Guppy (Poecilia reticulata)
Maximum size in aquariums (min-max): 4 – 6 cm ( 1.57 – 2.36 in)
pH of water: 7 – 8.5
Water hardness (dGH): 12 – 18 °N
Recommended temperature: 19 – 29 °C ( 66.2 – 84.2 °F )
Compatibility (temperament to it’s family): peaceful (read this answer)
Compatibility (temperament to other fish species): peaceful (read this answer)
Place in the aquarium: Middle levels
The way of breeding: Pseudo-Livebearer
Fish origin: South America
Information about care
Guppy is very peaceful and nice fish, which doesn’t require large tanks or very specific water quality. They do best in the community aquariums, but an aquarium with Guppies only could be very good decision. Bear in mind that slow water and enough plants are required.
Guppies will accept almost all fish food. Even though they look hungry all the time, you should feed them once or twice a day.
Males are nicely coloured, have large fins. Females are larger than males.
You need tank and pair of guppies only. However, floating plants are required if you want newborns to survive.
Guppies usually live 2 years. In my experience, some specimens can live 3 or more years. On he other hand, such lifespan is rare; about 5% of Guppies live so long.
The Guppy fish is probably the most popular aquarium fish species in the world, and is also known as one of the cheapest fish in shops even though some forms may be expensive. Small, beautiful, peaceful, lively, curious and hardy, there are many colourful variations that can be collected and easily bred. The Guppy fish is one of the best choices for beginners, especially children. However, like every fish kept in captivity, these fishes also require proper care and conditions. Although care of Guppy fish is easy, one shouldn’t underrate it as Guppies may suffer of diseases too!
Females are much larger and rounder than males. They even do not look like the same specie. Unlike females which are dull grey, males are very colourful and have large fins. There are many types of Guppy fish and by breeding you can even create new variants. One of many variants is the Endler’s Guppy (link). In size they are: 4.0 – 6.0 cm ( 1.6 – 2.3 in).
Information about feeding
The Guppy fish can be feed a wide variety of foods (flakes, Spirulina, lettuce, bloodworms, spinach, freeze dried foods, mosquito larvae). They eat almost everything. Guppies have small stomachs and can only consume a little bit of food at one feeding. By the way, it is entertaining to watch them eat larvae, which are almost as big as Guppies. They eat them like big spaghetti. It is recommended to feed them in small amounts at least 3 times daily. When I kept these wonderful fishes, I used to give them food two times a day. However, from time to time they ate eggs of Panda Cories (if eggs are in a visible place, then they’re not safe).
When males and females are together they will breed for sure (if both are healthy, adult, and not too old). The males will perform a courtship display in front of the female by spreading their fins and curving their body. The Guppies are livebearers. The fry can left for themselves immediately after they are born. As a matter of fact, the guppy fry are a delicacy to most fish. Floating plants are good hiding places for fry. A guppy female does mature in about 3 months, males mature sooner. A female’s period lasts about 4 weeks. They are quick breeders, so if you have only Guppies in the tank, they can over breed. As it is already mentioned above, one can use them as food for bigger fish (although it might sound too drastic). Unlike other fish species, the breeding process of Guppies is considered very easy in general. Guppy babies are often eaten by adult specimens. Some aquarists move the babies into another aquarium, however if water parameters are different, the fry may die easily. If you’re moving babies to another fish tank, always use water from old aquarium too!
The tank and care
Guppy fish require fairly warm temperatures (23-24 °C, 82-84°F), but they can live in water between 19.0 – 29.0°C (69 – 86 °F) and quiet vegetated water is good for survival too (Vallisneria Spiralis is a good plant for this purpose since it grows from from bottom to the surface, thus allowing Guppies to play, hide, chase each other). They are community fish. It is good to have more than 5 Guppies in a tank, otherwise they feel alone and this fact can affect their health in term of lifespan. It is recommended to have 1 male to 3 females. They seem to be annoying to other fish in the tank, because they often follow other fish around incessantly, but they do no harm. Only sometimes other fish bite their fins. And some big fish can eat them (starting withGouramis, ending with Goldfish or big cichlids such as Jack Dempsey or Texas cichlid). So be careful what fish are kept in the tank along with Guppies. The water in the tank should be the pH 7.0 – 8.5 and dH of water (dGH) 12.0 – 18.0 °N.
Since Guppies tend to live happily in a tank with more than 10-15 inhabitants, a reasonably sized fish tank is necessary for raising them. I would never put Guppies into a tank of 20 litres or less. Actually, a 20L aquarium will never contain full 20L of water thanks to gravel, filter, driftwood, and the fact that no fish tank is filled from top to bottom. Instead, at least 40 litres are required for about 10-12 Guppies.
Never put a Guppy into a small fish bowl! Fish bowls are known for causing orientation problems and fish in small fish bowls use to die in a short time! If for some reason there is no chance how to avoid a bowl, try to get one that’s as big as possible. Preferably 60 litres and more. In addition, create rows in order to help the fishes to orientate.
Diseases of Guppies
Just like other fish species, Guppies may suffer of diseases as well. The better water quality, the higher chances of keeping healthy Guppies. It’s important to understand that stress is one of the most important factors in any disease. Feeling uncomfortable will lead to a disease no matter it’s a fish, or any other animal in general. Since there is an article devoted to the most common diseases in home aquariums, feel free to visit it: aquarium fish diseases. When keeping Guppies, maintain the water of high quality (free of ammonia and related chemicals, pH of 7 at least, appropriate hardness and carbonate hardness, stable temperature) and you’ll avoid almost every disease.
Selling the fish
Since Guppies are easy to breed, one can sell them very easily too. Of course, you need buyers firstly. In order to be successful, get various males (different colours, different sources) and only 2-3 males. Let them breed and try to sell males. Females aren’t as demanded as males due to colours and fins. If you’re trying to sell Guppies on the internet, make sure to take pictures in order to help potential customers when deciding!
Guppies can be ready for sale once they reach 1cm in length. Experienced breeders may sale them earlier too, however bigger fish have a higher chance to survive the transport and acclimatise easily.