Guppy Fish Care Guide: Everything you need to know on how to raise, breed and care for guppies

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Guppy Fish Care Guide: Everything you need to know on how to raise, breed and care for guppies

Guppies are one of the most popular aquarium fish species, known for their striking colors, active personalities, and ease of care. They are small, peaceful fish that are great for beginners and experienced fish keepers alike. In this introduction, we will cover an overview of guppies, the benefits of keeping them, and the basics of guppy care.

Overview of Guppies

Guppies, also known as million fish, are a species of freshwater fish that are native to the rivers and streams of South America. They were first discovered in the late 1800s and quickly became popular as aquarium fish due to their bright colors and playful personalities. Today, guppies are bred in captivity all over the world and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Guppies are small fish, typically growing to be around 1-2 inches in length. They are livebearers, which means that they give birth to live young rather than laying eggs. Guppies are also known for their speedy reproduction rates, with females giving birth to 20-100 fry at a time every 4-6 weeks.

Benefits of Keeping Guppies

There are many benefits to keeping guppies as pets. For starters, they are incredibly beautiful fish that come in a variety of colors and patterns. Their vibrant colors and graceful swimming motions can be mesmerizing to watch, providing a sense of peace and relaxation to aquarium owners.

Guppies are also relatively easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for beginners. They do not require a large tank, are not too picky about their food, and can tolerate a range of water conditions. Additionally, they are peaceful and social creatures that can live well with other fish species, making them great community fish.

For children, raising guppies can be a great learning experience. It can teach them responsibility, patience, and the importance of proper animal care. It can also spark their curiosity and interest in science and biology.

Basic Guppy Care

Taking care of guppies is relatively simple and straightforward. A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 1 gallon of water per inch of adult guppy. For a small group of guppies, a 10-gallon tank should suffice.

Guppies prefer water that is clean and well-aerated. Regular water changes are necessary to maintain good water quality. A good practice is to change 10-20% of the water in the tank every week. Guppies are tropical fish and prefer water that is between 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit. A good aquarium heater can help maintain a consistent temperature.

A good filter is necessary to keep the water clean and remove waste products. A filter with a gentle flow is recommended as guppies prefer calm water. Guppies are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods. A good diet should include a mix of flake, pellet, and frozen foods. Overfeeding should be avoided as it can lead to health problems.

Guppies do not require any special lighting, but a regular light cycle of 8-10 hours a day is recommended. Guppies enjoy having hiding places and areas to explore. Decorations such as plants, rocks, and caves can provide this. Live plants are also beneficial as they can help maintain good water quality.

By following these basic care guidelines, you can ensure that your guppies are healthy and happy. Regular observation and attention to their needs can help prevent any health problems and provide you with a rewarding and enjoyable aquarium experience.

History and Origin of Guppies

Historical Context of Guppies

The history of guppies dates back to the late 1800s when they were first discovered in the rivers and streams of South America. They were initially known as million fish due to their prolific reproduction rates. Guppies quickly became popular as aquarium fish due to their bright colors and active personalities. They were first introduced to Europe in the 1920s, and their popularity as pets quickly spread.

Guppies have a fascinating history and are a unique species of fish. Over the years, guppies have been used in scientific research, and their genetics have been studied to better understand evolution and adaptation. Today, guppies are still one of the most popular aquarium fish species worldwide.

Origin of Guppies

Guppies are native to South America, specifically the Amazon River Basin, Trinidad, and Tobago. The exact origin of guppies is not known, but they are believed to have evolved from a common ancestor of livebearing fish. Guppies are closely related to other livebearing fish, such as mollies and swordtails.

Guppies are thought to have evolved in response to the diverse and rapidly changing aquatic environments of the Amazon Basin. The Amazon Basin is a dynamic environment that experiences seasonal fluctuations in water temperature, flow rate, and nutrient availability. The guppies that survived in this environment were those that were best adapted to the changing conditions.

