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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

I love the look of the EB Rams, but I have heard that they are very delicate as a result of inbreeding.

Wouldn't crossing a normal Ram with an EB ram & line-breeding one of the F1s back to the EB Ram parent create a stronger EB ram strain? (This is assuming that the EB coloring is completely recessive, just like the EB coloring in the Jack Dempsey.)

What do you guys think of this plan? Has anyone tried it?

Thanks!
 

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I've not heard of any credible information that says the EB Rams weakness can be attributed to inbreeding.

The EBJD went through a similar run back in it's day where folks hoped inbreeding was to blame for the weakness of the mutant strain. It will be interesting to see if the EB Ram fans go through the same arguments and exercises with this mutant fish as they went through with the EBJD.
We had folks linebreed, outcross, hybridize, etc. EBJDs are just doing the norm regardless of the "extra" effort. The linebreeding over time weeds out the weakest of the mutants until now we have $9.99 EBJDs at the megalopetmarts that aren't half bad fish!

I expect the EB Ram to go the same route... :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The EBJDs are still going for $50 each up here in NYC - I can't believe you have them for $10!

Rams are delicate in general, so I agree with you that although inbreeding doesn't help, it can't be blamed for the "sudden Ram death" that seems to overtake so many newly-purchased specimens!

I have seen someone on AquaBid selling hybrid Gold-Blue rams, but the young are too small to tell what their adult coloring is going to be (blue or gold or some muddled in-between color). This cross could offer a clue as to whether the blue is recessive (like the EBJD) or co-dominant.
 

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I picked up a $9.99 EBJD from a pet co. store in St. Pete... she loves the little guy. They had 2 others when I left. :popcorn:

I don't quite see how the gold x EBram cross will give much info about the EB gene.
That breeder is just north of here and I've been meaning to visit...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The interesting part about the Gold x EB cross is in the proportions...

If exactly 50% of the fry were gold and 50% were blue, then you would know that the genes for Blue and Gold were co-dominant. If 25% were blue and the rest gold, then you would know that at least some gold rams are heterozygous for blue! If you got some that were a muddled in-between color, you would know that one or both of the genes for color were showing incomplete dominance (ie that you need two copies of the same color allele in one individual to get enough of the color-producing protein to be expressed and show the full vibrance of the color, like Japanese Four O'Clock Flowers).

I am a biology grad student with an interest in genetics, which is why I started breeding fish in the first place, so this is my favorite part of the hobby!
 

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Unfortunately, your projections are based on incorrect assumptions. First you have to understand how color is desplayed in the skin of the fish. The color cells are in various layers, and the base yellow color of a Gold Ram would be covered up by the iridescence of the Electric Blue because the iridophores are the top layer of color cells. (An analogy would be the fact that a recessive Gold trait underlies the Red in Swordtails to make them Velvet rather than Brick Red.) Regardless of whether the blue is a dominant, a partial dominant, or even a recessive, phenotypically it will cover or mostly cover any other color modifications. All this is assuming that it is based on a single set of alleles; from what I've seen so far, that is not likely.

I have a slight advantage in that I already know how Gold is inherited in Rams. It is actually a partial dominant, but the way in which it displays is quite unusual. A cross between a homozygous normal Ram and a homozygous Gold Ram will produce yellow fry that later develop some of the melanic pigments of a normal Ram. The phenotype is a very yellow, but normally marked, Ram; most hobbyists would not be able to recognize these fish as anything other than normal. To truly display the pure yellow color of a Gold requires that the genes be homozygous.

So if you end up with 50/50, it would prove: a) that the EB is also homozygous for gold, b) that the same fish was also heterozygous for the blue, and c) that the blue is a complete dominant. Since I'm about 99% certain that the EB are not carrying a Gold gene underneath (in all the photos I've seen, they still have black spikes), the odds are very slim that you could ever get a 50/50 result. If the EB were heterozygous for gold, then only 25% of the young would be Gold, and 25% would be the yellow/normal color described above. If the EB were a recessive, the Gold would have to be carrying the EB gene - not likely at this point in time - and the EB would still have to be homozygous for Gold.

