Guppy Care Guide: Appearance, Compatibility, Tank Set up & Breeding

Guppy is a peace-loving tropical freshwater fish. It is quite hardy and is a perfect fish for both beginner and experienced aquarist. Guppies are small and inexpensive and add variety and color to your tank. Doing proper guppy care is required to keep them healthy and active in your tank.

In this article, we will learn about a guppy fish, its appearance, compatibility, tank set up, breed, etc. To learn more and know why they will be perfect for you, keep reading till the end.

Category Rating
Family Poeciliidae
Temperament Peaceful
Diet Omnivores
Care Level Easy
Lifespan Up to 2 years
Compatibility Other peaceful community fish
Size 0.6 – 2.4 inches
Color Form Every color imaginable
Minimum Tank Size 5 gallons
Tank Set-Up Freshwater, plants, and substrate

Guppy Fish Overview

A freshwater guppy fish


Guppies originally belong to South America and Poeciliidae family. They were discovered by Robert Guppy long back in 1866 in Trinidad. The fish was first named Girardinus Guppii when taken to British Museum. It was given many names before it became Poecilia Reticulata.

There is a significant difference between Endler and Common Guppy. Here, we will only learn about Common Guppy. However, there are 300 different species of Guppy around the world. All of them have different colors, patterns, and tail type.

Their presence and activity enhance the attractiveness of the aquarium. They are also used in the water to control the mosquito population, especially in Asia.

Guppy Behavior

These peaceful fishes love to live in a community tank. They swim actively, and you won’t see them stay in one place. The adult fish can be seen chasing around the female to impress by wiggling the fins.

They don’t usually hide, but if you see them still or hiding, it means they are either ill or stressed. Make sure the water temperature is constant, and they have a healthy diet.

Appearance of Guppies

As we mentioned earlier, Guppies come in many varieties. They have different colors, sizes, and shapes. You may choose the fancy guppies for your aquarium.

The male Guppies are more attractive than the female ones. The males are found in different colors, while females are usually grey in appearance. The aquarists still cross breed Guppies to get different patterns and colors. Hence, you are looking for a fancy guppy, then should go for males.

The females are slightly larger than the males. They are 1.2-2.4 inches long, while the length of males ranges between 0.6-1.4 inches. They are easily distinguished from their appearance.

Guppies Color, Pattern, Tail type

Guppy Colors

These fishes are known as ‘rainbow fish’. They are found in a variety of colors and patterns. The color of the top and upper half body is pale while the rest of the body has a brighter and colorful appearance. Some of them have metallic colors that look iridescent because of the presence of iridophore cells.

Guppy Patterns

In contrast, some are found in solid colors with a variety of patterns. Some of the patterns are given below –

  • Leopard – Pattern like leopard spots
  • Mosaic – Having irregular connected spots.
  • Cobra – Patterns like rosettes and vertical barring
  • Lace – Fine web-like pattern
  • Tuxedo – Having two different colors on each half of the body
  • Snakeskin – Rosettes, and chain-like patterns
  • Grass – Patterns with tiny dots like grass

Fancy Tail Guppies

Different types of tails can be either solid colored or with a pattern. Some of them are – rounded, spear shape, triangular-shaped, fan-shaped, sword-shaped, lyretails, spade shape, and flag-shaped.

How to Take Care of Guppies?

Guppy care

Guppy Tank Size

Before keeping guppies, you should know about guppy care, their ideal habitat, and tank conditions.

The guppy fish thrives in their native place, and if you want them to be healthy and thrive in your tank as well, you have to replicate the water condition of their native place.

Many people ask before keeping guppies.

  • How many guppies per gallon?
  • How many guppies in a 10 gallon tank?
  • How many guppies in a 20 gallon tank?

The below table has all the information you need about them:


Condition Parameter
water tropical freshwater
tank capacity 10 gallon for 5 guppies and multiples
temperature 75 to 82oF
pH 7.0 to 7.2
dH range 9 to 19

Make sure the tank is set up correctly and use heater and filter to maintain temperature and to keep the tank clean.

Always set up a thermometer on the end of the tank to check the water temperature and make sure it remains constant.

For filter, it usually depends on the size and kind of aquarium you are planning to keep. The back-hanging filter is mostly preferred, but if your tank is big, like 50 gallons, then go with an external canister filter. Also, make sure to change the water, 25% each time, in 1 or 2 weeks. It lessens the risk of the growth of bacteria or making the fish sick.

Type of Guppy Fish Tank

Different types of tanks serve different purposes. These are as follows –

  • Show Tank – It is the main tank. Make sure there are plenty of live plants like Hornwort and Amazon Sword Plant. Also, cover the bottom of the tank with rocks and substrate. The substrate can be of any size of your preference. Guppies are not bottom dwellers; they swim in the middle part of the tank.
  • Breeding Tank – This tank is for keeping the eggs till they hatch. The ideal plant for the breeding tank is floating plants like Java Moss. Make sure the tank is bare-bottomed but have enough plants for fries to hide.

