The Aquarium Guide

How to Care for Guppies

Guppies

The Guppy (Poecilia reticulata) is one of the most popular freshwater fish species and there are plenty of reasons for their popularity.

They are colorful, lively, extremely fun to watch, and are adaptable to a great variety of conditions.

However, one thing that certainly sets them apart as a species is the fact that they are much easier to keep than most other species.

But this feat should not be abused considering there are many things you can do to help your guppies reach their full potential and thrive in your aquarium.

Here are some key factors to consider when it comes to taking exceptional care of your guppies.

Aquarium Size Suitable for Guppies

Guppy

Guppies are very small fish whose bio-load is also very small so they don’t really need much space to live normally.

However, they still need a reasonable amount of space and you will have to make sure that your tank is big enough for them to thrive.

When it comes to guppies, you can follow the general rule based on an estimate that one gallon of water is enough to support one inch of fish.

Experienced experts recommend your guppies should always be held as trios if there are both male and female guppies in the tank.

Starting from these three, they should be provided with 4 gallons of water and for any additional guppies, you should stick to the 1:1 ratio rule, which is at least one gallon of water per guppy.

For instance:

The Best Male to Female Ratio

male and female guppies

When it comes to keeping guppies, there are two ways to keep them in your tank.

If you don’t feel like breeding your guppies or having both sexes in your aquarium, you should definitely think about keeping males only.

Males are more colorful than females as well, so you will not miss out on keeping males only.

On the contrary, if you choose to keep both sexes of guppies, there are some guidelines on how to decide which ratio is the best.

Experts recommend at least a 1:2 male to female ratio for guppies because male guppies tend to harass females and chase them around too much if alone.

If you decide to adhere to this rule, the best way to do this is to keep your guppies in threes.

For example:

Water Temperature

Guppies breeding

Guppies are known for their hardiness and great ability to adjust to different environments, but if you really want your guppies to feel comfortable, there are some general recommendations for making your aquarium the best place for their exact needs.

The easiest way to do this is to mimic the atmosphere from their natural habitat in the waters of the Amazon River or rivers and lakes all across South America.

The ideal water temperature for guppies is anywhere between 10⁰- 29⁰Celsius (50⁰F – 84⁰F).

One thing particularly important is consistency; too much fluctuation in temperature can cause significant health issues, specifically if the temperature drops suddenly and drastically.

Water Parameters and Changing Water

guppy care

Water hardness and pH levels are both very important.

The pH levels range from 1 to 14, with pH values between 1 and 7 considered acidic and pH of 7 means the water is neutral; everything above 7 signifies the water is basic (alkaline).

Guppies prefer close-to-normal pH levels.

The ideal pH level for a guppy ranges from 6.8 to 7.8, the value found in their natural habitat.

The ideal water hardness for guppies is dGH 8-12.

The correlation between water hardness and pH is very important.

Usually, the higher the water hardness, the higher the pH level is.

The general rule for most species is to change half of your water every week so it always remains fresh and clean.

You can do this in many ways; some people recommend changing 10% of your water every day in order to keep your water in great condition.

If you do not have enough time for this technique, then you should change around 30% of your water every five days.

Many experts consider changing the water weekly (every 7 days) as suboptimal.

Learn more about aquarium water in our Freshwater Aquarium Water Guide.

Feeding Guppies

male guppy

Perhaps the most important thing when keeping guppies is feeding.

There are so many factors you need to take into consideration in deciding how to feed them properly.

The best foundation for your guppies’ diet is guppy flakes.

You should always pay attention to how diverse the food is you are giving them.

Always supplement fish flakes with other types of food for a varied diet.

Pellet fish food can also be used; however, you should ensure the pellets are small enough for their mouth.

The best choices are the special smaller pellets, designed for smaller fish such as guppies.

Guppies can also enjoy live or freeze-dried food in their diet.

Popular live or freeze-dried foods suitable for guppies include brine shrimp, daphnia, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms.

Additionally, guppies are partial to vegetables such as lettuce, peas, and cucumbers.

Feed your guppies only one or two times a day in small amounts at a time.

Never add more than your fish can eat.

You should read my post on Fish Feeding Schedule to learn more.

The most important thing when feeding your guppies is to NOT overfeed them.

This happens very often and can lead to a variety of bad issues for your guppies.

If your fish do eat too much, it can block their intestines. A sign to watch for is a trail of poop behind your fish signifying you are overfeeding your fish.

Moreover, the food your guppies leave uneaten will rot and may pollute the water in your aquarium.

Make sure not to overfeed your guppies in the first place, but if you did that – remove any uneaten food as soon as possible.

Wonderful addition to your aquarium

male guppies

Guppies can be a wonderful addition to any aquarium bringing color and excitement to your tank.

If keeping guppies, be sure to feed them properly and to keep the right combination of guppies together to avoid issues and you will enjoy this small acquisition.

11 thoughts on “How to Care for Guppies

  1. Hi! I have a few questions. I am staring a Guppy tank as a gift for my fiance and I would like to have another breed of fish in addition to my guppies. What fish are the best tank mates for them?? I have been looking around and I am just not getting consistent answers. This text was pretty informational and I was wondering if you could maybe help me out a bit??

      1. I would’ve thought that acid loving neon tetras are a poor choice as a tank mate for the more alkaline loving guppy?

  2. Will guppies sometimes bite each other’s tails? I have a beta fish in the tank, too, but he really is not mean. The guppy tails are still being bitten, but I haven’t seen which fish is/are biting.

    1. Yes, they might bite each others tail but just make sure there’s enough food, space and hiding places in your tank. Even then, observe your tank and ensure everyone is living happily. =)

  3. I have had my tank set up for about 1 month now and my Guppies used to swim all around the top, middle and bottom of the tank but the last couple of days my Guppies are staying near the top of the tank way more than they use to. Is there a reason for this that I am unaware of?

    1. it could be that your tank does not have enough oxygen, i would advise that you get a bubbler. a bubbler will help with the oxygen levels and circulate the water.

  4. I had 9 guppies, I don’t know how many males and females there were (they were given to us). We had them in a gallon tank, then just recently moved them to a 2 gallon tank. I know 1 was huge, like, ready to have babies… Yesterday all the guppies were dead except for about 5/6 babies on the bottom of the tank. what could have caused all the adult guppies to die and the babies are still there?

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