How to Care for Guppies

Guppies are members of the family Poedciliidae.
Guppies are members of the family Poedciliidae. (Image: rasbora image by pearlguy from

Hardy tropical fish, guppies are native to Barbados. Guppies are members of the family Poedciliidae, and usually measure between 1 ½ inches and inches in length. As with many types of species, the males are more colorful than the females, but the females are larger. Easy to care for, guppies usually do not require a tank larger than 10 gallons. Heavy breeders, female guppies can produce between 50 and 100 live babies at one time. Proper care is required to keep the guppies healthy and producing at their normal rates.

Things You'll Need

  • Water testing kit
  • Tank heater
  • Biological filter
  • Live or plastic plants
  • Air stone and algae eater
  • Fish flakes, brine shrimp and white worms
  • Siphon
  • 5 gallon tank

Maintain a pH level between 6.8 and 7.6 in the tank at all times. Use a water testing kit to determine the pH of the water in your guppy tank. Adjust the pH of the water if necessary, following the instructions that came with the water testing kit.

Provide the guppies with a constant water temperature between 75 and 85 degrees. Attach a heater to the tank and set the dial to the required temperature. Check the thermostat regularly to ensure that the temperature is within range.

Attach a biological filter to the tank, which will help maintain good water quality. A biological filter removes bacteria and waste from the water, keeping the water clear.

Add live or plastic plants to the tank, which will give the guppies a place to hide when necessary. Along with an air stone and an algae eater, the plants will help keep your tank water clean and improve the oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange.

Supplement your guppy’s diet with protein. Fish flakes are a guppy food staple, but baby brine shrimp and white worms are a tasty protein treat. Follow the label instructions for allocation amounts when providing supplemental feedings. Guppies fare better when fed three small daily meals opposed to one big meal.

Siphon out 20 percent of the tank water on a weekly basis. Use a siphon purchased from a fish or pet store to remove the water from the tank. Insert one end of the siphon into the water at the substrate level and the other end into a bucket to collect the siphoned water. Add fresh water to the tank after siphoning.

Tips & Warnings

  • Set up a separate 5-gallon tank for guppy babies (fry), just in case. Place the pregnant female in the 5-gallon tank until the fry are born, moving her back to the original tank afterward. Feed the guppies brine shrimp for the first two weeks and then switch to flakes. Transfer the fry to the larger tank when they reach a length of ¾ inch, which usually takes about three to four months.
  • If you find that you have more baby guppies than you can handle at any one time, ask a pet shop if they will take them.
  • Do not underfeed your guppies. Adult guppies that do not get enough food will eat the younger fish in the tank. Follow the feeding instructions on the label to ensure adequate nutrition.
  • Do not siphon out the water from the tank at the upper water levels. Always siphon from the substrate level to remove settled debris.

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