The guppy fish is one of the most popular species among aquarists. This freshwater fish is quite common because it’s easy to care for; it has brilliant colors and an interesting personality. Guppies are peaceful, making them ideal for beginner aquarists.
So how do you care for guppies? If you are considering keeping this fish variety in your aquarium, this guide will help you get started.
Scientific Name: Poecilia reticulata
Common Name: Guppy, Rainbowfish
Life Expectancy: 2 – 3 years
Adult Size: 2 inches
|Tank preference||Top, mid dweller|
|Water temperature||74 -82 F|
|Tank size||Minimum 5 gallons|
|Water parameters||a pH of 6.5 – 8, Hardiness 8 -12 dGH|
Guppies got their name from Robert John Lechmere Guppy. He is the one who originally identified this variety of fish in Trinidad. They have been introduced to some countries as a method to control mosquito breeding because they feed on the larvae.
Guppies are originally from South America, particularly Guyana, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados. Today, guppies have been introduced to the rest of the world, so you can easily find them in most countries and freshwater bodies.
Guppies live in large schools in their natural habitat to stay protected from predators like birds. While they prefer freshwater bodies, they are quite hardy and can adapt to different environments.
One of the reasons guppies are popular is because of their appearance and bright colors. They come in different colors, patterns, and tail and fin shapes. Guppies have a fan-shaped fin larger than the rest of the body. You can categorize guppies according to their color, eye color, or tail type.
Most of these fish varieties have two or three colors ranging from red, yellow, orange, green, purple, pink, blue, and silver. Depending on the variety, you’ll notice that some have spots while others come with stripes on the fins, body, and tail.
If you are unsure whether your guppy is a male or female, you can check the color and the size. Generally, females are an inch longer than their male counterparts as adults. Additionally, males will be more slender than females.
In terms of color, males have more vibrant shades than females. They also become much brighter when looking for a mate. On the other hand, females become paler than usual when breeding.
On average, guppies are not that big. As adults, they grow to a maximum of two to two and a half inches long. Since males are shorter, they might not even hit the two inches mark.
Guppies are peaceful and easy-going species; therefore, they will mix well with fellow non-aggressive species. They are social, fast, and active swimmers, which means they will spend most of their time exploring in the tank. Although they are not aggressive, they can bully and fight other fish if the tank is too small.
It might be better to keep guppies with other live-bearing species like mollies and platys. They also work best with other small fish like Neon Tetras. This is the only way to ensure that most of the fry survive. You can also have an exclusive guppy aquarium if need be.
In the tank, guppies spend most of their time either at the top or mid-level. Although they enjoy swimming, they can hide behind plants if they feel threatened by other fish species.
Tank Size and Conditions
Due to their size, guppies don’t require a large tank. You can keep about three guppies in a 5-gallon tank. However, it’s better to go for a 10-gallon tank to keep more. This is much better because it allows the fish to swim actively.
While in their natural habit, you can find guppies in streams, water pools, and ponds. In captivity, they prefer freshwater tanks. You can replicate the natural environment as much as possible for the best results.
Since they come from warm waters in South America, they will thrive better in warmer conditions. For the water parameters, go for the hardiness of 8 -12 dGH and an overall neutral PH balance. Your guppies have a better chance of survival if the water parameters are correct and the water is recycled well.
Add rocky and sandy substrates to the aquarium to mimic the bottom surface of the natural habitat. You don’t need a specialized substrate because guppies don’t spend their time at the bottom of the tank.
When it comes to food, guppies are easy to care for. As omnivores, they will consume a wide range of foods. They survive on insect larvae and algae in the wild, so you should try and match up this diet. You can feed them algae wafers, frozen foods like bloodworms, and high-quality fish flakes to ensure they get all the nutrients.
To avoid overfeeding guppies, you can feed them twice daily for about two minutes maximum. Once this time lapses, you can remove the leftovers to maintain the water quality and reduce the risk of infection and disease.
Female guppies can store sperm during breeding and develop eggs inside their bodies. Guppies are live-bearers; therefore, you should expect about 10-50 fry after the female guppy gives birth. The fry might be eaten if they are in the same tank as other fish species.
To prevent this, you can separate the female guppy during breeding. You can know when a female guppy is pregnant if they have a dark mark on the abdomen. The gestation period is usually 26 to 31 days on average.
Guppies are an excellent choice to start with if you are a beginner aquarist. They are peaceful, easy to care for, and a colorful addition to your tank. As long as you feed them and ensure the tank is in good condition, your guppies will live for long without any diseases. Fortunately, there are readily available in most countries; therefore, you can find them easily.
Featured Image Credti: Holger Grybsch, Pixabay