King Cobra Guppy Care Guide | Breeding, Feeding, Tank Setup and more…

King cobra Guppy

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King Cobra Guppy Care Guide | Breeding, Feeding, Tank Setup and more…

The King Cobra Guppy (Poecilia reticulata) is a fantastic choice. In this comprehensive care guide, we will cover all aspects of keeping King Cobra Guppies in your aquarium.

What is a King Cobra Guppy?

A king cobra guppy is a type of fancy guppy that has been selectively bred for its unique cobra-like pattern. The males have bodies that are mottled with black in the most curious and random of ways, overlaid atop a shimmering mixture of white and yellow. The tails are full and luxurious and the dorsal fins are large and flowing. Females are also exceptionally colorful, but with more subdued markings.

King cobra guppies are relatively new on the scene, having been developed in Thailand in recent years. They are still relatively rare in the aquarium trade, but their popularity is growing due to their striking appearance.

King cobra guppies are peaceful fish that can be kept in a community aquarium with other peaceful fish. They are also relatively easy to care for, making them a good choice for both beginners and experienced aquarists alike.

king cobra guppy
credit: coast gem usa

Appearance – Male and Female

Male King Cobra Guppies are the real showstoppers in the tank. They exhibit elongated and colorful caudal fins that resemble a cobra’s hood, with bold, contrasting colors. The body is slender and can be adorned with iridescent blues, reds, and yellows. The males reach a size of about 1.5 to 2 inches (4-5 cm) in length.

Female King Cobra Guppies, on the other hand, have a more subdued appearance compared to the males. They lack the long, showy tail fins and are generally larger, growing to about 2 to 2.5 inches (5-6 cm) in length. Their coloration tends to be less intense but is still quite appealing, with shades of silver and hints of color.


King cobra guppies are a relatively new type of fancy guppy that was developed in Thailand in recent years. They are a cross between several different guppy strains, including the Endler’s guppy, the Moscow guppy, and the Cobra guppy.

The King cobra guppy is named for its unique cobra-like pattern. The males have bodies that are mottled with black in a way that resembles the scales of a king cobra. The females are also colorful, but with more subdued markings.

King cobra guppies are still relatively rare in the aquarium trade, but their popularity is growing due to their striking appearance. They are a peaceful fish that can be kept in a community aquarium with other peaceful fish. They are also relatively easy to care for, making them a good choice for both beginners and experienced aquarists alike.

So, while the king cobra guppy is not native to any particular region in the wild, it was originally developed in Thailand.

Tank Setup

Providing the right environment is crucial for the health and well-being of your King Cobra Guppies. Here are the main factors to consider when setting up their tank:

Tank Size

For a small group of King Cobra Guppies, a tank with a capacity of 10 to 20 gallons is sufficient. The more fish you plan to keep, the larger the tank you’ll need. These fish appreciate swimming space and are quite active, so a well-sized tank ensures they thrive.

Water Parameters

Maintaining stable water conditions is essential. King Cobra Guppies thrive in freshwater with a temperature range of 72-82°F (22-28°C) and a slightly alkaline pH of around 7.0-7.2. It’s crucial to invest in a good quality aquarium heater and thermometer to keep the water within this range.

Filtration and Aeration

Proper filtration is essential to keep the water clean and clear. Guppies are sensitive to poor water quality, and a gentle filtration system is recommended to avoid strong water currents that could stress them. Additionally, use an air pump and air stone to ensure adequate oxygenation.

Substrate and Decor

King Cobra Guppies enjoy a well-planted tank with plenty of hiding spots. Use fine gravel or sand as substrate, and add live or artificial plants to create a natural habitat. The presence of floating plants is appreciated, as it provides shade and shelter for the fish.


Moderate lighting is sufficient for King Cobra Guppies. They don’t require high-intensity lighting, so a basic aquarium light with a timer can help maintain a natural day-night cycle.

Now that your tank is set up correctly, let’s explore some important aspects of King Cobra Guppy care, including breeding, tankmates, feeding, diseases, lifespan, where to buy them, and their cost.

Let’s dive into each of these topics in detail to ensure the well-being of your King Cobra Guppies.

Breeding King Cobra Guppies

Breeding King Cobra Guppies is a fascinating aspect of their care, and it’s relatively straightforward. These fish are known for their prolific breeding habits, making them an excellent choice for hobbyists looking to observe the wonders of life in their aquarium. Here’s how to go about it:

1. Gender Separation

To encourage breeding, it’s essential to have both male and female King Cobra Guppies in the same tank. You can easily distinguish between males and females based on their size and fin shape, as mentioned earlier.

2. Ideal Conditions

Create a suitable breeding environment by increasing the temperature a few degrees (up to 82-84°F or 28-29°C) and maintaining excellent water quality. Ensure that there are plenty of plants in the tank for the fry to hide among.