Your second projection is an impossibility by the math, but a possibility by functionality. There is no possible mathematical projection that could lead to 25% blue, as both fish would have to be heterozygous for the blue, and the blue would have to be a recessive - impossible because the EB is displaying the color! However, the fact that those fry may be weaker could result in fry losses heavier in that portion of the spawn, resulting in a skewed ratio. The same thing happens with spawns involving heterozygous normal and albino fish; albino fry are weak, and have a higher rate of mortality than the normal fish, resulting in a different ratio than the math would indicate.

Your last projection is actually what is likely to happen. I'm reasonably certain that the EB Rams are homozygous for that color, if the trait is controlled by a single pair of genes. If EB is a complete dominant (I seriously doubt that it is), all the young are going to be EB. If it is a partial dominant, a heterozygous individual will have a partial dominance display, resulting in heavy blue iridescence without the complete coverage of a homozygous individual; I suspect this is the case, as I've already seen some individuals that most seem to think are just "poor quality" EB Rams. If the gene is a recessive, there will be no EB coloration on any fry. The Gold I've already explained above, so your genotype is likely to be BbGg, with the lower case letters representing the normal color genes in each pair of alleles. What the phenotype would look like is anyone's guess.

Genetics is 50% math, 50% biology. You can calculate what the probabilities should be, but the biology will always throw a few monkey wrenches into the mix. If I could get some EB Rams, I'd be doing this cross myself through a couple of generations to see how a Gold base might alter the EB coloration (remember the effect on Red Swords).
 

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Wow... I was going to reply, but I don't really see how anyone can add to what you've shared Chromedome. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, ChromeDome52!

I think you misunderstood the Blue x Gold cross I was adressing - I was talking about inbreeding sibling fish that are the F1 generation of an EB x Gold ram cross, which are being sold on Aquabid here (http://www.aquabid.com/cgi-bin/auction/ ... 1296473201). If Blue and Gold were in fact produced by two distinct alleles, all of the offspring from the initial cross would be heterozygotes for both alleles. So, the F2 generation from that cross should yield 25% Homozygous Blue, 25% Homozygous Gold and 50% Heterozygous fry (if Rams were as simple as pea plants!)

Of course, animals are much more complex than peas, and your information regarding the base color cells being obscured by the iridescent blue that occurs in the outermost layer of cells in all rams, but is so prominent in the EB Ram, does indeed throw a wrench in my fantasy breeding scheme!

P.S. Can you recommend any good books/papers where I could learn more about how fish colors are expressed/inherited?

Thanks again!
 
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my brain hurts from reading this article... i fancy myself somewhat of an intellectual.. and i have no idea wtf you guys are talking about.. i guess this is just a club i wouldnt be on the guest list to get in lol... anyways... you can get 2 inch ebjd around here (jersey shore) for $20..i wasnt aware that the ebjd was a mutant... i actually just purchased a balloon belly electric blue ram.. and *** noticed that rams do die quite often... *** recently had good luck with them not dying right away by just buying like 10 of them all at once... only had one gold balloon ram die... what is the balloon trait attributed to? i also have a balloon belly green terror... are they just genetic mutations kind of like a dwarf would be to humans?
 

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PlatinumSM, the book Aquariology:The Science of Fish Health Management is on my list of essential references for the serious hobbyist. However, it just has a basic explanation of the color of fish, about 4-5 paragraphs, explaining the differences between the different types of cells involved and how they work. Some information came from attending talks back in the 70s and 80s by people such as Joanne Norton and Gene Lucas, and discussions with several other experts. A few months back I needed to double check some of this, and Googled for it, came up with several references, and even the Wiki page seemed to be reasonably correct for a change.

mike715m, balloon belly is the result of a spinal deformity. It does seem to be a genetic mutation, but there have been so many species in the last 10-15 years that have been marketed with this deformity that I worry about how they are creating them. Contrary to popular belief, they are not made by hybridization, but they are frequently marketed as hybrids to discourage private breeders from trying to spawn them. I believe that started with the Bloody Parrot. They also tried to claim that the deformed Rams were a hybrid with Angelfish.
 
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