Wild Guppy Guide | Everything You need To know about the (millionfish)

Wild Guppy

Table of Contents

Wild Guppy Guide | Everything You need To know about the (millionfish)

A wild guppy, often referred to as the Trinidadian guppy or Poecilia reticulata, is a small freshwater fish species native to various regions in Central and South America, primarily Trinidad and Venezuela. Guppies are known for their vibrant colors and are popular among fish keepers. In the wild, these fish can be found in various types of freshwater habitats, such as streams, rivers, ponds, and swamps.

Wild guppies are usually less colorful than their selectively bred counterparts found in the aquarium trade. In their natural habitat, guppies typically display more muted colors and patterns, which help them blend in with their surroundings and avoid predators. These fish are known for their adaptability and reproductive capabilities, and they are often used in scientific research due to their interesting behaviors, including courtship rituals and mating strategies.

Selective breeding has led to the development of numerous guppy varieties with striking and diverse colorations, tail shapes, and fin configurations. These selectively bred guppies are commonly kept as aquarium fish and are popular for their vibrant appearance and ease of care.

Wild Guppy Vs fancy guppy

Wild guppies and fancy guppies are two different categories of the same species, Poecilia reticulata, with distinct characteristics, appearances, and traits. Here’s a comparison between wild guppies and fancy guppies:

Wild Guppies:

  1. Appearance: Wild guppies have more subdued and natural coloration. They typically display shades of brown, gray, and olive green to blend into their natural habitat, helping them avoid predators.
  2. Size: They are relatively small, with adult wild guppies typically ranging from about 1.2 to 2.4 inches (3 to 6 centimeters) in length.
  3. Fins: Wild guppies have less elaborate and ornate fins compared to fancy guppies. Their dorsal and caudal fins are relatively simple.
  4. Behavior: They exhibit typical guppy behavior, including shoaling and courtship, with less emphasis on ornate displays.

Fancy Guppies:

  1. Appearance: Fancy guppies have been selectively bred for vibrant and striking colors, intricate patterns, and unique fin shapes. They come in a wide variety of hues and can have long, flowing fins, giving them a more ornamental appearance.
  2. Size: Fancy guppies can vary in size, but they are often bred to be larger than their wild counterparts.
  3. Fins: Fancy guppies have more elaborate, colorful, and decorative fins, which are often the main attraction for aquarists.
  4. Behavior: While they retain the basic guppy behavior, fancy guppies may be more focused on their ornate displays and interactions in the aquarium due to their distinctive appearance.

Selectively bred guppies (fancy guppies) have been bred for specific aesthetic traits, including color, pattern, and fin morphology, making them highly prized in the aquarium trade for their beauty and diversity. These are the guppies you typically find in the hobbyist’s aquariums, and they come in countless strains and varieties.

Wild guppies, on the other hand, represent the species in its natural state. They are known for their adaptability and their role in scientific research, particularly in studies of behavior and genetics. While they may not have the vibrant colors of fancy guppies, they offer an opportunity to observe the species in its natural form.

Ultimately, the choice between wild guppies and fancy guppies depends on your personal preferences and the goals you have for your aquarium. Fancy guppies are favored for their striking beauty, while wild guppies provide a glimpse into the natural behavior and appearance of this species.

Other common names for wild guppies

Wild guppies, Poecilia reticulata, are also known by several other common names in different regions and contexts. Some of these names include:

  1. Trinidadian Guppy: This name is derived from their native range in Trinidad, and it’s a common way to refer to them, emphasizing their place of origin.
  2. Millionfish: Guppies are sometimes called millionfish due to their prolific reproductive abilities. A single pair of guppies can produce many offspring, which can lead to a rapid increase in their population.
  3. Rainbow Fish: This name is often used because of the colorful and iridescent patterns that wild guppies display, especially in their natural habitat.
  4. Guppy Fish: While “guppy” is the primary common name, it is often used to refer to both the wild and selectively bred varieties of these fish.
  5. Fancy Guppy: This term is sometimes used to distinguish selectively bred guppies with vibrant and ornate colors and patterns from their wild counterparts. Fancy guppies are typically the ones kept in aquariums for their striking appearance.
  6. Poecilia: This is the genus name to which guppies belong, and it’s sometimes used as a more scientific or taxonomic term to refer to them.

