Guppies are among the most popular pet fish nowadays. They’re cute, a little flashy, and they are also fun.
But are they easy to keep? Yes, guppies are fairly easy to keep. However, as you can expect, there are some things that you should bear in mind for your guppies to live a long and healthy life.
Read on to find out how you can properly take care of your guppies and how you can make your life and that of your pet fish a lot easier.
1. What Makes Guppies Easy to Keep?
One of the best things about guppies is that they don’t require a lot of space. There is also little investment when it comes to having guppies as pet fish.
They cost as little as ten cents each at various pet stores, but they can be a little more expensive if they’re fancier (up to twenty-five dollars).
The flaked food that guppies require is also fairly inexpensive. If you pick up a used filter and tank, you can set up an aquarium with little cost.
Another reason that makes the guppy a popular pet fish is that it is low-maintenance. If you make sure that the tank is clean and if you provide them with good-quality food, they’ll be perfectly happy.
Like other pet fish, they can suffer from a few diseases, such as fungus infections. However, if you get your pet fish from a pet store that sources them from breeders, you have a better chance of raising healthy guppies.
The reason for this is that they often get stressed during transportation. Plus, they have a hard time adjusting to aquarium life when taken out of a hatchery.
2. What Makes Guppies Hard to Keep Compared to Other Pet Fish?
There are several reasons why guppies can be a little challenging, especially when compared to hardier species such as angelfish, for example. The lack of oxygen in the tank water can cause guppies to die.
Water temperature changes, such as putting too warm or cold water in your aquarium can also cause guppy mortality. Besides, tap water contains chlorine, which is deadly to many pet fish, including guppies.
Ammonia is harmful to pet fish, as well. How do higher levels of ammonia end up in the water? Well, an increase in ammonia can be caused by anything from a dirty filter to a dirty substrate.
Dead fish that aren’t removed from the tank can decay and also increase ammonia levels. Even uneaten fish food can decompose and turn into ammonia.
Overfeeding can be an extremely common issue with most pet fish parents. Everyone wants to feed their fish enough food so that they aren’t hungry. When it comes to feeding guppies, the rule of thumb is doing it once a day or even once every other day.
Uneaten food pollutes the aquarium and can potentially endanger your guppies’ health. We recommend feeding your guppies for 30 seconds and then waiting to see whether they are still hungry.
You can add more food if they are, but if you’ve noticed that their interest in food has disappeared, avoid feeding them more.
3. Can Genetics Make Guppies Hard To Keep?
The short answer to this question is yes. Surprisingly enough, some guppies are more prone to getting diseases, and they also have bad genes.
Usually, most of those that you will find in big pet stores are less healthy compared to those that you can get from a breeder. The latter can even live for up to 2 to 3 years.
Some of the guppy breeds that are among the hardiest ones are the following:
- Albino guppies
- Moscow guppies
- Metal guppies
- Grass tail guppies
- Cobra guppies
4. What Diseases Do Guppies Have?
We might have already mentioned fungus infections, but that’s not the only medical condition that a guppy can develop. There aren’t many guppy specific diseases, but they can still suffer from various ones. Here are several:
- Fin rot
All of these common guppy diseases can be treated with medication. Unfortunately, there are also diseases that can’t be treated, such as guppy tuberculosis.
Given that this is a particularly contagious condition, all of the guppies that are affected need to be removed from the tank to avoid spreading it to the other fish in the aquarium.
We show you how hardy guppies are, what diseases they have in detail, and how to keep them healthy in this article! We highly recommend reading it!
5. Can Guppies Be Bred Easily?
You can breed guppies in a communal tank or their own separate tank. Both of these methods have pros and cons.
For example, a separate breeding tank means that you can better select the parents so as to produce the right offspring in terms of characteristics and coloration.
You also have the advantage of keeping a close eye on the fish that you want to breed. Plus, there are no tank mates that might end up eating newborn fry. The only drawback is that you obviously need another tank, which calls for money, as well as space.
Communal tank breeding can be rather exciting since you don’t have the ability to control the outcome. This means that the offspring can have extravagant or striking shades.
