Aquarium Fish

Guppy Fish, Fancy Guppy

The Guppy is perhaps the most popular freshwater tropical fish species. A great tropical fish for freshwater aquarium fish beginners, the Guppy is a very hardy tropical fish that is also a very prolific breeder. The male guppy is easy to distinguish from the female guppy because the male is usually more colorful with extremely colorful and large caudal fins (tails). The female is usually larger, thicker bodied, with less color and a smaller cuadal fin (tail).

They are livebearers which means that the babies are free swimming at birth. At each birth, the female can have anywhere between 4 and 60 or more babies. If left in a community tank, the guppy fry will be quickly eaten if not secured in a breeding net or breeder's box. Sadly, even the guppy parents will partake in the baby guppy feast.

Please be responsible and have a plan for what to do with the guppy fry. If you're not interested in breeding them they should do just fine when kept as all males or all females. Mix the sexes and you will most likely have babies. If knowing that the larger fish in the tank are having a feast (as they would in the wild) on the baby guppies bothers you then only keep all males or all females. You may sometimes see some aggression amongst the males but nothing too out of hand.

Also, keep in mind that female guppies can be pregnant when you buy them from the store. Look for the gravid spot by the anal vent or a bulging in the belly area.

They will accept most fish food including vitamin enriched flakes, frozen, freeze dried and live foods. Try to give them a variety of foods for optimum health and coloration. Feeding them live or frozen foods every once in a while should do wonders for their activity levels and general well being.

If you are looking for guppies for sale you can usually find them locally for a few dollars with show quality guppies going for much more. Also check out the buy and sell forum here on FishLore. Several members sell them.

See the Guppy Care Sheet on the forum for even more details on keeping guppies.

Guppy Pictures

Male Guppy Female Guppy Red Guppy

Guppy Farm Video

Guppy Fish Care Facts

Scientific Name : Poecilia reticulata

Common Names : Guppy, Fancy Tail Guppy, Millions Fish, Rainbow Fish

Guppy Care Level : Easy, good for freshwater beginners when you have only one sex. This fish will breed easily in your tank if you plan on keeping males and females in the same tank.

Size : 2 inches (5 cm)

pH : 7 - 8

Temperature : 66°F - 84°F (19°C - 29°C)

Water Hardness : 10° to 20° dH,

Guppy Lifespan : 3 - 5 years

Origin / Habitat : Central America

Guppy Temperament / Behavior : This is a peaceful and hardy fish that is good for beginners.

Guppy Breeding : Livebearers and not very hard to breed. If you have males and females, chances are you will eventually have guppy babies. Parents will eat their young if not separated. Read the breeding guppies article for more information if you have a pregnant guppy or guppy fry.

Aquarium Size : 10 gallon or larger.

Guppy Tank Mates : Many, given their peaceful nature.

Guppy Diseases : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment

Diet / Foods : Give your Guppy flakes, freeze dried and live foods. Vary their diet for optimum colors and health.

Tank Region : Middle to top

Gender : Easy to determine. The male will have the larger, more colorful tails.

Author : Mike FishLore

Fish Lore Forum : Guppy Forum

Forum Avatar :
Red Guppy Yellow Guppy

Fancy Guppy Tips

From: Mark via email
Mine is pregnant but I dont know how long and what to do when it gives birth? Please help.
The gestation period for guppies is usually about 28 days but it can take longer for them to have babies. Sometimes up to 38 or 40 days. Some things you can do:
  • Get a breeder box or a breeder net and place your pregnant female in it.
  • After she has the babies, return the female to the tank but leave the babies in the breeder box.
  • Feed them very small amounts of brine shrimp 3 or 4 times a day.
  • After about 2 weeks you can start to feed them crushed flake food.
  • Figure out what you are going to do when they start to overcrowd in the breeder box. Instead of buying a new aquarium, you may want to get a tank divider for your main tank.
  • When you can put them in with the other fish in your main tank depends on the size of your other fish. The babies should be ready to release into the main tank when they reach 3/4 of an inch in size.
  • Check out the article on breeding the guppy for more information (linked above). Enjoy them and watch them grow.

From: Roland
I have a few pregnant females, and would like to know - how many babies will they be likely to have, and do they give them all at the same time?
The number of babies that a female can have ranges from as little as 4 to as many as 60. The female should pass all of the babies within a few hours. If you don't already have one, look into getting a breeder net or a breeding box to house the female until she releases the babies. See the question above for more information.

From: Bodycount
I just recently purchased 3 females and 1 male. 4 days later I had 4 little babies swimming around. Instead of keeping them I bought 2 red-tail black sharks and 1 albino red-tail in hopes that they would help control the baby population. The little buggers are fast and get away from parent guppies and the sharks whenever they come close to them. I will keep you informed on how its going.
Alrighty then. Sorry to say, but there is a small flaw in your plan, Dr. Evil. The redtail sharks will mostly fight each other because they are very territorial. You will soon have only 1 red tail shark. Tell us how it goes with your therapist.

From: Bob
I have pregnant female and I don't know when she is going to have the babies. Could I leave her in the breeding net until she does?
The gestational period for this fish is usually around 28 days, plus or minus a few days. Generally, the less time the female has to spend in the breeding net the better.

