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Poecilia reticulata - Guppy


  • Poecilia reticulata - Guppy

    Photo thanks to Watfish – orange lace

    Scientific name: Poecilia reticulata
    Common name: Guppy
    AKA: Lebistes poecilioides/ Girardinus guppii/ Million fish/ Rainbow fish

    Country of origin: South America - Venezuela, Barbados, Trinidad, northern Brazil and the Guyanas.

    pH: 7.0 - 8.5
    Temperature: 17 – 28c
    Hardness: 90 - 536 ppm; 9 – 19 dGH
    Water flow: low - standard
    Oxygenation: standard - high

    Maximum size: 6cm – females; 3.5cm - males

    Diet: Live, frozen, flake or small pellet food.

    Males are colourful, usually smaller than females, with longer fins.
    Females are large & plain, with shorter fins.
    Some poor quality/ juvenile males can be mistaken for females.

    They are livebearers. It is recommended to keep more females than males – 1m:3F at least. Males can chase the females past the point of exhaustion if this is not done. The adults will eat the fry. Heavy planting and floating plants will minimise this.

    Pregnant females have a dark oviduct (spot) on the lower belly behind the anal fin. Females can store sperm for up to 6 months if there are no males in the tank – it is therefore difficult to ensure that offspring are from intended pairings if care is not taken. Females can produce 5 – 100 fry every 4-6 weeks.

    Males are ready to breed at 2 months old (or younger), females by 3 months.

    Single sex tanks should therefore be considered if there is only a limited space to fill.

    Tank companions: They are NOT good tank companions with shrimp.

    They are peaceful tank companions, although larger fish may be capable of eating them, so consider this before choosing fish.

    Do not keep with fin nipping fish.

    Do not keep with fish who attack others with long fins (such as Betta splendens).

    Minimum tank size is 1.5ft for a pair.

    They can live in brine, providing they have been acclimatised. Aquarium Salt (de-iodised salt) is therefore a common first remedy if they become sick.

    They benefit from tannins, provided through the use of Indian Almond Leaves in the tank.

    The fancy strains require tannins and salt more than the general local fish store (LFS) strains.

    Ideal plants are: It is not fussy, but benefits from highly planted areas and floating plants, both for security and as cover for fry.

    Plants should be able to tolerate the hard water the guppies require.

    Confused with: Endlers.

    It is closely related to Mollys, but far more closely related to endlers, which it can interbreed with. This has been done by hobbyists to create new colours & varieties of both species, but overall has made it difficult, nigh impossible to find pure Endler tetras in the hobby without direct importation. These are highly sought after by hobbyists. As a pure (or close to) fish, the males are significantly smaller than guppies, at nearly half the body size (not including the tail).

    There are many aquarium bred colour and tail type variations. See below for lists & links to charts & pictures. These colour variants make this fish something more than the common beginner’s fish that is often taken for granted.

    Tail types include (but are not limited to):
    Flag tail, veil tail, fan tail, triangular/ delta tail, lyre tail, double sword, bottom sword, top sword, pin-tail, round tail, pointed/ spear tail, spade tail, halfmoon, crown tail.

    Most fish are commercially bred or bred by hobbyists. Wild fish are rare in the trade. Some of these commercial fish have not been bred for health or longevity. Buying from reputable suppliers (commercial or hobbyists) is recommended.

    There are feral populations in about 50 countries, including Australia.

    Poecilia wingei are legal imports to Australia as of 20/10/2013:

    The IUCN Red List reports Poecilia wingei as a species which has not yet been assessed at 20/11/2013:

    It is very important not to release any aquarium specimens into our waterways. Any that are not sold or re-homed/ given away, can often be re-sold to aquarium stores. If they are homed in ponds, care should be taken that they cannot escape in run-off into our waterways. Even if fish are native & local they should not be moved from one waterway to another, as this can transfer disease. If they are not local fish, they can both spread disease and either out-compete or eat local fish, shrimp & plants, causing their demise.

    It is a good fish for beginners


    Relevant threads:

    Australian Fancy Guppy keepers & breeders group:

    Tail types - chart:

    Resources/ sites for serious guppy breeders:

    Keeping guppies – basic setup:

    Fancy guppy strains:



    Seriously fish:


    Pics/ threads with pics:

    Albino full red:

    Blonde electric blue double sword:

    Green snakeskin:


    Tuxedos, spear tails, American white red, white tuxedo crowntail

    • DiscusEden
      DiscusEden commented
      Editing a comment

      Photo thanks to Dave, Aquagreen

      Photo thanks to Dave, Aquagreen


      Poecilia reticulata

      General information: Guppies are one of the best known small fish used as an aquarium species. They have been bred into many different shapes and colours. Guppies live for a year with males growing to about 35 mm and females growing up to 60 mm. Guppies live in a wide range of water qualities with some living in brackish estuaries but generally freshwater is the preferred habitat. The water quality ranges for these fish are temperature between 19 and 29 deg C, a pH between 7.0 and 8.5, a general hardness between 200 ppm and 300 ppm is preferred but they can live in softer water, an alkalinity between 80 and 150 ppm. They will eat most aquarium shop prepared foods, flake and freeze dried insects, also aquaculture crumble however all aquarium fish do well with twice weekly feeds of live foods such as mosquito wrigglers or small crustaceans like cyclops or daphnia. Guppies are live bearing and will breed without much extra work to induce spawning. The fry are quite large and will be able to eat prepared foods crushed and ground to dust in a mortar and pestle. Frequent feeding of brine shrimp larvae will get the youngsters off to a good start in life. The guppies in the photos are devolved by mother nature and are much more hardy than the fancy varieties. You could call them feral NT Guppies that have spilled into the local waterways from someones pond and the local gudgeons and grunters have removed the slow swimmers and weaker specimens, they are starting to look like the wild guppies from Central and South America.

      Distribution : Guppies are native to Central and South America but have been spread over the entire globe to every continent except Antarctica. They have been introduced for mosquito control and accidentally released from aquaria and ponds. These introductions generally have a negative impact on local fish populations. Around the top end of the Northern Territory they are usualy sold to pond keepers as mosquito control then during the wet season the pond overflows into local drains and creeks. They have been reported in natural places like the Howard River but generally dont survive where there is a full range of local predators. However there are several populations around Darwin that are well established despite several attempts by the Fisheries Pest managent section to remove them.

      Reference: Allen, Midgley and Allen 2002 "Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia" , ANGFA database -

      Article with thanks to Dave, Aquagreen

    • DiscusEden
      DiscusEden commented
      Editing a comment
      Thread about feral populations:

      Amazing pics of various strains:
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