Keeping Tropical Fish: How to care for Guppies

The Guppy is one of the world’s most popular freshwater aquarium species, and its not hard to see why! Guppies bright colours and beautiful patterns, liven up just about any aquarium. Guppies are easy to keep, easy to breed and are widely available, so why not see if they could be the fish for you…

Guppy / (Poecilia reticulata)

Origin South America
Aquarium swimming zone Top Level
Adult Size 2.5 inches
Temperament Peaceful
Minimum tank size 20L
Diet Omnivore
Breeding Live Bearer
Life Expectancy 2 Years
Preferred pH 7 - 7.5
Temperature 24 - 28 °C


Where Do Guppies Come From?

Guppies are native to several areas of South America, including Suriname, Antigua, Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana, Venezuela, and Tobago. However they have since been introduced to many other countries, and can now be found on every continent, excluding Antarctica.  In some instances the introduction of guppies to non-endemic areas has been in an effort to control mosquitos, as guppies eat mosquito larvae. Although in the majority of instances guppies have introduced to bodies of water accidentally and are now considered to be an invasive species.

As guppies are native to tropical climates, they do require a heater in the aquarium. This should be set to a temperature of

24 - 28 °C, which can be monitored using an aquarium thermometer

What Do Guppies Look Like?

Guppies are a small bodied tropical fish. They usually have a large tail (and occasionally fins) and are available in a wide variety of colours and patterns. There is an unbelievable amount of choice when it comes to guppies, with new varieties appearing frequently. 

Male guppies tend to have a lot more colour and are smaller in size compared to their female counterparts. Males are also more slender than females and when breeding, females become rounder and paler than the males.

There is a specific variety of Guppy, known as the Endler Guppy, which are a lot smaller, than most other varieties, at adult size. Their tails are also much shorter which makes them more suitable to keep with fish with are known for biting on long fins. 

Which Fish Can I Keep Guppies With?

Guppies are very peaceful community fish that can be kept in most tropical aquariums, however because of their long bright tail fins they often attract the unwanted attention of ‘fin- nippers.’

These are fish with a reputation in the industry as being a bit boisterous and nippy towards fish with long flowing fins. Any fish which has a tendency to bite fins should NOT be housed with Guppies. Some common fin-nipping species would include:

  • Tiger barbs
  • Golden Barbs
  • Rosy Barbs
  • Siamese Fighting Fish / Bettas

Guppies should be kept in a groups of 2+, but ideally in groups of six or more. In tanks with both males and females there should always be more females, than males. The ideal ratio would be two females for every male. Alternatively it is OK to keep guppies as a single sex i.e. ALL Males.

Examples of tropical fish which would be compatible with guppies as tank mates, are as follows:

  • Mollies
  • Gouramis
  • Corydoras
  • Neon Tetra
  • Swordtails
  • Rainbowfish
  • Harlequin Rasboras
  • Platies
  • Plecostomus
  • Minnows
  • Danios
  • Glowlight Tetras

There are many other compatible aquarium tank mates for guppies. If you are ever unsure it is best to speak with your local fish shop. 

How To Breed Guppies?

Guppies are notorious for reproducing and are incredibly easy to breed at home! If you're looking to breed fish, guppies are a fantastic starting point. If not the best method in prevention is to keep only male OR only female guppies in your aquarium. 

By keeping more females than males it will increase the amount of young produced overall. Male guppies will breed with females frequently, so by having multiple partners it will keep them busy without harassing the females. Having too many males in an aquarium will lead to increased competition which can result in stress. In extreme cases this can compromise their breeding ability, and even result in fish fatalities.

Guppies are livebearers which means they give birth to live young, rather than eggs. Although they breed quite easily, unfortunately they are not the best of parents. When the fry are born, they are very small and are often eaten by their parents or tank mates. To prevent this, pregnant females can be placed in a hatchery when they are about to give birth and then removed afterwards in order to protect the young. The fry will normally stay in the hatchery for up to eight weeks, or until they are large enough to survive in the main aquarium.

If not using a hatchery, then placing live plants, rocks, ornaments and cover in the aquarium provides the young with hiding places. This will increase the survival rate of the young in the first few weeks.

Whilst they are growing they should be fed a fine high protein pellet food, as well as brine shrimp and daphnia until they are old enough to take regular sized pellets.

How To Care for Guppies?

Small groups of guppies, should be kept in aquariums, no smaller than 20 litres. However you will generally have more success and be able to host larger numbers in a larger aquarium. Guppies are a highly active fish and love to swim, so providing them with plenty of space, always goes down well.

Live plants (such as Java Moss, Java Ferns, Amazon Swords, Ludwigia etc.) OR or artificial silk plants can be used in your aquarium to create an aquascape. This is recommended with Guppies as it provides them with hiding places to rest in.

What Do Guppies Eat?

In the wild, Guppies would generally graze on algae, invertebrates, insects’ larvae, and other vegetation. It is important to replicate a well-rounded diet in your aquarium, providing the fish with suitable nutrition. Quality food will help your guppies grow and maintain their vibrant colours.   

We recommend feeding your Guppies a small pellet food such as Tropical Crumb or Fluval Colour Enhancing Pellets. They can also be given frozen or live Bloodworm, Mysis shrimp and Brine shrimp a couple of times a week, as a treat.

Guppies at Complete Koi and Aquatics

Complete Koi and Aquatics are stockists of beautiful, healthy male and female Guppies. They are a fantastic and beautiful tropical fish for all levels of aquarium hobbyist. If you have any further questions on how to care for your Guppies, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We offer fish health checks and water testing services to aid your success. 

Give us a callor pop over to see us today.

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