These names can vary depending on the context, the region, and whether you are referring to wild guppies or the selectively bred, ornamental guppy varieties found in the aquarium trade.


Guppies, scientifically known as Poecilia reticulata, originate from various regions in Central and South America. They are native to countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Barbados, Guyana, and parts of northeastern South America. In particular, Trinidad and Tobago are often considered the primary native habitat for guppies. These fish are found in a range of freshwater habitats, including streams, rivers, ponds, swamps, and ditches throughout these regions.

Guppies have been introduced to many other parts of the world due to their popularity as aquarium fish. As a result, they can now be found in various countries and have established populations in regions far beyond their original native range. Their adaptability and rapid reproductive rate have contributed to their success as an invasive species in certain areas.

Appearance and Size

Wild Guppy
Wild Guppy

Wild guppies (Poecilia reticulata) have a relatively modest appearance compared to their selectively bred, colorful counterparts in the aquarium trade. Here is a description of the appearance and size of wild guppies:


  1. Coloration: Wild guppies typically exhibit more subdued and natural colors compared to selectively bred varieties. Their coloration tends to include shades of brown, gray, and olive green, which helps them blend into their natural habitat to avoid predators.
  2. Body Shape: They have a streamlined and slender body with a slightly flattened belly.
  3. Fins: Wild guppies have unremarkable fins, which are often less elaborate than those of fancy guppies. Their dorsal and caudal fins are relatively simple and not as flamboyant.
  4. Sexual Dimorphism: Like all guppies, wild guppies exhibit sexual dimorphism. Males are generally smaller than females, and they have a more colorful and ornate appearance with a modified anal fin called the gonopodium, which is used for reproduction. Females are larger and typically have less colorful, more cryptic coloration.


Wild guppies are relatively small fish, and their size can vary based on factors such as their age and environmental conditions. On average, adult wild guppies typically range in size from about 1.2 to 2.4 inches (3 to 6 centimeters) in length. Males tend to be at the smaller end of this size range, while females are generally larger.

It’s essential to note that selective breeding for ornamental traits has led to the development of much larger and more colorful guppy varieties in the aquarium hobby. These selectively bred guppies can vary widely in size and can grow larger than their wild counterparts.

Wild Guppy Care Guide

Caring for wild-type guppies (Poecilia reticulata) is relatively straightforward, and they can make excellent additions to a freshwater aquarium. Below is a care guide for keeping wild guppies:

1. Aquarium Setup:

  • Tank Size: A small group of wild guppies can be kept in a tank as small as 10 gallons, but larger tanks provide more space and stability for the fish.
  • Filtration: Use a suitable aquarium filter to maintain water quality. Guppies prefer clean, well-oxygenated water.
  • Heating: Wild guppies thrive in tropical temperatures, so maintain a consistent temperature between 75-82°F (24-28°C).
  • Lighting: Provide a natural day-night cycle with moderate lighting. Guppies do not have specific lighting requirements.

2. Water Parameters:

  • pH: Guppies prefer slightly alkaline water with a pH range of 7.0 to 7.8.
  • Hardness: Maintain water hardness between 10 to 20 dGH.
  • Ammonia and Nitrites: Keep ammonia and nitrite levels at zero through proper filtration and regular water changes.

3. Tank Decor:

  • Use live or artificial plants to provide hiding spots and create a natural habitat.
  • Provide some open swimming space, as guppies are active swimmers.
  • A fine gravel or sand substrate is suitable, as guppies often forage at the bottom.

4. Feeding:

  • Wild guppies are omnivores. Offer a varied diet that includes high-quality flake or pellet food, as well as live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and mosquito larvae.
  • Feed them multiple small meals throughout the day to mimic their natural feeding behavior.

5. Tank Mates:

  • Guppies are generally peaceful, but they can be nipped by aggressive or fin-nipping fish. Good tankmates include other peaceful community fish like tetras, mollies, and corydoras.
  • Avoid keeping guppies with large or aggressive species that may harass or prey on them.

6. Breeding:

  • Guppies are known for their prolific breeding. If you plan to breed them, ensure that you have a separate breeding tank to protect the fry (young fish) from being eaten by the adults.
  • Provide floating plants or a breeding box for pregnant females to give birth safely.

