Leopard Guppy Care Guide: Breeding, Feeding, Optimal Tank Set Up and More

leopard guppy, leopard guppies

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Leopard Guppy Care Guide: Breeding, Feeding, Optimal Tank Set Up and More

Leopard guppy (Poecilia reticulata) are a popular variety of guppy fish known for their distinctive leopard-like spot pattern. They are relatively easy to care for and make a great addition to any tropical aquarium.

Leopard guppies are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, including flakes, pellets, and live foods. They are also relatively peaceful fish and can be kept with a variety of other tank mates.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about leopard guppies, including how to care for them, breed them, and choose the best tank mates for them.

What is a leopard guppy?

Leopard guppy, leopard guppies

Leopard Guppy (Poecilia reticulata), often referred to as the “Leopard Endler Guppy,” is a distinct variety of Guppy fish. These small and colorful tropical freshwater fish are popular among aquarium enthusiasts for their striking and unique appearance.

The defining characteristic of Leopard Guppies is their appearance, particularly their striking leopard-like spots. These spots can be found on their tails and fins and come in a range of vibrant colors, including shades of orange, red, or even black, against a contrasting background color of silver, yellow, or green.

Leopard Guppies are a selectively bred variation of the common Guppy, which has been cultivated for its appealing and distinctive color patterns. They make an eye-catching addition to aquariums and are known for their lively and active behavior, making them a favorite choice for both novice and experienced fish keepers. The care and maintenance of Leopard Guppies are similar to that of regular Guppies, with specific attention to water conditions, feeding, and breeding to maintain their vibrant appearance and health.

Origin Of Leopard Guppies

The leopard guppy is a selectively bred variety of the guppy fish (Poecilia reticulata). The guppy is native to freshwater and brackish waters of northeastern South America and the Caribbean. It is believed that the leopard guppy was first developed in England in the early 1900s.

The leopard guppy gets its name from its distinctive leopard-like spot pattern. This pattern is created by a combination of genetics and environment. The leopard guppy gene is recessive, meaning that both parents must carry the gene in order for the offspring to have the leopard pattern. In addition, the leopard pattern can be enhanced by certain environmental factors, such as water temperature and diet.

Today, leopard guppies are bred and sold all over the world. There are many different strains of leopard guppies, each with its own unique spot pattern. Some of the most popular strains of leopard guppies include the black leopard guppy, the albino leopard guppy, and the mosaic leopard guppy.

So, while the leopard guppy is not a naturally occurring species, it has its origins in the guppy fish of South America and the Caribbean. Through selective breeding, aquarists have created a beautiful and popular variety of guppy that is enjoyed by people all over the world.

Leopard Guppy Appearance

Leopard Guppy, leopard guppies

Leopard guppies are a variety of guppy fish known for their distinctive leopard-like spot pattern. They are relatively small fish, growing to about 1.75 inches in length at maturity. Males are typically more colorful than females, with brightly colored fins and tails. Females are more drab in color, but they have a gravid spot, which is a dark spot on their abdomen that becomes more pronounced as they get closer to giving birth.

The leopard guppy’s spot pattern can vary in color and intensity. Some leopard guppies have large, dark spots, while others have smaller, lighter spots. The spot pattern can also be spread out over the entire body of the fish, or it can be concentrated in certain areas, such as the fins or tail.

Leopard guppies can be found in a variety of colors, including yellow, orange, red, blue, and green. The most common leopard guppies are yellow or orange with black spots. However, there are also many other color variations available, such as albino leopard guppies, black leopard guppies, and mosaic leopard guppies.

Leopard Guppy Care Guide For Beginners

Setting up a Tank for Leopard Guppies

leopard guppies, leopard guppy

Tank size and requirements

Guppies need clean oxygen rich water, its important to make sure tanks are well aerated and filters are cleaned regularly. Source: aquariumindustries.com

Leopard guppies are relatively small fish, but they are active swimmers and need a tank that is at least 10 gallons in size for a small group of 6-8 fish. If you plan on keeping a larger group of guppies or breeding them, you will need a larger tank. A 55-gallon tank is a good size for a group of 10-12 leopard guppies.

When choosing a tank for your leopard guppies, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Size: The tank should be large enough to provide your fish with plenty of swimming space.
  • Shape: The tank can be any shape, but a rectangular tank is the most common and easiest to find.
  • Material: The tank can be made of glass or acrylic. Glass tanks are more durable, but acrylic tanks are lighter and easier to move.
  • Cover: The tank should have a cover to prevent your fish from jumping out.
  • Stand: The tank should have a sturdy stand to support its weight.

