Guppy Fish Tips
Guppies, also known as millionfish and rainbow fish, are one of the world’s most widely distributed tropical fish. These highly adaptable fish thrive in a wide spectrum of environment and ecological conditions, thus making them one of the most popular choices for freshwater aquariums and new aquarists. Guppies come in a myriad of colours, sizes and shapes. Variations of guppies continue to increase as breeders continue to breed guppies with brighter colours and more patterns on their bodies and tails. Generally, male guppies are smaller than females, averaging between 0.6 and 1.4 inches. Female guppies are around 1.2 to 2.4 inches in length.
Guppies can tolerate a wide range of waters and pH levels. The optimal pH level is between 7.0 and 7.2, but guppies can tolerate pH levels ranging from 5.5 to 8.5. Since their natural habitat is in the warm fresh waters of South America, it is recommended to use a heater to keep the water between 75 and 85 Fahrenheit. Provide your guppies with a comfortable environment by filling the show tank with plenty of live plants, rocks and substrate. Recommended plants include Hornwort and Amazon Sword plant. On the other hand, if the tank is designed for breeding, keep the tank bare bottomed so that uneaten food and waste materials can be removed easily. Include floating plants such as Java Moss for the fry to hide in.
Place your heater at one end of the tank, and the thermometer at the other end to ensure that the water temperature is consistent.
Similar to wild guppies, aquarium guppies may feed on a variety of food sources. It has been observed that guppies tend to favour food that are available in abundance, likely to avoid competition against other fish species in the same area. Guppies are omnivores and may be fed good quality fish flakes, frozen foods such as shrimps and bloodworms, and even vegetables such as lettuce and cucumber. These adventurous eaters also feed on mosquito larvae and algae. However, it is not recommended to purchase guppies as a natural measure against algae in aquariums, as the algae grow a lot faster than guppies can eat them. Feeding should take place once or twice a day, at small quantities. Providing a balanced diet for your guppies will ensure that they get sufficient nutrients.
As a general practice, feed them twice a day – flakes in the morning, and vegetables at night.
Guppies reach sexual maturity between three and five months. Male guppies tend to be smaller than females, but are much brighter and vivid in colours. Guppies breed actively. There may be multiple pregnancies from one fertilisation, so it is recommended to keep a lookout for the tank once your guppies are sexually mature. Pregnant guppies will notice that the area behind the anal fin becomes darker. After fertilisation, it takes approximately 30 days for the babies to be fully developed. Towards the end of the pregnancy, the eyes of the babies may be seen through the mother’s translucent skin. Guppies are ovoviviparous – adult females nurture their offspring inside an egg sac in their body. The baby fish gains nourish from the egg sac, and are born live once they have hatched inside the female. Once the fry are born, remove the adult fish to prevent her from feeding on them.
If you are looking to keep guppies for aesthetics purposes, it is recommended to only purchase male guppies.
Guppies are very hardy fish, but their long tails can make them prone to fungal infections such as ich, and fin rot. Ich, also known as white spot disease is a disease where small white dots grow on the guppies’ skin. The disease damages the guppies’ gills and skin. Severe infections may even lead to death. You’ll notice that guppies infected with ich will tend to rub their bodies against objects more often. Another condition is fin rot, where the tail looks like it’s torn. This is usually a cause of incompatible tank mates, who tend to nip on the beautiful fins of guppies. While both conditions can be treated by medication available from the local pet shop, it is best to quarantine fish before adding them to the tank, and avoid overcrowding the tank.
Healthy guppies are active swimmers and their bright and vibrant appearance will be a nice addition to any tanks.