7. Water Changes:

  • Regular water changes, typically 20-25% every 1-2 weeks, help maintain water quality.

8. Observation:

  • Keep an eye on your guppies for signs of illness or stress. Quarantine new fish before introducing them to your tank to prevent the spread of diseases.

Remember that while wild-type guppies are hardy, their care requirements can vary based on the specific conditions of your tank and the genetics of the fish. Regular monitoring of water parameters and the overall health of your fish is crucial for their well-being. Additionally, providing a stimulating environment with places to explore and swim can help keep your guppies happy and healthy.

Where to buy and average price

You can purchase wild-type guppies (Poecilia reticulata) from various sources, both online and in physical pet stores. Here are some options and average price ranges:

Local Pet Stores:

  • Many local pet stores carry a variety of guppy species, including wild-type guppies. Prices can vary, but you can generally expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $10 per fish, depending on factors like the fish’s age, size, and coloration.

Online Retailers:

  • Online retailers and aquarium supply websites often offer a wide selection of guppies, including wild types. Prices can range from $3 to $10 or more per fish, and shipping costs may apply.

Aquarium Clubs and Hobbyist Groups:

  • You can check with local aquarium clubs and hobbyist groups. Sometimes, enthusiasts within these communities may have wild guppies available for sale or trade at reasonable prices. Prices may vary depending on the seller.

Auction Websites and Classifieds:

  • Websites like Aquabid and local classified ad platforms may have listings for wild-type guppies. Prices can vary widely, and it’s important to research the seller’s reputation and shipping policies when using these platforms.

Local Breeders:

  • Contacting local guppy breeders or breeders in your region can be an excellent way to find high-quality guppies, including wild types. Prices may vary depending on the breeder, but you might find good deals or unique strains by going this route.

Catching Wild Guppies

Catching wild guppies, or any wild fish, can be an enjoyable and educational experience, but it’s essential to do so responsibly and with consideration for the environment. Here are some steps to follow when catching wild guppies:

1. Obtain Necessary Permits (if required):

  • Check your local regulations and laws to see if you need permits or licenses for collecting wild fish. Some areas may have restrictions on collecting fish from natural bodies of water.

2. Choose Suitable Locations:

  • Research and select locations where wild guppies are known to be present. These may include freshwater streams, ponds, or slow-moving rivers. Be sure to respect private property rights and obtain any necessary permissions to collect on private land.

3. Use Appropriate Equipment:

  • You’ll need a few tools for catching wild guppies, such as a fine mesh aquarium net, a container or bag for transporting the fish, and a small handheld container or bucket filled with water from the collection site to acclimate the fish.

4. Observe and Approach Cautiously:

  • Once at the collection site, spend some time observing the fish. Look for areas where guppies congregate, such as near vegetation or along the edges of the water.

5. Catching the Guppies:

  • Carefully use the aquarium net to capture the guppies. Approach them slowly to avoid scaring them away. Gently scoop the net under the fish, being careful not to harm them.

6. Handle Gently:

  • Handle the fish with care to avoid injury. Guppies have delicate fins and scales, so be gentle when transferring them into your container or bag.

7. Acclimate to Aquarium Conditions:

  • To ensure the well-being of the collected guppies, acclimate them to the water conditions in your home aquarium. Gradually introduce the water from your aquarium into the container holding the guppies over a period of time (30-60 minutes) until the water parameters are similar. This helps minimize stress and prevent shock to the fish.

8. Transporting the Guppies:

  • Transport the collected guppies back to your home aquarium as quickly as possible to minimize stress. Keep the container well-sealed to prevent any water splashing or temperature fluctuations.

9. Quarantine and Observe:

  • It’s a good practice to quarantine newly collected fish separately for a few weeks to monitor their health and ensure they are free of diseases before introducing them to your main aquarium.

10. Release Responsibly:

  • If, at any point, you decide not to keep the collected guppies, release them back into the same location where you found them. Do not release them into non-native environments, as this can have ecological consequences.

Remember that collecting wild fish should be done in moderation and with respect for the environment. Always prioritize the welfare of the fish and the sustainability of their natural habitat. Additionally, it’s essential to follow local laws and regulations related to the collection of wild animals.

Related Posts You May Like
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. 

Lee Johnson
My Personal Favorites