The guppy, or rainbow fish as it is also known as, is a vibrant and colorful breed of freshwater fish. Experts say that it is one of the most popular species of aquarium fish in the market today.
Besides their impressive color, guppies are also popular because of their ability to thrive in almost any given environment. They are tough, active, and fairly low maintenance.
Like most other members of the Poeciliidae family, the guppy is a live-bearing fish. This means that female guppies will retain the eggs within them and bear young, swimming fish. Here are several other interesting facts about guppy fish.
Guppy Fish Types.
There are about 300 species of guppy fish, most of which are native to the rivers of Brazil, Venezuela, the Amazon, Guyana, and even Trinidad & Tobago. In the wild, these fish typically favor rivers that are quite still, ponds, brackish waters, and pools. As we alluded to above, they have become a popular choice of aquarium fish for most individuals.
There are a number of physical traits and characteristics that set most guppy fish types apart from each other. Some of the defining factors include skin color, body type, the structure of their tail, and even the patterns on their skin.
Differentiating guppy fish by species.
Experts say that all guppy fish can be classified into three main categories in the ‘Poeciliidae family.’
These types of guppies are commonly known as Endler guppies. They were initially found back in 1937, in the South American region of Venezuela. Endler guppies boast vivid bright and contrasting hues that not only make them colorful, and a feast for the eyes, but also rare.
In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find them at pet stores. These type of guppies also enjoy warm waters, which would explain why they populated South America.
These fish are also known as fancy guppies or common guppies. Taking the latter into account, it comes as no surprise that they are the easiest fish to find in pet stores. Most fish enthusiasts will tell you that these fish are fairly hardy, perhaps alluding to their popularity.
They are also in demand because of their vibrant colors and striking tail patterns. Examining their size, we found that the average guppy can measure anywhere between 1.5cm to 3.5cm.
Interestingly, female common guppies tend to grow significantly larger than their male counterparts. Breeders have also been hard at work trying to introduce a variety of colors and patterns into this particular breed.
The Micropoecilia picta is the third subspecies of guppy fish. They are known by a variety of names, ranging from painted guppies, scarlet livebearers to swamp guppies. Another interesting fact we learned about these types of guppies is that they were first unearthed in Central and South America.
Experts say that these guppies have a preference for brackish waters, though some of them have been known to inhabit freshwaters as well.
Differentiating Guppy fish by the shape of their tails.
From this criterion alone, we found that there are 13 different types of guppy fish. These fish species have all sprung from decades of breeding them selectively.
Delta tail guppy.
This type of guppy fish is also referred to as the triangle tail guppy. As you might have guessed, they derive their name from the triangular shape of their tails.
Additionally, their tails come in a variety of impressive and stunning colors. Another fascinating detail about their tails is that they can open up and flare out; making the tail, and fish in extension, appear larger.
Delta tail guppies also have elegant, long, flowing dorsal fins. In contrast, their ventral fins are significantly smaller.
The flug-tail guppy gets its name from the way it moves, particularly as it darts across the water, giving it the look of a small, fluttering flag. These fish can also be referred to as the scarf-tail guppy. One interesting feature that these fish have is that their tails are small, rectangular in shape, and narrower on the edges.
Fish experts say that anyone looking to buy these types of guppies should invest in a large group of them; they look even better when they are clustered in larger groups.
This type of guppy fish bears a striking resemblance to the double sword guppy. One glaring similarity is that both of these subspecies have a tail that can be described as a double sword.
The major difference lays in a small, transparent membrane which the lyretail guppy has; it joins both parts of the lyre’s tail. This membrane is absent in the double-sword guppy, whose tails are independent and not conjoint.
This is a type of freshwater guppy that has dorsal and pelvic fins that are not only extended but also flowy. However, its tail remains its most stunning feature, particularly as it takes the shape of an isosceles trapezoid.
The veiltail guppy’s tail can also assume one bright color or a mish-mash of multiple brightly colored patterns. This makes it an ideal choice for anyone keen on putting together a colorful aquarium.
Double Swordtail guppy.
Experts say that this is one of the most unique types of guppies you can acquire for your aquarium. The double swordtail’s exotic nature comes from its beautiful long pointed tail, and the variety of equally bright tails they can have. Another thing that sets it apart from other guppies is that it has two sword-like elongated tails that sprout from the base of the fish’s tail.
