What Are Guppy Fish?
Guppy fish are tropical, freshwater fish. They can be found in rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. Sometimes they’re also found in brackish waters and are native to South America.
How long do guppies live? For the most part, guppies live for 1-3 years, but rarely they can live for up to 5.
They can grow to be up to 3 inches in length and typically, the female guppies are bigger than the male guppies.
There are hundreds of different breeds of guppies, all of which vary in size, shape, color, and pattern. Because of the available variety and quantity, some people pass off Guppies as boring or common.
But Guppies are fascinating creatures that are both easy to care for and enjoyable to have as pets.
What Do Guppies Look Like?
Not only do Guppies exist in a myriad of colors, patterns, and tail shapes. In fact, they’re often referred to as “rainbow fish.”
Even though gray is the most dominant color found on Guppy Fish, they exist in hundreds of different colors from gold to metallic blue, and even albino white. Their heads and lower bodies are typically lighter than their tails.
In addition to a vast color scheme, guppies also come in many different patterns, such as:
- Cobra (dark spots and rosettes)
- Snakeskin (like the cobra but more chain-like)
- Tuxedo (different colors on the front and back which looks like a tuxedo)
More often than not, a Guppy tail will boast a different pattern than the rest of its body. Some of the common tail patterns you might find on a Guppy are:
- Mosaic (spots that connect to form a mosaic-like design)
- Leopard (series of spots that resemble leopard skin)
- Lace (a fine, web-like pattern that usually appears on guppies with snakeskin bodies)
Why Do Guppies Make Good Pets?
Guppy fish care is fairly simple, and we’ll get more into how to care for your Guppy Fish in a minute. But aside from being great pets, guppies have made a reputation for themselves for a few other reasons.
For one thing, Guppies are at the forefront of aiding in the fight to stop potentially deadly diseases like Malaria and Zika, from spreading.
Guppies have been used to fight Malaria in the past, due to their larvae-feeding nature which, in turn, slows down mosquito reproduction. This spring and summer, there is a threat of Zika returning and infecting people in great numbers.
Guppies are able to eat almost their entire weight in mosquito eggs and larvae almost every day. Furthermore, they can thrive in almost any body of water. They have been placed and continue to be used in bodies of water where mosquitos breed, in order to limit the number of people that become infected.
If you’re worried about mosquitos breeding in your own backyard pond or pool, go out and buy some Guppy Fish! A few pregnant females are all you need. Guppies are an invasive fish and will have your pond filled with baby guppies and depleted of mosquitos in no time.
It’s an easy alternative to spraying chemicals or spending your summer worrying about mosquito bites.
Guppies also get along well with most fish, so you don’t have to worry about an uprising in your aquarium. And just like snowflakes, there are no two guppies who look alike.
And once you’re ready to add more fish to your tank, take a look at all the tank mates that will be the best additions to your Guppy environment.
How Do You Care for Guppies?
Guppy care isn’t complicated, but should still be done right. Here we’ll outline 6 steps you need to take in order to set up and maintain a world for your guppies.
1. Choose Your Tank
The first and most important step is to set up the environment so that your Guppy Fish will be able to acclimate quickly.
Guppies are smaller fish so they don’t need a huge amount of space. That being said, keep in mind that because of their ability to store sperm, guppies can continue to reproduce for up to 10 months.
Furthermore, under optimal conditions, a female Guppy can give birth every 30 days. And each batch of fry she gives birth to can range from 20 to 50 guppies.
So just keep in mind that even though guppies are smaller in size, they reproduce quickly. A 10-gallon tank or bigger might be the right choice for your Guppy colony.
If you’d like to start with just a few Guppies, try to buy a tank that will provide at least 1 gallon of space per Guppy. Another important thing to consider when you pick out your new pets is that female guppies tend to be less territorial than male. So try to purchase 1 male for every 2 females and that way you have a much better chance of maintaining a peaceful aquarium.
2. Choose the Right substrate
Sand is your best bet in choosing a substrate (the bottom layer) for your aquarium. Sand is the least likely to get stuck in a Guppy’s mouth because of its fine texture. It’s also very easy to replace and doesn’t usually collect excess food or dirt.
If you aren’t partial to sand, you could also use larger rocks, gravel, or crushed coral. Just remember that coral can actually alter water’s PH so if you opt for coral, you might find a need for PH-neutralizers, like driftwood, for example.
