Keeping Guppies in Fish Tanks - Feeding, Conditions, Forum and more
This page contains all information that is necessary for taking proper care of Guppies. Use a form at the bottom of this page in case your question isn't answered here yet! Sharing experiences, ideas and tips is welcome too!
The Guppy fish is often overlooked by many keepers despite its wonderful colouration that is displayed by the males, the fish are that small that they do not appeal to many people but keepers that take these fish seriously have aquariums that provide plenty of movement and colour, this has to be a reward in itself. The Guppy originates from most countries in South America, nowadays it can be found on all of the continents apart from Antarctica. They have been introduced to many countries for the same reason, the juvenile Guppy loves to feed on mosquito larva, this is a great natural way of controlling the mosquito swarms that plague us.
It gets its common name from Robert Guppy who first discovered this fish in Trinidad in the year of 1866 and it was first classified as Girardinus Gupii. The males are easily distinguishable from the females as they have long flowing tails with intense colouration, the females tend to be drab and smaller than the males. These fish can be very appealing and they are always on the move, they will stay in the same spot for seconds at a time, they can also tolerate a wide range of water parameters and can even live in brackish water for short spells.
They prefer to be kept in small groups, if kept with other species of fish they will even attempt to play with them although this can get boisterous at times giving them the reputation of being a potential fin nipper. They do best in smaller tanks, this allows them to find their food without using up too much energy but try not to overstock the tank as this can lead to problems and if the Guppy feels overcrowded they will eat their own fry. There should always be at least two females per male in the tank, if you are considering breeding these it is best to ensure that the three fish are from the same strain to keep the line pure, breeding them with Guppies from a different strain will reduce the impact of their fine colouration.
They prefer harder water as do most live bearers, the pH should be maintained at a level above neutral or 7.0 as it reads on the scale, if you are having trouble doing this try adding some coral sand, this will slowly dissolve into the water and keep it well buffered. The temperature should be set at 72 – 76°F but for Guppy breeding tanks or raising Guppy fry this temperature should be raised slightly. Acclimatising the Guppies to your tank should be done very slowly and patiently, they do not like sudden changes in temperatures and they should be acclimatised over a period of 30 minutes, slowly mixing the water between the bag and the tank. Do not attempt to feed the Guppies until they has settled in the tank for at least an hour. These fish will occupy all areas of the tank so when keeping guppies add plants and hiding places, this will make them more confident and relaxed. Like all species of fish they do require a filtration system that is capable of keeping the water quality high, they are classed as low waste producers but they still produce it, the filtration system will convert this to prevent the water from becoming toxic.
These fish are avid eaters and sometimes it can be difficult not to over feed them, it is also possible to under feed these fish but in time you will soon realise the correct amount of food that should be added to your Guppy tank. These fish can survive for days without food but it is not recommended that you try this out. The only have small stomachs so it is best to offer them small meals with each feeding, there is nothing wrong with feeding them twice a day as long as the total amount added to the tank over a 24 hour period is not more than they can physically digest. Mature Guppies need a low calorific diet and the occasional treats of live or frozen foods. They will relish a quality flake but it is best to soak this in water for a couple of minutes before you add it to the tank, this will make it easier to digest and it also removes the risk of the food expanding in their stomachs. When adding the flake to the tank spend a couple of minutes observing the fish eating, make sure they all get their share and keep an eye out for any of the Guppies refusing food, this could be a sign of other complications. Ideal live or frozen foods are white worms, blood worms and mosquito larva. As mentioned these should be classed as treats, never use these as the staple diet as this practice will cause digestive problems with the fish.
If you are feeding guppy fry or small juveniles, they will require plenty of fats and a high protein food to enable them to grow and build up reserves in the body. Brine shrimps, blood worms, and other small worms are ideal for the youngsters but these foods can pollute the tank very quickly, any uneaten food should be removed from the tank as quickly as possible after the fish have finished eating. As the young fish start to mature they will soon accept flake food, initially it is best to crush this slightly between your fingers so that it is easier to digest.
As expected, Guppies are prone to the same diseases as other species of fish. Keeping your Guppy tank well maintained and clean will prevent a lot of these ever striking your fish. At the first sign of any symptoms it is best to act quickly and use the appropriate medication to remove any diseases or viruses from the tank. Guppies are quite hardy but even a hardy fish will struggle in a poorly maintained tank as well as the tank not looking as pleasing to the eye as a clean one.