1) What is the most desirable trait in guppies?(finnage, size, color, etc...)
1) Depends on what you're trying to achieve in any given strain. The best standards to go by are the ifga.org standards, which you can find at www.ifga.org.
2) What is a good size for the breeding tank?
2) Anything from a ten to a twenty gallon should be sufficient. Grow out tanks should be larger, 30-40 gallons.
3) How many tanks do I need?
3) Depends on how large of an operation you'll be setting up. Show guppies are usually sold in trios (male/female/female). I'd say one small tank for each trio of adults and about three grow out tanks per strain. One for small fry, two for medium fry split up by sex (males/females).
4) What is the best type of breeder box/breeder net?
4) Homemade ones are the best. You'll need to find a plate of egg crate material with holes large enough to let the fry fall through yet large enough to keep the adults out of it, and position the plate about 1/3 from the top of the tank. The trio can live up top, fry drop underneath. Check the resources at IFGA.
5) Are live plants a yes or no? And are they better for the fry, or the parents?
5) Plants are fine but not required. They do make the females more secure and comfortable with dropping fry and can protect fry from hungry adults that may turn on them. That's up to you. Some breeders use them, some don't.
6) Would one tank be exceptable, with the use of a breeder box/net, and release the fry when they are big enough to fend for themselves?
6) A "colony tank" setup, which allows the adults and fry to co-habitate, is fine except that some of the fry will be picked off by the adults. If this is for a profit, you won't want that.
7) How much money do you think I would be spending on tanks, foods, etc...
7) Do the math. Price tanks and filters at your LFS. I would advise you to use a good earthworm based flake food as it really increases the productivity of females. Ken's fish has them: www.kensfish.com.
8) Is it really like most websites say, just add water and fish, and wallah, babies.
8 ) Not quite that simple. Guppies are actually a brackish water fish, so they do require a little saltwater to do really well. They can have problems like any fish but are generally hardy and drop fry every 30 days or so. They don't call them "millions fish" for nothing. ;)
9) How much is it (really) to ship live fish. I know most aquabid's say its like $35 and that can't be right.
9) Depends on your shipping method, your carrier, and the speed of delivery. Most shippers use a #4 sized shipping box for guppies with an insulated stryofoam inner cooler and a heat pack in the winter time. Figure it costs you about $7 per box including the heat pack. You'll also need to use a tranqulizer and ammonia neutralizer like bag buddies tablets, and breather or 2 mil shipping bags. Then, you have to decide whether to send them overnight or 2-3 day mail. That's usually based on the weight of the box and the distance from your zip code to theirs. Figure the box weighs 2-3 lbs. when packed and loaded, then estimate the shipping at any one of the carriers online (US postal service, UPS or Fedex). There, you can estimate the shipping from one zip code to another.
If you look at the very first stickied thread in our buy/sell/trade forum, you'll find a great thread detailing how to ship fish with the US postal service. This time of year, i'd suggest you use overnight shipping as the only option in your aquabid auctions. Offer your clients 2-3 day shipping in the late spring, all summer, and early fall before it gets too cold. Again, www.kensfish.com has some great breeding/shipping supplies. Also, boxes can be found here if you need them: http://www.cameronpackaging.com/insulated_boxes.html