Guppy Fish Care: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

 The Poeciliidae family includes the freshwater fish known as the guppy. The beautiful, flowing fins and colorful body of the guppy make this fish a popular choice among aquarists.

Guppy Fish Care: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners
Guppy Fish Care: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

 Guppies are among the most commonly available tropical aquarium fish. They are shy and peaceful fish that are adaptable, inexpensive, and easy to care for, making them good introductory fish for beginner aquarists.

This is an informative article. Nodisk One is not permitted to make a diagnosis or recommend any form of veterinary care. If your pet is in pain or ill, we recommend that you take him to the vet.

Facts And Overview Of Guppies

- Scientific Name: Poecilia reticulata.

- Common Names: Guppy, millionfish, rainbowfish.

- Distribution: Barbados, Antigua, Venezuela, Suriname, Tobago, Trinidad and Guyana.

- Size: 0.6 to 2.4 inches.

- Life Expectancy: Up to 2 years.

- Color: A variety of colors including blue, red, yellow, black, orange, pink and green.

- Diet: Omnivorous.

- Temperament: Peaceful.

- Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons.

- Temperature: 74–82°F (23–28°C).

- pH: 6.8–7.6.

- Hardness: 8–12 dGH.

- Maintenance Level: Easy.

- Breeding: Alive.


 In parts of South America, including Suriname, Antigua, Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana, Venezuela, and Tobago, guppies are a native species. They have been introduced to areas beyond South America and are now widely distributed across the world.

 Guppies live in large schools in the wild, To avoid being eaten by large fish and birds as well as other predators. Although guppies prefer freshwater habitats, the fish are very adaptable and can also survive in brackish environments.

Adult Size And Lifespan

 Adult guppies are about two inches long on average. Female guppies reach twice the size of male guppies. Males reach about 1 ⅛ inches long and females up to 2 ⅛ inches long.

 Both male and female guppies have a lifespan of up to two years in the wild and in captivity. Guppies can live longer in the ideal tank environment than they can in the wild because wild guppies are more likely to encounter predators.


 Guppies are popular aquarium fish and are widely available at pet stores and online. Guppies range in price from $4 to $25 per fish, depending on its rarity and distinctiveness. You should buy guppies in groups of at least three, bringing the total cost to between $12 and $75.

Appearance And Behavior

 Guppies are peaceful, laid-back fish that don't exhibit any aggressive or territorial behaviors. They are recognizable by their small, slender body. Different subspecies of guppies have their own colors, markings, and tail types.

Colors, Patterns, Fins And Sex Differences

 Guppies come in a variety of colors and patterns, with different tail lengths and styles. They can be categorized by tail type, color, and eye color. Some of the common types of guppy tails are fantails, flag tails, round tails, arrow tails, and veil tails. Some guppies have long, flowing tails and some have short, flat tails. Most guppies are bicolor or tricolor, with colors including red, orange, black, yellow, green, pink, purple, silver, and blue. Spots and stripes are patterns that can be found on the body, fins, and tail of guppy fish.

 The biggest difference between male and female guppies is size: females are about an inch larger than males when fully grown. Males are slimmer than females, and male guppies are more colorful than females. Guppies turn pale when stressed. Female guppies round out and become paler than usual when they are ready to breed. Guppies who are looking for a mate become more brighter than usual.

Typical Behavior

 Guppies are calm fish who enjoy the safety and camaraderie of swimming in groups. They are fast and active swimmers, and they spend most of their time exploring and chasing each other. Male guppies like to show off to females. Aggression is a rare trait of guppies, but guppies can assert dominance by bullying and fighting with other fish while feeding or if the tank is too small.

 Guppies can be found swimming throughout the tank, but they prefer to stay near the water's surface at the top. Although guppies like to swim in the open, the fish hide in caves and behind plants when playing or when they feel threatened. Guppies sleep when it is dark and they are more active and prefer to eat during the day.

Guppy Fish Care and Tank Requirements

 Establishing a tank for guppies is easy. Guppies thrive in warm freshwater environments, and you should breed that in captivity. They eat a varied diet in the wild and require a similar combination of protein and plant foods in a home aquarium.

Habitat And Tank Requirements

 The natural habitat of guppies varies greatly. Guppies live in brackish ecosystems, streams, ponds, small pools of water, and ponds. Although they are adaptable, the fish prefer clean freshwater tank environments when kept in captivity. In order to provide a suitable habitat for your captive guppies, make sure the water parameters are correct and the tank is properly cycled.  To recreate the underwater greenery and rockery of the fish's natural habitat, use plants and tank decorations. 

 Live plants like java moss, flame moss, and wisteria provide cover for guppies and keep water clean by speeding up the nitrogen cycle. Guppies like to play and hide among rocks and caves, and caves provide a private space for guppies to mate. Use sandy or rocky substrates to match the river beds and pond bottom surface that guppies occupy in the wild. A specialized substrate is not important for guppies because the fish rarely spend time on the bottom of the tank.

