Guppy Fish Care guide

Are you thinking of adding a guppy fish to your aquarium? If so, you’re in for a fun and fascinating experience.

Guppies are one of the most popular types of fish kept in home aquariums, and with good reason – they’re hardy, easy to care for and come in a variety of dazzling colors.

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about keeping guppies healthy and happy in your tank.

Let’s get started!

Guppy Fish Origin

Guppies are native to parts of South America, including Suriname, Antigua, Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana, Venezuela, and Tobago.

They have been introduced to other regions of the world and are now widely distributed across it.

In the wild, these species live in large schools to protect themselves from predators such as big fish and birds.

Appearance

Guppies come in a range of colors and patterns, with varying tail lengths and a lot of styles.

They can be classified according to tail type, color, and eye color.

Fantails, flag tails, round tails, spire tails, and veil tails are some of the most popular varieties of guppy tails.

Some of these varieties have long tails that hang down while others have short ones that stand up straight.

The guppy fish’s body, fins, and tail are also two-toned or three-toned, with hues including red, orange, black, yellow, green, pink, purple, silver, and blue.

Further, there are spots and stripes on the guppy fish’s body.

The most significant difference between male and female guppies is their size: females are about an inch larger than males when they reach full maturity.

Males are more slender than females, and they also have a greater color variety.

Female guppies become rounder and paler when breeding, whereas male guppies become brighter than usual when mating.

Typical Behavior

Guppies are fun fish that enjoy the security and social aspect of swimming in schools.

They’re quick, active swimmers who spend most of their time exploring and chasing one another.

They are also timid species that rarely show aggression, but when the tank is too small, they can assert their authority by bullying and fighting with other fish.

Although they spend the majority of their time at the top, near to the surface, they swim about the whole tank to feed and play, and they especially like to chase one another about.

When playing or feeling threatened, guppies hide in caves and among plants instead of swimming in the open.

Lifespan

Guppies’ life expectancy, like that of any other fish, is largely determined by how much care you provide them.

Without a doubt, there are no guarantees in life, and luck plays a role as well.

Nevertheless, guppy fish kept in a properly maintained tank live longer and healthier lives.

Those in bad conditions, on the other hand, tend to succumb to stress and disease more quickly.

In general, the typical guppy fish lifespan is between two and five years.

Average Size

Guppies are tiny creatures, and that’s the secret behind the fantastic look of their flowing fins.

Females may reach a maximum size of 2.5 inches long. Meanwhile, males might not even grow to be 2 inches long!

Water Parameters

When it comes to tank requirements, guppies aren’t picky: they can live in a wide range of water conditions and temperatures.

However, every fish species has its own ideal environment, and for sure, guppies are not an exception.

In this section, we’ll discuss water parameters for guppies, including water cycling, pH, temperature, and water hardness.

1. Water Cycling

To keep your guppies healthy, it is critical to clean your tank on a regular basis.

Therefore, you need to change 20-30% of the water every week.

For smaller aquariums, we suggest that you do 50% weekly water changes.

Note: Never do a total water change because you will kill all of your helpful bacteria and result in fish death.

2. Water Temperature

An ideal water temperature helps keep your guppies healthy and energetic.

For this reason, you must maintain your guppies at the temperature that they prefer.

The optimal temperature range for a guppy’s water is between 74 and 82 F (23 to 28 C).

3. pH Level

Guppies are adaptable to a wide range of water conditions in their natural habitat and live in a variety of biotypes.

Though they can survive higher or lower pH levels, however, the recommended pH range for guppy tanks should be between 6.8 and 7.6.

Regardless of the reading’s accuracy, the stability of the pH level is most important.

Changes in pH can disorient fish, making them more vulnerable to disease.

Tank Setup

1. Tank Size

Guppies are not large fish that require huge aquariums to live comfortably.

Despite this, if you want to keep guppies, you still need to know what the best tank size is for guppy fish.

Small tanks are always more challenging than large ones.

Guppy fish will feel crowded in a tiny tank, and water conditions will be much more difficult to maintain.

Investing in a huge tank may also be a poor financial move.

Furthermore, a tank that is too large might make it difficult for guppies to find food effectively.

