Guppy Fish – scientifically known as the Poecilia reticulata – is one of the most beautiful, and most popular aquarium fish species. It is a small fish species with beautiful color patterns scattered all over its body. Guppy Fish also has multiple trade names in different areas such as Millionfish and Rainbow fish. It is one of the smallest fish species by size, ranging between 0.6–2.4 inches in length. Only healthy adults reach the 2.4 inches limit that is kept under perfect environment and habitat conditions.

Anton Melqkov, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Guppy Fish is one of the most popular fish species on the planet that is found in aquariums all over the world. Apart from that, it is also one of the widely distributed fish species of tropical origin. It is a member of the Poeciliidae family of fish. It is one of the most unique fish species when it comes to breeding because this fish species shows a distinct behavior. It keeps the eggs inside its mouth until they hatch and young Fry comes out of these eggs. Also, it is one of the peaceful species that live in the bottom and middle layers of the tank and enjoys swimming around and exploring in a group.

Because of its beautiful features, unique habits, and peaceful nature, this fish species has gained a lot of popularity among fish keepers. It has become one of the most loved fish species. This fish species is also used in scientific research on multiple topics. It is easy to care for and look after if you know the proper care guidelines. The article below contains all the information that you need for taking care of the Guppy Fish.

Basic Facts Table

Lifespan2 years with proper care.
Size0.6 to 2 inches.
ColorsYellow, Orange, Blue, Black, Red, Green, and Pink.
Freshwater or SaltwaterFreshwater
Care LevelMedium.
CompatibilityPeaceful community tanks

Tank Companions

Here is a list of the possible tank companions/tank mates for the Guppy Fish.

Apart from the fish, you can also pair them with non-fish tank companions such as Nerite Snails and Small Shrimps.

How To Select Tank Companions?

If you are selecting a tank companion or tank mate for the Guppy Fish apart from the ones that are listed above, there are a few guidelines that you need to follow. Here is a list of those guidelines that can help you find more potential candidates for the Guppy Fish aquarium.

  1. Make sure that your fish has a similar size as the Guppy Fish. Introducing them to larger fish species is not a good idea because they might get eaten or bullied by the large fish. This would put immense pressure and stress on their brains all the time and is considered bad for their health. You can find a huge list of small species that are of the same size as the Guppy Fish in your tank.
  2. The second most important thing that you need to know about the other fish is that it has similar care guidelines and can live in the same tank conditions. For example, you can not introduce a saltwater fish species with the Guppy Fish because that fish would die instantly in your tank. After all, it lives in different conditions than the Guppy Fish which lives in freshwater habitats.
  3. Make sure that the companion fish species has a similar nature as the Guppy Fish. Guppy Fish is peaceful, joyful, and like to swim and explore the bottom layers of the tank. You should make sure that the other fish species have similar nature. A slight variation is also acceptable such as if the other fish species live in the top layers of the tank, unlike the bottom layer. It reduces the chances of conflict inside the tank.

These are small details that you need to look for in a potential candidate. This will help you find the right tank companions for the Guppy Fish.

Species Overview

The Guppy Fish is a small fish with multiple color patterns that spread all over the fish body. It is a member of the Poeciliidae fish species that live in northeast parts of South America. It is a tropical fish species that have been introduced to a lot of places on different continents. This fish can settle in different climates and live through smaller changes in its environment. You can call this a hardy fish species that can quickly acclimate itself to the new habitats.

For this ability, it is a subject of many types of research on ecology, behavior studies, and evolution. It has a smaller lifespan that allows scientists to study the evolution process through multiple generations in a short period. This is also an omnivore fish species that eat everything in the wild habitats including other fish, small insects, larvae, invertebrates, vegetation, and more. In this species, males and females are easy to differentiate because both have different types of bodies. The male bodies are short and contain an ornamental dorsal fin that females lack. It is native to many countries in the tropical region of South America.