Guppy Tank Mates

Guppies are peace-loving community fish. They are compatible with almost all other non-aggressive fish. However, the most compatible mates for them are Guppies themselves.

If you want to keep them to enhance the attractiveness of your tank, then only males will be best. But if you want to breed them as well, then keep males and females in 2:1.

Ideal tank mates – Gourami, Mollies, Corydoras, Platies, peaceful Tetras, Swordtails, etc. Ghost Shrimp or African Dwarf Frogs are also compatible with them.

Non-ideal mates – Barbs, Red-Tailed Sharks, and aggressive Tetras.

Guppy Diet

The nature of food depends on the natural environment they belong to. They are usually omnivores and would eat anything you feed them. It is an important part of guppy care.

You can feed them with premade food available in the market, or mosquito larvae. Their main diet requires protein. For this, you can give them fish flakes but make sure they are of good quality. Protein is the main ingredient.

To check if the fish flakes have the right amount of protein or not, check the list of ingredients. The list of the ingredients is in the descending order of weight. The topmost ingredient can be other fish, shrimp, and meaty products. But if it has wheat or soy on the top, then don’t buy it. They are filler foods.

You can also include live or frozen foods like shrimps or bloodworms and peas, cucumber, and lettuce for a vegetarian diet. Make sure to maintain variety in their diet as its absence can lead to nutrient deficiency.

Feed only the right amount of food, that is, the amount they can finish in 2 minutes and feed them only once or twice a day. Don’t overfeed them. It can make them sick. Also, remove any leftover food from the tank as it will start to rot and deteriorate the quality of water.

If you have fries in your tank as well, you can feed them the same food as adults, but make sure to break or mash it in tiny chunks. They require a small amount of food but four or five times a day.

How to Breed Guppies?

It is an interesting question to ask – how do guppies breed. Read the following information about breeding guppies.

Guppies are ovoviviparous; that is, the female gives birth to fries that grow inside them in the egg. When the egg hatches, the female gives birth to the young ones.

The whole process starts when they reach maturity, that is, three to five months after their birth. The color of the male is usually brighter, and the anal fin modifies when they get mature. The anal fin or gonopodium of males are usually longer and narrower than the females. The females develop a gravid spot that gets darker during pregnancy.

Fertilization occurs when the male passes his sperms in the form of a package into the females. This package splits and produces thousand of sperms. The female can store them and get pregnant multiple times.

Once the female gets pregnant, it may take 3 to 4 weeks for the eggs inside her to hatch. Until then, the fries soak up all the nourishment from the eggs. You will be able to see the eyes of the young fries through the translucent skin of their mother. When the egg hatches, the female gives birth to the young ones, and the whole process for gestation repeats for the next 21-30 days.

Guppies are known as ‘million fish’ for their impressive breeding rate. They don’t require any input for breeding. So, if you have a male and a female Guppy, they are likely to engage in this activity when they reach maturity.

You can use a breeding trap for preventing the “mother fish” from eating their own fry. But make sure they are not limiting the swimming space as it can stress her. The stress is never good for a female carrying baby. It can lead to miscarriage.

Make sure there is ample space for her to swim freely. Also, the holes in the breeding trap should be large enough to let the young ones swim out of it.

You can put the female in the breeding tank a week before the egg hatches. Move the mother fish to the main tank once she gives birth to the young ones. Guppies can breed 20-40 live young. It will prevent her from eating her own fries. Also, make sure that the breeding tank has a hospitable environment, that is, the same water condition as the main tank.

The fries need ample space to hide, so make sure there are live floating plants for them.

What do I feed guppies that I want to breed?

Common Diseases

Guppies can survive the harsh water conditions, but still, there is a chance they can get sick. Here are some common diseases that are found in them –

Disease Symptoms
Fungal infection Growth of white dots on the skin
Dropsy/Pinecone The scales stand from the end and looks like a cone
Itch White dots on the skin and scales of the fish
Fin rot Tail looks torn

Always keep an eye on their behaviors and body color. If you see anything strange, immediately consult a doctor for early diagnosis and cure. These diseases can be cured by giving medication. Also, choose suitable tank mates who won’t bite them on fins or tail.


  • Don’t overcrowd the tank
  • Keep the water conditions optimal
  • Wash everything thoroughly before adding them into the tank
  • Feed varied food to maintain nutrition level

Are Guppies Hardy?

Guppies are perfect for beginners and experienced aquarists as they are hardy and will easily make a good companion with other community fish. Their colorful appearance and magnificent tails will give vividness to your tank.

A healthy diet and environment will keep their color bright and their movement active. Make sure the tank is properly set up, and water conditions are suitable for them.

Do you have Guppies or planning to have one? What qualities do you like the most about them? Let us hear from you!