Guppy Care Sheet

  1. Mike

    Mike Fishlore Admin Moderator Member

    Guppy Caresheet

    Geographic origin

    Poecilia Reticulata (aka fancy guppy) are originally from an island northeast of South America. They are produced largely in asiatic farms.


    The average lifespan for Poecilia Reticulata is 2-3 years. Their reproductive lifespan is at its peak from 6 months to 18 months of age.

    Reproduction and sexing

    They are livebearers. The majority of males reach 2 inches in length. They are much more colorful than the females, generally with larger dorsal fins and caudal fins. Female fancy guppies tend to be 2.5 inches in length.

    The females are larger around the abdominal area, with the tell-tell purple cresent moon shape in the area directly above the vent.

    The vent being the opening in which waste is excreted as well as fry are dropped from. Purple cresent moon, also referred to as gravid area, denotes the containment of fetii, or developing baby fish.

    Gestation period for poecilia reticulata averages 28-32 days depending on several factors. Water temperature, population density, availability of hiding places, quality of food, stress level, and other species in the tank all can be contributing factors to gestation period's length.

    80-82 degrees farenheit water temperature has been known to cause a shorter gestation period. Population density, lack of availability of hiding places, and differing species in the tank all contribute to stress level, which can prolong gestation period, or holding of fry.

    Fry become sexable at about three weeks of age, given proper conditions. Then become sexually mature around 3 months of age. Females that begin spawning at 3 months of age will have small spawns, but get progressively larger as the fish ages, until about a year of age. At one year of age they will hold steady for a few months and then begin to decline in fry per spawn, until they stop spawning all together. Males will begin breeding as early as 45 days, and continue until death for the most part.

    Line breeding, or inbreeding, is often used to set desired traits. Line breeding is defined as breeding fish and their offspring back to each other, so that specific desired (desired by the human in control of breeding) traits become the dominant traits in any offspring of the fish. Generally when line breeding, new, unrelated stock needs to be added no less frequently than every 4th generation.

    We've seen some adults learn not to eat their fry, some not have the issue at all, and some that we have agreed will never learn. We theorize the eatting of fry to be strain specific. Any of our primarily black guppy strains eat their fry everytime they have the chance. We've had a cobra strain learn not to eat their fry, much the same way angelfish learn. Of the strains that do not eat their fry, the mothers seem to keep an eye on them for several months, or until they become sexually mature. Females have been seen to go as far as to defend the younger juveniles from adult males in our tanks. The defending was seen more in the platinum or pastel strains than any other.

    Guppies have been known to be able to interbreed with mollies. While this is a curiosity, I would not recommend it, as you will likely have stunted, runt of fry which you will not be able to pass on to a petstore. [Armadillo]


    Good quality well balanced foods would be a positive, whereas low quality foods could put them in an imbalance of certain needed ingredients. In the wild they consume small insects and bugs that have plant material in their digestive tracks as well as other things, which balance them out.


    I would suggest a pH of 7.0 - 7.8, harder water rather than softer, and slightly to moderately alkaline


    Guppies can fall victims to finrot, so please keep your water parameters very clean to give them the best chance. [Armadillo]
    Last edited by armadillo; October 15th, 2007 at 02:34 AM.


    The main body of the caresheet was prepared by Chief_Waterchanger and Dino. Contributions by other members are clearly stated.

    The caresheet was standardised and editted by Armadillo.

    Want to add something?

    We welcome additions to the caresheet. To contribute a tip or warning, add a post to this thread and we will integrate it to the main body of the caresheet with your name next to it. If you are quoting from a reference, please credit the author.

    Accidentally deleted by Mike - readded
  2. Boeing250

    Boeing250 Well Known Member Member

    WOW! Mike that's awesome!!
  3. OP

    Mike Fishlore Admin Moderator Member

    :) I didn't write the original, just re-adding it after I accidentally deleted it. Check the credits at the bottom for the members that contributed to writing it.

  4. anahiii24

    anahiii24 Well Known Member Member

    Can you guys add some key behavior for guppies?

    I was intrigued that one day I came home and I see all of my 4 make guppies laying on the floor substrate... I thought to myself "oh no! They died or they are horribly sick" as I turned the lights on to investigate in depth, they all woke up and started swimming like they will normally would.

