How to Start a Guppy Tank

Guppies are known for their long fins and bright colors.

Guppies are known for their long fins and bright colors.

Guppies are a colorful species of tropical aquarium fish that can be easy to keep. If you are looking for a good beginner fish, think about starting a guppy tank.

Select an aquarium to use for your guppy tank. For up to three pairs of guppies, a 10-gallon tank will be sufficient. If you plan to keep 10 or more guppies, choose a tank 20 gallons or larger in capacity.

Rinse out the inside of your guppy tank and wipe it clean with a paper towel to remove any dirt or dust. Do not use any cleaning products on the inside of your guppy tank as the residual chemicals could contaminate your tank water.

Set up your guppy tank on top of a sturdy cabinet or aquarium stand. Place the tank in a visible location where it will not be at risk of being bumped into or knocked over.

Line the bottom of your guppy tank with 1 to 2 inches of aquarium substrate. For a natural look, choose gravel or substrate. If you want your tank to be more colorful or whimsical, select a colored gravel or use colored glass marbles.

Fill your tank three-quarters full with lukewarm tap water. To avoid displacing the substrate as you fill the tank, set a bowl upside down inside the tank and pour the water in on top of the bowl so it doesn't form a depression in the substrate. Drop an in-tank thermometer into the tank to gauge the temperature.

Install your aquarium equipment including an aquarium heater, a filter and a lighting system. Read the instructions included with each piece of equipment to set it up properly.

Set the thermostat on your aquarium heater for a temperature between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It could take up to 24 hours for the temperature to stabilize.

Install any additional pieces of aquarium decor you desire. Use large pieces of driftwood or water-worn rocks as accent pieces in your aquarium, and space out some live or artificial aquarium plants around the larger pieces of decor. If you are using a lot of live plants, concentrate the taller plants toward the back of the tank and the shorter ones up front.

Fill the tank the rest of the way with warm tap water. Use the reading on your tank thermometer to gauge the appropriate temperature for the water as you are filling the tank.

Dose the water in the tank with an aquarium water conditioner. These conditioners are designed to remove chlorine and other toxins from tap water in order to make it safe for aquarium fish.

Allow your guppy tank to cycle before you add your fish -- this could take up to two weeks. Use an aquarium test kit to test your tank water once or twice a day. When the ammonia and nitrite levels reach zero, it is safe to assume your tank has cycled.

Introduce your guppies to the new tank by floating the bag you brought them home in from the pet store in the tank for at least 30 minutes. Scoop a little tank water into the bag so the guppies become acclimated to the water chemistry. After 30 minutes has elapsed, net the guppies from the bag and release them into their new tank.

Items you will need

  • Aquarium
  • Paper towel
  • Sturdy cabinet or aquarium stand
  • Aquarium substrate
  • Bowl
  • Aquarium heater
  • Aquarium filter
  • Aquarium lighting system
  • Driftwood
  • Large rocks
  • Live plants
  • Aquarium water conditioner
  • Aquarium water test kit

Warning

  • Do not place your guppy tank in a location that receives a lot of direct sunlight. If you do, you will likely experience problems with excess algae growth.
 

Photo Credits

  • session aquarium 1 image by Anthony CALVO from Fotolia.com