Tiger Guppy Care Guide: Breeding, Aquarium Set-up and More

Tiger Guppies, tiger guppy

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Tiger Guppy Care Guide: Breeding, Aquarium Set-up and More

Tiger guppy, scientifically known as Poecilia reticulata, are freshwater aquarium fish that are perfect for beginners and seasoned hobbyists alike. Their striking mosaic patterns and vibrant colors make them a popular choice for tropical aquariums. In this comprehensive Tiger guppy care guide, we will explore various aspects of tiger guppy care, including their appearance, origin, tank setup, breeding, feeding, common diseases, and more.

What is a tiger guppy?

The tiger guppy is a popular and colorful variety of the common guppy (Poecilia reticulata). Tiger guppies are known for their striking black and yellow or orange stripes, which resemble the stripes of a tiger. The males have the most colorful and elaborate fins, while the females are more subdued in color.

Tiger guppies are relatively easy to care for and make good fish for beginners. They are also relatively hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. However, it is important to provide them with a clean and well-maintained aquarium, as well as a varied diet of high-quality flake food, pellets, and frozen or freeze-dried foods.

Tiger guppies are peaceful fish and can be kept with other peaceful fish, such as tetras, danios, and other guppies. However, it is important to avoid keeping them with larger or more aggressive fish, which could prey on them.

Tiger guppies are livebearers, which means that the females give birth to live young instead of laying eggs. The gestation period for tiger guppies is about 21 days, and a female guppy can give birth to up to 100 fry at a time.

Tiger guppies are a popular choice for aquariums because of their beautiful coloration, hardy nature, and ease of care. They are also a good choice for breeding, as they are relatively easy to breed and can produce large litters of fry.


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Tiger guppies are named for their distinctive mosaic-like patterns resembling a tiger’s stripes. These patterns feature a mix of vibrant colors, usually with a contrasting base color, creating an eye-catching display in your aquarium. The males typically exhibit more intricate and colorful patterns than the females. The fins of both genders are elongated, with the dorsal fin of males often showcasing a prominent and colorful sail-like extension.

Here are some key characteristics of tiger guppies:

How big do tiger guppies get?

Tiger guppies can grow to be about 2 inches long, with females being slightly larger than males. However, some tiger guppies have been known to grow to be up to 3 inches long. The size of a tiger guppy will vary depending on a number of factors, including the genetics of the fish, the quality of the care provided, and the size of the aquarium.

  • Size: Tiger guppies are relatively small, with males averaging around 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 centimeters) in length, while females are slightly larger, reaching up to 2.4 inches (6 centimeters).
  • Color Variations: Their coloration can vary significantly, but they often feature shades of orange, red, yellow, and black. Some individuals may also display iridescent hues. The coloration can be influenced by factors such as genetics, diet, and overall health.
  • Mosaic Patterns: As mentioned earlier, tiger guppies are named for their mosaic patterns, which resemble the stripes of a tiger. These patterns are more pronounced in males, making them particularly attractive to aquarists.


Tiger guppies are a selectively bred variety of the common guppy (Poecilia reticulata), which is native to South America, particularly in countries such as Brazil, Barbados, and Guyana. However, tiger guppies are not found in the wild. They were first bred in captivity in the early 1900s, and have since become one of the most popular varieties of guppies in the aquarium hobby.

Tiger guppies are created by crossing guppies with different colors and patterns. The specific colors and patterns of a tiger guppy will vary depending on the genetics of the parents. However, all tiger guppies will have the characteristic black and yellow or orange stripes that resemble the stripes of a tiger.

Aquarium Tank Setup

Guppy Fish Tank
Guppy Fish Tank

Creating a suitable environment for your tiger guppies is crucial for their health and overall well-being. Here’s a guide to setting up their tank:

Tank Size

Tiger guppies can thrive in tanks of varying sizes, but it’s recommended to provide them with a minimum of 10 gallons (about 38 liters) of water. A larger tank is always better as it offers more stability in terms of water parameters and allows your fish to exhibit their natural behaviors.

Water Parameters

  • Temperature: Maintain the water temperature between 72°F and 82°F (22°C to 28°C). Using a heater with a thermostat can help maintain a stable temperature.
  • pH Level: Aim for a slightly alkaline pH level around 7.0 to 7.8. Test your water regularly to ensure it stays within this range.
  • Water Hardness: Tiger guppies prefer moderately hard water with a dGH (degree of General Hardness) of 10 to 15.

Filtration and Aeration

A good quality filter is essential to keep the water clean and clear. Guppies, including tiger guppies, are relatively small fish and can be sensitive to poor water quality. A gentle water flow and aeration are also beneficial, but make sure it’s not too strong to avoid stressing your fish.

Substrate and Decoration

For the substrate, you can use fine gravel or sand, which makes it easier for tiger guppies to search for food. Aquatic plants, both real and artificial, can be added for aesthetic appeal and to provide hiding spots. Tiger guppies appreciate some cover, so adding caves or floating plants can be a good idea.