Guppy Evolution

Guppies have been studied extensively for their unique evolutionary adaptations. One of the most interesting features of guppies is their sexual dimorphism. Males and females have distinct differences in coloration, size, and fin shape. This is due to the fact that male guppies use their coloration and courtship displays to attract females for mating.

Guppies have also developed other unique adaptations that help them survive in their natural habitat. For example, their streamlined bodies and tail fins help them navigate fast-flowing water. Their mouths are positioned towards the front of their heads, allowing them to feed on insects and other small organisms on the water’s surface.

Guppies have also adapted to the presence of predators in their environment. They are able to detect predators and will change their behavior to avoid being eaten. Guppies that live in areas with high predator populations have been observed to have shorter lifespans and reproduce at a younger age than those in predator-free areas.

Guppies have also been the subject of scientific research for many years. In the 1930s, British geneticist JBS Haldane conducted a study on guppy genetics that demonstrated how natural selection works in the wild. He showed that guppies that were brightly colored and had elaborate courtship displays were more likely to mate and pass on their genes to the next generation. This study helped to solidify the theory of natural selection and its role in evolution.

Today, guppies continue to be an important species for scientific research. They are widely used in studies on genetics, evolution, and behavior. Guppies are also being used in studies on the effects of pollution and climate change on aquatic ecosystems.

Different Types of Guppies

Guppies are one of the most popular and beloved species of freshwater fish. They are known for their vibrant colors and active personalities, making them a great choice for beginner and experienced fish keepers alike. However, not all guppies are created equal. In fact, there are several different types of guppies, each with its unique characteristics and features. In this article, we will explore the three main types of guppies: wild guppies, fancy guppies, and show guppies.

Wild Guppies

Wild guppies, also known as Endler’s guppies, are the original species of guppies that are found in their natural habitat in South America. These guppies are smaller than most other types of guppies, with males reaching up to 1.5 inches in length and females up to 2 inches. Wild guppies are known for their natural and less vibrant coloration, with males displaying a combination of green, black, and silver while females tend to be more plain in coloration.

Wild guppies are also known for their hardiness and adaptability. They have evolved to survive in the often-challenging environments of South American rivers and streams, and as a result, they are very resilient. Wild guppies are great for beginners, as they require minimal care and can adapt to a wide range of water conditions.

One of the most interesting aspects of wild guppies is their ability to interbreed with other types of guppies. This means that there is a lot of genetic variation among wild guppies, leading to a wide range of coloration and patterning. This genetic variation has also led to the development of several hybrid strains of guppies, which we will explore further in the next section.

Fancy Guppies

Fancy guppies are a type of guppy that has been selectively bred for their vibrant colors and unique patterning. Unlike wild guppies, fancy guppies are bred specifically for the aquarium trade and are not found in their natural habitat. Fancy guppies are often used in breeding programs to create new and exciting strains of guppies.

Fancy guppies come in a wide range of colors and patterns, including solid colors, iridescent scales, and intricate designs. Male fancy guppies are known for their long, flowing tail fins, which are used in courtship displays to attract females. Females, on the other hand, are typically less colorful and have shorter, less elaborate fins.

One of the most popular types of fancy guppies is the mosaic guppy. Mosaic guppies have a unique pattern of iridescent scales that give them a mosaic-like appearance. These guppies come in a wide range of colors, including blue, green, yellow, and red.

Another popular type of fancy guppy is the tuxedo guppy. Tuxedo guppies have a unique coloration pattern where the front half of their body is a solid color, while the back half is black. This gives them a distinctive “tuxedo” appearance.

Fancy guppies are often kept in community aquariums, as they are peaceful and can coexist with other fish species. They require a bit more care than wild guppies, as they are more sensitive to changes in water conditions and require a varied diet to maintain their health.

Show Guppies

Show guppies are a type of fancy guppy that are bred specifically for their appearance and are meant to be shown in competitions. These competitions are often held at fish shows, where expert breeders bring their best fish to compete for prizes. Show guppies have a distinct look that sets them apart from other guppies, and they are often more colorful and have more elaborate fins and tails. The overall appearance of the fish is judged, with an emphasis on the fish’s color, shape, and finnage.