    In conclusion, I totally totally l totally love them.
    They are fun, active and very curious fish in my opinion.
  5. ThumpoftheDead

    ThumpoftheDead Valued Member Member

    I would like to agree with the last responder, I'd like to learn some more key behaviors because we caught our guppies doing the same thing! Forgot to give them dinner before lights out so when I went to do so and turned on the light almost all of them were nesting on the gravel or in my bonsai tree, so cute! My boyfriend wanted to know more why they do that, I'm guessing that's just how they sleep?

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  6. Matt68046

    Matt68046 Valued Member Member

    They are the only fish that are diurnal, meaning they actually sleep.
  7. r

    raif281 Valued Member Member

    what the temperature range for these guys? I've seen everything from 65-86. some places say 72-86, some say 68-86, some say 65-72.
  8. Matt68046

    Matt68046 Valued Member Member

    76-82f is optimal raif. They will live anywhere from 60 to 88 for quite awhile.
    Colder temps mean slower growth, less eating and breeding but warmer water means faster growth, more bacterial problems, and shorter lifespan.
  9. r

    raif281 Valued Member Member

    thanks Matt! how accurate are most heaters, within a degree or two? I'm way out on getting my tank and supplies but I'm doing my research now and trying to see which fish can live together within certain perimeters.
  10. chromedome52

    chromedome52 Fishlore VIP Member

    A couple of notes for the care sheet:

    Poecilia reticulata were first collected by Reverend Guppy on the island of Trinidad, which is off the North East corner of Venezuela. It is actually more or less centered North of South America as a continent. They have been introduced world wide in tropical and subtropical areas for mosquito control.

    Also, the majority of Guppies in the US aquarium hobby are raised in Florida and by individual breeders. Importations from Asia are uncommon.
  11. Matt68046

    Matt68046 Valued Member Member

    Agreed chromedome. Walmart and big name pet stores may order from asia, but most come from florida. And the OP could say, NE South America including the islands of Trinidad instead of saying "some remote island off the coast of South america" As they do come from Venezeula as well. i think that would make it sound a little better. Again, no finger pointing, just brainstorming. They have become over the last 50 years pretty much a "man made" fish just like there are man made lakes. To describe in detail their native environment is pretty much pointless. As long as the water is hard and alkaline and the temp stays 70s to lower 80s ...... guppies will do Okay if they are from good stock and not stressed low quality inbreed pet store stock.
  12. r

    raif281 Valued Member Member

    I definitely need to get some them and put them in a pond in my back yard here in southeast Louisiana where the Mosquitos are horrible!
  13. Matt68046

    Matt68046 Valued Member Member

    If not guppies, might get too cold, you could at least get some mosquito fish Gambusia. Or get a powerful heater for winter.
  14. r

    raif281 Valued Member Member

    yeah we need something over here it's ridiculous out times you can't be outside
  15. Matt68046

    Matt68046 Valued Member Member

    How cold does it get at night? I know in florida they get frost and it kills guppies, new orleans is by the warm meddeterranean so you could grow stuff outside all year except maybe the dead of winter, or with minimal protection (like plants i mean).... Ill trade you! Nebraska winters are as bad as minnesota or north dakota or montana winters, up to 50 below zero windchill most winters at some point.
  16. r

    raif281 Valued Member Member

    right now it's 78 at night.... during the winter we may get a brisk cold in the upper 40 rarely it gets below that. yeah I see that cuz I know when it got down to 33 or so last year it had to be negatives up there! bad thing about our cold is it chills you to the bone because of the humidity, just like the summer is 10000 times worse from the high humidity!
  17. Lucy

    Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    **Hey guys, remember this is a Guppy care sheet not a stocking thread**

    Any additions to the care sheet are fine.
    Anything topic or discussion should be posted in a new thread
  18. AnneRose

    AnneRose Valued Member Member

    So I can't find this information anywhere and I'm new to guppies; Does the 2 inch include the tail fin or not?
  19. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Valued Member Member

    Perhaps something to add to this thread would be some pictures of the more common types and colourations like there is over on the Betta section? Just a thought
  20. TommyTank

    TommyTank New Member Member

    After having no success with my betta I’m going to get guppies, just male. How many for 5 gallon tank? Thank you