Poecilia reticulata, which are most commonly known as Guppies, is the leading species in most aquarium habitats. However, they are also abundant in freshwater environments.
For most of us who want to keep a pet but are allergic to them or simply can’t bear the hassle, aquariums are a good option.
SO, what is it about fish, and guppies more specifically, that makes them such an ideal choice for a pet? Well, first and foremost, their immobility.
Leaving an unattended aquarium behind is never a concern for owners as long as their feed is given and the aquarium is maintained properly. As for the fish, it’ll just swim around in its habitat, eat the food, and won’t be running into any major accidents as would be expected of a dog or cat.
Guppies themselves are an optimum choice due to their high level of adaptability and low maintenance. They are much easier to keep than other species of fish as well.
However, keeping a Guppy isn’t a complete piece of cake, so here is a complete guppy care guide to walk you through the process.
Guppies originate from the Poeciliidae family., and their natural habitat is freshwater. To this day, almost 300 varieties of Guppy fish are known to mankind.
These lively creatures were discovered in Trinidad in the year 1866. Their cute yet absurd name originates from the person that discovered them, Robert John Lechmere Guppy. After their discovery, they were taken to the British Museum to study them.
The fishes are easy on the eyes due to their vibrant colors, which is also the reason why their common names include The Rainbow Fish. Other specifications include their friendly behavior towards other species in the habitat. They are often called The Millions Fish, which is owed to their massive breeding capacity.
Guppies have been subjected to various name conversions over time. When they were first discovered, an Ichthyologist named them Girardinus guppii.
Later on, the upcoming generations were called Lebistes reticulatus, which was subjected to one last conversion, Poecilia reticulata.
One of the most prominent features that make Guppies an aquarium essential is their friendly behavior and docile approach towards various other aquarium inhabitants.
They not only adapt to the presence of other fish but are actually happier in groups. This means if your Guppy fish tank is crowded, adding another fish to it will only do good rather than harm.
When it comes to mobility, these creatures are one of the most frequently observed ones. This is due to their tendency to swim excessively in a hyper manner. They also like to roam all around the aquarium, socializing and moving around their communities.
Another behavioral characteristic is observed between the two genders of the Guppy fish. The male fish are mostly seen chasing the female ones. They also wiggle their tails while they chase the females. This particular act is done in order to impress the females.
Looking at all these characteristics, it’s obvious that a happy Guppy is one that is social and cheerful in appearance. In case you observe that your fish is taking a liking to the corners of the Guppy fish tank, you might want to look into a Guppy care guide because this indicates stress or illness.
Appearance of Guppies
Guppies have a wide variety of appearances owing to their colorful nature and the variant patterns and designs on their bodies.
The original wild female Guppies have a more narrowed-down appearance which can be characterized as grey. The wild males, as opposed to the females, are still colorful due to stripes, splashes, and dots present on their skin. These marks and stripes are of various colors and textures.
Other than the wild species, the main reason for the presence of so many variant colored species is breeders. The breeders are constantly at work to create new strains of the fish, which leads to the development of new colors in them. This increases the chances of different patterns and more vibrant and dynamic colors. Even neon guppies have been produced through this strain development.
A common name for the Guppy fish other than its scientific one is The Rainbow Fish. The reason why they were given this name is due to the various colors that are seen on them.
Guppies tend to have any color the human mind can conjure up. Now imagine having a guppy fish tank. It would be like swimming rainbows in water.
The color is not evenly distributed on the body of the fish. This means that the upper part of the body of the Guppies is more or less pale. This light and pale color changes smoothly into a much more dynamic and vibrant color or even a combination of multiple ones as we move to the lower part of its body.
The presence of light reflecting iridophores cells on some types of fish can make them unique and metallic.
Guppies don’t have fixed patterns. Some of them might not even have a pattern and just have a solid color on them. Others may have some sort of marking on their bodies. The following are included in these
- Cobra: straight barring and floral patterns
- Snakeskin: chain-link pattern and floral patterns
- Tuxedo: front and back have varying colors and are divided.
For some Guppies, the tails are also different with respect to colors and patterns. Examples may include:
- Grass: Grass-like small dots.
- Lace: Pattern that looks like a spider’s web consisting of fine lines
- Leopard: dots that resemble leopard spots.
- Mosaic: Mosaic-like pattern of irregular spots. These may seem to be interconnected.
Considering the variety of Guppies that exist to this day, their tale shapes are also various:
- Triangular shaped
- Sword-shaped (double, top sword, and bottom sword)
- Flag shaped
- Spade shaped
- Spear shaped
Ideal Habitat and Tank Conditions
Guppies are easy to manage and low-maintenance fish species. Hence it is easy to keep them as a pet. Let’s look into the ideal tank conditions in a guppy fish tank.