On the other hand, you have little to no control over which fish actually mate. Communal breeding is less time consuming and also cheaper, but there’s always the risk of the adults eating the little ones.
If you plan to breed, or if your guppies are already breeding, here are a few articles you should read:
- Should you isolate a pregnant guppy?
- Can female guppies get pregnant without a male?
- Can guppies change their gender?
6. Do You Need to Balance Out The Male-To-Female Ratio?
Even though guppies are generally friendly, the males can tend to harass the females. In an attempt to impress them and mate with them, the males can chase the females around the tank. This means that they end up being stressed.
You should usually have more female guppies than male ones so that the attention is divided between different female individuals. If you do this, you’ll minimize harassment.
A good female to male ratio is 2:1. An even better one is 3:1.
If this seems like too much of a hassle for you to manage, you can just get male guppies. We explain what you should know about keeping only male guppies here.
7. What Do You Need in a Guppy Tank?
Like other pet fish, guppies enjoy having plenty of gravel to poke around, and also places where they can hide. Therefore, adding plants and decor to the tank can come in handy.
However, you need to make sure that there’s enough space for all of the accessories that you want to add to the tank environment. Don’t fill the aquarium with extras as you can accidentally make it too crowded.
Plus, if you have lots of accessories and a lot of gravel, you’ll have a harder time cleaning everything. Waste can get trapped in between the bits of gravel.
Since guppies prefer sleeping near the bottom of the aquarium, you might want to consider not getting any gravel at all. You can simply use sand instead, especially since it is easier to clean compared to gravel.
8. How Many Guppies Can You Keep in an Aquarium?
Guppies are very small compared to other tropical fish. Female guppies can grow up to 1.5 inches while male ones can grow up to just 1.2 inches. This type of pet fish reaches full-size maturity in around six months.
The rule of thumb when it comes to picking the right tank size is 1 inch of fish per 1 gallon of water. Here’s a handy table that might be able to help you a bit.
Number of guppies Tank capacity
- 3-4 guppies: 5-gallon aquarium
- 7-10 guppies: 10-gallon aquarium
You are allowed to keep more guppies if you make sure that you have good filtration and live plants in the tank.
Proper filtration and the plants effectively eliminate the toxic fish waste from the water environment. If you make sure that these two requirements are on par, you can even change the water less often.
In this article, we explain more on how many guppies you should keep and the dangers of keeping too many guppies.
9. How Can Water Quality Affect Guppies?
While guppies are quite hardy and can accept a broad range of water parameters, you can keep them healthy only if you abide by certain rules. The table below shows you the ideal water conditions for keeping guppies.
- Water temperature: 72-82 F (22-28 C)
- Water hardness (dGH): 8-12
- Water pH: 6.8-7.8
- Ammonia: 0
- Nitrites: Maximum 10 ppm
Changing the water is crucial when it comes to keeping healthy guppies. You should change about 30% of the water if you have a low-stock tank. If you intend to use tap water, make sure that you use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and heavy metals.
Find out the temperature of the water in the tank. Once you’ve done that, make sure that the water you add to the tank has the same temperature.
If you have an overstocked tank, you need to change the water more often.
Water quality can change guppies’ behavior. We have created a couple of articles on that you should definitely read:
- Why guppies jump out of tanks
- Why your guppies stay near the filter
- Why your guppies stay at the top of the tank
10. Do You Need a Filter For Your Guppy Tank?
Even though you can run your tank without a filter, there are some risks involved in doing this.
If you do not perform water changes (at least 50%) weekly or bi-weekly, you have no control over the feeding and the waste produced by it. (We explain how to keep guppies without a filter here!)
If you really don’t want to use a filter, add live plants to the aquarium. Plants can keep the water clean, and they are also capable of removing nitrates from the water column.
If you do not want to replace the water that often, you can get a basic sponge filter. If you can afford it, though, you should consider getting an internal filter as it will give you peace of mind that your guppies are going to remain healthy.
Guppies are active fish and a lot of fun to watch. They are easy to keep if you do your research beforehand and get everything you need.
Choose a good size tank and feed your guppies a variety of food, but avoid overfeeding them. To keep your pet fish healthy, make weekly water changes.