Setting up the tank

Once you have chosen a tank for your leopard guppies, you need to set it up. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Rinse the tank with water to remove any dust or debris.
  2. Place the tank on a sturdy stand.
  3. Add the substrate to the tank. A good substrate for leopard guppies is a sand or gravel substrate. Sand and gravel substrates are easy to clean and provide a good habitat for beneficial bacteria.
  4. Add the decorations to the tank. Leopard guppies enjoy having plenty of hiding places and plants to swim through. Live plants are ideal, but artificial plants can also be used. Some good plants for leopard guppies include Java moss, hornwort, and Amazon swordtails.
  5. Fill the tank with water. Be sure to use dechlorinated water. You can dechlorinate water by letting it sit out for 24 hours before adding it to the tank, or by using a water conditioner.
  6. Install the filter and heater. Follow the instructions that came with the filter and heater to install them properly.
  7. Cycle the tank. Before adding any fish to the tank, you need to cycle the tank. This is a process that establishes beneficial bacteria in the tank. Beneficial bacteria help to break down waste products and keep the water clean.

To cycle the tank, simply add a small amount of ammonia to the tank and wait for the bacteria to colonize. You can test the water for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates to see when the tank is cycled. The tank is cycled when the ammonia and nitrite levels are zero and the nitrate level is below 20 ppm.

Best filter options for leopard guppies

There are many different types of filters available, but the best filter for leopard guppies is a hang-on-back filter or canister filter.

Hang-on-back filters are easy to install and maintain. They also provide good filtration and are affordable. Some popular hang-on-back filters for leopard guppies include:

  • Aquaclear 50
  • Marineland Penguin 200
  • Fluval AquaClear 70

Canister filters are more powerful than hang-on-back filters and can handle larger tanks. They also provide excellent filtration. Some popular canister filters for leopard guppies include:

  • Fluval FX4
  • Eheim Classic 2217
  • Oase FiltoSmart Thermo 300

Best substrate options for leopard guppies

There are many different types of substrates available, but the best substrate for leopard guppies is a sand or gravel substrate. Sand and gravel substrates are easy to clean and provide a good habitat for beneficial bacteria. Some popular sand and gravel substrates for leopard guppies include:

  • CaribSea Eco-Complete
  • Seachem Flourite Black
  • Fluval Stratum

Best heater options for leopard guppies

A heater is necessary to keep the water temperature in your tank at a comfortable level for leopard guppies. Leopard guppies prefer water with a temperature range of 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit. Some popular heaters for leopard guppies include:

  • Eheim ThermoControl+
  • Fluval E Series
  • Hydor Theo 200

What tank size should I get for my Leopard Guppies?

A suitable tank size for Leopard Guppies largely depends on the number of fish you plan to keep and the space you have available. However, as a general guideline, a tank with a capacity of at least 10 gallons (38 liters) is recommended for Leopard Guppies. This provides enough space for a small community of Guppies and allows for proper filtration and maintenance of stable water conditions.

If you want to keep a larger group of Leopard Guppies or include other compatible fish species, such as Platies, Mollies, or small Tetras, you may want to consider a larger tank, such as a 20-55 gallon long aquarium. These tanks offer more swimming space and a more stable environment for your fish.

Keep in mind that the larger the tank, the easier it is to maintain stable water parameters and provide a healthier environment for your fish. Regardless of the tank size you choose, it’s essential to ensure proper filtration, heating, and regular water changes to keep your Leopard Guppies healthy and thriving.

Leopard guppies prefer the following water parameters: tank maintenance for leopard guppies

  • Temperature: 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit (22-26 degrees Celsius)
  • pH: 6.8-7.8
  • Hardness: 10-30 dH

It is important to test the water in your tank regularly to make sure that the parameters are within the ideal range. You can use test kits to test the temperature, pH, and hardness of your tank water.

If the water parameters in your tank are outside of the ideal range, you can adjust them using various products, such as pH adjusters and water hardness adjusters. However, it is important to make changes gradually to avoid stressing your fish.

Here are some tips for maintaining the ideal water parameters for leopard guppies:

  • Perform regular water changes of 20-25% of the tank water every week.
  • Use a filter that is appropriate for the size of your tank.
  • Clean the filter regularly.
  • Avoid overfeeding your fish.
  • Test the water in your tank regularly to make sure that the parameters are within the ideal range.