Moderate lighting is usually sufficient for tiger guppies. Avoid excessively bright lights, as they can stress the fish. You can use a timer to maintain a consistent lighting schedule.

Tank Mates

Tiger guppies are generally peaceful, but it’s important to choose tank mates carefully. They can coexist with other peaceful community fish like mollies, platies, and swordtails. However, avoid aggressive or fin-nipping species. Leopard Guppy Mosaic Guppy Black Moscow Guppy Blue Moscow Guppy Cobra Guppies

Providing your tiger guppies with a well-maintained and appropriately decorated tank ensures they can thrive and display their stunning mosaic patterns to their fullest potential. (Guppy Fish Tank Maintenance for Beginners: How to get Crystal Clear Water In your Guppy Tank )

Breeding Tiger Guppies

tiger guppy,
Tiger guppies 
Tiger guppy care guide
Credit: alamy

Breeding tiger guppies can be an exciting endeavor, and their prolific nature makes it relatively straightforward. If you’re interested in witnessing the beautiful offspring of your guppies, here’s what you need to know:

Sexing Your Guppies

To initiate the breeding process, you’ll first need to distinguish between male and female tiger guppies. Here are some key characteristics to help you identify their gender:

  • Males: Males are typically smaller but have more colorful and elaborate fins. They also possess a gonopodium, a modified anal fin used for mating, which appears pointed and elongated.
  • Females: Females are larger, with less colorful and shorter fins. They also have a more rounded appearance and a gravid spot located near their anal fin. The gravid spot darkens when they are carrying fry (baby fish).

Breeding Tank Setup

Setting up a separate breeding tank is advisable to protect the fry from potential predation by adult guppies. Here’s how to prepare the breeding tank:

  • Tank Size: A smaller tank, around 5 to 10 gallons (19 to 38 liters), is suitable for breeding. Make sure it has a sponge filter or a gentle flow filter to prevent the fry from being sucked into the filter.
  • Substrate: You can use fine gravel or a bare-bottom tank. Fine-leaved plants or a breeding trap can provide hiding spots for the fry.
  • Heating and Lighting: Maintain a stable temperature of 78°F to 80°F (25.5°C to 26.5°C) in the breeding tank. Lighting can be moderate.
  • Cover and Separation: Provide hiding places for the female guppy to seek refuge from the pursuing male. Separating the male and female after breeding is advisable to prevent stress or aggression.

Breeding Process

Once you have identified your male and female guppies and set up the breeding tank, you can initiate the breeding process:

  1. Condition the Parents: Ensure the health and proper nutrition of the male and female guppies before breeding. A diet rich in high-quality flakes and occasional live or frozen foods can enhance their condition.
  2. Introduce the Female: Place the female guppy in the breeding tank with ample hiding spots.
  3. Introduce the Male: After a few days of conditioning, introduce the male to the breeding tank. Keep a close watch to ensure that the male doesn’t harass the female excessively. If the female shows signs of distress, remove the male and try again later.
  4. Courtship and Mating: The male will court the female by displaying his colorful fin patterns and circling her. When the female is receptive, mating occurs. The male transfers sperm using his gonopodium.
  5. Isolate the Female: Once mating has occurred, remove the female and place her in a separate tank or return her to the main tank. This prevents the male from stressing her or attacking the fry.
  6. Gestation and Fry: The female guppy will carry the fertilized eggs for about 26 to 31 days before giving birth. You can tell when she’s close to giving birth by the darkening of her gravid spot. Once she does, you’ll have a batch of tiny fry.

Fry Care

Guppy Fish

Caring for the fry is crucial to their survival and growth. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Feed the Fry: Start by feeding them with powdered fry food or liquid fry food. As they grow, you can introduce finely crushed flakes or micro food.
  • Water Quality: Maintain pristine water conditions in the breeding tank. Regular water changes and careful monitoring are essential to prevent disease.
  • Separate Age Groups: If you have multiple batches of fry, consider separating them by age or size to prevent larger fry from preying on smaller ones.
  • Growth and Development: As the fry grow, their colors will become more apparent. You can start to distinguish males from females based on their fin shape and coloration.
  • Return to Main Tank: Once the fry are large enough to avoid being eaten by adult fish, you can introduce them to the main tank. Ensure that they have suitable hiding places to prevent harassment by other tank mates.

Breeding tiger guppies can be a rewarding experience, and it allows you to witness the transformation of tiny fry into colorful and vibrant adult fish.

Feeding Tiger Guppies

Guppy food
Guppy food

Proper nutrition is a cornerstone of keeping tiger guppies healthy and vibrant. These fish are omnivorous, and providing them with a well-balanced diet is essential for their overall well-being. Here’s what you need to know about feeding your tiger guppies:

Dietary Requirements

Tiger guppies, like all guppies, have a diverse diet that includes both plant and animal matter. Here are the main components of their diet:

  • Flakes and Pellets: High-quality guppy flakes or pellets should be the staple of their diet. Look for products formulated for tropical fish, as these are specifically designed to meet their nutritional needs.
  • Live and Frozen Foods: To enhance their coloration and vitality, you can supplement their diet with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, and micro worms. These protein-rich foods are especially beneficial for breeding pairs.
  • Vegetables: Guppies also benefit from occasional servings of blanched vegetables like spinach, peas, or zucchini. These provide essential fiber and nutrients.

