- Family: Poeciliidae
- Scientific Name: Poecilidae Reticulata
- Care level: Easiest
- Temperament: Friendly
- Diet: Omnivore
- Water conditions: Freshwater, tropical temperature 75° to 81°F, pH around 7.2
- Max Size: 3 inches female, 1.5 inches, male
- Minimum tank size (One fish): 1.5 gallons
Overview: Guppy Fish Care
If you’re a beginner or a seasoned fish hobbyist, you’ll find delight in keeping the common guppy. Because of the vibrant colors and ease of breeding, guppies are a fun and rewarding addition to a simple aquarium.
Guppies can thrive in practically any size tank and are relatively easy to keep healthy. They are a popular choice for introducing children to the hobby.
They are well-known for populating aquariums, making them a popular choice in home aquariums. With their wide variations in fin and tail shapes and color, their constant activity, and their simple nature, they are a fun and exciting pet to keep in your home.
Guppies live on average 2 years. Their lifespan depends highly on their tank conditions. It’s been reported that if their temperature is too high, it shortens their lifespan. Their short lifespan is compensated with bunny-like breeding. If you have the correct setup, your guppies will make sure your tank is populated for years to come.
How fast/slow should you expect guppies to grow?
Male guppies will grow from 0.5 to 1.5 inches over a few months of feeding. Females will grow from 1 to 2.5 inches in the same time frame.
What’s guppy fish max size?
Guppies will never get too large, topping out at 1.5 to 2.5 inches.
One of the reasons guppies are fun for kids is that it’s easy to tell the males from the females. Females are larger and are typically a plain, grey color. Males are smaller and thinner and have flamboyant, colorful tails.
Different types of Guppies
Most guppies sold in the U.S. are the common guppy, although you may occasionally find a variation, the Endler Guppy (Poecilidae Wingei). Even among common guppies, there is a world of variation with many shapes and colors.
The female is usually a solid, comparatively bland color, sometimes with minor coloration and patterns on the fins and tail.
The male’s body can have a number of color variations, including solid colors, snakeskin patterns, including Cobra, and tuxedo patterns. Some skins may look like grass, lace, or leopard spots. Some will be described as mosaic. But the real variation comes in the tail. The guppy is sometimes called the rainbow fish for a reason. The male guppy has a tail that can be shaped in any number of ways and includes an incredible array of colors. His tail can be Fan, Triangular, Sword or Spear, Flag, Spade, Rounded, or even Lyre-Shaped.
You may find guppies in your local pet store sold as:
- Blue Cobra Guppy
- Fancy Guppy
- Coral Guppy
- Delta Guppy
- Flame Guppy
- Glass Guppy
- Mosaic Guppy
- Moscow Guppy
- Red Fire Guppy
- Tuxedo Guppy
All because of color variations. Choose the ones you like the best!
Guppy- Diet & Feeding
Guppy Feeding habits
You’ll likely feed your guppies once or twice a day.
They will live happily on commercially available flakes. It is good to supplement with some live feed as well, such as frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, or mosquito larvae.
They are omnivores and typically eat insect larvae in the wild, so this kind of food is natural.
To keep the tank clean and to prevent them from over-eating, give them as much as they can eat in about two minutes at each feeding.
What foods are recommended for guppy fish?
The best source of food for your Guppy has commercially produced flakes or pellets. If you choose a quality product that does not list soy or wheat as the main ingredient, your guppies should flourish. Your local pet store may sell frozen foods to supplement this diet. What I recommend you feed are Bug Bites by Fluval, I used them for my guppies and I know many people in my fish group who also think so. Here is a great choice to feed your Guppy fish!
Guppy Tank Setup
In their natural habitat, guppies live in the warm freshwaters of South America. So, a tropical freshwater environment is required.
Guppy Tank size
Most people choose at least a 10-gallon tank to house their guppies, but because of their hardy nature, even a smaller tank is possible. Each guppy needs about 1.5 gallons of water to thrive. If you’re planning to allow your guppies to breed, plan ahead for a full tank.
Guppy water conditions (Temperature, pH, KH)
Tropical freshwater is required to keep Guppies, maintained at 75° to 81°F. They are hardy fish, so less care is needed for the pH balance. The ideal pH is 7.0 to 7.2, but they will tolerate a pH between 5.5 and 8.5.