If you have reservations about using the breeder box/net, another option is to use a tank separator and place the female on one half of the tank. Place some breeder grass for the babies to go into after birth on the same side of the tank. The babies will hide in the breeder grass until you can retrieve them. Net the babies and put them into the breeder box and then remove the tank separator. This may be less stressful for the female since she would have more space than if you were to put her into a breeder box. It also makes cleaning up a breeze after feeding the babies since you just have to siphon up the uneaten food in the breeding box.

From: Suzie
What is wrong when your guppies and goldfish start sitting at the bottom of the tank and their gills are pumping fast along with their mouths, then they will start to lay on their sides swim around and back to their sides then after appx 3-4 days they have passed on to fishy heaven. What could be causing this?
It could a few different things but most likely there is a problem with the water in your tank. Have you checked the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH levels? If your tank is new then it probably has not cycled yet. For more information on this please read about the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle. This is a very important process that you must understand if you want to be successful at keeping fish.

From: Jenn
I woke up the other morning and to my surprise found 8 babies. I have no idea how long they have been there. I had to treat the other fish for ick so I removed them from the tank before the treatment began. All the other guppies have ick. Do you think the babies will too?
Getting ick in your tank usually means that something is out of whack with your water parameters, you recently introduced a new fish, or you have a new system with all new fish. You'll need to check the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH levels. If this is a new tank, be sure to read up on the Nitrogen Cycle. Also read this article; Sick Fish, What Do I Do? The baby fish will get ick too so you will need to treat them right away if you don't want to lose them.

From: Elizabeth
Having a hard time deciding to breeding guppies or not? Well, here are some questions that you should ask yourself:
  • Is your tank big enough?
  • Where will they grow?
  • Where will they go?
  • But most inportantly, is it necessary to breed them?
Hope this works!

From: Megan
I have a new tank that hasn't completed the Nitrogen Cycle yet and I was wondering if guppies would do okay.
They may have a chance of making it through the cycle if you stay vigilant with those water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrites from getting too high. The downside is that you're prolonging the aquarium nitrogen cycle by doing the water changes. Read the page on the nitrogen cycle for ways to kick start this process. Look into the Bio-spira product for the nitrogen cycle.

From: Guppy Man
I have a pregnant female fancy guppy and I have no idea how or what to do when the babies are released. Would it be ok if I leave the fry in a fish bowl until they are big enough to get into the tank with the parents? The female looks REALLY pregnant. Its stomach is about almost a centimeter slumping down and the triangle is really dark and big. Will it breed soon?
Sounds like the breeding has already happened. It's difficult to say when she'll drop the baby guppies. Get some breeder grass or use a breeder net to capture as many of the babies as possible. If you don't you risk the other fish in the tank eating the baby guppies. A bowl may not work very well (need a heater and sponge filter) in order to raise these baby fish until they are big enough to re-enter the tank. They need very frequent small feedings with quality fish fry foods and good water conditions provided via frequent partial water changes.

From: Ro
In my experience, guppys will get along fine with most fish. However, don't house them with male OR female Betta fish. I once made the mistake of adding a female betta to my tank, (assuming from what I'd heard from the shopkeeper that they didn't nip!) and I had some very torn guppy fins! The betta is now back where she belongs, in the shop, and my guppys are healing nicely. I keep mine with platys and cherry barbs. They all get on fine, great fish with a peaceful community. I've also kept them with black and balloon mollies, otos, and corys without any problems.

From: Mommy of Many! - Baby Guppies
Ok, I had a pair of guppys but the dad got beaten up by the other tank mates and died. I took mom out and put her into her own little tank. I figured she was prego and she was as a couple of weeks later she had about 20 babies. I removed all the babies and put them into their own tank. It has been about a month. I have cleaned moms tank completely (as in mom was in a measuring cup on the counter and the tank completely empty), not even gravel. I looked today and saw mom chasing around another group of babies. Now I need to know why? There has been no male at all in almost 2 months yet I have babies. Are guppies capable of asexual reproduction?
The female guppy can have several batches of fry from just one fertilization from a male.

From: Maddy - New Tank
I want to have guppies and other livebearers in my community tank that is cycling. I have heard they need salt and wondering if the salt would harm the other fish I put in too, or if livebearers can cope without. Looking forward to an answer!
Oh man, you don't need to subject fish to the cycle nowadays. There are products on the market to quickly cycle a tank. Check out the aquarium nitrogen cycle page for more info on these products. By subjecting your fish to the cycle you are most likely shortening their life spans if they even survive the aquarium cycle at all. As far as salt goes, I wouldn't put it in the tank unless it was a Molly fish tank. Most commonly available livebearers will do just fine without the addition of aquarium salt.

From: Guppy Giver
I disagree with the aquarium salt in the above posting as far as guppies go. I agree that it is great for mollies. However, it has been my personal experience that it does wonders to prevent ick and other diseases when added even less than monthly and in small quantities of course to the tank. I have never had a problem. If anything, I have an overbreeding problem!

More Guppy Tips

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