Guppy Guide: How to Care

fish guppy

Guppy (lat. Poecilia reticulata) is an aquarium fish, which is well-known for both beginners and seasoned aquarists alike. Many people start with guppies, and only then seriously get involved in with other species. Of course, due to the fact that they are very beautiful and popular, there are a huge number of their species, both standard and grown selectively.

Guppy fish is named after their discoverer Robert John Lechmere Guppy, Robert Guppy was the first to find and describe this fish on Trinidad Island in 1866.

Guppy Overview

The homeland of the guppy fish is Trinidad and Tobago islands. These little fishes live in clean, running water,  but if you put them in brackish waters they will not mind at all, except for saltwater.

Their food is worms, mosquito larvae, and various small insects. Because of this peculiarity, they were even massively colonized in areas where there are a lot of malaria mosquitos, as guppies eat its larvae.

Guppies in nature are small and not protected. Male guppies have a brighter color, they are smaller than females, and grow about 2inches (5 cm) in length. There are a huge number of forms and types. As for the appearance, it is almost impossible to describe, because they cross-breed so often that now there are dozens and dozens of different types.

Their lifespan is not so long, due to the fact that the fish is small in size and its metabolism is accelerated in warm water. Guppy life expectancy is about from 2 to 3 years. You are lucky if the fish has lived longer, so some species live up to 5 years. It all depends on the temperature of the water in the aquarium. With high water temperatures, guppies grow small and can live only for 1 year or even less.

Guppy Habitat and Tank Requirements

Guppy is a gorgeous fish for beginners and pros.
Small, active, beautiful, very easy to breed, undemanding to the aquarium and feeding.

There are select breeding species, they are not very suitable for beginners since they are grown artificially, their immunity is rather weak, and it will be quite difficult to maintain them. If they are all of the same bright colors, and the males have long and even fins – this is a select breeding species.

Hybrid types of guppies already have weak immunity and are very demanding. So if you decide to just try yourself, buy the most simple, but multi-colored guppies. They are no worse than bred ones and will make you happy as well.

The main parameters of water:

  • Water temperature is 22–25 ° C (but can live in the range from 19 ° C to 29 ° C).
  • Acidity: 7.0–8.0 pH (range may be 5.8–8.5).
  • Water hardness – 12.0–18.0 (up to 25 °).

The aquarium requirements

The aquarium may be small, 20 liters will be enough for 5 fish.
Some people follow the rule that 1 liter is enough for 1 fish up to 4 cm long, 1.5 liters is good enough to 6 cm fish, but obviously, the more is the better.

Guppy cannot be called a flock fish, but there is almost no point in keeping it just with a pair. For guppies, the rule is simple – the more there are in the aquarium, the more impressive and beautiful they look. The number of females should be 2-3 times more than males.

The aquarium should have a rectangular shape. Of course, the guppy may live in a bank or in a round aquarium, but they will feel uncomfortable there, and also because of this, there may appear reasons for the development of various diseases. Moreover, it is significantly harder to maintain such aquariums nice and clean.

Light is not a problem at all. It can be any type, from bright to twilight.

It is best to have a lot of plants in the aquarium (although they are not mandatory) since this will be similar to the natural habitat and will significantly increase the chances of survival of the fry in the aquarium.

Plats preference. The following plant species will do:
anubias barteri;
– cryptocoryne;
– elodea;
anubias barteri;
microsorum pteropus;

– cabomba palaeformis;
riccia fluitans;
list of Brazilian;

Aquarium guppy requires aeration and filtration since it receives oxygen from the water itself. If you buy a powerful filter, it is better to close the holes in it with an additional net, since a powerful filter is not only able to suck the fry but even an adult fish.
It is also needed to make a weekly water change by 25%.

Guppy Feeding

It is very easy to feed them, they eat very different foods – artificial, frozen, live, even dry.
Guppies are omnivores, which means they can eat both plant and animal matter.
They eat fish flakes, granules and other artificial food with pleasure, but it is better to choose well-known brands. It is important to remember that the guppy has a small mouth and stomach, and it is better to feed them two or three times a day, giving them portions which they can eat in 2-3 minutes.

