Guppy Care Guide - How To Care For Guppies? Step by Step
How To Care For Guppies?
Guppies are commonly called million fish or rainbow fish. Million fish because of their capacity to breed and multiply quickly. Rainbowfish because of the multitude of colour variations these species possess.
Guppies are livebearing freshwater sea creatures native to the northeastern part of South America. They are a delight to have and are available in most pet shops.
How To Take Care of Guppies
Prepare the area where the aquarium will be placed
Make sure it can accommodate the size of the aquarium and sturdy enough to handle the weight of the aquarium plus the water.
Also, ensure that there are power sockets near the aquarium location to accommodate the filter and lamp cables. And if it can be accommodated, a nearby water supply would be ideal.
Appropriate Aquarium Size
Depending on the number of guppies you'd like to have, determine the appropriate aquarium size to house these creatures.
Ideally, a 10-gallon tank will do to house at most five guppies. The tank might be too big for a handful of fishes, but remember, the guppies are not the only things that will be inside the tank.
Once your aquarium is in place, add and dechlorinate the water beforehand. You can dechlorinate the water one to two weeks before your fish purchase. You can buy a dechlorination bottle along with your aquarium supplies.
Bear in mind that even our tap water has chlorine, so not only is dechlorination important during initial aquarium set-up but has to be done every time the water is changed or added to the aquarium.
Suggested: - Aquarium Water Quality Management Guide
Attach an appropriate filter for your tank
Most of the time, the aquarium is bundled with a filter. But do double-check if the filter is sufficient for the tank size and number of fishes.
Don't forget to follow the instruction guidelines on the proper filter installation.
The filter is essential to keep the tank oxygenated. So make sure you check and monitor your filter regularly for discolouration and detritus accumulation.
Light up your tank
Guppies should not be exposed to more than the required number of hours of light as it might significantly affect their general and overall health.
Ideally, an average of eight hours of darkness per day is the standard requirement. It will be ideal if light and darkness schedules are monitored. You may set-up a timer for this.
Set up the tank temperature
For guppies to thrive and remain healthy inside the aquarium, it is ideal that a constant temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (or 24 and 28 degrees Celsius) be maintained. A thermometer for aquarium use is also available at any pet supply store.
Decorate your tank
Do this by starting from the bottom up. And seek recommendations for your local pet supply store. To make your aquarium decoration meaningful, you can use colourful or neutral coloured gravel or stones to fill the bottom of the aquarium.
Clean them before putting them inside the aquarium. And use live plants to add colour and provide hiding spots for your guppies. Avoid adding ornaments not recommended by the pet supply store.
This maybe your random seashell or some decorative embellishment. Not only might they be carriers of harmful bacteria, but their presence might also affect the overall pH of the internal environment, which can be detrimental to your guppies.
Do away with the unnecessary so that the guppies can thrive.
Introducing your guppies.
Keeping Guppies Healthy
Guppies can feed on a variety of food. But make sure there is a balance between high protein and vegetable-derived food sources, be it dry or wet, frozen or live.
=> Food options can include any of the following:
- Brine shrimp
- White worms
- Mosquito larvae
- Dried bloodworm
- Earthworm flake
=> Rule of thumb, during each feeding period, food should be consumed within two minutes.
Maintaining Guppy Health
Be vigilant about changes in colour or pigmentation, or sluggishness in movement. If this seems to be the case with any of the guppies, it would be best to separate the said guppy in a separate holding tank until the guppy is better.
Should there be a dead guppy inside the aquarium, please ensure that they are removed quickly so as not to contaminate the fish tank.
How to Breed Guppies
It does not take a lot for guppies to multiply, hence their monicker, million fish, as they breed so fast and so many. Guppies can mate all year round. Females can mate with numerous males.
Upon contact, the male passes a package of sperm (termed spermatophores) into the female, and a sperm reserve is created and stored for future use.
This sperm stash is the reason why female guppies can give birth to batches of offsprings (multiple pregnancies) from one fertilization over a duration of eight months.
Guppies are ovoviviparous, meaning they grow their young inside their bodies, inside an egg. The baby fish are not dependent on the female guppy for nourishment and derive their nutritional requirements from the egg sac.
The gestation period is usually between 26 to 30 days. Towards the end of the pregnancy, the baby guppies can be seen through the translucent or see-through skin of the female. After which the females then give birth to live babies (fry).
And the cycle repeats itself, and the female guppy gives birth again after 26 to 30 days.
Female guppies in captivity can produce 10-60 baby guppies (fry) per cycle. And on very rare occasions, can give birth to up to 200 baby guppies.
Select the Type of Guppies You Wish to Breed1. Know the type of guppies you wish to breed. Guppies of the same lineage will produce offsprings of the same kind.
2. To start, you may want to introduce one male guppy and two or three female guppies into the breeding tank.
3. To help you get started, you might want to take colour, pattern and fin-type into consideration in choosing your guppies.