3. Mating Ritual

Male King Cobra Guppies will often display their beautiful tails to attract females. The female will choose a mate, and the male will fertilize her internally. These fish are livebearers, meaning they give birth to live fry rather than laying eggs.

4. Gestation and Birth

Guppy pregnancies are relatively short, lasting about 21-30 days. Once the female gives birth, you’ll notice tiny fry swimming among the plants. It’s crucial to provide hiding spots for the fry to avoid being eaten by adult fish. You can use breeding traps or a separate tank to protect the fry.

5. Fry Care

King Cobra Guppy fry are small and will feed on microscopic organisms in the tank initially. You can supplement their diet with crushed flake food or specialized fry food. As they grow, you can gradually introduce them to regular Guppy food.

Remember that these fish are prolific breeders, and if you don’t want your population to explode, be prepared to separate the males and females or give away the fry to fellow aquarists.

Tankmates for King Cobra Guppies

Selecting suitable tankmates is essential to maintain a peaceful and harmonious aquarium community. King Cobra Guppies are generally peaceful, but they can be nippy, especially towards fish with long fins. Opt for tankmates that share similar water parameter requirements and temperaments. Good choices include:

  • Other Guppy Varieties: Since Guppies are social fish, they tend to thrive when kept in groups of their kind.
  • Tetras: Species like Neon Tetras or Ember Tetras are great companions for King Cobra Guppies.
  • Corydoras Catfish: These bottom-dwelling fish are peaceful and help keep the tank clean.
  • Mollies: Mollies are also livebearers and share similar care requirements.
  • Platies: These colorful fish are another livebearing species and get along well with Guppies.

It’s essential to research the specific requirements of any potential tankmates and ensure that the tank is not overcrowded.

Feeding King Cobra Guppies

Guppy food
Guppy food

Proper nutrition is essential for the health and vibrancy of King Cobra Guppies. These fish are not picky eaters and will readily accept a variety of foods. It’s essential to provide a balanced diet to ensure their well-being.

1. Flake or Pellet Food

A high-quality flake or pellet food formulated for tropical freshwater fish is the staple of their diet. Look for options that contain essential nutrients and avoid overfeeding, which can lead to water quality issues.

2. Live and Frozen Foods

Variety is key to a well-rounded diet. King Cobra Guppies enjoy occasional treats of live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms. These protein-rich foods can enhance their coloration and overall health.

3. Vegetables

Guppies also benefit from the occasional offering of blanched vegetables like spinach or zucchini. This provides them with essential fiber and nutrients.

Feed your King Cobra Guppies two to three times a day, giving them an amount they can consume in a few minutes. Be mindful not to overfeed, as uneaten food can deteriorate water quality.

Diseases and Health

Like all aquarium fish, King Cobra Guppies are susceptible to various diseases. Maintaining a clean and stable environment is the first line of defense. Here are some common diseases and health issues to watch out for:

1. Ich (White Spot Disease)

Ich is a parasitic disease that causes white cysts on the fish’s skin and gills. It’s treatable with over-the-counter medications or salt baths.

2. Fin Rot

Fin rot is a bacterial infection that leads to the deterioration of the fins. Good water quality and antibiotic treatments can help heal affected fish.

3. Dropsy

Dropsy is a symptom of underlying health issues and results in a swollen abdomen. Isolate and treat affected fish promptly.

4. Velvet Disease

Velvet is a parasite that gives the fish a gold or rust-colored appearance. It’s treatable with medications.

5. Internal Parasites

Internal parasites can be detected by changes in the fish’s behavior or appearance. Specific medications can be used to treat these issues.

Preventive measures include quarantine of new fish before introducing them to your main tank, regular water changes, and a well-maintained filter system.

Lifespan of King Cobra Guppies

The average lifespan of King Cobra Guppies is about 2 to 3 years when provided with

proper care. A well-maintained tank, a balanced diet, and attention to their health can contribute to a longer and healthier life.

Where to Buy King Cobra Guppies and Their Cost

King Cobra Guppies are often available in local fish stores and from online breeders. When purchasing them, make sure to choose a reputable source that maintains good breeding practices and provides healthy fish. Prices can vary depending on factors such as the rarity of coloration and patterns. On average, you can expect to pay between $3 to $5 per fish. Rare and highly sought-after varieties may cost more.

In conclusion, caring for King Cobra Guppies can be a rewarding experience for aquarists of all levels. Their striking appearance, ease of breeding, and peaceful nature make them a popular choice. By following the guidelines in this care guide, you can ensure the health and well-being of your King Cobra Guppies and enjoy their captivating beauty in your aquarium for years to come.

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Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson

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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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