What Do Guppies Need to Survive in a Home?

A goldfish bowl is not appropriate for housing guppies.
A goldfish bowl is not appropriate for housing guppies. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Tropical fish can be stress-reducing companions for adults or children who are interested in learning basic pet care. One of the most highly recommended tropical fish for beginning hobbyists is the guppy. Guppies are tolerant of some of the most common fish-keeping errors and can provide hours of entertainment. The male guppy comes in a variety of colors, which are readily displayed in the aquarium. Guppies are known for their reproductive capabilities as well, producing live fry readily in the home aquarium.

Tank Size

Guppy tank recommendations vary from 2- to 10-gallon minimum sizes. The tank must be adequate for the number of fish you have, and the recommended population is 1 to 3 gallons of water per inch of fish. Following this recommendation, a 2-gallon tank might be acceptable for one guppy. The same equipment will be needed for guppies no matter what size the fish tank is, so it might be a much better investment to get a larger tank and be able to enjoy a few more fish.


A guppy fish tank will need to have an air pump with an air stone, a filter, a thermometer, a heater and a light. The water will need to be conditioned with drops to remove chlorine. Gravel should be placed on the bottom of the tank and some plants should be anchored to the bottom. Add a few floating plants as well, to provide cover and extra oxygenation. Plants help the tank achieve better chemical balance.

Proper Balance

The temperature should be maintained between 75 and 85 degrees for guppies. They enjoy steady temperatures and may become ill if the temperature changes. Once the heater is set to maintain a steady temperature, be sure to keep it there. Water should be freshened once a month or any time it becomes cloudy. Do this by doing a one-fourth to one-third water change. Make sure to treat the new water and deliver it at a similar temperature to that in the tank already to avoid shocking the guppies. Maintain the pH between 6.8 and 7.6.


The filter should be cleaned periodically. Most new hobbyists make the mistake of removing all material trapped in the filter. The guppy tank will perform better and the guppies will be healthier if only a portion of the filtered material is removed. Leave some of the material because it contains beneficial bacteria that support the nitrogen cycle. This is also the reason water changes do not encompass all of the water in the tank. There is a balance between beneficial bacteria and waste breakdown that will need to be preserved.

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