Show guppies can be divided into several different categories, each with their own set of standards. These categories include solid color, bi-color, delta, fan, and veiltail. Solid color guppies have a uniform color across their entire body, while bi-color guppies have two distinct colors. Delta guppies have a triangular-shaped tail, fan guppies have a fan-shaped tail, and veiltail guppies have a long, flowing tail.

When it comes to breeding show guppies, it is important to focus on the characteristics that are valued in the particular category of fish. For example, breeders who are working with veiltail guppies will want to focus on developing long, flowing tails, while breeders who are working with bi-color guppies will want to focus on creating a sharp, clear separation between the two colors. Show guppy breeders also need to pay attention to the overall health and quality of the fish, as judges will take this into account when making their decisions.

Different breeds of guppies

Grass guppy: A type of fancy guppy, known for its bright green coloration and long flowing fins.


Blue neon guppy: A small, peaceful guppy with striking blue neon stripes along its body.

Cobra guppy: A show guppy with black and white markings that resemble a cobra snake.

Cobra Guppy

Red tuxedo guppy: A popular guppy variety with a bright red tail and white tuxedo-like markings on the body.

Red Blonde Tuxedo Guppy Male

Endler’s livebearer: A small, wild guppy that is highly adaptable and easy to care for.

Yellow tiger guppy: A unique guppy with bright yellow and black tiger-like stripes along its body.

Black lace guppy: A fancy guppy with a delicate black lace pattern on its fins.

Snakeskin guppy: A show guppy with a distinctive snakeskin pattern on its body.

Half-black yellow guppy: A colorful guppy with a half-black body and bright yellow tail.

Gold neon guppy: A peaceful guppy with a bright yellow body and neon blue stripes.

Red delta guppy: A show guppy with a bright red tail and distinctive delta-shaped tail fin.

Leopard guppy: A fancy guppy with a striking leopard-like pattern on its body and fins.

Moscow blue guppy: A show guppy with a bright blue body and long flowing fins.

Platinum guppy: A fancy guppy with a shimmering silver-white body and dark black markings.

Tuxedo guppy: A show guppy with a distinctive tuxedo-like pattern on its body and tail.

Purple guppy: A rare guppy variety with a shimmering purple body and long, flowing fins.

Rainbow guppy: A popular guppy with a colorful iridescent body that shimmers in the light.

Neon yellow guppy: A striking guppy with a bright neon yellow body and long flowing fins.

Tiger tail guppy: A show guppy with a bright yellow body and distinctive black tiger-like stripes along its tail.

Red dragon guppy: A fancy guppy with a deep red body and flowing fins, often with a dragon-like pattern.

Guppy Tank Setup

Guppies are a popular species of fish that are easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of tank setups. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced fish keeper, setting up a guppy tank can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. In this article, we will discuss the key factors to consider when setting up a guppy tank, including tank size and capacity, filtration, water parameters, and lighting.

Tank Size and Capacity

The first step in setting up a guppy tank is to determine the appropriate tank size and capacity. Guppies are relatively small fish and can thrive in tanks as small as 5 gallons. However, larger tanks are generally recommended, as they provide a more stable environment and allow for a greater number of fish. A 10-gallon tank is a good starting point for beginners, while more experienced fish keepers may opt for larger tanks, such as 20 or 30 gallons.

When selecting a tank, it is important to consider the number of fish you plan to keep, as well as the size and variety of plants and decorations. Guppies are active fish that enjoy plenty of swimming space, so it is important to provide ample room for them to move around. A good rule of thumb is to allow for one gallon of water per inch of fish, although this can vary depending on the specific needs of your fish and the setup of your tank.


Filtration is a critical component of any fish tank, as it helps to remove waste and toxins from the water and create a healthy and stable environment for your fish. When selecting a filter for your guppy tank, it is important to choose one that is appropriate for the size of your tank and the number of fish you plan to keep.

