Kindly provided by the New England Fancy Guppy Association – who maintains copyright to this image

Poecilia Libestes Reticulata, a fish commonly known as the Guppy, is a very popular aquarium fish. It is particularly suitable for novice aquarists since it is easy to keep and non-aggressive. The Guppy belongs to the Livebearer group and will give birth to free swimming fry instead of laying eggs. The Guppy originates from fresh and brackish waters in South and Central America, but can today been found wild in other places of the world as well, including Florida in the U.S. The Guppy has been deliberately set free in several Asian waters in an attempt to combat malaria by decreasing the number of mosquitoes.

You can choose between numerous Guppy fish variations, differencing in the shape of the body as well as the colour of the fish. The most common colours are red, green and blue. Guppy variations include Veiltail guppy, Lacetail guppy, Lyretail guppy, Flagtail guppy, Bottom and Double swordtail guppy, Long fin guppy, Fantail guppy, Red tail guppy, Triangle tail guppy, Rounded guppy, Fancy guppy, Tuxedo guppy, Glass guppy, Grass guppy, Mosaic guppy, King Cobra guppy, Snakeskin guppy and Peacock guppy.

Guppies are often kept in community aquariums since they are so peaceful. They do however prefer to be kept in species aquariums, since other fish occasionally assault them by nipping their long fins. When several Guppies are kept together they will form a beautiful school.

A Guppy fish can be kept in a 2 gallon aquarium, but the Guppy should ideally not be kept alone and larger aquarium that can house several Guppies is preferred. You will also need basic equipments: a heater and a thermometer to keep the water temperature stable, a filter to ensure good water quality, a fish net to use when you need to move your Guppy, an algae scrubber to keep the aquarium clean, and an air stone or similar to keep the water high in oxygen. Decorate the aquarium with plants, since the Guppy fish will feel better and experience less stress when provided with hiding places. You can also use rocks, branches and similar to decorate the aquarium. The bottom of the aquarium should be covered with gravel. You can buy a dechlorinating chemical from your fish store to remove harmful chlorine from the tap water. Your Guppies will do best if you keep the water temperature between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the aquarium, and the pH between 6.8 and 7.6.

Guppies should be fed once or twice a day. It is very important not to over-feed your Guppy. All food should be consumed after just a few minutes. If not, you are feeding your Guppy to much food in one serving. You can buy flake food specially made for tropical fish, such as the Guppy in your fish store. A flake food diet is a good base for the Guppy, but should ideally be supplemented with live food. Your Guppy will survive on flake food alone, but the live food makes the Guppy more well-nourished and healthier. Live or frozen Brine Shrimp is a popular Guppy fish food since Brine Shrimp is very easy to produce at home. Bloodworms, Micro Worms, Fruit Flies, Mosquito larvae, Daphnia and chopped up Earthworms are other examples of suitable food for your Guppy.

Guppies are easy to breed in aquariums and they will often spawn without any extra encouragement from their keeper. If you want to ensure a higher survival rate for the offspring, it is recommended that you place the expecting female Guppy in her own aquarium and let her give birth there. The mother Guppy should then returned back to her normal aquarium. A lot of Guppy breeders choose to include a so called breeder net in the small aquarium. The breeder net divides the aquarium into two separate areas, and only the fry are small enough to swim through the net. As soon as the fry are born, they will therefore be able to escape from their mother. When you set up the fry aquarium, a 5 gallon tank will be large enough. The water quality in the fry aquarium must of course be kept in supreme condition. It must be kept clean and look clear, and water changes must be performed at least 3 times a week. If you feed your fry live food you will probably have to change the water even more often. When mother has given birth, you can feed the fry Micro Worms, Infusoria, newly hatched Brine Shrimp, crushed tropical fish flakes or Liquid fry food. Guppy fry need to be fed more often then adult Guppy fish and four or five feedings a day is recommended. Wait until the fry are at least one inch long before you move them and let them and let them live with adult fish.

47 thoughts on “Guppy”

  1. I am adopting a guppy from a person who doesn’t want it. I just lost my Betta and the tank needed to be started over due to what killed my fish.
    I am picking up this lone guppy tomorrow. How long can I keep it in a critter tank with heater while I wait for the tank to finish cycleing

    I wanted this person to keep the guppy until j was ready but she is keeping it in a jar. So to save the guppy I want to take it in as soon as I can.

    1. As long as you do regular water changes of the little tank and perhaps stick an airstone in there to give it some surface agitation you should be fine for the duration of a cycle

    1. If it’s a big ish tank they may just pick a territory and stay in it I don’t remember then hanging specifically around the heater when I had them but they did all kind of stick to one area of the tank

    1. not as long as you use the right sand and keep it clean with a gravel vac used carefully. make sure you use proper aquarium sand not just stuff from the builders yard and make sure you rinse it through well first before putting it in the tank else your tank will end up very cloudy for a few weeks

  2. Completely confused. Having searched on line, the consensus seems to be that a 48 ltr tank is to small for guppies. You seem to say it’s not. I have 1 male guppy in my 48 ltr. He is the survivor of a bad batch of 6 that died over a few weeks. He has been alone now for 5 weeks and seems very well and happy but lonely.I am not sure about putting him in my 90 ltr with the neon guppies. Could he stay in thr 48 ltr with maybe 5 more male guppy and some dwarf corys.

    1. As long as you look after the water quality of the 48 litre tank he’ll be just fine with a couple of friends and a couple of cory’s

  3. Fantastic website. We have nine male guppies in a 70l tank. Eventually we would like to add some more fish, what would be good tank mates? I am keen not to overstock but would like a community tank, Thanks in advance.

