How to Know Guppy Fish Are Healthy

Male guppy fish are known for their long, brightly colored fins.

Male guppy fish are known for their long, brightly colored fins.

Nurturing a thriving school of guppy fish is a great way to bring living color to your tank. If your guppies aren't healthy, however, they won't display their best coloration and they could spread disease to your other fish. Knowing what signs to look for will help you determine whether your guppy fish are healthy.

Test the water chemistry in your tank using an aquarium water test kit. The results of the test will tell you whether there is a problem with the chemistry in your tank. If there is, you will have a better idea of the cause for any abnormal behavior your guppy fish exhibit.

Feed your guppy fish small amounts of food twice a day -- only as much as they will consume in three to five minutes. Healthy guppies will eagerly accept a variety of foods, darting to the surface of the tank to eat.

Observe your guppies for abnormal behaviors such as difficulty swimming or lolling at the bottom of the tank. These can be symptoms of disease or could point to a problem with the water quality in your tank.

Watch your guppies as they breathe to get a feel for their normal breathing rate. If at some point you notice a guppy fish gasping for breath or breathing at an abnormally high rate, it may be diseased. Red, inflamed gills can also be a sign of poor health.

Examine the anatomy of your guppy fish to check for growths and anomalies. Healthy guppies should have smooth scales with no bumps or protrusions, and their fins should be whole. Cysts, sores and torn fins are common symptoms of disease in freshwater fish like guppies.

Compare the coloration of your guppy fish with that the other fish in your tank. Healthy male guppies should be some of the most brightly colored fish in the tank; female guppies, though typically more drably colored, should exhibit uniform coloration. Unhealthy guppies may be dull in color, and they could exhibit dark or discolored patches of scales.

Observe the condition and movement of the fins on your guppy fish to check for signs of poor health. If the fins of your guppy fish are in good condition, they will not be clamped to the fish's sides, they will be clear rather than cloudy, and they will show no white spots or growths.

Check in on your guppy fish several times throughout the day to gauge their behavior. If they are spending a great deal of time hiding rather than swimming in the open, they may be stressed or ill.

Tip

  • If you suspect that one of your guppy fish is ill, immediately transfer it to a quarantine tank. Removing sick fish from the tank as quickly as possible will help reduce the chances of disease spreading to your other fish.
 

About the Author

Katherine Barrington has written on a variety of topics, from arts and crafts to pets, health and do-it-yourself projects. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing concentration from Marietta College.

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