It is an invasive fish species in many regions. This is because it reproduces rapidly and becomes abundant in the places where it is introduced. According to research, this phenomenon carries risks for native fish species of those areas. As they quickly reproduce in large numbers, they overtake the habitat and most of its resources. That puts extra stress on that ecosystem.


Guppy Fish has one of the most beautiful appearances in aquarium fish. Apart from being beautiful, it is also unique. This fish has a beautiful dorsal fin that fans out, (similar to pigeon, and peacock tails). But this dorsal fin is only seen in adult males. There are multiple types or varieties of this species. The wild varieties have small bodies that are covered with silver scales and there are no intriguing color patterns. You can only see these beautiful color patterns in those fish that are bred inside a tank. There are also differences in shape in wild bred and selectively bred varieties. The common color variants that you can find include, yellow, orange, blue, black, red, green, and pink.

Male Guppy Fish can range from 1.5–3.5 cm (0.6–1.4 in) in length. Female Guppy Fish is slightly larger than the males and can range from 3–6 cm (1.2–2.4 in) in length. Varieties of Guppy Fish that are selectively bred, produce multiple colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes of the fin. You can buy them according to your choice. All of them have similar care guidelines, so in this article, we will be discussing all of them as one. The size of this species mainly depends on the age and care that is provided to the fish. So, if you are providing excellent care to your fish, they would remain healthy and grow longer but with low care, they would die quickly and small.


The Guppy Fish is native to South America’s tropical region. It was found naturally in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. From here it was identified and brought to the United States, and Europe for research purposes and for selling in aquariums. This fish species has been introduced to many other parts of the world, and it has naturalized itself in those regions with slight variations. Now it can be found in almost all parts of the world in warm freshwater rivers, lakes, and ponds.

One of the main reasons for this species to become a global hit is that it feeds mainly on the larvae of insects such as mosquitos. Mosquitos carry a lot of diseases and there have been multiple efforts to lower the number of populations of mosquitoes, and the introduction of the Guppy Fish in those mosquito-infested areas was done as a part of that effort. It is one of the hardy fish species, meaning that it can live through water changes. For example, it is capable of living in brackish water that can kill most of the freshwater fish species.

Natural Habitat

This fish lives in freshwater habitats, mostly near the bottom layer where it can find food. Some varieties of wild Guppy Fish are also known for being able to tolerate the brackish water and live in harsh conditions. The natural habitat of the Guppy Fish contains rocks, small gravel-like pieces of rocks, and soft sand. So, when you are creating a habitat for them inside a tank, make sure to include all of these. Apart from that, their natural habitat contains a lot of small plants. Light can reach the bottom layer of their habitat, it allows them to hunt, and watch out for the predators who can kill them. The Guppy Fish lives in rivers, ponds, floodwater plains, lakes in the tropical region. 

Guppy Fish Lifespan

The lifespan of Guppy Fish depends on the type of care you are providing them in the tank. In wild habitats, the Guppy Fish is seasonal, meaning that they only live for a year or slightly more. After they are born, they feed and reach maturity, then they start breeding and dieting afterward. The new population that they produce replenishes the ones that died.

If your tank has perfect conditions, you can expect your fish to live for 2 – 4 years. With minimal care, this fish can live up to 18 months or less. So, make sure that you learn about their habitat, and tank conditions carefully and provide them with a perfect habitat and environment to live in. It would increase their lifespan.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

Habitat and tank conditions are very important for extending the lifespan of Guppy Fish, and that is why you need to learn about parameters that make a habitat and tank perfect for the fish species. Here is a list of a few things that you need to consider while building a perfect tank and habitat inside the tank for your fish.

Tank Size

You should start with the size of the tank. It is a small fish species, and you can use smaller tanks for them. But you need to make sure that the tank you are selecting has enough space for all the members of your tank (Guppy Fish + Companions). There are two parameters here that you need to know beforehand. First, the total number of fish that you would put in your tank. Apart from fish, you also need to consider the number of non-fish companions. This would give you the basic idea for a tank of Guppy Fish. Second, you need to know the average fish per gallon ratio of your fish species.