According to the Guppy care guide, the tank must be maintained like it is for most fish. First and foremost, it should be set up in the correct manner.
If your tank is properly cycled, it will ensure an ambient and anti-toxic environment for the fish.
It’s important to note that for a species to survive in superficial conditions, it is necessary to replicate the conditions of its natural habitat. SO, for Guppies, this includes the conditions of the warm freshwaters of South America.
For this, you’ll need to heat your aquarium. The ideal temperature is 75 to 82OF. Remember to add a thermometer to one side of the tank as well.
The ideal PH for Guppy fish to live in a healthy environment is 7.0 and 7.2. The third thing which is essential in a Guppy fish tank, according to the guppy care guide, is a filter. The filter you choose can either be a hang-on back filter or an external canister filter depending on the size of the guppy fish tank. There are no specifications to a Guppy tank size. It may range from 5 gallons to 50 gallons.
Guppy Tank Mates
Guppies need a certain volume of water per fish to survive and prosper in the optimum environment.
Most pet owners add guppies to their fish tanks for the colorful appearance they have.
It is advised that one Guppy should have at least 2 gallons of water for itself. This will mean a 20-gallon tank for 10 Guppy fishes and a 50 gallons tank for 25 fish.
If you’re keeping male Guppies, there are no other specifications.
In case you tend to keep male and female fishes together, there is a specific ratio you need to keep in mind.4
This ratio for opposite-gender fishes is 2:1.
But keep in mind that while Guppies themselves are docile and peaceful creatures, other aggressive species are still not suitable to keep in their tanks.
These aggressive species like aggressive Tetras will harm the Guppies. They might nip their fins, or some fishes like red-tailed sharks might even turn them into dinner.
Other than fish, Guppies can also be kept with other marine animals like African dwarf frogs and certain species of shrimps.
Diet for Guppies
In this portion of the Guppy care guide, we’ll look into the nutritional specifications of the Guppy fish. Most of the nutritional requirements of any living organism depend upon its own anatomical and physiological features. In addition to this, their natural habitat also plays a defining role in what they may or may not eat.
Guppies are inherently low-maintenance creatures and will eat more or less anything. They’ll even eat mosquitoes. This is a reason why they are often used to tone down mosquito infestations’ controlled amounts.
Their omnivorous nature opens their horizons and allows them a range of food items to select from, including plant and meat sources. The optimum nutrition for Guppy fish is a high protein diet. The most common food that is given to this fish is fish flakes.
Although you should look into the type of fish flakes you’re giving the fish.
Some fish flakes may have filler foods like soy and white products. These aren’t highly nutritious food for the fish. If the fish flakes have a higher quantity of proteins like shrimp and other meat products, it is the optimum choice of food for the Guppy fish.
You can also feed them blood worms to fill up their protein requirement.
The most convenient and easy route to Guppy feeding would be fancy Guppy which was specifically made keeping in mind the nutritional requirements of Guppy fish.
Guppies are often called The Millions Fish. This definitely leaves no hint to the breeding habits of the fish. This means your Guppy Fishtank will be full of baby Guppies in no time and almost no effort.
The reproductive nature of the Guppy fish is ovoviviparous. According to this, an egg will grow inside the Guppy female’s body. This egg will be the source of nutrition for the little one and will hatch inside the fish.
The fish later gives birth to this live fish.
The process of mating takes place once the fishes are becoming sexually mature, which takes around three to five months.
Once this happens, the signs are pretty obvious and may include:
- Coloring; A marked change in the coloring is observed amongst the male fish that become more vibrant than females
- Modified anal fin; males have a modified anal fin commonly called the gonopodium. It becomes wider than a female’s anal fin.
- Males are smaller than females.
- Females may have a gravid spot (a dark spot, which gets darker in color during pregnancy).
Guppies may get some diseases such as Ich. This disease is characterized by little white spots or dots on the skin of the fish. They will also be observed rubbing their body against various objects as a sign of irritation.
Since the disease is common amongst the fish, it can be treated by medicine available at medical stores.
When kept with aggressive tank mates, their tales or fins might get nipped and nibbled. This may lead to a condition called tail rot.
This can also be treated by easily available medication and removing aggressive fish from the Guppy fish tank.
The long Guppy tails may also be subjected to fungal infections.
A hygienic, properly filtered, and cycled tank is the key to avoid most diseases.
Are Guppies Suitable for your Aquarium?
Guppies are soft and docile fish that are friendly to their tank mates. They are mostly cheerful and social (if not check for disease or stress symptoms in the fish).
So keeping them in your tank is a good idea as long as you follow the basic rules given in this Guppy care guide.