By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your leopard guppies have a healthy and happy environment to live in.


Setting up a tank for leopard guppies is relatively easy. By following the steps above, you can provide your leopard guppies with a clean and healthy environment to thrive in.

Leopard Guppy Feeding

Guppy food
Guppy food

Leopard guppies are omnivores, meaning they eat a variety of foods, including plants and animals. In the wild, they eat a variety of insects, small crustaceans, and algae. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of foods, including flakes, pellets, and live foods.

Here are some specific examples of food that you can feed your leopard guppies:

  • Flakes: Flake food is a good staple food for leopard guppies. It is easy to feed and provides a variety of nutrients. Some popular flake foods for leopard guppies include:
    • Hikari Tropical Micro Pellets
    • TetraColor Tropical Flakes
    • Fluval Bug Bites Flakes
  • Pellets: Pellets are another good staple food for leopard guppies. They are more nutritious than flakes and are less likely to foul the water. Some popular pellet foods for leopard guppies include:
    • New Life Spectrum Thera+ A+
    • Omega One Super Color Freshwater Pellets
    • NorthFin Boost Freshwater Pellets
  • Live foods: Live foods are a good source of protein and essential nutrients for leopard guppies. Some popular live foods for leopard guppies include:
    • Brine shrimp
    • Daphnia
    • Bloodworms

You can buy all of the foods listed above online from a variety of retailers. Some popular online retailers for fish food include:

  • Aquarium Co-Op
  • Dr. Tim’s Aquatics
  • Fishy Business Aquatics

When feeding your leopard guppies, it is important to only feed them the amount of food that they can eat in a few minutes. Overfeeding can lead to water quality problems and health problems for your fish.

It is also important to feed your leopard guppies a variety of foods. This will help to ensure that they are getting all of the nutrients they need.

Here is a sample feeding schedule for leopard guppies:

  • Morning: Feed your leopard guppies a small amount of flake food.
  • Afternoon: Feed your leopard guppies a small amount of live food.
  • Evening: Feed your leopard guppies a small amount of pellet food.

You can adjust the feeding schedule and amount of food you feed your leopard guppies based on their age and activity level.

Leopard Guppy Disease: treatment and prevention

Disease prevention and timely treatment are essential aspects of caring for Leopard Guppies and maintaining their health. These small, colorful fish can be susceptible to various common aquarium diseases, so it’s crucial to be proactive in disease prevention and well-prepared to treat any illnesses that may arise. Here are some key disease prevention and treatment guidelines:

Disease Prevention:

  1. Maintain Proper Water Quality: Consistently monitor and maintain stable water parameters, including temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. A clean and stable environment helps prevent stress and disease.
  2. Quarantine New Fish: When adding new fish to your aquarium, including Leopard Guppies, it’s essential to quarantine them in a separate tank for a few weeks. This prevents the introduction of potential diseases to your established aquarium.
  3. Regular Water Changes: Perform routine water changes, typically 10-20% of the tank volume every 1-2 weeks. This helps dilute accumulated pollutants and improve water quality.
  4. Healthy Diet: Ensure your Guppies are provided with a well-balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. A healthy diet boosts their immune system and overall resistance to disease.
  5. Stress Reduction: Minimize stress factors, such as aggressive tankmates or sudden changes in water conditions. Stress can weaken fish and make them more susceptible to disease.

Common Diseases and Treatments:

Despite preventive measures, fish can sometimes fall ill. Here are some common diseases that may affect Leopard Guppies and how to treat them:

1. Ich (White Spot Disease):

  • Symptoms: White cysts or spots on the fish’s body, clamped fins, and increased mucus production.
  • Treatment: Raise the water temperature to around 82-86°F (28-30°C) and add an ich medication (such as API Super Ick Cure or Seachem ParaGuard). Quarantine infected fish if possible.

2. Fin Rot:

  • Symptoms: Torn, frayed, or decaying fins. Affected fins may appear discolored or bloody.
  • Treatment: Improve water quality with regular water changes. Administer a broad-spectrum antibiotic like API Furan-2 or API Triple Sulfa if the infection is severe.

3. Dropsy:

  • Symptoms: Swollen, bloated abdomen, raised scales, and loss of appetite.
  • Treatment: Isolate the affected fish and provide a low-salt environment. Use antibiotics like Erythromycin or Kanamycin to treat the underlying infection.