As terms of how much substrate you need, you should have about a pound of substrate for every gallon in your tank. So if you purchase a 10-gallon tank, then you’d need about 10 pounds of sand to sufficiently cover the bottom.
3. Make Sure Your Water Is Right
Temperature-wise, the water in your aquarium should be between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you have a thermometer in there so that you can monitor the temperature at all times. If you find that it’s dipping below what it should be, you can purchase a small water heater to put into the tank.
Avoid using sunlight as this could overheat your tank. Opt for a water heater or an artificial light in your tank to keep your water at the right temperature. If for some reason, the tank does ever become overheated, take some of the warmer water out and replace it with cold water until the temperature evens out.
Make sure you dechlorinate the water in your tank. You can do this by leaving your tank uncovered for about a week, allowing any chlorine to evaporate. Or you can purchase a dechlorinating kit at your local pet store.
You could also opt for buying filtered or purified water that is free of chlorine. But we suggest buying chlorine test strips and testing your water every time anyway, to protect your fish from any potential chlorine contamination.
4. Make Sure Your Tank Has a Filtration System
If you’re a first-time aquarium owner, you might want to go for a power filter because it is much easier to use.
However, a lot of tanks today come with their own filtration system but you can always switch this out for a better one or your own method if you see fit. If your tank doesn’t come with a filtration tank of its own, you can buy your own.
Cycling the water in your Guppy tank will ensure that their environment stays safe and clean from harmful bacteria.
It’s in your best interest to get your tank up and running before you add your new and colorful pets to it. This will give you peace of mind and ensure that your guppies are given the best environment to make their home.
5. Decorate Your Tank
After you’ve chosen your substrate, you want to think about how you’d like to decorate your Guppy Fishtank. Because of their smaller size, there are many options for adorable and cool ways to provide your guppies with ways to hide and explore. Guppies love to do both of those things!
If you like the look of plants, opt for live ones. They’ll help with the filtration process and play an important role in getting rid of toxic substances.
Make sure you rinse or wash anything that you buy to add to your tank. You’ll want to get rid of any dust or dirt these items have picked up in their lifetime at the pet store.
Even though it might be tempting when you come across an interesting rock or seashells at the beach, avoid taking anything from nature and adding it to your tank. Anything you pick up could contain parasites or modify the PH in your tank. Either of these could lead to illnesses or deaths amongst your Guppy family.
6. Light up Your Tank
You want your Guppies to get about 8 hours of darkness in a 24-hour period. Any more or less could cause them to develop deformities as they grow. You can turn the light on and off manually, or you can buy a light that works on a timer so you have one less thing to remember.
It’s better to use artificial light as sunlight could cause your tank to overheat. It could also encourage the growth of algae which will disrupt your guppies’ environment. Check out why the right light is so important for your fish’s health.
What Should You Feed Your Guppies?
Now that we’ve covered how to set up your tank and how to create an optimal environment for your new pets, let’s talk about how to feed them.
Unlike goldfish, guppies aren’t vegetarian. You can feed them all sorts of food, both live and frozen, dry or wet.
Just make sure you don’t give them too much protein. A balanced diet of protein and vegetation will keep them happy and healthy.
Dried bloodworm, white worms, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, and earthworm flakes are all excellent choices for Guppy food.
Instead of feeding your guppies huge meals, try to feed them in smaller amounts throughout the day. Keep in mind that your Guppy Fish should be able to consume the food that you give them within two minutes. If they’re struggling to do so, you are probably giving them too much.
Give your guppies 2-4 meals per day and try to alternate what you give them. So if you feed them fish flakes one feeding, opt for brine shrimp the next.
Have Fun with Your Journey to House Your New Guppy Fish
The most exciting part of getting a new pet is that feeling you get when you see it for the first time and think to yourself, she is the one. Well, you can still get those same feelings when you choose your new Guppy Fish!
But seeing as how this will be the best and most exciting part of your set-up, remember to save it for last! Getting yourself all set up and knowledgeable about the process of how to care for and maintain your tank is essential to do before you purchase your guppies.
Once that’s all done you’ll feel ready and excited to bring home your colorful new pets. Want to know how to clean your aquarium once your guppies have established their new home? Check out these 9 tools that will make cleaning easier.
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