To maintain a healthy environment, equip your aquarium with a heater and aquarium filter. If you plan on breeding guppies I highly recommend using a pre-filter sponge to cover the intake of the filter.
You can decorate your guppy tank with decorations however you’d like. Because they are easy fish, they will respect any type of ornamentation you prefer. Guppies spend most of their time swimming in the top half of the tank, so the bottom of the tank is free to match your tastes.
Substrates, such as gravel or sand are a good starting point, plus rocks, limbs or fun décor is all possible. Consider an air bubbler on an air pump to bring a constant motion to the space.
The main consideration for decorating a guppy tank is deciding if you would like to breed them. If you hope for babies and want them all to live in the same aquarium, provide plenty of plants and hiding places. Guppies will eat their young, so they need a safe haven. Hornwort is an excellent choice. A floating plant such as Java Moss may also help them survive to adulthood.
Otherwise, plants are a great way to decorate your tank and keep it healthy.
If you are really serious about breeding, you may consider a second tank that you keep free of all decoration, especially for the fry. In that tank, you’ll remove the mother as quickly as possible and let the fry grow beyond bite-size before they join the main tank.
Guppy Tank Mates
Your first decision when populating an aquarium with guppies is how much you want to devote to guppies. Again, planning for breeding is the first priority. If you want to keep males and females together, you should keep them in an unbalanced set. More males than females are the best approach, with around two males for every female.
Many people start with two males and one female and let nature take its course.
Beyond guppies, any type of common peaceful freshwater aquarium fish are excellent tank mates. Platies and neon tetras are very colorful and will thrive side-by-side with guppies. As will swordtails and rasbora. Gouramis and Angelfish can be carefully added if you need a larger friend to join the tank.
Bottom dwellers such as Plecostomus or cory catfish (Corydoras paleatus) are an excellent choice to share a tank with guppies. They will rarely interfere with each other and they will feed on the food that is missed by the guppies.
Any kind of aggressive fish must be avoided. The colorful, fan-like tails on the male guppies are irresistible to any type of fish that tends to nip at fins. Red-tailed sharks, tiger barbs, and danios won’t get along with guppies. Even mollies may torment the males trying to take a bite.
General Behavior of Guppies
Guppies are simple, but very active fish. They will swim constantly around the top half of the tank and happily await feeding time.
How to Keep Guppies Healthy
Common diseases to look out for
A healthy guppy is easy to keep that way. They are among the hardiest aquarium fish sold. Yet, any common tropical fish diseases can infect your guppy, especially ich, which shows up as white specks on the fish’s body and tail. Your pet store should carry simple over-the-counter treatments to take care of these problems.
Tips on keeping Guppies in good health
With any aquarium fish, the best way to cure and prevent diseases is good water quality. Most illness begins with the stress of ammonia or other chemical build-ups in the water. So frequent testing, water changes, and water treatments are always the best medicine. And constant filtration is essential.
Guppies will breed abundantly with no help from you. If you put males and females in the same tank, expect to have babies. If a male guppy fertilizes a female, its efforts will last through more than one set of fry. So even a single female will sometimes net you a school of babies.
The ease with which guppies breed is one of the reasons they are a favorite aquarium fish. Children, in particular, love to see the babies join the tank. Guppies have live births because the eggs stay inside the female until they emerge.
It is usually easy to see when your guppies are going to have babies. The female gets much larger and more round with her growing family. Sometimes, you can see the eyes of the babies through the mother’s stretched belly skin as they grow.
Guppies will have schools of fry usually numbering between 30 and 60, but it’s often difficult to tell how many because the babies are a favorite food of the adults. Even when you attempt to separate the parents and fry, or provide ample hiding places for the young, it’s difficult to bring them all into adulthood.
Interest fact about Guppies
Guppies were named after Robert John Lechmere Guppy who sent the first specimens to the Natural History Museum in London while on a journey to Trinidad.
Guppies are some of the easiest to care for and most colorful aquarium fish commercially available in the USA. Because of their bright colors and proclivity to procreate, they are a popular choice, especially for children and beginners. For these same reasons, they are popular among veteran hobbyists as well. If you have a peaceful tank of friendly fish, they can be an excellent addition. If you are looking for color and ease and the excitement of breeding, consider the guppy for your home aquarium.