There are not many fish capable of brightening up a drab home aquarium quite as well as the guppy (Poeacilia reticulata) . There exceptional range of colour variations and stunningly long tail extensions have made them the most popular aquarium fish throughout the world.
Guppies are hardy little fish living a good 2-3 years in a well maintained aquarium. They grow no more than 2.3cm in size and are very peaceful towards other fish in the aquarium. Guppies will feed on most good brand flake foods but will benefit from frozen foods being used once or twice a week.
Guppies do great in water of ph around 7.5 and fairly hard. Although they will acclimatise well to other conditions. Contrary to popular belief, guppies must be kept in warm tropical water at around 24 degrees c. This is critical to their well being and will encourage the fish to be active, colourful and healthy.
Breeding guppies is relatively easy. They are live bearers, meaning they give birth to live young and do not lay eggs. If you are considering keeping guppies you should ideally buy all the same strain, or colour variant, and have at least 2 females to every male. This ensures that the females do not become stressed by over breeding. After mating the females will be pregnant for up to 30 days. Once the young are born you have two choices. They can be born in the aquarium and run the risk of being predated on by other fish, including their parents. Or you can buy a breeding trap that allows you to keep the fry (baby fish) separate from the rest of the tank until they are large enough to look after themselves. Fry should be fed a mixture of powdered flake food and frozen daphnia.
All in all keeping guppies can be extremely rewarding whether you keep them, to breed or just to brighten up those dull winter days.
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