Guppy Fish Care
Guppies are one of the most popular fish with new aquarist. They are generally a very hardy fish to keep, perfect for beginner aquarist, come in many different shapes and sizes, have a wide variety of personality, and are some of the most colorful freshwater fish available, with just about any color available. You cannot walk into any store that sells fish and not see at least one tank with Guppies in them and are usually one of the cheaper fish you can buy for freshwater aquariums. In this article you will know more about Guppy fish care.
Yes, even something as small as a Guppy has many different species. There are Dumbo Ears, Mosaic, Tuxedo, Neons, Cobras, Snakeskin, Lace, Metal, Glass, Half Colors, Solid, Albino, Tiger, Platinum. The list is very impressive. However, most of the time, the ones you will see in your local pet store are what many Guppy keepers will call “Mutts”. Yes, just like with a dog you call a mutt, a guppy mutt is a mix of probably at least three different species to get what you see. Guppies have been breed and crossbred for long times to create different species and looks and colors. Guppies are the hardest fish to pinpoint exactly what strain it comes from unless you are buying from a breeder with a specific strain. Nonetheless, they are still a beautiful and vibrant addition to any freshwater tank.
Many misconceptions is that fish are low maintenance and all you have to do if feed them and watch them. It isn’t all that easy and will not be as hard as it may sound either. Most importantly for any new fish you need a cycled tanked. This will ensure the overall health of your new pet. In the tank you will need gravel, sand, or rocks on the bottom, lots of plants (live or fake), a filter, and a heater. Guppy fish tank temperature should be 55-85⁰ F (10-29⁰ C). Outside of the tank you will need a net, food, water conditioner (to help with ammonia and chlorine), a Master Freshwater Test Kit, and a biologic liquid to help keep your water balanced, so its easier to take guppy fish care. You will need a gravel vacuum, or a python to help with water changes and depending on which you choose, a large bucket to put the dirty water in. These are minimum initial requirements for any fish you choose.
Because Guppies are a smaller fish, they will react faster and with definite symptoms usually of any kind of imbalance within your tank. This means that you need to keep your water parameters in check and do weekly water changes unless your parameters are off. Ammonia is a big factor in Guppy aquariums. Guppy fecal matter is high in ammonia usually and the filter you choose for your tank needs to be able to handle and keep up with the bioload that your guppies will put out. If you are planning on breeding your guppies you will need a dense supply of plants for the fry (babies) to hide in or a breeding net to allow you to separate the babies into another tank. It is also a good idea to keep on hand Medicine for fungal and bacterial infections, some freshwater aquarium salt, medicine for Ick. It is awful to notice late at night that one of your fish babies is sick and you have to run to the store for medicine and hope that your local all night store carries what you may need to make them well.
Water Parameters for Guppies
For humans, our air quality that we breathe in daily determines some of our health issues. The cleaner the air, the healthier we are and the better we are able to breathe. For fish, they need clean water in order to keep their air clean. It is very important to test your tap water straight from the faucet with your Master Freshwater Test Kit to determine what you will need to add to your water to make it suitable for your guppies to live in and be healthy. It is also important to test your tap water before every water change as water companies will add chemicals to your drinking water without your knowledge and you may have to adjust what you need to add.
pH will determine if your water is acidic, neutral or alkaline. Guppies prefer water in the neutral to alkaline zone between 7-8. After your tank is cycled a weekly water test will be needed to ensure that your pH is in this zone. If your fish start acting differently, it is best to first check your water to see if the pH is off as your fish will react to a sudden change in pH.
KH or Total Alkalinity for guppies ideally should be around 120-180 ppm. This will help ensure a more stable pH for your tank.
GH or Total Hardness for guppies is around 200 ppm. This represents the minerals found in the water which helps with general health for your guppies. Think of it as vitamins we take everyday to keep us healthy and active.
Nitrite. This number should be at zero. Although it is safer than ammonia to your fish, it is still bad. If you notice while testing your water that your nitrite is showing a reading, it is important to start taking steps to lower it down to zero. Usually a simple partial water change can help the situation.
Nitrate. Nitrite will eventually turn into Nitrate in your tank through the process of your cycled ecosystem in your tank and is good in your tank. However, like all good things, too much can be bad. You want to keep these numbers between 0 and 40. If your numbers read more than that, you need to start with at least a partial water change to see if you can bring this number down to the safe zone.
Ammonia is bad, bad, bad for your fish. This number you will want to keep at zero as best as possible. Water changes weekly and not overfeeding your fish or overstocking your aquarium will help to keep this number closer to zero. You may see when testing your tap water that you may have trace readings of ammonia. That is where water conditioners come in to help you out. Like I mentioned earlier, guppy feces has ammonia in it and the more they poop, the more ammonia that will build up over time. A quality filter and monitoring of your water parameters will help you keep this number in check.
Just like with humans and other pets we may have in our lives, a quality diet is key to maintaining well being. Tropical flake food is one part of a great diet for your guppy. Choose one with protein and quality ingredients such as seafood and veggies. Your guppy has a very small stomach. About the size of their eye. Feed a small amount of flake food twice a day and only feed what they can eat in two to three minutes. Your guppy will also enjoy bloodworms both freeze dried and frozen. If you have the time to cultivate and raise your own bloodworms they will eat them live. Another favorite is baby brine shrimp. Once again, frozen or freeze dried will work. Your guppy may also eat Daphnia and mosquito larvae.
As for veggies, lettuce, peas, cucumbers, zucchini are great additions to drop in the tank. If you are going to feed peas, make sure to take the outter skin off of the pea and squish it up a bit before dropping it in the tank. Frozen peas are better to feed to your guppy unless you have fresh organic peas on hand. Lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini can be feed to them a few times a week. It is better to feed them organic veggies so that you do not introduce any toxins into your tank. Make sure to wash thoroughly before placing in the tank. Leave veggies in for 24 hours or so before removing. Mixing up a guppies diet by giving them a variety of food helps with having happy, healthy fish and good guppy fish care.
Guppies do well in just about any fish tank size. When choosing a tank always remember this, you need one gallon of tank water for every one inch of fish. On average an adult guppy will get to be around 2 inches long, some may get to be about 2.5 inches. For one guppy fish a minimum requirement would be 5 gallon fish tank for a happy healthy fish.
Guppies are very prolific breeders and it takes no intervention on us to help them. If you ask an guppy breeder what do you have to do to get them to breeder, after a brief chuckle possibly they will tell you that if you have a male and a female guppy in the tank for 5 minutes the female will be pregnant. A female guppy can have anywhere from 1-100 fry at a time. Yes, the number can be higher than that also, so keep that in mind. A female will be pregnant for 28-31 days and can last longer if she is stressed. So once a month your female can have lots and lots of fry.
Please keep in mind that even if you buy a female from your local pet store and she is in an all female tank that she hasn’t always been in an only female tank. It is very possible that the female or females you bring home may already be pregnant. If you are pairing males and females in your tank, many people will tell you to pair at least one male to two females. That is a 1:2 ratio. Personal experience has taught me that a one male to four females (1:4) ratio is better on the females. This will keep the stress levels down for your females as male can be very persistent even if a female is already pregnant and will cause stress to the females.