As a result, getting a tank that is just perfect is the best way to guarantee your guppy fish’s comfort and give them an environment with constant water conditions.

The smallest tank size that you should choose for guppies is 10 gallons.

In fact, a 10-gallon aquarium can easily house a small guppy collection of around 5 individuals, or up to 10 guppy fish if you’re an experienced aquarist.

However, if you have the space, you don’t mind spending a little extra on a tank, and you want to create a really nice environment for guppies, a 40-gallon aquarium would be an excellent choice.

There will be no crowding difficulties or water chemistry disturbances as a result of the greater waste production and toxin accumulation.

It’s also easier to decorate the aquarium with live plants, caves, and other aquarium decorations since a 40-gallon tank would allow you to store all of the equipment necessary without worrying about water volume loss.

2. Tank Heater

As we mentioned before, Guppies should be kept in water that is between 74 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (23 and 28 degrees Celsius).

While they can be maintained at temperatures as low as 68°F (20°C) and as high as 86°F (30°C), it would not be the optimum temperature for them, and their immune systems might be compromised.

So, do guppies need a heater?

Yes, you should put your guppies in a tank with a heater! And it’s not just because the water must be between 74 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s also due to the fact that the temperature must remain steady. 

If the temperature varies too much, your guppy may get sick from a variety of issues, some of which could be life-threatening.

The only way to keep temperatures constant is with a heater even if your aquarium’s location is always hot.

3. Tank Filter

While a filter isn’t necessary for a guppy tank (since they are tiny and don’t produce much waste), it is advised to help improve water quality and keep the tank cleaner.

Filters provide mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration simultaneously while also helping to remove any larger debris from the tank.

Additionally, water flow and surface level agitation provided by aquarium filters assist oxygen to enter the tank’s water, which improves guppies’ health and wellness.

4. Tank Lighting

Guppies, like humans, have a circadian rhythm that requires light to determine when to sleep and wake up.

As a result, if you’re going to house guppies in an aquarium, make sure you include a source of light for them as well.

How Much Light Do Guppies Need?

Your guppy should be receiving between 8 and 10 hours of light each day.

You’ll stress them out if you give them more than that.

In the same way, giving them less than that will have the same bad effect.

When they don’t receive enough light or too much light in their tank, their circadian rhythm will be disrupted, making it difficult for them to tell whether they’re coming or going.

As a result, make sure you’re supplying your guppy with enough of it! It’s not too much, but it’s not too little either

5. Tank Decoration

If you’re bored of the same old decorations, now is the moment to get creative!

Unlike other tropical fish species, guppies aren’t fussy about the décor in their tank.

As usual, nature is optimal, but these fish don’t care either way.

Begin with a basic layer of sand as a substrate. Sand is the best option for guppies since it’s fine enough to avoid causing any harm if accidentally consumed.

One more benefit of using sand is its impact on live plants.

Guppies adore having a verdant environment full of vegetation in their tanks.

In the wild, guppy fish are easy prey against larger fish and predators like sharks.

They prefer to hide from predators by hiding inside plant leaves and grasses.

Replicating a lush aquatic environment will make these fish feel more comfortable (which is probably one of the most significant aspects of guppy care).

Java moss, aquatic fern, and other plants may all be used.

You may also use man-made silk plants.

However, check to see whether they’re soft enough not to cause harm when your fish swim against them.

According to our experience, it’s best to create a natural environment with a blend of background, middle ground, and foreground plants.

Keep the center of the tank open as much as possible since fish like unrestricted swimming areas for exercise and relaxation.

Once you’ve added some plants, then fake rocks, driftwood, and plastic decorations can be added.

Whatever you add, make sure to check it thoroughly for any sharp or jagged edges that might harm your fish’s fins.

Tank Mates

It’s essential that fish get along well with their tankmates and aren’t subjected to bullying, injuries, or stress from other fish kept in the same aquarium.

While a preference for the same water conditions is a good place to start when determining whether two species of fish will get along, there are several additional factors to consider when selecting tankmates.

These factors are:

  • Do well in the same water as guppies.
  • They are peaceful, like guppies.
  • They’re similar in size or if there is a size difference.
  • Prefer a diet that is similar to guppy cuisine or can survive on a comparable diet.