From this, you can calculate the actual size of your tank. You need to multiply the number of fish by the average fish/ tank ratio. This will give you an idea about the total size of the tank. Another important thing to consider here is that the Guppy Fish lives in the bottom layer. So, you don’t need a vertically large tank, instead, you need a horizontally longer tank with the same capacity. This will give your Guppy Fish and companions inside the tank more space to explore the bottom layer.

Tank Setup

After selecting the right side of the tank, you need to start working on the tank setup. Tank setup means what you need to put inside the tank to make it a habitable and safe place for the Guppy Fish. I would suggest that you start with the bottom layer. Start spreading a layer of small stones, fine gravel, and sand in the bottom layer. It would look similar to the bottom layer of the natural habitat of the Guppy Fish.

Once you are done with that, you will need to place some caves and decorations inside the tank. So, that your fish can explore, hide, and take shelter in these caves.  You can also add some driftwood as a decoration inside the water. After that, you can start the plantation process. Select those plants that are capable of living in tropical underwater habitats. They would be a perfect fit for the Guppy Fish.

Apart from these, you will need to put in a temperature monitor and control unit or heater inside the tank if you live in a cold region. In warm regions, you may not need the heater but will have to use a temperature monitor so that you can keep it in control. The next thing that you need to add to your tank is a filter of appropriate size relevant to your tank. The filtration system inside the tank produces water current or flow, filters the water inside the tank, and adds more oxygen to water. If your tank is placed where there is no light, you may have to use standard aquarium lights to keep the place lit.

Water Conditions/Parameters

Creating a perfect habitat is only possible if you can maintain certain parameters inside that tank. The Guppy Fish have some specific parameters or water conditions that you need to maintain to make sure that your fish lives long. Here is a list of those parameters and the ranges that are acceptable for the Guppy Fish.

  • Temperature between 64°F to 84°F (70°F or slightly high is perfect)
  • pH levels between 6.8 to 7.6 (Neutral to Alkaline water)
  • Hardness between 8 to12 dGH.

Changes in these parameters can be lethal for the members of your tank. So, make sure that you monitor these parameters and maintain them accordingly. The wild Guppy Fish can survive harsh conditions and changes in the parameters, but the selectively bred Guppies cannot. That is why you need to maintain these parameters to prevent them from dying.

Water Source

According to expert fish keepers, you can use water from any source. But you will have to test the water to make sure it is safe. If the water is safe, you can use it, otherwise, you will have to look for any other sources of water for your Guppy Fish aquarium.

Behavior and Temperament

This fish is known for being a peaceful fish species. Guppy Fish shows almost no signs of aggression, apart from a habit of nibbling on the fins of other fish inside the tank. But it is a rare condition that is only seen when you are not feeding them enough. It is one of the most curious fish species that likes to explore every part of the aquarium. It will play with any decorations that you put inside the tank.

The Guppies like to chase each other and play in groups, and they also display schooling and shoaling behavior. When they are playing or swimming in circles, you might also find one or two individuals who are not with the group. They are very peaceful, and that is why they make a good tank mate with a lot of other small and peaceful species. Guppies also show sleep behavior at night time. That is why you need to put lights in the tank. Make sure that your lights are turned on during the day and off during the nighttime.

Breeding Guppy Fish

Guppy fish is one of those species that are easy to breed. But you will need to be careful during the breeding process because the male in this species can develop dominant traits and might bully the others. That is why it is advised to use separate tanks for breeding the Guppies. Here are the details about breeding the Guppies.

  • Start with identifying the males and females, based on their differences.
  • Put three females and one male inside the breeding tank.
  • Make sure that your breeding tank has caves and low floating plants. You should start raising the temperature gradually after putting the Guppies inside the tank. When you reach 79ºF, you should stop raising it further.
  • Male Guppies breed with multiple females at the same time and this is why this species can reproduce quickly. After the spawning happens, you will notice black spots on the body of female Guppies.
  • It is better to remove the male guppies and non-pregnant female guppies from the tank to prevent aggression. Female would carry the fertilized eggs inside its belly and would release the Fry at the time of hatching. The gestation period can range between 26 and 31 days.

