Poecilia reticulata, commonly known as Guppy fish belong to Poeciliidae family. It is one of the most common tropical fish and one of the most popular aquarium fish.
The best thing about the guppy fish is that it is highly adaptable and have the ability to survive in different ecological conditions and environments. This is one of the main reasons why they can be found in almost every continent, except Antarctica.
There are almost 300 varieties of guppy fish varying in size, tail shapes and colours but it is Poecilia reticulate, the common guppy, that is going to be discussed in detail here.
Binomial name: Poecilia Reticulata
Lifespan: 2-3 years
Tank size: Minimum 5 gallons and above
Care level: Easy
The name of Guppy fish comes from Robert John Lechmere Guppy who found them in Trinidad in 1866. From there, it was taken to British Museum and named as GirardinusGuppii. Since then, it has undergone many changes for its name. Today, it is known as Poecilia Reticulata scientifically.
In general, it has many other names such as the Rainbow fish and the Million fish. It is called Rainbow fish due to the vast variety of colours they exist in and Million fish due to their amazing breeding rate. Guppies are active fish and tend to move around almost all the time.
Another significance of Guppies is their ability to eat mosquito larvae. That is why they were introduced in many parts of the world, especially Asia, to control the spread of Malaria.
There is a huge variety of guppy fish. There is no colour in the universe that the guppies do not acquire. In the wild, males come in a variety of colours with stripes, spots or splashes whereas, the females are mostly grey. In the aquarium, when breeders make different colours mate together, many new brighter colours and patterns appear. Over time, a lot of different colours and various patterns on tail and body have been observed.
They normally have paler colour on the top and brighter colours on the rear parts of their body. Some varieties of guppy fish are also metallic. They have iridophores which are transparent cells and reflect the light which creates an iridescent effect.
Guppies are known to be sexually dimorphic as males and females can be clearly differentiated by just looking upon them. Males are usually shorter, between 0.6-1.4 inches whereas, female range between 1.2-2.4 inches in length.
There are over 300 species and varieties of Guppy fish which are mainly distinguished due to the pattern over their body or their tail shape. Following are the patterns observed over the main body:
- Cobra: vertical barring
- Snakeskin: chain-like
- Tuxedo: front and back half with two different colours
Some patterns are also observed in their rear body i.e. tail. They include:
- Grass: tiny dots
- Lace: web pattern
- Leopard: spots as those of leopard
- Mosaic: irregular spots
The variety of tail shapes include fan-shaped, triangular shaped, sword-shaped, flag shaped, spade-shaped, rounded, spear-shaped any lyretails.
Tank requirements and conditions:
The tank conditions for Guppy fish should be according to the temperature, materials and environment of their natural habitat i.e. war freshwaters of South America. To make them live healthily, it is important to create a natural environment for them within the tank.
As guppy fish are small in size, the tank of 5-10 gallons is super fit for them. It gives them enough space to move here and there with ease. Guppies mostly stay in the middle or top section of the tank.
One guppy fish can be kept in 2-gallon tank which means 5 can be kept in 10 gallons and 10 in 20 gallons. If you choose to keep both males and females, it is preferred to keep them at a ratio of 2:1.
Water temperature and pH:
The ideal temperature to maintain is 22-28 degrees Celsius. The ideal pH ranges from 7.0 to 7.2 whereas, they can survive between 5.5 and8.5 easily.
Tank setup for Guppy fish depends on whether you want to keep them for showcase or want them to breed.
For a show tank, it is advisable to plant the tank with a lot of live plants, rocks and substrates. Some of the ideal plants are Hornwort and Amazon Sword plant.
For a breeding tank, floating plants such as Java Moss is preferable so that the fry can easily hide in there. Also, some hiding places such as pots and caves should be installed.
The most important thing for the tank is to ensure that the water is clean and every week, 25% of water is changed with the fresh water.
Guppy Fish Tank mates:
Guppies love to have other guppies as their tank mates. They stay happy and healthy around their family. Some other fish that make good tank mates for guppy include:
- Peaceful tetras
- Ender’s livebearers
- Ghost shrimp
- African Dwarf frogs
The fish who would like to have guppies as their meal or nip at their tails such as Red-tailed sharks, barbs and aggressive tetras should not be kept with them.
Guppy Fish Diet and feed:
Guppy is simple and effortless to feed. The diet and feed of guppy fish should include both vegetables and meat as guppies are omnivores. The meat can include both live and frozen food. Some favourite vegetables of guppies include peas, lettuce and cucumber.
For live or frozen food, guppies like shrimps, tubifex, corethra and bloodworms. Mosquito larvae are also one of its favourite food. The diet of guppy fish can include good quality fish flakes and pallets. You need to ensure that the food given to your guppies is high in protein. It must not be the filler food.
Guppies need to be fed 2-3 times a day with alternative food. Repeating the same food can cause nutrition deficiency. Feeding more than 3 times in 24 hours can also affect their health.
The food should be given in a small amount, the one they can eat up in 2-3 minutes. You should remove the leftovers from the tank with a net as soon as you see it floating in the tank. Otherwise, it settles in the bottom of the tank and gets rotten.
The fry can be fed with the same food but it should be smaller in size or preferably crushed so that they can easily have it. You need to feed the fry 4-5 times a day with food having good proteins.
Guppy Fish Breeding:
Guppy is easy to breed. You just need to put a male and a female guppy together. Guppy fish reaches its maturity age between three to five months. As soon as it matures it is ready to mate and reproduce. Amazingly, one male can mate with 3-5 females at a time. After they mate, the fertilization process starts and the female guppy is ready to give birth to the live young in 21-30 days.
Interestingly, a female guppy can have multiple pregnancies from one fertilization over a period of time. The birth gives in one time can range from 10-200 fry depending on the age and maturity of the female. Younger ones produce more than older ones.
As soon as the fertilization period starts, the gravid spot i.e. a dark spot behind anal fin starts getting darker. Towards the end of her pregnancy, the eyes of babies can even be seen through her translucent skin.
As guppies can eat their own fry, it is advisable to keep the female guppy in a separate tank when she is due to give birth and install the tank with plenty of plants so that the fry can hide. The fry can also be separated once they are born. The tank temperature for fry should be kept from 24-26.5C. You should change 25% of the water every week. After 1-1.5 months, the fry starts getting their colours.
Guppies are hardy fish. They do not get diseases often. Provided the proper tank conditions are met, water is regulated and maintained and a proper diet is provided, the guppy fish are not likely to get ill.
One common disease among almost all fish with long tails is the fungal infection. It is known as fin rot. Under this, their fin can rot. Another common disease is Ich.
The white spots appear on its body and it is observed scraping itself with the objects present in the tank. It is easy to cure both of these diseases with the medication from the pet store and maintaining water quality.
Guppy fish is one of the ideal fish to be kept, for both beginners and professionals. They come in a variety of beautiful colours, patterns and tail shapes which appear to be very appealing. Moreover, it breeds amazingly, are easy to feed and care for. Anyone who would like to have plenty of colourful fish should go for the guppy fish. They make your tank beautiful and full of colours. Maintain them well and you will have happy fish moving around all the time!