When Does a Baby Guppy Get Color?

by Cindy Quarters, Demand Media
    Color is a big part of a guppy's appeal.

    Color is a big part of a guppy's appeal.

    It’s exciting to see a tiny baby guppy turn from a plain brown fish into a colorful fancy guppy, giving you a glimpse of his future. Color is the main reason fanciers raise guppies, and if you have some babies you may be wondering when you’ll start seeing results.


    The genetics of your baby guppy play a big part in determining when he’s going to start showing color. If you’ve bred the same strain in the past, you can expect your new baby will show color at about the same age as past generations. If you aren’t sure when to expect a change, it’s mostly a wait-and-see game, since he may start to show color at anywhere from about one week to six weeks of age. Make a note of when his color begins to show, because you can expect his babies to show color at around the same age.


    What you feed your baby guppy can have a significant impact on when he starts to show color. If he only gets dry, flaked foods, he will mature more slowly than a fish that is fed a rich, varied diet. Add a mix of foods, including vegetable matter and dry foods, to help your fish to mature quickly, which will result in him starting to show color as early as possible. Feed him baby brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms and microworms to make sure he gets plenty of protein. Bits of cooked peas, without the skin, also help guppies to grow.


    A baby guppy kept in a relatively cool tank, around 74 to 76 degrees, will grow at a moderate rate. If you warm up the tank a bit, to about 80, his growth rate will get a big boost. You’ll find that he eats a more and grows much faster in a warm tank. As a result, your baby guppy will get his color much sooner in a warm tank than in a cool one, but make sure that it doesn’t get too warm, since overly warm water can harm him.

    Water Quality

    The presence of fish in a tank causes the buildup of nitrates in the water, a natural by-product of uneaten food and fish wastes. Too many nitrates act as a biological control, signaling that the area is overcrowded. This will cause your baby guppy’s growth to slow down, and it means that it will take longer for him to begin to show any color. Replace about half the water in the tank every week to keep your guppy growing. He’ll show his colors much sooner if you do.


    About the Author

    A recipient of a business and technology degree from the master's program at West Coast University, Cindy Quarters has been writing professionally since 1984. Past experience as a veterinary technician and plenty of time gardening round out her interests. Quarters has had work featured in Radiance Magazine and the AKC Gazette.

    Photo Credits

    • abstraction color light image by ELEN from Fotolia.com