There are a lot of different freshwater fishes kept in aquariums all over the world. However, on that is very popular is the guppy fish (or guppy if you prefer). The guppy comes in a wide variety of colors, tale sizes and shapes, and is an easy fish to keep and even to breed. While fancier strains are often less hardy then less fancy varieties everyone who is armed with a little bit of knowledge can keep the guppy alive. They are also good for small children because they are entertaining with their colorful tails and they even make pretty good community tank members when carefully pared with other fish.
The first thing you need to know is a little bit of history about guppies and fancy guppies. In the wild guppies are fairly boring. Their body colors are light colored with males having pastel colors, but not large fancy tails. The females are larger than the males and they don't have any real color being either gray bodied or gold bodied with no colors on their tails. Through a wide variety of breeding the fancy guppy was developed. Fancy guppies come in a huge variety of colors. Males are usually a lot brighter and more colorful, but females often have some color in their tails and dorsal fins. Breeding programs have also developed a huge variety of tail shapes and there are a number of males that have giant tails with some of them being larger than their body.
Setting Up a Guppy Tank
Because guppy fish are hardy, setting up a tank is an easy thing to do and you can have it set up very quickly. In most cases the things that you need for a guppy tank are the same things that you need for any other tank.
- Fish Tank – The first thing that you need is a tank. The larger the tank the better. A larger tank is easier to take care of because the water quality remains more constant. However, you need at least a five gallon for a few guppies with short tails. If you want to breed guppies or if you want fancy tailed guppies you should choose a larger tank and often a 29 gallon or bigger is best.
- Filtration – A good filter is always a good idea. Modern aquarium kits come with an over the back filter. If you aren't trying to breed guppies then the filtration can suck up small fry (babies). With that in mind you will want to get a filter intake cover or a different kind of filter. Two kinds that work well include the box filter and the sponge filters that sit inside of the aquarium and are powered by an air bubbler.
- Substrate – You will need some sort of substrate. That can be gravel, sand, soil, or something else. Guppies don't really have a preference, but you want to have at least an 1 ½ inch in order for a good biological filter to grow. If you are going to plant live plants then 3 inches would be better.
- Decorations – Everything that you put into your tank will help to grow your biofilter. You can easily choose to decorate it in any way that you want from rocks to castles and so forth.
- Plants – Live plants are always the best way to go. They help with the biofilter, they grow small organisms that the fish can eat, and they also give your baby fish a place to hide. If you choose not to have live plants you still want to put some fake ones in there, especially if you are trying to grow fry in the same tank.
Basic Guppy Care
Guppy care is pretty easy to accomplish. You will need to set up your tank and add a few fish to start cycling your tank (or use a tankless cycle). Then you will want to feed your fish twice a day. Each fish only needs as much fish food as what fits into their eye making it possible for a little food to go a long way. You will also need to do regular water changes on your aquarium.
Guppies are normally omnivores. They need both plant material and animal (fish/seafood) material in their diet. A high quality fish food is the perfect start. To that you can add some supplementals including frozen fish food (brine shrimp, blood worms, or plankton), freeze dried fish foods, and even blanched vegetables (spinach, green beans, and zucchini). Adding a few of these foods each week is a good thing to do for the health of your fish.
You have a few options for taking care of guppy babies. The first thing that you will need to do is know how or rather where you are going to raise the fry (babies). You have a few different option.
- You can catch a pregnant mother and place her in a separate tank or a breeding trap. This allows her to give birth away from the community tank. This is a great way to make sure that none of the fry get eaten as long as you get the female out of the tank as soon a she drops the fry.
- You can use a lot of plants in the community tank, especially fine leaved varieties and or floating plants to give the babies a place to hid until they get larger.
- The third option is to let the babies be born in the community tank and then scoop them up and move them to a grow out tank as you find them in the community tank.
Your baby guppies are not picky. The need clean water, but not more clean water than other fish. They also need food. You can accomplish this by grinding their food to the appropriate size for the baby guppies you are feeding. Often you can just use your fingers to crumble basic food. Baby guppies will also enjoy microworms, baby brine shrimp, and other supplemental foods.
Guppy fish are a great fish for beginners and advanced fish keepers alike. They can be very beautiful and relaxing to watch. Additionally, having babies can be lots of fun for adults and children alike. This easy to care fish doesn't need a lot of work, isn't particularly sensitive, and can be lots of fun.