Experts also believe that when this particular guppy fish’s tail extends on the lower or upper side of the tail, it results in a different variation of the guppy fish. Another thing that sets them apart from other guppies is their extended lifespan.
- Bottom swordtail guppy.
These types of swordtail guppies have elongated tails that sprout from the bottom end of the base of their tails. The edge of the tail that isn’t extended is narrow, giving it the likeness of a flag-tail guppy.
- Top swordtail guppy.
This is a type of guppy that doesn’t have a double. Instead, they have an extended tail that sprouts from the top of the fish’s tail base. Because of this particular feature, it can be easily mistaken for a swordtail fish.
Half-moon tail guppy.
The half-moon tail boasts the most unique tail amongst all guppies. As you might have guessed, their tails take the shape of a half-moon. They typically start wide at the base, gradually widening until they assume the shape of the half-moon.
Other than their fascinating shape, their tails can also take on a different range of patterns and colors. They are stunning to behold, especially as they flutter about in the water.
They have remarkable tails that look like an open fan, especially as they move around in the water. A few rare types of these fish also have fantails that trail along.
Other than this, the fantail guppy also has a tiny ventral fin and a dorsal fin that stretches long. Additionally, experts say that they are a subspecies of the fancy guppy.
The first thing you’ll notice about this species of guppy fish is that their tails are relatively small. So what makes them so special? Well, for one, their tails take the shape of a spear.
Some people would even go as far as to describe the appearance of their tails as a mixture of the spade tail and needle tail guppy. Interestingly, some types of spear-tail guppies have significantly larger tails than other fish in this category.
At first glance, you might mistake this particular guppy for the spear-tail guppy. However, their mid-sections are much longer. This is where it derives the name ‘pintail.’
Its tail is not only very round but also has a sharp point to it; this explains why it is also referred to as the needle tail guppy. Like most other guppies, the pintail can also take on a vast array of colors. How could you not want this in your aquarium?
As their name suggests, round-tail guppies have tails that are round, which gives them a compact appearance. Additionally, these fish are also a bit shorter on the side.
While not as glamorous as the other guppies we will explore on this list, the round-tail guppy would still make a great addition to any aquarium. Their well-defined shape also makes the round-tail guppy very appealing to fish breeders.
This guppy falls in the short tail guppy family. Their tails are said to resemble the shape of a paddle. One common feature they share with other guppies is that they can assume various vibrant, multiple, and bright colors like pink, orange, yellow, and even black.
Because of the alluring structure of their tail, cofertail guppies often set the standard during world guppy competitions.
Differentiating guppy fish by their color.
The Guppy fish is a must-have fish for most freshwater aquarium keepers. As we mentioned before, they are relatively easy to care for owing to their sturdy nature. Another thing that makes them so appealing is the numerous color variations and schemes they can come in.
Whether they are a combination of vivid, vibrant, or plain, the final outlook is always remarkable. Experts estimate that there are about 30 different types of guppies based on their color schemes alone. Here are a few of the most remarkable ones we could find.
Any guppy expert worth their salt knows that the dragon-head is easily the most alluring subspecies of guppies selective breeding has brought forward. This particular guppy boasts remarkable color schemes; its dorsal and tail fin are coated in vibrant red and orange hues.
The rest of the fish’s body is significantly darker. In some cases, the midsection of the dragon-head guppy can brighten up considerably. Additionally, the dragon head guppy can also have black and orange spots along its tail. Guppy breeders are also advised to be mindful of the regulations and standards in place for most guppy contests.
This type of guppy is covered in a dominant, yellow hue that not only covers its body, but also its fins. Experts found that most guppies in this category are genetically blonde. It is a threat that is purposefully induced by breeders to reduce the dominant black melanin gene that can sometimes be prevalent in this species.
By eliminating this gene, the guppy can get a much cleaner and attractive look. This yellow-blonde color is not easy to breed or obtain.
To maximize their chance of success, breeders will usually go for medium-sized guppies. Because of the difficulties involved in breeding, the yellow guppy is much harder to breed.
As the fish’s given name implies, this particular species is mostly white. A deeper glance will tell you that their body almost appears translucent. Another key feature the albino guppy has can be found in its eyes; in most cases, they are either red or soft-pink.
