 3 is indeed blond and with some good will shows 3 ginga stripes. But half of the back body is occupied by the green caudal of Vienna + a little more blue. Conclusion: this is a Ginga/Vienna.
Number 4 shows two stripes of a Vienna supplemented with a (weak) green caudal. The front body is that of a Snakeskin. Only a minuscule un-dersword points to possible Endler. Conclusion: this is a Snakeskin/Vien-na.
Number 5 shows even more Snakeskin influence. Four red spots and the dorsal fin hint at a possible Ginga background. Conclusion: this is a Snake-skin/Ginga.
The guppies below those show a rear body that points toward Ginga influ-ence, but the front body is that of an old-fashioned wild shape. Conclusion: these are normal guppies with a Ginga/Vienna back body.
The same goes for the copy purchased as "blue ginga". Blue is the front bo-dy, but this has to do with his story as a multi-color guppy. His Ginga story has broken down into 3 indistinct red dots, and both a dark/white division that has disintegrated and no longer makes a real coherent pattern. Its tail fin refers to a possible cross with a blue-green Double Sword strain. Con-clusion: This is a blue Double Blade/Ginga.

The larger photo below shows a purple-blue specimen that looks promi-sing, but in all likelihood has some serious issues for potential improve-ment. The blue Peacock eye on the caudal fin and dorsal fin evoke asso-ciations with early Snakeskins; which may also explain the black spot in the middle of the body. But why doesn't the front body have any color at all? If Asian Blau would have been used, this is the best one can achieve.

On the next set of photos on the left, the Ginga influence is still clearly noticeable, but the regression described above has struck. This results in Ginga patterns that are literally "beaten apart" into loose drawings and figures, (photo 1); to a reduction in the intensity of the pattern or colors (photo 2): to the insertion of other patterns, making the guppy literally a sort of composite or patchwork blanket. Sometimes these different pat-terns merge, but the result remains a heterogeneous "mixture" that looks unnatural (photo 3). Sometimes those different patterns are comparted according to the different segments of the body. In photo 4 one can see such an example: the breast area is simply multicolored; the mid-body exhibits Ginga properties; and the rear body is that of a Vienna. Photo 5 shows how the original ginga pattern in a blond strain (fish below) can degrade to what one calls Pidgeon Blood.

If one does not want to let the Ginga properties disappear further, then one must take the bottom male for further breeding. It is no public secret that in order to keep a stock stable, one must constantly select to ensure that his fish remain of quality. Only about 20% of a litter is usable for the next generation. The shadow side of selecting is elimination, as I have high-lighted in my article Guppy Breeding: Selecting and Eliminating. According to some "puritans" the Ginga is not a real" strain because it has too much variability Technocrats and people who want to be more Catho-lic than the Pope can be found everywhere, but this is bullshit. Breeding identical clones may be a guppy designer's wet dream and a mass guppy breeder's wet dream, but the reality is that it is NOT in the best interest of the fish itself to arrive at a fixed genome.I have explained this problem in Guppy: rigid strains or rich variations.

You may have while you were surfing the Net about guppies find the photo below. You can recognize a lot of photos that were used also in this article here. Then you immediately know that this is a piece of work by me : with monks' patience I "cut" each fish from its original background, and then placed them next to each other on a black background. After all, I am not the only one who has noticed that the colorful guppies show their best color when placed or photographed on a dark background . Anyway, this minitious work cost me about 2 hours of attention and precision. It doesn't bother me that others have taken over this plate without request, because this is actually the proof that they liked it. I even found my piece of work on a sales site, phew haha! I didn't sign it because the guppies on it weren't "my" fish, so I thought I shouldn't claim it. Before we get too rigid about "copyrights" or "property rights" over photos, we need to realize that we are all indebted to ..... the guppy and the Nature in the first place. who created these beautiful fish. With this parade I wanted to show the richness of color and richness of variation of the Ginga. It's an ode to the fish, and in a way also to Tanaka, though I've never had contact with the man. It is better that things are done with respect and out of love, rather than that one rides on one's supposed or imagined "rights". I am not a bureaucrat; I am a nature and guppy lover.