Feeding Schedule

Establishing a regular feeding schedule is important to avoid overfeeding, which can lead to water quality issues. Here’s a suggested feeding schedule for tiger guppies:

  • Daily: Offer small amounts of flakes or pellets, enough for them to consume within 2-3 minutes.
  • Alternate Days: Provide live or frozen foods every other day. These treats are not only nutritious but also mimic their natural diet in the wild.
  • Vegetables: Offer blanched vegetables once or twice a week. Remove any uneaten portions promptly to prevent water contamination.
  • Fasting Day: To mimic their natural feeding patterns, it’s advisable to give them a fasting day once a week. This helps in reducing the risk of overfeeding and maintains water quality.

Avoid Overfeeding

Overfeeding is a common issue in aquarium care. Guppies, including tiger guppies, are opportunistic eaters and may appear hungry all the time. However, excessive feeding can lead to obesity, digestive problems, and poor water quality. It’s essential to observe their behavior and adjust the amount of food accordingly.

Disease Prevention

Keeping your tiger guppies healthy involves disease prevention. Here are some expert tips to reduce the risk of common diseases:

  • Quarantine New Fish: Before introducing new fish to your tank, quarantine them in a separate tank for a few weeks to ensure they are disease-free. This minimizes the risk of introducing pathogens to your main tank.
  • Regular Water Changes: Consistent water changes are crucial for maintaining good water quality. Regular water changes help remove toxins and reduce stress on your fish.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: Overcrowding can stress fish and lead to the spread of diseases. Ensure that you don’t have too many fish in your tank.
  • Maintain Stable Water Parameters: Fluctuating water parameters can stress fish and make them more susceptible to diseases. Regularly test and adjust the water conditions to meet the specific needs of tiger guppies.
  • Quarantine Sick Fish: If you notice any signs of illness in a fish, promptly quarantine it to prevent the spread of disease to the rest of the population.

Where is the best place to buy tiger guppies?

Tiger guppies can be purchased from a variety of places, including:

  • Local fish stores: Many local fish stores sell tiger guppies, as well as other varieties of guppies and other tropical fish.
  • Pet stores: Major pet stores, such as Petco and PetSmart, also sell tiger guppies.
  • Online retailers: There are a number of online retailers that sell tiger guppies. This can be a good option if you are unable to find tiger guppies at a local fish store or pet store.

When choosing a place to buy tiger guppies, it is important to select a reputable retailer. This will help to ensure that you are getting healthy fish and that they are being properly cared for before you purchase them.

Here are some tips for buying tiger guppies:

  • Inspect the fish carefully before you purchase them. Make sure that they are active and have no visible signs of disease or injury.
  • Ask the retailer about the fish’s care requirements. This will help to ensure that you are able to provide the fish with the proper care once you take them home.
  • Purchase the fish from a reputable retailer. This will help to ensure that you are getting healthy fish and that they are being properly cared for before you purchase them.

Once you have purchased your tiger guppies, it is important to acclimate them to their new aquarium before releasing them. This can be done by floating the bag of fish in the aquarium for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, you can open the bag and slowly add some of the aquarium water to the bag. Repeat this process several times until the water in the bag is the same temperature as the water in the aquarium. Once the water is the same temperature, you can release the fish into the aquarium.

Tiger guppies are a beautiful and hardy addition to any aquarium. With proper care, they can live for up to two years.

How much do tiger guppies cost?

Tiger Guppies typically cost between $5 and $15 per fish. The price of a tiger guppy will vary depending on a number of factors, including the quality of the fish, the size of the fish, and the retailer where you purchase it.

For example, a young tiger guppy from a local fish store may cost around $5, while a larger and more mature tiger guppy from an online retailer may cost around $15.

If you are looking for a specific color or pattern of tiger guppy, you may need to pay more for the fish. For example, a tiger guppy with a rare color or pattern may cost upwards of $20 or if you are buying a breeding pair they can cost over $50 from a reputable breeder.

If you are on a budget, there are a few things you can do to save money on tiger guppies. First, you can try to find a local fish store that sells tiger guppies at a discount. Second, you can purchase tiger guppies from an online retailer that offers free shipping. Finally, you can purchase a group of tiger guppies at once. Many retailers offer discounts for bulk purchases.

No matter where you choose to purchase your tiger guppies, it is important to select a reputable retailer. This will help to ensure that you are getting healthy fish and that they are being properly cared for before you purchase them.


Tiger guppies are not only visually stunning but also fascinating to care for. By providing them with an appropriate tank setup, understanding their breeding process, and offering a balanced diet, you can ensure they thrive in your aquarium. Additionally, being vigilant about disease prevention measures will help keep your tiger guppies healthy and vibrant.

In our final section, we’ll summarize the key points of this guide and provide some additional expert tips for those who are passionate about keeping tiger guppies and other aquarium fish.

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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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