4. Velvet Disease (Gold Dust Disease):

  • Symptoms: Tiny gold or rust-colored dust-like spots on the fish’s body, rapid gill movement, and rubbing against objects.
  • Treatment: Raise the water temperature and treat with a copper-based medication (e.g., Cupramine by Seachem) in a separate tank.

5. Fungal Infections:

  • Symptoms: White cottony growth on the fish’s body or fins.
  • Treatment: Isolate the infected fish and treat with an antifungal medication like API Pimafix or Seachem ParaGuard.

6. Columnaris (Mouth Fungus):

  • Symptoms: White, stringy growth near the mouth, frayed fins, and difficulty breathing.
  • Treatment: Use antibiotics like Maracyn or Maracyn 2 to treat the bacterial infection. Isolate the affected fish if possible.

Always follow the instructions on medication labels and, if necessary, consult with a veterinarian or experienced fish keeper for guidance on disease treatment. Additionally, ensure that the quarantine tank, if used, has its own equipment to prevent cross-contamination.

Preventative measures and early detection of diseases, along with prompt and appropriate treatment, will help keep your Leopard Guppies healthy and thriving in your aquarium. Regular observation and maintenance are key to providing them with the best possible care.

Best Tank Mates for Leopard Guppies

Choosing suitable tank mates for your Leopard Guppies is essential to create a harmonious and thriving community aquarium. Leopard Guppies are peaceful fish that can coexist with a variety of other species, but it’s important to consider factors like compatibility, size, and water parameters. Here are some compatible tank mates for Leopard Guppies:

  1. Other Guppy Varieties (Endler Guppies): Various Guppy strains, including Endler Guppies Blue Cobra Guppy Platinum Guppies neon blue guppy, Blue Moscow Guppy Cobra Guppies can coexist peacefully in the same aquarium. They often complement each other with their vibrant colors and patterns.
  2. Platies: Platies are peaceful and colorful fish that share similar water parameter requirements with Leopard Guppies. They come in a range of colors and are easy to care for.
  3. Swordtails: Swordtails are another livebearer species that can thrive alongside Leopard Guppies. Like Platies, they come in various colors and have a similar diet.
  4. Mollies: Mollies are adaptable fish known for their unique shapes and colors. They appreciate the same water conditions as Guppies, making them compatible tank mates.
  5. Corydoras Catfish: These bottom-dwelling fish, such as Bronze Corydoras or Panda Corydoras, are excellent companions for Leopard Guppies. They help keep the substrate clean and add variety to the aquarium.
  6. Tetras: Peaceful tetras like Neon Tetras, cardinal tetra, or Ember Tetras can coexist with Guppies. These schooling fish add movement and color to the upper and middle regions of the tank.
  7. Rasboras: Rasboras, such as Harlequin Rasboras or Chili Rasboras, are small and peaceful fish that thrive in the same water parameters as Guppies.
  8. Cherry Shrimp: If you’re looking to add some invertebrates to your tank, Cherry Shrimp can be excellent tank mates. They help with algae control and are generally non-aggressive.
  9. Snails: Peaceful snail species like Nerite Snails or Malaysian Trumpet Snails can also be added to the tank to help with algae control and substrate maintenance.
  10. Otocinclus Catfish: These small catfish are efficient algae eaters and can help keep the tank clean. They are peaceful and suitable for community setups.

When selecting tank mates for Leopard Guppies, it’s essential to consider the size of the tank, water parameters, and the individual temperament of the fish. Always monitor the interactions among tank mates and be prepared to separate or rehome any fish that display aggression or bullying behavior.

Keep in mind that while Leopard Guppies are generally peaceful, they may be fin nippers if kept with long-finned tank mates, so it’s best to avoid species with extravagant finnage. Additionally, having hiding spots and ample plants in the tank can help reduce stress and improve the overall well-being of your Guppies and their tank mates.

Breeding Leopard Guppies

Breeding Leopard Guppies can be a rewarding and fascinating experience for aquarium enthusiasts. These livebearers are relatively easy to breed, making them an excellent choice for both novice and experienced fish keepers. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to breed Leopard Guppies:

1. Setting Up a Breeding Tank:

Breeding Guppies is most successful when you use a separate breeding tank. A small tank or aquarium with a capacity of 5-10 gallons should suffice. Here’s how to set up the breeding tank:

  • Install a sponge filter or a gentle air-driven filter to provide aeration and maintain good water quality.
  • Add live or artificial plants and fine-leaved plants like Java Moss, which serve as hiding places for the fry and provide a safe environment.
  • Maintain stable water conditions with a temperature between 78-82°F (25-28°C) and a pH level of 7.0-7.8.
  • Use a heater to maintain the desired temperature consistently.
  • Ensure the tank is cycled and free of ammonia and nitrites, as stable water conditions are vital for the success of breeding.

