Same as other animals, Albino fish must have a white body and pink or red eyes. Albino fish may require special consideration from the aquarium in regards to lighting. Amelanism or albinism is a hereditary condition where a person appears whitened as a result of the absence of melanin pigment(Black Color) the s that color the skin and hair, protecting it from excessive sunlight damage.
However, there are some critical differences – melanin is the only pigment system in mammals, and so albino humans will appear white, but fishes can also have a range of other pigment cells including xanthophores (yellow), erythrophores (red), iridophores (reflective/iridescent), leucophores (white), melanophores (black/brown), and cyanophores (blue). which are unaffected by albinism.
For this reason, albino fishes can often look yellow, or have a yellow pattern due to the underlying xanthophores showing through.
About 1 in 10,000 animals are born with albinism in nature. but can increase % of albinism by inbreeding.
Albino Genetics and breeding Discus
House of Discus would like to share an article for better understanding of albino genetics.
DNA is a molecule that carries genetic information or instructions telling our bodies how to function and develop. The DNA in the albinism gene does not contain the instructions for the body to create as much pigment needed for various functions – including vision.
Albinism is an inherited genetic condition. Most forms of albinism are recessive, which means that a child must have inherited one abnormal (albino) gene from each parent.
A carrier is someone who has one abnormal gene and one that functions normally. Because the functional gene overrides the abnormal one, these people do not have albinism themselves. However, they are still able to pass the abnormal gene on to their child.
When two people are carriers of the albinism gene, they have a one in four chance that the child will have albinism, one in two chances that the child will not have albinism but be a carrier and a one in four chance that the child will neither be a carrier nor have albinism.
To make learning simple and visible. We will use a simple Punnett square to explain the outcome of offspring if one is interested in breeding albino discus. The Punnett square is a diagram that is used to predict an outcome of a particular cross or breeding experiment.
There are a total of 5 scenarios to consider.
I will be using “A” to represent the “normal” gene and “a” to represent the “albino” gene.
A discus with AA genetic makeup is considered normal.
A discus with Aa genetic makeup is considered “intermediate”
A discus with aa genetic makeup is considered to be albino.
Scenario 1: AA cross AA [Normal X Normal]
Scenario 2: AA cross aa [Normal X Albino]
Scenario 3: AA cross Aa [Normal X Intermediate]
Scenario 4: Aa cross Aa [Intermediate X Intermediate]
Scenario 5: aa cross aa [Albino X Albino]
Please refer to picture for probability.
Point to note. It is difficult to differentiate intermediate from normal. As intermediate will look like the normal discus. The genetic makeup on an intermediate can only be certain if one of the parent discus is normal and the other is albino.
Do note that albinism is a recessive gene. The crossing of closely related fishes, especially over many generations will cause the weakening of the discus due to the accumulation of recessive genes that might be fatal for the organism. As such, breeders should also consider the importance of improving the species through careful selection of genes through artificial selection. Thanks for sharing this information.
Also in chimerism, you may cross two albinos and have resulted in an intermediate. This is because it’s like 1 organism having 2 different genetic makeup. One which appears to be an albino but still has another genetic makeup in the organism. During the breeding, the non-albino genetic appears and thus resulting why you get intermediate. This is a very rare scenario though.
HOD hope that the following information will be useful for the breeder who likes to start breeding albino discus.
How to Breed Albino fish
Breeding albino fish can be a challenging yet rewarding process. It involves selective breeding to favor the albino trait, a genetic condition characterized by a lack of pigmentation, resulting in white scales and red or pink eyes.
Here’s a simple guide to breeding albino fish:
- Selecting Parent Fish: To breed albino fish, start with fish that carry the albino trait. These could be albino fish or non-albino fish carrying the recessive albino gene.
- Creating a Conducive Environment: Just like other fish, albino fish need a specific environment to breed. Ensure you maintain proper tank conditions such as appropriate water temperature, pH level, and clean water.
- Feeding a Proper Diet: A good diet enhances the likelihood of successful breeding. Provide a balanced diet with an adequate supply of protein, which is crucial during breeding.
- Spawning: Many fish lay eggs (oviparous), while some give live birth (viviparous). For egg layers, provide a suitable substrate or plants where they can deposit their eggs. For live bearers, less preparation is needed for the birthing process.
- Egg Fertilization: For egg-laying fish, the male will fertilize the eggs shortly after they’re deposited. In the case of livebearers, fertilization happens internally before birth.
- Care for the Fry: Once the eggs hatch or the babies are born (in the case of livebearers), you may need to separate them from the adults to prevent predation. Some species are known to eat their young.
- Raising Albino Offspring: Since albinism is a recessive trait, not all offspring will be albino even if both parents carry the gene. Albino fry can be more sensitive to light due to the lack of pigmentation and may require special care.
- Selecting the Next Generation: As the fish grow, select those exhibiting the albino trait for future breeding to propagate this characteristic.
Remember, each fish species has specific breeding requirements, so it’s important to understand these before you start the breeding process. If you’re new to breeding fish, consider seeking advice from experienced breeders or aquatic experts. Also, albino fish can be more sensitive to certain conditions, and it’s important to ensure their needs are met to promote their health and wellbeing.