Tank Conditions

The following is a list of ideal tank conditions for guppies:

- Water Type: hard water, soft.

- Tank Size: Minimum 5 gallons, plus 1 gallon of water for each additional adult guppy.

- Water Temperature: 74–82°F.

- Substrate: Sand, rocks, vegetation.

- Tank Setup: Plants, Caves, Decorations.

- Acidity: pH 6.8–7.6.

- Water Hardness: 12–18 dkH.

- Filter: Not necessary, but it can be used to maintain the quality of the water.

- Bubbler: Yes, to aerate the water.

- Lighting: Not necessary unless the aquarium is heavily planted or does not have access to natural daylight.

- Water Heater: Yes, to avoid temperature fluctuations and maintain the ideal temperature range.

 Guppies are hardier than most other fish, but you still need to maintain consistent aquarium conditions to reduce the risk of disease and stress. These fish thrive in a tank setup that includes water parameters that mimic their natural environment.

Diseases That Guppies Can Get When They're Captive

Guppies are susceptible to a number of diseases when kept in captivity, including:

Protozoan Disease

 Protozoan disease is often called "guppy disease" because the disease is common in guppies. Tetrahymena sp., a protozoan parasite, is responsible for the disease. and usually occurs when the water quality is poor or the water is not hot enough.

 Symptoms of protozoan disease include loss of appetite, breathing problems, and excess mucus. Treat the disease by improving water conditions and making sure the water temperature is between 74 and 82°F.


 Guppies are susceptible to the common aquarium disease ich, which affects all freshwater fish. A guppy with ich will have white spots on its body and rub its body against rough surfaces in the tank.

 Ich is caused by a parasite called Ichthyophthirius multifiliis and can be treated by quarantining the affected fish and raising the water temperature by two degrees, which speeds up the life cycle of the parasite. Dissolving one tablespoon of salt in every five gallons of fish tank water also treats ich.

Fin Rot And Tail Rot

 Long flowing fin guppies are prone to fin rot and tail rot. Stress, crowding, and unreliable water parameters are the main contributors to this bacterial infection. 

 Symptoms of fin rot include discolored or milky-colored fins, and ragged, frayed, and shortening fins. Treat fin rot and tail rot by performing a complete water change and using antibiotics recommended by your veterinarian.

Best Fish Tank Mates And Non-Fish Tank Mates

 Guppies are friendly fish that get along well with most other species of fish. However, the guppy's small size makes the fish a target for aggressive fish and a food source for larger fish. Keep guppies in an aquarium with other small, peaceful fish. Guppies swim near the top of the tank, so you should choose tank mates that swim in the middle and bottom of the tank so the fish don't get in each other's way. 

Best Tank Mates

Best tank mates for guppies include:

  • Cardinal Grouse.
  • Cory Catfish.
  • Harlequin Rasboras.
  • Mollies.
  • Dwarf Chain Loaches.
  • Rummy-Nosed Grouse.
  • Kuhli Loaches.
  • Sparkling Gourami.
  • Danios Zebras.

Non-Fish Tank Mates

Non-fish tank mates for guppies include:

  • Nerite Snails.
  • Shrimp.

 Guppies enjoy each other's company and prefer to be housed in groups of at least three, so you should make sure you have enough guppies in your tank before buying other fish.

Diet And Food

 Guppies consume a variety of foods in the wild, including algae, invertebrates, insect larvae, and mineral particles, depending on the availability of these items in the fish's habitat. Give guppies a varied diet in the aquarium that closely resembles their natural diet. 

 A combination of seaweed wafers, high quality fish flakes and frozen foods like bloodworms will ensure that guppies get a wide variety of nutrients and have a low risk of deficiencies. Give young guppies boiled egg yolks and crumbled fish flakes to eat. Establish a twice-daily feeding schedule for your guppies, feeding the fish only as much food as they can eat in two minutes. Remove uneaten food to maintain good water quality.

Breeding Guppy Fish

 Guppies are among the easiest aquarium fish to keep, and many guppies breed without their owners' advice. Guppies are ovoviviparous, which means the females develop eggs inside their bodies and then release the eggs in time for hatching. To breed guppies, follow these steps:

  1. Select one healthy male guppy and up to three healthy females. Breeding is less stressful for females when the male's attention is shared among all three.
  2. Set up a 10 gallon breeding tank and set up a soft filter, floating plants for fry and caves for guppies to breed. Set the water temperature to around 79ยบF.
  3. After placing the guppies in the breeding tank, wait for the fish to breed. The male will breed several times with one or more females to ensure fertilization.
  4. It indicates pregnancy when a female guppy has a dark mark on her abdomen. Check the females to see how many fish are pregnant, then remove the male and any non-pregnant females and return them to the original tank.
  5. Expect between 26 and 31 days for the gestation period. Feed pregnant females three to five small, highly nutritious meals a day.
  6. Female guppies hide and shiver when they are about to give birth. Monitor the females during the whelping process and then return them to the home tank to prevent them from eating the fry.
  7. Feed the fry powdered fish flakes and brine shrimp and change 40% of the aquarium water every three days until the fry are old enough to join a regular aquarium or they have at least least six weeks.

