Guppy – Care tips and interesting facts

The Guppy – one of the most popular aquarium fishes in a short portrait

The Guppy is one of the most popular aquarium fish in Germany, as it is suitable for beginners as well as for advanced and professional fishers. Newcomers appreciate the easy keeping and experienced aquarists are fascinated by the variety and group behaviour. Therefore it is worth taking a close look at this fish. Which characteristics does it have? How is it kept? What do you have to pay attention to when buying? You can find out more here.

Profile Guppy

The Guppy is quite undemanding. But as always with ornamental fish, you should try to adapt all living conditions perfectly to its inhabitants.

Scientific name: Poecilia reticulata
Life expectancy: up to 4 years
Size: Males up to 4 cm, females up to 8 cm
pH value: 5.5 to 8.5
Water hardness: 5° to 25° dGH
Temperature: 18-28° C
Behavior: relatively peaceful, but very active
Origin: Central and South America
Nutrition: Dry and live food
Aquarium size: from 60 cm
Facility: many plants
Ground: no matter
Swimming zone: Middle

Where does the name Guppy come from?

In 1866, the explorer Robert Guppy discovered the fish on Trinidad. Although the species was already discovered, the fish were named after him and kept the name.

Where do guppies originally live?

lmxma / Pixabay

The carp fish live naturally in northern South America and in few areas in the Caribbean. Swarms can also be found in Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. These were originally used to fight mosquitoes or simply poured out of the aquarium into the sea.

Guppy populations can also be found in Germany. These were released as neozoa, for example to decimate mosquitoes. They live in flowing waters and even in brackish or sewage water.

What do guppies look like?

Guppies grow between 3 and 5 cm long. As a keeper, even male and female guppies can be easily recognized. Female animals are clearly rounder and larger. When they are fertilized, they also have a gestation mark on their lower abdomen. Depending on the colour it is hard to recognize. Females, however, are more colourless, usually silver or white, as is common in nature. Intensive breeding also colours the females in the meantime. Male guppies have a long, large and colourful fin. They are also clearly more colourful overall. Experts also distinguish between large and small fins.

Which aquarium do I need?

Water at room temperature is sufficient. However, a temperature between 24 and 27 degrees is better. Clear, neutral water with a light current has ideal conditions. The minimum size for the tank is 54 litres. A good aquarium planting, water change and also a good aquarium filter and regular aquarium cleaning are part of keeping.

The offspring of the Guppy

A guppy can live up to four years. Females give birth alive and are sexually mature at three months. The male has a functioning sperm production a little earlier. Therefore, it is common to buy females that are already pregnant, as the male sperm remain in the female and fertilise her when she is sexually mature. The quantity and retention time of the semen can inseminate the female up to 11 times. One litter can produce between 20 and 40 young, every four weeks.

The kittens immediately live independently, but are food for the adult guppies. But because the reproduction rate is so high, the species is not endangered by this. If you still want to be on the safe side, you can do without a rearing tank. Just get a hanging sieve, the parent animals cannot reach it.

It can be observed again and again that the males press the females for mating. However, the females are only interested in these males, which were also chosen as partners by others. In behavioural biology this means “imitation effect”.

How can you breed guppies?

If males and females are kept, two aquariums are required. For breeding you need one more, which should be cleaned every few days.

The fish reproduce regularly and very strongly. So you should pay attention to a targeted breeding. To give a single female to a male is not recommended, because otherwise the female would be chased. Three or four females are best suited for one male. 30 to 75 litres as an aquarium are ideal for this. It is important to reduce the suction of the pump or to cover it with a pantyhose, for example, so that the young animals are not sucked in. The water temperature should be increased to 25 to 26 degrees.

When choosing the colour you can make sure that the fishes are similar. Then the colouring will be passed on or even more intensive.

If the female is pregnant, this is indicated by a dot on the belly. This spot can be found in the rear part. Then the male can be put back into the actual water. The males and females also eat their offspring. So the aquarium should be equipped with plants at the bottom and in the middle field, so that the young can hide. It is best to put the female back into the actual aquarium immediately after birth or separate her with a net. An imminent birth can be recognized by the fact that the female moves less and seeks warm places.

Nutrient-rich food is suitable for feeding so that the fish are healthy and strong enough to reproduce and grow. The young are fed twice a day, but not too much, otherwise they may die. After eight weeks the young animals can be brought together with the adult animals.

The behaviour of the guppies

The Guppy is very social and lives in swarms. The fish are diurnal and generally very robust. At night they hide in the plants available in the aquarium. There they also give birth. The mating behavior of the Guppies brings a constant romp in the water, which people like to observe. If this is the case, the animals feel comfortable.

What do guppies feed on?

Mostly the colourful and splendid ornamental fish stay on the water surface or in the middle area. There they hunt for small animals and insects.

If they are fed by hand, they are not fussy. Four to five portions per week are sufficient as a rhythm. As their mouths are rather small and they do not live on the ground, care should be taken when feeding to ensure that it is not too big and does not sink too quickly. The young animals can be given brine shrimps. They are small and nutritious. This in small portions and several times a day. Otherwise, all commercial food can be used. It should be rich in protein and vegetables. It is also possible to feed live food like mosquito larvae and earthworms. If you want to produce your own food, you can finely chop beef heart and salad. Pressed food, tubeworms or daphina are not suitable.

The food should not be stored for longer than 30 days, otherwise it will lose nutrients. Alternatively, it will keep longer if it is frozen.

Which fish are compatible with the guppy?

To avoid overpopulation, only one sex of guppies should be kept. They get along with Corydoras catfish, fighting fish females, bearflies, cross-banded pikeys, imperial tetra, shrimps, antenna catfish or dwarf gouramis. Otherwise the guppies are relatively well tolerated, but as they are very active, they can quickly disturb quiet tank inhabitants such as the Corydoras catfish.

What costs will I have to pay?

The aquarium with equipment and food is the first cost factor. In addition, there are increased water and electricity costs. A female costs 2 to 5 Euros in the trade, a male 3 to 6 Euros. It is important that this money is also invested and bought from a breeder. Then the animals are usually robust and not prone to disease.

Conclusion: The Guppy for everyone

The Guppy is suitable as an aquarium fish for beginners as well as for real enthusiasts. If you observe a few criteria when keeping them, you will enjoy these colourful fish for a long time.

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