    1. 2-3 cories would be good for bottom feeders then perhaps some harlequin rasboras in there they’re not really fin nippers and shoal quite nicely they’re also nice and small similar to guppies so you should be able to perhaps put 4-5 in your tank before it feels too over crowded.

      Just remember if you max your stocking to make sure you have good filtration. A 70l tank with an external canister filter that holds another 10-20l gives you a total size of 80-90l volume to play with

  4. All the guppies I get don’t live longer than a week when I first started taking care of them they lasted a good couple months but now they all die! What am I doing wrong???

    1. Check your water quality/temperature etc stuff like that for starters. Then move on to other things are you over feeding? are the guppies you getting bad quality stock? are there other fish in there bullying/eating them.

  5. My guppies seem to be very excitable. Shimmying up and down the side of the tank and quick darting rapid movements. Are they stressed or something, or is this normal behaviour please?

    1. Fairly normal for guppies. They do a cool shimmy thing when posing for mating too (well the males do to attract the females) but if theyre darting up and down the side of the tank they probably just recognise you and associate you coming to the tank with food so they get excited and dart about the glass closest to you to greet you almost.

  6. We are new at keeping guppies and one of the guppies have lost some of its tail fin and bright orange cm long bits coming out , one after the other like poo coming out. Does not seem to be pooh. What is this?

    1. The loss of fins could be down to a little bit of aggression guppies can be nippy especially males in females. As for the red stuff I’m not sure but is their food red flake or terta prima anything like that? If it is then its simply the food colouring coming out

  7. Jenny we have 9 male guppies in a 110ltr tank we also have 6 cat fish 2 of the guppies seem to have very fat bellies is it possible that they are females or have they just over eaton

    1. If they’re fat and the anal fins are triangular then they’re female if the anal fins look kinda long and pointed along the body length then they’re just males. Though it’s more likely they’re females

  8. We have two male Guppies in a ten gallon tank. The temp. is approx. 78F, has good filtration, but I am not sure that 78F is the best. I would like to add more guppies, but I don’t want any babies, so it would have to be males. My two get along, but if I add another pair, am I inviting conflict? What would be the optimum number of such small fish in a ten gallon aquarium?

    1. That’s roughly a 38 litre tank so you’ll be fine with perhaps 10 guppies in there and average filtration temperature is a little high lower it by 2 degrees

    1. Im not entirely sure reading around the consensus seems to be 1-3years because they reproduce fast and often they have fairly short lifespans. Ive still got one guppy thats got to be nearly 3 now and its doing fine

  9. hi i keep guppies and have recently purchased a few more. i have noticed a cluster of microscopic grey dots moving around the sides of the tank. would anyone know what i am describing and how do i remove them and did they come with recently bought fish? thank you.

    1. I wouldn’t even like to guess without being able to see them properly / look at them under a scope (or at least a magnifying glass) they’re probably some form of bacteria or could be a parasite or worm of some kind. I’d try doing regular water changes and sucking out as many as you can with your gravel vac while you do it.

      If you find they’re spreading too fast or causing your fish any issues then take a sample of the water with some critters in it to your LFS they may be able to identify them and recommend a treatment if they’re some kind of parasite.

      They probably got in the tank with the water from where you bought the fish from. You should never tip anyone else’s water into your tank always remove the fish from the old water with a net and then put them into your water.

  10. Hi,
    My tank is sand not gravel, can guppies be happy with this or should I put some gravel in one side for them?

    1. That is the temperature Fahrenheit which is about 24 centigrade

      Actually guppies are surprisingly hardy I’ve kept them in a room temperature tank before when the heater broke over last xmas and I couldn’t get a new one as everywhere was shut. 17 degrees cent and no issues at all.

      I would say their ideal/comfy range though is in the 21 – 25 range there’s very few tropical fish that want/need to be up as high as 26.

    1. Its better to keep a higher ratio of females to males as the males can be quite aggressive and even or more males leads to a bit of bullying with the females come mating time and often leads to female deaths.

    1. Never heard of any problems with the biorb tanks should be fine. Number can range massively from 1-2 fry and 20 or so in a single drop. Have to keep an eye out though sometimes big drops kill the female so she’ll need scooping out pretty quickly

      1. Can i keep 1 guppie alone as it seems to be bulling my 2 plattys i only have 1 guppie and 2 plattys and 2 neon?

        1. You can but its probably not the best idea. Guppies are social fish so they like to be in shoals. Even the smallest of tanks can usually support a good 3-5 of them so I’d suggest get some more. If yours is being an open bully its probably a male so if you buy 4 more get 1 male and 3 females that should balance them out nicely and lower the aggression all around

          1. Ty so much ive bought 3 more but ive bought females not realising i will buy a male today he has settled abit i think he is frisky

          2. 1 male to 3 females is ok what happens is the male will vibrate and chase a female. If you don’t have enough females the male ends up bullying the female to death. A 3:1 ratio isn’t too bad but you have to watch for it going the other way. Because male guppies are at it constantly! they can over enjoy themselves and work themselves to death that’s why I try to keep a 3:2 ratio of males to females.

  11. i have 167 guppies at home and i can say that the best tropical fish is the guppy

  12. Hi,
    Do you need a male guppy to take care of the guppies when they are born or can they live on their own?

    Please reply as soon as you can.
    Thank you

    1. No you don’t. Guppies are live bearers so the babies when they come out will be tiny tiny little fish they’ll survive perfectly well on their own without the parents possibly even better as I’ve noticed my female guppies accidentially eat the babies sometimes as they’re so small.

      You’ll have to be very careful they don’t get sucked into your filter though.

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