Guppy Fish FAQs

Can You Have Two Male Guppies Together?

 Yes, it is possible to keep two male guppies together. Male guppies have no problem cohabiting. Having said that, male guppies occasionally act aggressively toward other males. For instance, they might chase each other to show off their dominance or battle it out for a female. This is typical and shouldn't cause any issues.

 However, you should keep an eye on your male guppies as intense fighting could lead to injury. These injuries are usually not life threatening, but they can lead to infection and disease. Give weaker guppies places to hide in the tank so they can avoid being attacked by dominant males. You might also try separating your guppies if they become too aggressive.

Do Guppies Need Light At Night?

 No, guppies don't need lights at night. To rest and sleep soundly, guppies require complete darkness. Having aquarium lights on all the time can lead to poor sleep quality, illness, and possibly death.

 Guppies need six to eight hours of sleep a day, so you should keep the lights off for the same amount of time. If the tank gets lots of natural, indirect light, you only need to keep the artificial lights on for eight to ten hours a day.

What Signs Of Happiness Do My Guppies Exhibit?

You know your guppies are happy if they show signs of being happy and healthy, including:

  • Smooth scales and bright colors without fading.
  • There are no body lumps or abnormal growths.
  • Flared fins.
  • Clear, normal eyes without clouding or bulging.
  • Normal breathing, neither too slow nor too fast.
  • active swimming.
  • No hiding place.

 Meet your guppies' basic needs to keep them happy. Give them plenty of room to swim and avoid overfilling their tank. Regularly monitor and maintain tank water conditions. Feed them a healthy diet consisting of high-quality flakes and freeze-dried larvae. Finally, keep them away from aggressive teammates.

Are Guppies Aggressive?

 No, guppies are not aggressive. Guppies are generally peaceful and friendly fish if kept in the right conditions. Guppies get along well with other guppies as well as other species of fish. That said, guppies can still show aggression if the tank is overcrowded or there is a shortage of food. 

 Additionally, male guppies tend to be more aggressive than females. Male guppies may chase female guppies while trying to mate, and may even chase other males to assert dominance. To avoid aggression, make sure their tank is not overcrowded and feed them properly. Also, ensure that male guppies do not outnumber females by using a 1:2 ratio, male to female.

How Long Does A Guppy Live?

 Guppies typically live one to three years. Some guppies can even live up to five years, but this lifespan is rare. The lifespan of a guppy mainly depends on its genetics and habitat. Pet store guppies tend to be inbred, which makes them weaker, so they have a shorter lifespan. Guppies purchased from reputable local breeders tend to be healthier and these fish will live longer.

 To help your guppies live longer, make sure they live comfortably. Keep them in groups and don't house them with aggressive teammates so they don't get stressed or lonely. For each guppy in the tank, make sure there is at least one gallon of water. Feed them a healthy diet and regularly maintain the condition of their aquarium. With the right breeding and care, guppies can live longer and happier lives!

Do Guppies Die Easily?

 Yes, guppies die easily. Guppies most often die because their new fish owners don't know how to care for them. Guppies can die from:

  • Overcrowded tank.
  • Supercharging.
  • Bad water quality.
  • Ammonia poisoning.
  • Incorrect water temperatures.
  • Bad genetics.
  • Aggressive teammates.

 If properly cared for, guppies can live up to three years. To ensure that your guppies live a long and healthy life, feed them a healthy diet, don't put too much food in the tank, change their water at least once a week and at least once a month, clean their tank. Finally, monitor how they interact with their teammates. Immediately separate them from aggressive teammates.

How Many Days Do Guppies Give Birth?

 Guppies give birth in two or three days. First-time mothers usually give birth to 12-30 fry in a few hours, but veterans can produce up to 80 fry and take up to 48 hours to deliver them all. Watch your guppies giving birth for 48 hours to see if they deliver more fry or not.

 Make sure mothers are stress-free and well-nourished during the labor period to keep them happy and healthy. Once your guppy has finished giving birth, you can expect another litter in 30 days. Indeed, female guppies can store sperm for up to a year and can become pregnant again right after giving birth.

In Conclusion: Should You Get Guppies For Your Aquarium?

 Consider getting guppies if you're a beginner aquarist or if you want stunning, tranquil fish for your tank. Guppies, however, shouldn't be kept in aquariums with large or aggressive fish because they risk being attacked, hurt, or even eaten by them.

 Guppies are simple to care for and have a variety of vibrant colors. An aquarium at home is fascinatingly enhanced by a school of guppies.

Only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, are used by Nodisk One to substantiate the information in our articles.