Guppy Fish

Guppies are absolutely the best choice to start with if you’re getting into fish keeping for the first time.  Also – when you walk past the pet store and the kids nag you to get a tank, get them guppies!  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.

Fact: Not only is the guppy the most popular tropical fish kept by millions around the world but also the easiest tropical fish to take care of.  And as a super-sized bonus, they are darn pretty and fun to look at.

Why are guppies so popular?

I think I answered that question in the “Fact” above.  In my opinion, they are so popular because they are so easy to take care of. If I gave my house cat a guppy tank, she would be able to care for the guppies just as well as I can.

Wait, First – Another Fun Fact: Did you know that some Asian countries actually used the guppy to try combat Malaria? They set millions of guppies free in natural water bodies to try curb the mosquito numbers. Guppies LOVE mosquito larvae.

See, after all, not only a pretty fish tank decoration but a true disease-fighting soldier.

Guppy Fish
Beautiful, right?

Guppies in a community tank or not?

Although guppies cope very nicely in a community tank, I prefer not to do that. You never know when any of the tank mates develop an appetite for guppy fin. Their fins are incredibly fragile, and just a couple of nips can ruin their tail fins. Of course, I am referring more to the males here. The females don’t have huge tail fins like males do.

So, where possible, I do encourage people to make a guppy species tank. They play nice together in a species tank.

The Guppy Tank

Of course, you have a perfectly cycled tank if it is a new tank. Your temperature is between 75 and 80 Fahrenheit, your pH is around 7.5, and there is plenty of oxygen in the water. You can have about five guppies per 10 gallons of tank water.

Some experts would say that you can keep more guppies in a tank.  But here is the thing. The more you stock your tank with, the more rigorous your maintenance tasks will have to be. So, water changes much more often than normal, as they are messy fish, with very regular toilet usage. Also, stress levels will be increased in the tank.  Sometimes less is more…

Feeding Guppies

Flake food is fine for the base diet for your guppies. But please do try to include some live (or semi-live) food if possible. Guppies love a juicy bloodworm every once in a while. Live or frozen brine shrimp is also great for your guppies. You can even produce your brine shrimp at home.

Other favorites of the guppy include Mosquito larvae, micro worms, and fruit flies.

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, try this.  Dig up some earthworms, chop them up nice and small,  and you have some homemade guppy cuisine!

As always: Don’t over-feed your fish, any fish, ever. And so, I find myself having to repeat it:  Sometimes, less is more. If possible, rather feed them SMALL portions twice a day, instead of a large serving once a day.

Guppy Fish
Guppy Fish

Let’s talk about Lighting

If you are anything like me, you would also want to show off your awesome guppies ALL THE TIME.  And best way to bring out their unique colors is with a proper light in your tank.

But here is something I learned only much later in keeping guppies: They shouldn’t get too much light. Guppies should get about 8 hours of darkness per day.

So do them a favor, and keep the light off during the night. Who knows, maybe they also need some privacy?

To Breed or Not to Breed

As if it wasn’t a known fact already, I will mention it here for consistency:  Like rabbits, guppies breed easily. Not much encouragement need, just a healthy ratio of 2 females per male in your tank.

You want the females to please outnumber the males because males do like to chase the females around in the tank. Two females per male will lessen the burden on the poor females.

Guppies are livebearers, so once the mommy delivers, you have live, almost microscopic babies swimming around.  I remember my first guppy birth – it was so cool to watch. OK, I was still in school, though.

Unfortunately, the babies are so tiny that all (even the parents) the other fish in the tank might confuse them for live food so that they will get eaten in large numbers. For this reason, we now have breeder tanks. I call them nursery tanks.

It is a mini plastic container that you hang onto the side of your tank.  You pop the expecting mother in there just before birthing time.

Babies are born, and they drop through a wedge-like divider in the bottom of the breeder tank.  Mommy stays in the top part until she is done.  You can then remove her and put her back with the other adults.

The babies stay in the nursery tank, and you feed them special baby food until they are big enough not to be mistaken for food anymore.

That’s it, folks – my quick guide to Guppy Fish Care.  Look after them well, as they can live up to two years. Let me hear from you in the comment section below!