Guppy Tank mate (Compatibility with other fish)

Guppy is a very peaceful fish that does not cause any trouble to the neighbors. But their peaceful community can be easily harassed by large and predatory fish.

Note: unfortunately, breeding shrimp in the same tank with guppies is almost impossible. They usually will no touch adult shrimp but they will eat all shrimplets.

Guppy Sex differences

It is really very simple to distinguish the female guppy from the male. Males are smaller, slimmer, they have a large tail fin. Females of the guppy are larger, they have a large and noticeable belly, and usually, they are rather pale colored. Even juveniles can be distinguished quite early. As a rule, those of the fry that were first to be painted will be males.

Guppy breeding

One of the easiest fish to breed is domestic guppies, they breed in home aquariums like nuts. Guppies are ovoviviparous. The female bears her eggs in her stomach but gives birth to live young.
The first hours fry will lie down and hide, after that babies will go out and starts to swim and eat.
For successful breeding, it is possible to contain one male per 3-5 females. It is also possible to have more males because they do not fight with each other but only compete.
Warning: guppies can eat their fry. Therefore, pregnant females are better to deposit in a separate aquarium.
How can you understand that you have a pregnant guppy? Pregnant females have a dark spot near the anus, and the darker it is, the sooner she will give birth.

Guppy fry care.

Female guppies usually give birth to about 30-50 babies, but sometimes there are can be up to 200.
Taking care of guppy fry is quite simple, as well as about their parents. You can feed them with Fish flakes (which you give to adult guppies), but it is better to give them dry eggs or branded fry food.

It is important that the water be clean. At the same time, you should not change all the water in a tank immediately. Since the babies are still weak such changes can be dangerous for them. The easiest way is to change 10% of the water once a day or two, or 25% once a week.

Water temperature for guppy fry is very important, and you need to keep it at the level of 24-26.5С.
With proper care and feeding, the guppy fry grows quickly and within a month and a half it starts to get colors.

Guppies become mature:
Males – in two months,
females – in three months.

Additional Questions about Guppies

How does guppy breathe?

Like all fish – dissolved in water with oxygen, do not forget to include aeration and filtration.

How long do guppies live?

About two years, but it all depends on the conditions and temperature. The higher the temperature of the water, the shorter their life. Some fish live up to 5 years.

How often should I feed guppy?

Daily, and in small portions two to three times a day. For example, in the morning and in the evening. Once a week, you can arrange a hungry day, but keep in mind that the fish will actively look for food and the first victims will be their own fry.

Why do their tails are shredded?

There may be a lot of reasons, but the most common is old water, which is rarely replaced. It accumulates ammonia and nitrates, and they poison the fish and destroy the fins. Regularly change the water to fresh. There may also be a sharp change in water, injury or poor feeding, not enough vitamins.

If the guppy has lost its tail, then this is an alarming sign – either someone breaks off her tail, in this case, you will have to find “the culprit”, or it has become infected, and the rest of the fish can be in danger as well.

Why does the tail stick together?

It can be either old and dirty water, or an infection, or scanty feeding. Try changing 20% of the water once a week and watching the condition of other fish.

Why guppy curve a spine?

If it is not a birth defect and it happened with adult fish, then this may be due to the fact that it is contained in a too small aquarium, with a large number of fishes.

The spine can become twisted also due to old age, and this is normal, but the most common cause is fish tuberculosis or mycobacteriosis. The disease is complex, and its treatment is not easy, it does not always bring results. In order to avoid the spread of infection, these fish are better isolated.

Can I keep guppy in the sea water?

No, you can’t. Guppy is a freshwater fish and it will die in salted water.

Why do guppies swim on the surface?

They breathe oxygen dissolved in water, and it is not enough in your tank.

Why? Maybe it’s just too hot, maybe you haven’t cleaned the aquarium for a long time and didn’t change the water. Be sure to turn on aeration or filtration (place the filter closer to the surface of the water to enhance gas exchange) and replace some of the water with fresh one.

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