➤ Pattern - guppies come in a multitude of patterns, examples of which are:
- Tuxedo - the front and back halves are of different colours
- Cobra - includes vertical barring and rosettes
- Snakeskin - includes chain-link patterns with rosettes
- Flag tail
- Veil tail
- Triangle tail
- Spade tail
- Spear tail
- Round tail
Preparing the Tank1. Select a tank. A 10 or 20-gallon tank will do. Make sure you set it up with the appropriate filter and heater.
2. Test the filter before introducing the guppies inside the tank. It should be gentle enough not to let the baby guppies get sucked in by the pressure. If the filter is strong, you may want to cover it with a sheer stocking or tights, to allow water to pass and prevent the small baby guppies from passing through.
3. Set the heater temperature to around 77-79 degrees Fahrenheit (or 25 to 26 degrees Celsius).
4. Set up the breeding environment.
- Keep the tank bottom bare and clean, free from any substrate like stones or gravel.
- Put in some java moss or spawning moss inside the aquarium (check Java Moss Beginners Guide if you don't know how to put it in your fish tank).
- Baby guppies (fry) can fend for themselves the soonest they are born.
- However, the biggest threat to their survival is their own parents. As adult guppies tend to eat their babies, not only as a source of food, but it is also their way of preventing overcrowding.
- Ensuring a safe environment is where the java or spawning moss plays an important role. Baby guppies can hide inside the moss plants, to avoid being eaten and can also thrive and grow without worry.
- Make sure the aquarium has both low floating and high cover plants so that the baby guppies have safe hiding areas.
Introducing the Guppies into the Breeding Tank1. Once inside the tank, it's all a matter of time before the adult guppies mate.
2. Once the female guppy or guppies are pregnant, it is advisable to separate the male guppy in a regular tank.
3. To determine if the female guppy is pregnant, observe a noticeable or distinguishing mark at the abdomen. This mark is called the gravid spot. All-female guppies will exhibit this mark when pregnant and becomes noticeably darker as the eggs become fertilised.
4. It is recommended to record changes observed upon the introduction of the adult guppies.
5. Gestation period usually lasts 26-31 days, and the closer the female guppy is to giving birth, the darker the gravid spot, and obviously the larger the stomach. Noticeable is the squarish shape of the abdomen as it becomes more prominent, instead of becoming more round.
6. Be keen on the changes of the female guppy as the gestation period comes to a close and labour is about to ensue. The female guppy might exhibit any of the following:
- loss of appetite
- staying close to the heater
- staying still for prolonged periods
Taking Care of the Fry1. Ensure that the tank regularly cleaned, and the temperature is maintained at 78 degrees Fahrenheit or 5.5 degrees Celsius until the baby guppies become fully grown.
2. Siphon the tank when water becomes cloudy, or aquarium becomes dirty, and change the water frequently every few days to maintain overall cleanliness of the container. You may change 25-40% of the water when cleaning the tank.
3. Fry feeding
- Baby guppies should be fed a variety of high protein and vegetable-derived food, to include:
- Brine shrimp
- Powdered flakes
- Feeding should be done twice a day.
- Do not overfeed the fry; otherwise, when the excess food goes bad, it affects the overall tank condition that can lead to illness and death among the baby guppies.
4. Visually inspect the condition of the fry and monitor them frequently. Remove any dead fry as soon as possible. Dead fry float at the top of the aquarium and is easy to scoop out.
Should there be an alarming rate of dead fry, you may want to change the water or clean any aquarium from debris or change the food.
Beyond the Breeding Tank
1. In about two months, the fry would have grown big enough to be transferred to a regular tank outside the breeding tank.
2. When transferring visually inspect the guppies to make sure you can distinguish their gender and separate them into regular tanks as appropriate.
3. Guppies are sexually dimorphic, meaning their gender is easily identifiable just by looking at them. Some distinguishing features include:
- Colour -males are more colourful than females, with more brightly coloured spots, patterns and stripes.
- Size - males are smaller than female guppies.
Keeping Them Healthy1. Guppies are easy to take care of and are resilient to diseases, most of the time. But when they do get exposed, the most common disease they encounter is ich. Ich from Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, a ciliate protozoan.
- Use anti-ich medication available at any pet supply store.
- Keep the aquarium clean by regularly changing the water.
- Maintain optimal water temperature at 86 degrees Fahrenheit to hasten the life span of the ich. Do this if the guppy can withstand the temperature.
- If possible, separate the infected fish (quarantine) in a smaller tank and apply medication until completely healed. This way, the medication does not need to spread to healthy guppies as well.
- Before adding new plants to an established tank, they should be placed in a smaller tank for a few days before introducing them to the bigger tank.
- Make sure all decorations placed inside the tank have been cleaned and rinsed properly to avoid any spread of parasites.
Mollies, gouramis, platies, tetras and corydoras make ideal tankmates for guppies. Should you select a non-fish to cohabit the tank alongside the guppies, ghost shrimps would be a good choice.
Millions of people around the world keep aquariums as a form of leisure, be it a novice hobbyist or a serious breeder. And it does not take much to get started, more so with taking care of guppies.
Not only are they easy to manage and breed, their colours, patterns and shapes are also such a visual delight.
Just make sure your guppies are healthy and happy by providing them with a clean environment and a well-balanced diet, for sure, these guppies will be a source of joy and entertainment for many many years.