These types of guppies also have pink blushes/markings around their faces. Despite being referred to as albino guppies, these fish can have hints of different colors across their body.
However, the white color scheme remains prevalent in most cases. This is as a result of the absence of melanin in its skin. The albino guppy fish will make a great addition to most aquariums. Their soft, delicate white exterior is quite remarkable to behold.
These types of guppy boast one of the most unusual looks you’ll ever see. The entirety of their body, not excluding their caudal fin, is coated in black.
Interestingly, this is the kind of black that can also be described as a deep, nearly blue type of black. When breeders set out to breed this type of guppy, they wanted to make a type of guppy that was completely charcoal black.
However, it was not entirely possible to maintain this hue throughout, more so in larger fish that would be covered in a variety of hues. In summary, small to medium-sized guppies are more suitable when trying to breed an entirely charcoal black guppy.
This is another type of guppy that is a must-have for any fish enthusiast who is keen on injecting some color into their aquarium. Most of these guppies have a pronounced bright red color that runs across their entire body, stretching onto their fins in the process.
Other than their red hues, the red guppy can also have albino, red, and grey hues across its body. Most red guppies will typically have larger bodies than their other counterparts. Because of this, it is much easier to get the more pronounced red color as the black melanin gene trait is minimized.
The multi-colored guppy is a favored fish amongst aquarium keepers. To end up in this category, a guppy needs to have at least three different colors along its caudal fin. The multi-colored guppy also needs to have an equal distribution of color along its tail.
Some experts go as far as to say that the color must cover more than 15% of the tail. Other than this, the dorsal fin should also resemble the caudal fin in as far as pattern and color are concerned.
Most fish enthusiasts will agree that the multi-colored guppy is one of the most beautiful guppies you can acquire for your aquarium. This is because some of them even resemble rainbows!
Most experts will agree that the green guppy is one of the most difficult fish you can breed. Because of its unique and rare qualities, the green guppy is very much in demand.
This unfortunately means that you might face a substantial price tag before you acquire it. Most green guppies boast a very striking and beautiful shade of green. Additionally, female guppies in this category will also have green hues across their fins.
Other than this, most of them also have a medium to dark shade of green. We should also mention that most green guppies have a body that is peppered with blue iridescent hues.
Half-Black AOC Guppy.
This type of guppy usually comes with a half-black frame, and multiple other colors spread across their body. It means that their fins and tails are usually multi-colored.
The black color prevalent across half their body is often compared to the dark hues of a black cat. Here are a few other colors a half-black guppy can take:
- Half-Black Green Guppy– Like its green guppy counterpart, this subspecies of guppy is also fairly difficult to acquire. Half their body is black, while the rest is green. In some cases, they can also have other different hues close to their face.
- Half-Black Blue Guppy- As the name suggests, half of this guppy’s body is black while the rest is blue. Additionally, the half-black blue guppy can come in different shades of blue.
- Half-Black Red Guppy- Boasting bright red fins, tails, and a black body, there is no questioning the beauty of this fish. Experts say that this particular type of guppy is also more difficult to locate than the average fish.
- Half-Black Yellow Guppy- As its name hints at, this particular guppy has two unique colors, black and yellow, that combine to create a remarkable contrasting effect. Another unique feature of this fish is that its tail can also be marked with black dots and patterns.
Differentiating guppy fish by the pattern of their tails.
Guppy fish have some of the most extraordinary large flowing tails you’ll ever find. To add to the grandeur, these tails can come in a variety of beautiful patterns.
These types of guppies have black and orange spots that can be compared to those prevalent on a leopard’s coat. This is where the guppy fish gets its name.
Most of the patterns you’ll find on this guppy’s body are fairly dark in color. The rest of its body is typically coated in bright and light colors (white, blue, and red), bringing about a remarkable contrast that can only be described as a visual feast for the eyes.
Mosaic Tail Guppy.
This particular guppy derives its name from the irregular pattern spread across its tail. The aforementioned pattern has several interconnected spots that form an interesting pattern. Another thing that adds to the mosaic tail guppy’s mystique is that it has a plethora of colors that contrast wonderfully with the existing patterns.
Because of their remarkably vivid and iridescent hues, the mosaic tail guppy can additionally be classified as a fancy guppy. The most unique types of guppies in this category come with a variety of delta-shaped or half-moon tail patterns.
