What are Moscow guppies???

Updated on 08/22/2016

After many years of research, chats with breeders from around the world,
collected records (published and unpublished articles), etc.
found it out that the first ‘Triangle/Delta’ Moscow were Half-Body Snakeskin
with ‘metallic’ blue head?

This article is based on information from the 80’s and later …

Moscow Guppy

Photo by Dietmar Schmidt.

  • According to the records, the early Moscow had ‘mosaic’ tail.   Mosaic Moscow guppy tail

This fully explains streaks and dots in the caudal and dorsal fin
(due to a Y-linked gene) seen on the (modern) Moscow guppies today?
However, when most people think of Moscow guppy,
they think of solid blue & full colored guppy.
This strain is originated in Moscow, Russia in the early 80’s ???
when featured in “Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine” (FAMA)
as Moscow Blue guppies?

Moscow Blue

孔雀魚部落格 – 2007 / by Derrick

They were distributed to Germany and Japan
and then spreading around the world from there?
The strain first appeared in USA in the 3rd World Guppy Contest
in Milwaukee in 1998 shown by a Japanese breeder.
Some of the 1998 WGC Show-Winners were purchased in auction by USA breeders
(including Luke Roebuck)..

Purple Moscows

by Luke Roebuck

One of the best (if not best) ever Russian guppy breeder
Vladimir Storozchev, and many other Russian breeders
when talking about Moscow guppies
they do not talk about Blue/Green Moscow nor “super-gene”?,
a gen that is responsible for the “complete” coloration
of the front body including the head?, as stated by Philip Shaddock.
In fact, they do not even mention colored head when talking about Moscow guppies!
However, the “super-gene” is mentioned by Dr. Sergey Apriatin.



Vladimir S.

So the fact that the head and the top of the front of the body of the “modern” Moscow?
are so strongly Y-linked (from a supergene) means that
the rest of the body can be influenced by both Y-linked and X-linked genes.
Another thing that I think it is important to mention
that the original Moscow? guppy have metallic sheen color.
Lately I have been seeing full colored guppy but instead sheen color
they have less sheen or even appear a bit more dull color
because they were crossed with “NON-Moscow” guppy.

American full blue - green delta

Moscow female …
Also, it is good to know;
Moscow female have more rounded than delta (or any other) shape of caudal fin.

Today in America is very difficult to find a pure-bred Moscow “?” guppy.



I’m not saying that the blue and purple guppies are same,
neither genetically nor in any other way
but Moscow? guppies, they are same …

The Blue Moscow is the most common form and it can be a very dark blue
because of the black component to the color.
The black component can become so dark as to produce a Black Moscow.
* Yes, I got a Black Moscow from Blue Moscow …

Green Moscow is Blue Moscow with a lot of yellow color cells
in the top layer of the skin.

Purple Moscow is Blue Moscow with plentiful red color cells.


That is why Moscow dramatically change color depending on the lighting.
They look one color under natural lighting,
another color under articifial lighting, another color with light from above,
and another color from direct light from the front.

They could look Blue, even Black, Green or Purple!
If you are planning to put them on show bench, GOOD LUCK!!!

NOTE:   This strain is not fully mature until 10 months of age.

Some breeders have even developed the (modern) Red Moscow ???“.

Red Moscow

The (modern) Red Moscow ??? guppies

My question about Red Moscow was posed to Dr. Sergey Apriatin;
1.) Is it possible to made
Red Moscow Guppy with a “red head” FULL RED MOSCOW ?
2.) History of the origin …
when the species originated, who is the creator … ?

Answer from Dr. Sergey Apriatin;
1.) American/European/Asian Full Red and Russian Full Red
have difference understending of these phenotypes.
Russian Moscow Full Red have about 70-80% of Red color on the body and fins.
Your opinion is 95-100% of Red color for Full Red strains.

So, Luke Roebuck was correct with his statement;
“The definition of Moscow cannot have redhead”.
Red color is a pigment chromatophore color.
Moscow head is defined by Metallic
with sometimes irridocyte color which is in all blue green and purple…
they are not primary chromatophore color.

Moscow Red is Red guppy with Gray Base body color and Mosccow super-gene.
Moscow supergene have a few different phenotype points (few genes).
One of them – big spot on the front of the body (no red color).

Full Red is Full Red guppy with Blond Base body color (often)
or (sometimes) Gray or over variants of Base body colors.

2.) First guppybreeder who recieve Moscow Full Scarlet guppy
(Full Red guppy with Blond Base body color)
was russian famous guppybreeder Mr. Vyacheslav Kornev.

1970 (Moscow, USSR) – famous Mr. Kornev received Moscow Full Scarlet guppy
from cross between Red guppy with small transparent tail
and Golden guppy with big tail.

After that I mean were recieve a lot of Full Red strains
with different Base body color genotypes and phenotypes.

Moscow Scarlet guppy

true Black Moscow;
have been developed using ‘Triangle/Delta Three-Quarter Black’ guppies.

true Green Moscow;
crossing with “Triangle/Delta  Green” guppies will bias the color to green.

true Purple Moscow;
crossing with “Triangle/Delta Purple” guppies will bias the color to purple.

Full green guppies

F1 from cross Green Moscow & American Green Delta

Mature chromatophores are grouped into subclasses based on their colour
(more properly “hue”) under white light:

  • xanthophores (yellow),
  • erythrophores (red),
  • iridophores (reflective / iridescent),
  • leucophores (white),
  • melanophores (black/brown),
  • cyanophores (blue).

History of MOSCOW guppy – presentation brief

by Dr Sergey Apriatin.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And for the end;
Do not let me to confuse you
(even more than you are confused now as you read this article)
with my statement that the name “Blue Moscow” is MISNOMER???
After researching all Russian (and only Russian)
tropical fish websites, guppy clubs, forums, blogs, etc.
I came to the conclusion
that none of the Russian reputable guppy breeders
do not callSolid Blue” [Triangle/Delta] guppy – MOSCOW BLUE!
Just a couple of beginners in the aquarium hobby
has published pictures of guppies that are called the Blue Moscow!
In one of the coming articles
I will post the original images with the original names
from one of the best ever Russian guppy breeder;
Vladimir Storozchev.
Also, I will republish [for educational purposes]
(original version as well as a translation in English)
1971 article on the “Veiled Moscow,”
N. Vasilev and F. Polkanov talk about the true and false Moscow.

However, since the whole world has accepted the name
“Moscow” and “Russian Metal-Head”
for guppies with particular caracteristics / color
I will continue to represent them by that name in my articles.

by Igor Dusanic

About Igor Dusanic

Dedicated to the Fancy Guppy Hobby!
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