Fantail guppies -- commonly referred to as fancy guppies -- are named for the males' brightly colored, fanning tails. These relatively hardy fish live in large, peaceful schools. With proper care, guppies live two to three years on average, and some can live slightly longer.
The general rule for guppy aquarium space is that you need 1 to 2 gallons of water for every inch of guppy. If you have a dozen 2-inch guppies, you need a minimum of 24 to 48 gallons of water. Like all fish, guppies thrive in larger environments, so invest in the largest tank you can afford. Proper filtration is vital for removing bacteria and debris, and you should change 10 to 20 percent of the water each week. Aquarium gravel is an ideal substrate, and guppies thrive when they have plants or aquarium ornaments that provide them with hiding places.
Temperature and Lighting
Guppies are tropical fish that do best in water slightly above room temperature -- 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. If your house is cool, an aquarium heater or heat light can help maintain the water temperature. Guppies need regular light cycles to maintain a normal eating and sleeping cycle. Give your guppies 12 hours of light daily; too much light can cause an overgrowth of algae.
Guppies are omnivorous scavengers who will eat just about anything. They can subsist on guppy flakes. However, for optimum health, you should give your guppies some fresh foods such as brine shrimp, shredded vegetables and very small feeder fish. Never feed guppies live food you have caught in the wild, as these animals may contain dangerous bacteria and parasites.
Ich is a parasite that can result in white spots on your fish, fin deterioration and death. Caught early enough, over-the-counter aquarium treatments may eliminate the disease. Quarantine any fish with symptoms, and drain and refill the tank with fresh water. Gill flukes may cause your fish to scratch their scales along aquarium ornaments and hover near the surface of the water. Copper sulfate can effectively treat this condition. However, you should not treat any illness until you know what it is, so consult a veterinarian or a fish breeder who can help you diagnose the illness.
- Animal World: Guppies
- Aquarium Care of Fancy Guppies; Stan Shubel
- Guppy Care Simplified; Philip Shaddock
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.