One of the most notable features that a glass guppy has is that it is transparent. This results from a unique trait which the glass guppy has in its genetic code, which inhibits the development of guanine.
The absence of this silver dye means that the fish cannot glisten, further hindering its ability to reflect light, which in turn, would make the fish in question less transparent.
Glass guppies also lack the black melanin gene, further enhancing the transparent nature of their body. Another interesting fact about the glass guppy is that they are bred in the same manner that albino guppies are bred.
This subspecies of guppy usually comes with a snakeskin type pattern. The pattern can sometimes also resemble a fine web. This beautiful, lace-like pattern usually covers the entirety of the fish’s body; the unique coloring gives it a fascinating look and a great addition to any aquarium.
Another unique feature present in the lace guppy is its tail, which is typically fan-shaped and lined with a variety of colors. This can range from orange, to red, to even blue.
Differentiating guppy fish by their body-type.
A plethora of guppy fish can be differentiated according to the colored patterns across their bodies. Interestingly, new guppy breeds can take on solid colors like blue, black, or even a unique shade of turquoise.
Additionally, it is important to remember that when adhering to this form of classification, you’ll typically ignore the patterns of the tail.
The tuxedo guppy is a type of guppy with two contrasting hues spread across the back and front of their bodies. These guppies derive their name from this contrast; the upper portion of their body is usually light in color, whereas the lower section is significantly darker. It gives off the impression that they are wearing a tuxedo suit.
These guppies typically have a vertical-type pattern that covers most of their bodies. A quick glance at this pattern will tell you how they got the name ‘snakeskin.’ In most cases, they boast similar markings to that of a snake.
The average snakeskin guppy will also have an individual rosette located across its body. We should also mention that these fish’s pattern can even resemble the stripes of a tiger in some cases. If this occurs, then the snakeskin guppy will usually boast other colors such as orange, gold, and black.
The cobra guppy is a fish that can be bred to have several different colors. These range from orange, white, bright orange, green and in some cases, black. Switching focus to their pattern, we learned that these guppies not only have vertical patterns, but also rosettes which are scattered across their body.
Another interesting feature about this fish is that the female guppy has a fairly passive pattern in comparison to its male counterpart. As a result, male guppies are ideal for aquarium keepers who wish to showcase all the remarkable feature a cobra guppy has.
Guppy Fish Tank.
Fishkeeping is a hobby that is rapidly increasing in popularity. One common misconception that new keepers have is that they need to first acquire a fish tank before they buy the fish that they are interested in. However, most experts argue that you should first have your desired fish in mind even before thinking about the tank you are going to get.
There are several factors to take into account when looking for an appropriate tank for your guppy fish. One such factor to consider is the size of the tank. If you get a tank that is too small for instance, it can bring a variety of problems. These include developing aggressive behavior, unhealthy water parameters and even stunted growth.
A good number of aquarium owners usually opt for ten-gallon tanks, even though experts say that a 5-galloon tank would suffice depending on the number of fish you intend to keep.
The bigger the tank, the more content your guppy will be, so first-time fish keepers are advised to get anything over 10 gallons. Another fact that guppy owners need to remember is that they are native to South America.
Why is this important? Well, in order for your guppy to thrive, you have to duplicate these precise conditions. Fish keepers are therefore advised to keep the pH between 7.0 to 7.2; they also have to keep the water regulated between 75 to about 80 °F. Thirdly, you will also need a water filter to go with the tank. Most tank set-ups can contend with a back filter. Anything over 50 gallons however will require an external cannister filter.
Setting up your tank.
The set up you choose for your tank goes hand in hand with the reason you decided to get your guppy in the first place. Some fish keepers just want to care for their guppies while others are interested in breeding them.
- Show Tank– this is a set up intended for display guppies. This set up also requires a variety of rocks and live plants. Recommended plants include the Amazon Sword and Hornworts.
- Breeding Tank– this set up requires floating plants such as the java moss, which not only provide ideal hiding spots for your guppy, but also aid in filtration.
Guppy Fish Care.
There are several things to take into consideration when caring for your guppy fish. Because of their passive native, guppies can often be kept in community aquariums. However, aquarium owners need to take great care when choosing which other fish species guppy can co-exist with. This is because that some fish will try to bite the guppies’ exquisite, long fins.