There are several types of filters to choose from, including hang-on-back filters, canister filters, and sponge filters. Hang-on-back filters are popular for smaller tanks, as they are easy to install and maintain, while canister filters are a good option for larger tanks, as they provide powerful filtration and can handle larger volumes of water. Sponge filters are a good option for fry tanks or breeding tanks, as they provide gentle filtration and are less likely to harm delicate fish.

Water Parameters

Maintaining the proper water parameters is essential for the health and well-being of your guppies. Guppies are freshwater fish and prefer a pH range of 7.0 to 8.0, with a temperature range of 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important to monitor the water temperature and pH levels regularly and make adjustments as needed to maintain a stable environment for your fish.

In addition to pH and temperature, it is important to monitor other water parameters, including ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. These compounds are produced as a result of fish waste and decaying plant matter and can be harmful to your fish if they build up in the water. Regular water changes and proper filtration can help to keep these levels under control and create a healthy environment for your fish.


D. Lighting

Lighting is important in a guppy tank setup as it plays a crucial role in the growth and coloration of the fish. The ideal lighting for guppies should simulate the natural light conditions that they would experience in the wild. The most common option is to use LED lights, which are energy efficient and provide a natural-looking light. When choosing a lighting system, it is important to select one that can be easily adjusted to change the light intensity and color spectrum. This allows for the tailoring of lighting to best match the particular needs of the guppy species.

It is also important to consider the duration of lighting in the tank. Guppies require about 8-12 hours of light each day, as they need a certain amount of light to facilitate photosynthesis in the plants and algae present in the tank. This light is crucial for the oxygenation of the water and the overall health of the guppies. It is recommended to use an automatic timer to control the lighting cycle and to avoid overexposure of the guppies to light, which can cause stress and health problems.

Feeding and Nutrition

Feeding and nutrition are essential factors in the proper care and growth of guppies. As omnivores, guppies require a balanced diet of both plant and animal matter to maintain their health and vitality. In this section, we will discuss the dietary requirements of guppies, the different types of food they can consume, and the recommended feeding schedule.

Diet Requirements for Guppies

Guppies require a varied diet consisting of both protein and vegetable matter to stay healthy. A well-balanced diet should contain high-quality protein sources such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. Plant matter is equally important and can be provided through the use of vegetables such as peas, spinach, and lettuce.

Guppies also require a certain amount of fiber in their diet to maintain digestive health. This can be achieved by providing them with high-quality commercial fish food that contains vegetable matter such as spirulina or algae. A diet that is high in fiber helps to regulate the guppy’s digestive system and ensures that it is able to absorb the necessary nutrients from its food.

Types of Food for Guppies

There are several different types of food that can be provided to guppies. Commercially available fish food is one option and is available in both flake and pellet form. It is important to choose a high-quality fish food that contains the necessary nutrients and vitamins that guppies need to maintain their health.

In addition to commercial fish food, live and frozen food can also be fed to guppies. Brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms are popular choices that provide high-quality protein and nutrients. These can be found at most pet stores and can be used as a supplement to a guppy’s regular diet.

Vegetable matter is another important part of a guppy’s diet. Guppies can consume peas, spinach, and lettuce, which can be cooked and cut into small pieces. Commercially available fish food can also contain vegetable matter, providing a convenient option for owners who may not have access to fresh vegetables.

Feeding Schedule

The frequency of feeding for guppies depends on their age and size. Young guppies should be fed small amounts of food several times a day, while adults can be fed two to three times a day. It is important not to overfeed guppies, as this can lead to digestive problems and poor water quality.

When feeding guppies, it is important to watch them carefully to ensure that they are eating properly. If food is left uneaten, it can decompose and lead to poor water quality. This can also encourage the growth of harmful bacteria and parasites that can be harmful to the guppies.

