The guppy is a tropical fish, and you’ll need to get their optimal water temperature right, but other than that, it’s easy to take care of one in a fish tank.
They are popular with first-time fish owners and experienced aquarists alike because of the beautiful array of colors they display while swimming in the tank.
After getting the properly sized tank with basic equipment such as a water heater and a lid, guppy care comes down to keeping the water clean and feeding them once a day.
Breeding guppies is also easy, but you’ll need to tweak your basic care guide a bit to ensure the fry have hiding spots and enough space to grow in the aquarium.
What Are the Basic Tank Size Requirements for Guppies?
For three guppies, you’ll need a minimum of a five gallon tank. Guppies can live in small tanks because they don’t grow over2 inches.
However, don’t purchase anything smaller than a 10-gallon tank if you intend to breed them or get both males and females.
They breed fast, and you’ll need more space quite soon.
If you do get a five-gallon tank, get all males. They have more colorful fins than females, which means they’ll look beautiful, and you won’t have an overpopulation issue.
You’ll recognize male guppy fish by their slim bodies, colorful tails, distinctive pattern featured on their bodies, and smaller size as they do not grow over an inch.
Female guppies are up to 2 inches, lack color, have a round body, and a gravid spot under their stomach.
Best Tank Setup for Guppies?
Ideal aquarium setup for guppy fish consists of:
- Water filter
- Lights (UV or LED)
- Substrate or gravel
- Live or artificial plants
- Lid for the tank
Water filters ensure your tank stays clean for longer.
Pro tip: if you’re having a breeding tank, a sponge water filter will be less intrusive since regular water filters can hurt guppy fry (baby guppies) by sucking them into the tube.
The heater is crucial for tropical fish such as guppies.
When you set it to the optimal temperature, place it diagonally inside the tank to ensure the water covers it entirely.
Should You Get UV or LED lights?
UV lights mimic natural sunlight and promote algae and guppy fry growth, but they can raise the water temperature.
LED lights won’t alter the temperature, allow you to adjust the brightness, and they are more economical.
If you get both male and female guppies, adding extra decoration such as gravel, substrate, driftwood, stones, and plants will provide hiding places for guppy fry.
Live plants will also keep the fish tank clean since they slow down algae growth.
Covering your tank with the lid is a must. It prevents fish from jumping out, which is a frequent issue with small tanks.
Where to Place the Tank?
Preferably anywhere away from direct sunlight. It’s difficult to control the optimal temperature since you’re already heating the water.
Extra heat will speed up algae growth and lead to changes in temperatures that can stress your guppy.
What Are the Best Water Parameters for Guppies?
Getting the temperature right is the key to having a healthy guppy. They can survive in cold waters, but their ideal temperatures range between 70 to 80 degrees Farenheit.
Cycling the water to neutralize toxins such as ammonia is also a necessity. Watch how the entire process works here.
The optimal pH is 7.2–7.4, but guppies have been bred for life in tanks so long that it’s unnecessary to mimic the exact conditions of their natural habitat.
Some guppy owners get an oxygen pump to create movement and allow more oxygen, but guppies will survive without it.
Pro tip: Don’t mix water from a pet shop if you’re adding new fish to the aquarium in your home. Other fish will get sick if their water is contaminated.
Keep them in separate containers for at least a month.
How Often Should You Change the Water for Guppies?
Keep the water clean by changing 25% of the tank water weekly. Guppies create a lot of waste, especially when they’re breeding.
Some people will change 50% of the water to make sure it remains fresh and clean.
It depends on the tank size, whether you have a water filter, and live plants.
Larger tanks with water filters and live plants that prevent algae growth require less maintenance.
What Do Guppies Eat?
Most people feed guppies commercial fish food such as flake food and small community pellets.
However, tank guppies benefit from a varied diet. Throwing frozen food or brine shrimp in the mix once in a while is beneficial for their health.
You’ll also have to find food that is small enough for them to eat or crush the food with your fingers.
How often should you feed them?
Feeding your guppies once a day (twice max) is enough for your guppies—even adult fish.
Add a pinch of flake food and observe how much they can eat in two minutes.
If it takes them over two minutes to eat it all, you’re giving them too much and risking overeating.
How to Breed Your Guppies?
If you mix males and females, you’ll have plenty of guppies in less than a month. They can overpopulate the tank in six months.
Female guppies give birth to live young (guppy fry), sometimes 30–50 of them at once. This occurs every 22–25 days.
To prevent overpopulation of your aquarium, make sure female guppies outnumber male guppy fish. For example, keep the ratio of one male per two females.
What Are the Best Tank Mates for Guppies?
Compatible mates for your guppies:
Note on shrimps: your tank will look great with a variety of animals in the bottom, but if the shrimps have babies, guppies like to eat them.
You can get more guppies in various colors, and they’ll look beautiful in the aquarium.
Make sure animals you add to the communal tank can withstand higher temperatures.
Also ensure that they are not aggressive. Incompatible tank mates may harm your guppies by biting their sensitive fins.
Fish can get aggressive if they are territorial or placed in tanks that do not meet their basic needs.
Guppies are very peaceful and will not attack other fish. Your priority is to find fish that won’t bother the guppies.
How to Recognize Sick Guppy Fish?
Guppies might be sick if they:
- Have a bloated belly
- Swim upside down or at the bottom of the tank
- Hide from others
When you’re buying them, check if they are lethargic, have a bloated abdomen, or signs of common illnesses mentioned above.
Many guppies slow down when they’re older. They also may not swim as vertically as they used to.
Guppies are one of the hardiest tropical fishes you can get, but they are prone to certain diseases if not kept right.
Common diseases guppies suffer from:
- Fin rot (often caused by fish nibbling their fins)
- Ich (caused by improper water conditions)
- Bent spine (caused by inbreeding)
Getting them compatible tank mates will prevent fin rot, keeping the water warm will prevent ick, and adding new guppies into the tank will prevent deformities.
Should You Get a Guppy?
Guppies are one of the easiest fish to handle, and they need little to thrive and reproduce.
Known as rainbow fish because of their fins that feature vibrant colors, guppies are another fish that look beautiful swimming in an aquarium.
You can buy them in various colors, as they are available in almost every color of the rainbow.
If you keep their tank clean, feed them regularly, and regulate the water temperature to ensure it’s in the optimal range, you’ll have a happy and healthy guppy.
Lots of them.
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