As such, guppies usually co-exist better primarily with other guppies. Fish owners need a few basic equipment to ensure that their guppies are well cared for and thriving in their aquariums.
These include: a thermometer and heater to stabilize the temperature of the water, a fishnet in order to move your guppy safely whenever the need arises, air stones to regulate oxygen levels and algae scrubbers that will keep your aquarium in tip top shape. Guppies additionally favor water with high amounts of essential minerals such as magnesium and calcium.
Keeping your guppies at the recommended temperature will ensure that your fish have an average of 2 to 3 years. Interestingly, raising these temperatures often leads to an increase in size, and the frequency of reproduction. The only downside to this is that their lifespan will only be limited to about 18 months.
Decreasing the temperature to around 72°F will considerably improve your guppy fish’s lifespan. Fish kept in this condition typically live for 3 and a half years. Because of their relative longer tails, guppy fish can contract a number of fungal infections. One such disease fish owners have to keep an eye out for is Ich.
Guppies afflicted with this condition have tiny white dots scattered across their skin, which prompts the fish to rub up against various surfaces. To treat this condition, you’ll need to acquire medication available at most pet stores.
Another condition your guppy is prone to is fin rot. You’ll need medication to treat this condition as well. Prevention is also possible if you choose appropriate aquarium mates that will not try to bite your guppy.
Guppy Fish Food.
Experts recommend that you should only feed your guppies about two times a day. Fish keepers are also advised to feed them for about a minute or so. The food they eat should be consumed within that time frame, and exceeding this time frame is tantamount to overfeeding. We can only make exceptions if we are feeding smaller fish, or fry, which require about 3 to 5 meals a day.
The guppies’ diet includes different foods like sliced earthworms, pellets, mosquito larvae, fruit flies, bloodworms, daphnia, flake foods and even brine shrimp. Other than this, you can additionally find salmon based- processed fish food which are specifically designed for guppies.
Frozen brine fish remains the most common guppy fish food owing to the ease at which it can be produced from the comfort of one’s home. In general, guppies will eat about anything, even the algae growing along the base of the aquarium as they are not picky eaters.
What fish can live with Guppy Fish?
It is imperative to know what type of fish can get on well with your guppy in the tank. As we mentioned before, the guppy fish run the risk of being attacked by other fish species that try to chew their long, flowy fins. As such, it is unwise to keep guppies alongside volatile types of fish such as bala sharks or even tiger barbs who will not only bite their fins, but also eat them.
So what fish are compatible with guppies? Well, there are a few things to consider in this regard. For one, you should ensure that the fish has a peaceful temperament. Secondly, you should also ensure that the fish can co-exist in the same water conditions as guppies. Thirdly, the fish in question also needs to be of a similar size in comparison to the guppy, and also have the same diet.
Taking both of these factors into account, experts advise that you raise your guppies alongside passive fish species such as the neon tetra and the cory catfish. Other fish that can live with guppies include: Molly fish, Bristlenose Pleco, Betta fish, Platy Fish, Angelfish, Rasbora fish, Gourami fish, Siamese Algae Eater, Shrimp, Otocinclus fish and Clown fish.
Facts and Info.
- Guppy fish got their name from an explorer named Robert John Lechmere Guppy. He first spotted them in 1866 while he was in Trinidad. Upon discovery, the guppy was transported back to the British museum where it was granted the title ‘Girardinus guppii.’
- Most guppies come in three distinct colors: green, blue and red.
- Guppies are remarkably energetic, and spend most of their day swimming across the aquarium.
- Guppy fish have a gestation period of about 30 days.
- Experts say that if your guppy fish regularly hides, then it is a good sign that they might be ill or even experiencing stress.
- The average male guppy can grow up to 1.4 inches in length. Its female counterpart on the other hand can measure in up to 2.4 inches at full maturity.
- Distinguishing between male and female guppies is relatively easy. There are certain tell-tale features to look out for. Male guppies have developed anal fins that are not only narrower, but also longer than their female counterparts. Another distinguishing feature is that male guppies are brighter than female guppies.
- Female guppy fish grow their fry in their bodies, which makes them ovoviviparous.
- Several guppies were once dispersed across a plethora of water bodies in Asia in order combat mosquitos, and in the process reduce the rising cases of malaria.
- Another reason this type of fish is popular is that they are fairly easy to breed. Most of them require little motivation to reproduce.