Breeding Guppies

Breeding guppies is a popular hobby among fish keepers, as these fish are known for their ease of breeding and prolific reproduction. Understanding the basics of guppy reproduction is important for successful breeding. Guppies are livebearers, meaning that they give birth to live young rather than laying eggs. Female guppies are capable of producing multiple broods from a single mating and can store sperm for several months. Males have a modified anal fin called a gonopodium, which they use to fertilize the female.

To breed guppies, it is important to be able to identify males and females. Males are usually smaller and more colorful than females, with larger dorsal fins and a gonopodium. Females are larger and less colorful, with a more rounded abdomen. A gravid (pregnant) female will have a bulge near the back of her abdomen, which contains the developing fry.

There are several breeding strategies that can be used with guppies. One of the most common is to keep a group of females with one or more males. The males will then compete for the attention of the females, which will result in more frequent breeding. This strategy works best with fancy guppies, as the males are usually more colorful and desirable. Another breeding strategy is to separate the males and females, and then introduce them for short periods of time to encourage breeding. This method can be more effective for breeding show-quality guppies, as it allows for more control over the breeding process.

Once the female guppy has given birth, it is important to provide proper care for the fry. The fry are born fully formed and can swim immediately, but they are small and vulnerable to predation. It is best to separate them from the adult fish and place them in a separate breeding tank. The breeding tank should be well-filtered and well-aerated, with plenty of hiding places for the fry. Fry should be fed small, frequent meals of finely ground fish food or specialized fry food. As they grow, they can be gradually introduced to larger foods.

Breeding guppies can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby, and with a little bit of knowledge and effort, it is possible to breed healthy and attractive fish. By understanding the basics of guppy reproduction, identifying males and females, and choosing the right breeding strategy, it is possible to produce a new generation of guppies with desirable traits. Providing proper care for the fry will ensure their survival and set them up for a healthy and happy life.

Common Guppy Diseases

As with any living creature, guppies are susceptible to a variety of diseases and health issues. It is important for fish keepers to be aware of the common diseases and issues that guppies may experience, as well as how to prevent and treat them.

Symptoms of guppy diseases can vary depending on the specific illness, but may include things like changes in behavior, appetite, or physical appearance. Some common causes of guppy diseases include poor water quality, overcrowding, and stress. To prevent disease from occurring, it is important to maintain a clean and healthy aquarium environment, with proper filtration and water changes, and to avoid overcrowding the tank.

In the event that a guppy does become sick, there are a variety of treatment options available. Some diseases can be treated with medication, while others may require more extensive intervention such as quarantine or euthanasia. It is important for fish keepers to research the specific illness and its treatment options, and to consult with a veterinarian or experienced fish keeper if needed.

Some common guppy diseases include Ich, which is a parasitic infection that causes white spots on the fish’s body, and fin rot, which causes the fins to appear frayed or discolored. Dropsy, which causes the fish to swell and have difficulty swimming, and swim bladder disease, which affects the fish’s ability to control their buoyancy, are also common ailments. In addition to these, guppies may also be susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections.

Preventing disease and maintaining the overall health of guppies is essential to ensuring their longevity and quality of life. In addition to maintaining a clean aquarium environment, fish keepers can also promote good health by providing a balanced and varied diet, avoiding overfeeding, and providing plenty of space and hiding places for the fish to feel secure.

In conclusion, guppies are a popular and beloved species of aquarium fish, known for their bright colors, easy care, and active personalities. From their historical origins in the rivers of South America to the many different varieties and colors that exist today, guppies have captured the hearts of fish keepers around the world. By understanding the different types of guppies and their unique characteristics, as well as the best practices for tank setup, feeding and nutrition, breeding, and health maintenance, fish keepers can enjoy the beauty and joy of these fascinating fish for many years to come. Whether you’re a seasoned aquarium hobbyist or just starting out, guppies offer endless opportunities for discovery, enjoyment, and connection with the natural world.

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Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson

Aquarium Enthusiast

I love sharing my knowledge about all things aquarium related. I have been keeping aquariums for over 20 years and cannot imagine a life without an aquarium. 

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