Some of the best tank mates for Guppy Fish:

  • Platy Fish
  • Molly Fish
  • Swordtail Fish
  • Bristlenose Pleco
  • Angelfish
  • Tetras
  • Betta Fish
  • Otocinclus Fish
  • Rainbowfish (Boeseman’s)
  • Snails

Diet and Feeding

Guppies in the wild eat everything from algae to water insect larvae.

In an aquarium, you’ll want to provide them with a varied diet that contains different nutrients.

If you want to enhance their colors, for example, it is a good choice to feed them high-quality flake food intended for tropical fish.

If that isn’t important to you, any high-quality flakes food will do.

It is also suggested to offer extra alternatives besides flakes in order to keep them healthy and energetic.

Freeze-dried foods including brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia are all excellent choices, as well as live foods if you can provide them.

You may also feed your guppies vegetables.

They’ll eat things like lettuce, peas, and cucumbers, which will provide your fish with nutrients and interest.

These meals will provide your guppy with variety while also ensuring that they get adequate nutrients because the flakes do not contain everything they need.

It’s also essential not to overfeed your guppies.

They have extremely tiny stomachs, so overfeeding them might obstruct their intestines and cause them pain.

Feed them only twice a day, and only in small amounts.

Breeding

Since guppies can reproduce rapidly and numerously, they have earned the name “million fish” since it only takes a little for them to multiply.

When the male makes contact, he delivers a package of sperm (termed spermatophores) into the female, and a sperm reserve is established and kept for future use.

This is why female guppies can have several babies from one fertilization over eight months thanks to their sperm stash.

These species are ovoviviparous, meaning they develop inside the mother’s body rather than in an egg.

The baby fish get their nutrients from the egg sac since they are not totally dependent on the female guppy for nutrition.

The duration of pregnancy is generally 26 to 30 days and then the female gives birth to anywhere from 10-200 babies.

Female guppies in captivity can produce 10-60 baby guppies (fry) per cycle.

And on very rare occasions, she can give birth to up to 200 baby guppies.

After that, the cycle repeats itself, and the female guppy gives birth again after 26 to 30 days.

Disease

Guppies are hardy species and can survive a variety of water conditions.

However, they have their own particular set of diseases that can impact their health and well-being.

Several diseases that guppies are prone to in captivity:

Protozoan Disease

Guppies are particularly prone to Protozoan illness, which is commonly known as “guppy disease.”

Tetrahymena sp. is the parasite that causes this condition, and it generally occurs when the water quality or temperature isn’t adequate.

Loss of appetite, difficulties breathing, and excessive slime are all signs of protozoan sickness.

To treat the infection, improve water conditions and ensure that water temperatures are within the 74–82° Fahrenheit range.

Ich

Ich, an illness caused by the parasite Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, affects the majority of freshwater fish.

The disease is characterized by white spots that resemble salt sprinkles on the fins, body, and tail of the fish.

Fish infected with Ich are sluggish and grind against rough surfaces.

To cure Ich, move sick fish to a holding tank with warmer water (by two degrees) and one tablespoon of salt per five gallons of water in the aquarium.

Velvet

Velvet is another common guppy ailment, caused by an organism known as Oodinium. 

The parasite digs into the fish’s skin and creates gold, rust-like cysts. Molly fish with velvet will dart about the tank from one end to the other, appear listless, and rub against rough surfaces.

According to your veterinarian’s instructions, add copper sulfate, acriflavine, or formalin to cure velvet.

Fin and Tail Rot

This illness is caused by a bacterial infection that results from crowded conditions, low-quality water, or anxiety.

A guppy fish with fin rot will have frayed, ragged, and milky-colored fins.

To cure fin and tail rot, do a comprehensive water change as well as prescribe antibiotics if the fish’s signs do not improve after one week.

Last Words

If you are looking for a new and exciting pet to add to your family, guppy fish may be the perfect fit.

With proper care, they can thrive in a home aquarium.

By following this guide, you will have all the information you need to provide a healthy environment for your guppies.

Do you still have any questions?

If so, please leave us a comment.