About the Guppy
Species Type: Freshwater Fish
Care Level: Very Easy. Will tolerate a wide range of water parameters including pH, temperature and hardness. Can tolerate higher nitrate levels than other fish and is hardy enough to withstand the cycling process. Will readily eat prepared foods and has no special care requirements.
Origin: Native to Venezuela, Barbados, Trinidad, northern Brazil and the Guyanas. Occurs in many habitats from mountain streams to swamps and ditches, but are most numerous in very small streams and densely vegetated lakes and ponds. Introduced to numerous other areas in the world to eradicate mosquitoes but frequently this has rendered negative impacts on native flora and fauna. Hobby fish will almost certainly be commercially-raised.
Compatibility/Temperament: Peaceful; a prolific breeder if males and females are together. Should not be kept with species that will nip fins or male betta as they can be confused for other males. Guppies aren't like tetras and danios amd don't need to be kept in schools, but seem to be happier in pairs or trios. If the sexes are combined, there should be 1 male for 2-3 females.
The guppy, also known as millionfish, is one of the most popular and recognizable freshwater fish in the aquarium trade. Several fancy finnage forms have been developed; lyretail, spade tail, fork tail, sword tail and many more caudal fin patterns have emerged. Females are rather drab, not displaying the brilliant colouration and extended finnage of the male fish.
Guppies thrive best when kept in hard alkaline conditions and can tolerate high salinity levels which is why they are often included even in marine communities. They are best kept in freshwater, and the aquarium should be very well-planted, including some floating vegetation. Guppies are surface dwellers, occupying the upper level of the aquarium, and will relish any insects that may fall on the surface. They also consume algae and are often used for this purpose. As these are relatively peaceful, they should not be mixed with boisterous and fin nipping species, not even other long-finned species who will perceive them as rivals especially betta and gourami. Corydoras, otos, ancistrus pleco, small tetra (provided they do not nip) and rasbora are suitable tankmates.
Most fish stores sell from male-only and female-only tanks so you can easily purchase a group of males or a group of females to avoid breeding or to selectively breed fish. Reports cite males living peacefully when there are enough of them in a tank with both open spaces and private spaces.
Like all other popular and larger cousins, guppies are very prolific. A female can deliver fry approximately every 28 days, and produce several batches of fry from a single encounter with a male. Depending on the size of the female guppy, a single birthing can drop two to more than a hundred fry. We do not encourage the use of breeding traps when attempting to "rescue" the fry. Instead, use a small five gallon aquariums with plenty of plants and ultimately, remove the mother before she starts eating her fry.
They are also prone to inbreeding so this should be avoided. Remember to separate the fry by their gender the moment you are able to distinguish their sexes as siblings mating and reproducing will result in inferior quality of the fry. They have been known to hybridize with Endler's Livebearers and this should be avoided at all costs if you are to maintain pure strains and the welfare of small female Endler's Livebearers. There have been reports that guppies will mate with mollies although the resulting fry are said to be infertile. If the case is applicable to a male molly and a female guppy, chances are the female guppy will die from difficulty of dropping large fry. Remember mollies are quite large and such activity can render the female guppy vulnerable to stress.
The species was first described by W. Peters in 1859 and named Poecilia reticulata. In 1866, A. Gunther independently described the fish as Girardinus guppii in honour of the Trinidadian naturalist R. J. Lechmere Guppy, from whom Gunther received the specimens, and this is the source of the common name "guppy." Regan (1913) moved the species into the genus Lebistes where it remained until 1963 when Rosen & Bailey returned it to Poecilia.
Poecilia includes the guppy and the several species of molly. A number of ichthyologists have recently proposed that the guppy does not share certain specific traits with the other species and should be separated. Poeser et al. (2005) suggested re-validating Acanthophacelus, originally erected by Eigenmann in 1907 and subsequently deemed a synonym for Poecilia, as a subgenus, and Schories et al. (2009) follows this but proposes that the entire genus Poecilia is in need of revision.
The genus name Poecilia comes from the Greek poikilos meaning "with different colours" and the species epithet comes from the Latin for net-like or reticulated, as in a pattern.
Poeser, Fred N., Michael Kempkes, and Isaac J. H. Isbrucker (2005), "Description of Poecilia (Acanthophacelus) wingei n. sp. from the Paria Peninsula, Venezuela, including notes on Acanthophacelus Eigenmann, 1907 and other subgenera of Poecilia Bloch and Schneider, 1801," Contributions to Zoology, pp. 97-115.
Schories, Susanne, Manfred K. Meyer and Manfred Schartl (2009), "Description of Poecilia (Acanthophacelus) obscura n. sp., (Teleostei: Poeciliidae), a new guppy species from western Trinidad, with remarks on P. wingei and the status of the 'Endler's guppy'," Zootaxa, No. 2226, pp. 35-50.
Guppies are omnivorous and should accept almost any food given to them. In addition to prepared foods, live food such as worms, daphnia and mosquito larvae, and frozen bloodworms, daphnia and brine shrimp.
Attains 2.5 inches/5-6cm; males are usually considerably smaller than females.
Minimum Tank Suggestion
5 gallon. A 2.5 will be fine for raising a few fry in.
Ideal water parameters for Guppy
Medium hard to hard (9-30 dGH), basic (pH 7-8.5), temperature 18-28C/64-82F.