2. Selecting Breeding Guppies:

Choose healthy, sexually mature Leopard Guppies for breeding. You can distinguish males from females by their appearance: males are smaller, more colorful, and have a slender body, while females are larger and less colorful.

3. Conditioning the Guppies:

Prior to breeding, it’s a good idea to condition your breeding pair. This involves feeding them a varied and nutritious diet to ensure they are in peak health and ready for reproduction.

4. Introducing the Breeding Pair:

Place the male and female Leopard Guppies in the breeding tank. Ensure there is adequate hiding space for the female, as males can become aggressive during courtship.

5. Courtship and Mating:

Leopard Guppies are livebearers, which means the female will give birth to live fry. Mating is a relatively quick process, and the male will actively court the female by displaying his vibrant colors and trying to impress her with his fin displays. When the female is receptive, the male will fertilize the eggs inside her using a specialized fin called a gonopodium.

6. Separating the Female:

Once mating has occurred, it’s advisable to remove the female from the breeding tank to protect her from potential aggression from the male and to ensure the safety of the fry when they are born. You can place her in another tank or a breeding trap within the same tank.

7. Gestation Period:

The gestation period for Leopard Guppies is typically around 4-6 weeks. During this time, the female will develop and nourish the fry inside her.

8. Caring for the Fry:

When the female gives birth, the fry are typically tiny and can number anywhere from a few to several dozen. Here’s how to care for the fry:

  • Keep the breeding tank well-maintained with stable water conditions and adequate filtration.
  • Provide small, live foods such as baby brine shrimp or crushed flake food for the fry.
  • Offer plenty of hiding places, like fine-leaved plants and floating plants, to protect the fry from potential predation.

9. Raising the Fry:

As the fry grow, you can gradually transition them to a regular Guppy diet and continue to provide proper care. Maintain the breeding tank for the fry until they are large enough to be safely integrated into the main tank, typically when they are about 1/2 to 1 inch in size.

By following these steps, you can successfully breed Leopard Guppies and witness the joy of raising the next generation of these colorful and lively fish in your aquarium.

Where To buy Leopard Guppies

You can buy leopard guppies from a variety of places, including:

  • Local fish stores: Many local fish stores sell leopard guppies. This is a good option if you want to be able to see the fish in person before you buy them. You can also ask the staff at the fish store for advice on how to care for leopard guppies.
  • Online retailers: There are also a number of online retailers that sell leopard guppies. This is a good option if you are looking for a wider selection of leopard guppies or if you live in an area where there are no local fish stores. However, it is important to choose a reputable online retailer to ensure that you receive healthy fish.
  • Breeders: You can also buy leopard guppies directly from breeders. This is a good option if you are looking for specific strains of leopard guppies. However, it is important to find a reputable breeder who takes good care of their fish.

Here are some tips for buying leopard guppies:

  • Make sure that the fish are healthy and active.
  • Look for fish that have clear eyes and bright fins.
  • Avoid buying fish that are lethargic or have any signs of disease.
  • Ask the seller about the fish’s diet and water parameter requirements.

Once you have purchased leopard guppies, it is important to quarantine them for two weeks before adding them to your main tank. This will help to prevent the spread of any diseases.

How much do leopard guppies cost?

The average price of a leopard guppy is around $2-$5 per fish. However, the price can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the quality of the fish, the strain of the fish, and the retailer where you purchase the fish.

For example, a high-quality leopard guppy breeding from a reputable breeder may cost upwards of $50. Additionally, some strains of leopard guppies, such as the albino leopard guppy or the mosaic leopard guppy, may be more expensive than other strains.

If you are on a budget, you may be able to find leopard guppies for less than $2 per fish. However, it is important to make sure that you are purchasing healthy fish from a reputable retailer.

Here are some tips for getting the best price on leopard guppies:

  • Shop around and compare prices from different retailers.
  • Ask about discounts for bulk purchases.
  • Look for sales and promotions.
  • Buy from a reputable breeder or retailer.
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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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