The female Guppies will be ready for reproduction after 14 to 21 days while the male Guppies will be ready after 7 days of spawning.

Fry Care

You should provide extra food to the pregnant female Guppy Fish during this period. It would make the Fry healthy. After Fry comes out of the female body, you can feed it specialized food for the Fry Care. Fish flakes and Brine Shrimps are a few examples of Fry diets. It will grow fast and will be ready to be introduced in the main tank after a few weeks. You will have to keep this tank extra clean so that your Fry can survive these few weeks.

Diet of Guppy Fish

Similar to other fish species of its family, the Guppy Fish is also an omnivore. Its wild variants eat everything that they can find in the bottom layer and middle layer of the tank. This means you can feed them a variety of foods in your tanks. You can create a diet chart and feed them according to that. You should include flakes, pellets, frozen meat, live worms, and vegetables (powdered). A balanced diet would extend the lifespan of your fish and would help you keep them healthy.

Diseases of Guppy Fish

Here is a list of the possible diseases that can impact the Guppy Fish population.

  • Ich: It is one of the most common fish illnesses that can kill your entire tank. It is easy to identify because it creates white spots all over the fish’s body. This is caused by a parasite and is treatable. But you will have to first quarantine the infected individuals, clean your tank, and start with new water. You can treat it using medications prescribed for this disease.
  • Fin Rot: It is not a serious health concern but it can cause infections and those infections can kill your fish. That is why it is very important to identify it and treat it. Identifying it is easy because it causes the fins and tail to rot. You should quarantine your fish, clean your tank and treat the infected individual.
  • Protozoan Disease: It is a disease that is only common in the guppies. That is why it is also known as the guppy disease. It is caused by a protozoan, Tetrahymena sp. It is a serious disease that can kill your entire tank population. loss of appetite, problems breathing, and excess slime are the common symptoms that you need to look for. It is caused by low temperature and unclean conditions inside the tank. So, it can be easily treated by increasing the temperature of your tank. Aggressive solutions include cleaning the entire tank and treating your fish with medicines.

What is the Ideal Size For The Tank?

The ideal size for the tank of Guppy fish is 10 gallons for a healthy population. But if you want to add more guppies in this tank, you will have to go for 1 gallon per fish larger size. Some people also use the five gallons tank. But that is not a recommended size.

Are Guppy Fish Saltwater or Freshwater Species?

The Guppy Fish is a freshwater fish species. But it is also able to survive in partial salt waters, i.e Brackish water.

Are Guppy Fish schooling species or not?

Yes, Guppy Fish is a schooling and shoaling species. They like to swim in a group. The smallest school size of the Guppy Fish is six. Some members of the school might deviate from normal schooling behavior and separate them from the group. It is a temporary behavior because you will notice that it will come back and rejoin the group.

Conclusion – Are Guppy Fish Suitable For Your Aquarium?

Yes, it is perfect for any aquarium. This is because the Guppy Fish is one of the smallest, most beautiful, and joyful fish species that are also fun to watch. It is a peaceful fish species that likes to play with other members of the tank. It gets along very well with other species and helps you create a perfect community aquarium of small fish species. Also, it requires minimum care and minimum input during the breeding cycle. So, if you love small, beautiful, joyful, and active fish species, it is perfect for your aquarium.


Question: What is the average price of Guppy Fish?

Answer: It depends on the variety, size, age, and breeding of the fish. But on average a couple is sold at 25$ to $60 range. Some varieties are also sold at cheaper rates, starting from less than $5.

Question: Are there any big Guppy Fish?

Answer: Yes, there are many moderately big Guppy Fish/species. For example, Fancy Guppy, which is one of the largest Guppies. It can grow up to 2.4 inches in length.

Question: What are the names of Guppy Fish?

Answer: Poecilia Reticulata is the scientific name of Guppy Fish. Other names of Guppy Fish include Millionfish and Rainbow Fish.

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