Guppies are easy to keep and fun to watch. The antics of these colorful little fish brighten the day for novice and experienced aquarists alike, but guppies do have a few basic requirements if you want to have them around for a while.
Guppies need enough room to move around comfortably. They are speedy swimmers and like to dart back and forth, so plenty of space is important to their happiness and overall success. Figure on giving your fish about 2 gallons of water each, though you can get by with keeping three of them in a 5-gallon tank. It’s even better if you put five of them in a 10-gallon tank, but it isn’t absolutely necessary. If they’re going to live in a community tank with other species, go for 20 gallons or more.
Guppies are social, so never keep one all by himself. Keep at least three guppies together at all times to keep them at their best. Watch them and you’ll see that they tend to pal around with each other quite a bit, and don’t really hang out with any of the other fish you have. If you don’t want to deal with baby guppies, get all boys or all girls only, but be aware that females can keep having babies for months after being with a male. Never keep them with aggressive fish or those large enough to eat them.
Obviously your guppies need water to survive, and they aren’t terribly fussy about it, but they do have some basic requirements for staying healthy. Treat the water to remove harmful metals and chemicals such as chlorine and chloramines, and test to make sure ammonia levels are safe. If not, change out about 30 percent of the tank water with seasoned water. Guppies do best with weekly or bi-weekly water changes, so plan on replacing about 20 to 30 percent of their water every week or so. Use a filtration system full time to keep the water clean between changes.
Keep the tank temperature about 76 to 78 degrees, although your guppies can survive in a much wider range. Make sure they have good lighting about 12 to 14 hours each day, enough to clearly illuminate the inside of the tank, though it doesn’t need to be excessively bright. Feed them good-quality food that caters to their omnivorous nature. Flakes with algae work well, and then add some brine shrimp or mosquito larvae several times a week to help maintain your guppies’ health. Never overfeed, since it will quickly dirty up the water.
- International Fancy Guppy Association: Beginner’s Guide
- Aquarium Fish: Fancy Guppies
- Aquarium Care of Fancy Guppies; Stan Shubel
- Guppies, Mollies, and Platys: Everything About Purchase, Care, Nutrition, and Behavior; Harro Hieronimus
- Aquarium image by crossgolfing from Fotolia.com