Guppies

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Male Guppy
Male Guppy

The guppy is a very popular tropical fish for a community setup. This beautiful top dweller is an elongated fish with an up-turned mouth and smallish head. Males are smaller, but they feature a coloured body and have a large, colourful tail.

Females are larger, have a grey colour to the body and have a smaller tail that often has colour. Thanks to selective breeding, Guppies are available in almost every colour imaginable – hence their popularity.

Common Name(s) : Guppy

Family : Poeciliidae

GenusPoecilia

Species : Poecilia reticulata

Origin : Central America / South America –  Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Brazil, Guyana, the Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Venezuela.

PH : 6.8 – 7.5

Hardness : Moderate to Very Hard

Female Guppy
Female Guppy

Temperature : 24 – 28°C / 75–82°F

Maximum Size : Males – 5cm / 2″ Females – 7cm / 2.9″

Lifespan : 3-4 years

Aggression Level : Low (1/10)

Recommended Tank Size : 30 Litres +

Strata : Top Half

TANK SET UP

A planted tank suits the Guppy requirements. Bunch plants like Wisteria, Blue Stricta, Green Pennywort, Purple Temple will create lots of hiding places for Guppy fry.

To go one step further with with the breeding needs of fry, you could consider adding some Java Moss – a fast growing very bushy plant that is extremely dense and the perfect hiding place for the young baby fish. Anchor down the clump of Java Moss with a rock or driftwood.

SUITABLE TANK MATES

  • Tropical Fish
  • Dwarf Cichlids

DIET

Omnivores, in the aquarium they will take a wide range of foods including flake, pellets, vegetables, bloodworm or brine shrimp.

SEXING AND BREEDING

Gonopodium on the male
Gonopodium on the male

Male and female guppies are easy to distinguish. Males generally are a brightly coloured fish, while the females are a drab grey – perhaps with a coloured tail. Males have a modified anal fin, this is called the gonopodium. This is the male sexual organ. Males can grow up to 4-5cm while females can get to 6-7cm.

Guppies are livebearers and are extremely easy to breed. The females are almost always pregnant and will give birth to live fish every 4 to 6 weeks. Often the mother will have between 20-70 fry.

Because these fish are avid breeders, it is recommended that at least 3 females should be kept to each male, so the females aren’t continually harassed. Also for the same reason, a tank housing both male and female guppies would ideally contain plants so the females can hide from keen males.

If you wish to breed the Guppy it is recommended that a separate breeding tank be set up to separate the mother from the community tank, taking at least half of the existing community tank water. If the mother is not separated and is allowed to give birth in the community tank, more than likely the fry will not survive as the other fish (even including the mother) will eat them.

Often birthing can be induced by raising the water temperature to 28C. After the birthing has finished, usually after 1 to 3 hours, the mother should be removed and returned to the community tank.

Raising the fry is reasonable simple. They should be feed on liquid fry food for the first three days. They can then be moved onto baby brine shrimp or fine crushed flake food. Water changes are needed regularly, even daily as the fragile fry are very susceptible to water pollution.

OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION

One of the most popular tropical community fish regularly found in home aquariums today is the Guppy. This beautiful aquarium fish features bright colour’s and an attractive coloured tail.

Originating from Central and  South America, the Guppy was originally found in Mountain Streams as well as brackish rivers. Feral populations of Guppies can now be found around the world. In the wild Guppies are not very colourful and are usually olive green. Tank bred Guppies come in many varieties of colour’s and patterns.

Guppies are a very popular aquarium fish. They are perfectly at home in a peaceful community aquarium. They will generally inhabit the upper third level of an aquarium.

Being omnivores, Guppies will eat a wide variety of food. Guppies will accept and do well on flake along with live and frozen foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms. Algae is an excellent food source and should be left to grow on certain ornaments or one side of the tank, so the fish can nibble on it between meals. It is a good source of vitamins B, C, D and E.

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