Guppy fish: Characteristics, types, reproduction and more.,..



Guppy fish are also called lebistes or million fish, although their scientific name is poecilia reticulata. They are part of the Poeciliidae family within the group of cyprinodontiformes. It’s worth noting that they are very popular among aquarium fans because they are easy to care to reproduce and most importantly they have a beautiful appearance. Below is complete and quality information about guppy fish.

Taxonomy Scientific Classification 🐠

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum:  Chordata Class: Actinopterygii  Order: Cyprinodontiformes

Family:  Poeciliidae  Genus:  Poecilia Species:  P. reticulata 

Name’s origin 🐠

✔️  It’s important to know that this species was discovered by several scientists in different places, giving each one a different name.

✔️  The first to know about the existence of guppy fish was the zoologist Wilhelm Peters, in the year 1859 giving them their scientific name Poecilia reticulata, which to date remains.

✔️   In 1861 it was Filippo de Filippi’s turn, discovering this animal again but this time giving it the name of Lebistes poeciloides.

✔️  There is information about guppy fish that after this was discovered by naturalist John Lechmere Guppy, who found the fish on the Island of Trinidad and subsequently sent them to the British Museum with the name of Girardinus guppy.

✔️ Finally in 1913, Charles Tate Regan discovered the species again, but he already knew their names, so he joined those that had already been used by Peters and De Filippi to call them Lebistes reticulatus.

✔️ Although this name was used for a long time, it was revised and changed by the original version of its first discoverer Poecilia reticulata.

There are currently a wide variety of guppy fish with different shades and colors.

Guppy fish: Main Characteristics. 🐠

These small fish measure about 3 to 6 centimeters, although the female (that is usually larger) can reach 8 cm.

It’s important to highlight that the guppies gained a lot of fame because of their consumption of mosquito larvae which helps fight malaria in some countries where this disease was ravaging. Due to this, this animal has been introduced in different environments, proving really beneficial.

Despite their beauty, guppies that have been bred in captivity have a much larger tail and much brighter colors, but in the natural state guppy fish tend to have a more grayish color with some spots of different colors on their body.  Moreover,  their caudal fin is smaller.

Guppies don’t have a very long longevity, coming to live approximately 3 years in standard conditions. This is why they are so good at reproducing.

Sexual dimorphism 🐠

There are characteristics in the guppy fish with quite marked differences between female and male, even easy enough to recognize, just like zebrafish.

Although there are varieties of shapes and colors in the guppy fish, the first characteristic that makes them different is that males tend to be smaller than females, while their anal fin is modified to be used as a reproductive system that is called gonopodium.

On the other hand, the female has a more round anal fin.

The males in adult state measure approximately 2 centimeters, although there are some specimens that have measured up to 4 centimeters. Females are larger, measuring between 3 and 5 centimeters in larger specimens.

In addition to these characteristics that make female and male guppy different specimens, the colors and shapes of the tails that these animals present can also be highlighted.

Males stand out among other aquarium fish because their body can be green, blue, red and even in some cases tabby.  On the other hand females are generally olive in color and with a little color in the caudal and dorsal fins only.

Due to the intervention of man in the reproduction of these animals, there are different characteristics in the guppy fish in regards to the caudal fin, the most common being the fan shape, which also has the advantage of showing all the beautiful colors.

Also of this version there are males that have the caudal fin in a pointed, round shape, with the shape of a crown, delta or double sword.

let’s meet them

Distribution and Habitat 🐠

Although they are scattered throughout the globe,  guppy fish originated in Central and South America, near Venezuela and northern Brazil and Also in Trinidad and Barbados.

For this reason, they are considered freshwater fish that in the aquarium require a controlled temperature between 22 and 28 degrees.

However, and due to its high resistance, in some warm countries they have been successfully raised at room temperature.

With regard to the rest of the conditions, the Guppy fish needs a moderately alkaline pH up to 6.5, never below this figure.

If our desire is to keep more than one specimen in our aquarium, we must take into account that they are fish that like to swim freely, so you should consider a volume greater than 40 liters of water. Generally, they maintain a life span of up to three years.

Behavior 🐠

Their small size makes them suitable for all types of spaces, although their swimming skills require that they not be maintained in areas that restrict their mobility.

They usually maintain a peaceful behavior with other fish, as long as the aquarium is not overpopulated.

In addition, the presence of vegetation inside the fish tank is recommended, so that the female can protect her fry or rest from the male’s harassment.

However, this can also be solved with a ratio of three females per male. With regard to compatibility, any specimen can coexist without difficulty with Guppy fish, except perhaps the Betta or the Escalar.

Let’s enjoy them one more time

Guppy Fish: Feeding habits 🐠

Guppy fish  help fight malaria, because their diet includes the red mosquito larvae, a delicacy that you must provide every so often. The arrangement of the mouth, (slightly tilted upwards) indicates that they feed directly on the surface of the water.

Its omnivorous characteristics allow them to enjoy frozen foods such as tubifex, scales and some vegetables.

To maintain the vividness of its color, a balanced diet and the supply of vitamins (especially vitamin D) are recommended. Regarding this last aspect, you can consult a veterinarian before proceeding.

Another relevant fact is that guppy fish have a very accelerated metabolism, which is why the most appropriate thing is to provide the food distributed in several small portions throughout the day, and with this you will also avoid the accumulation of food at the bottom of the aquarium and its contamination.

How Guppy Fish Reproduce? 🐠

Guppy fish are ovoviviparous; this means that the mother houses the eggs inside her body until the time of hatching.

During the courtship, the male’s  ritual dance is just fabulous. After mating, it will provide the female with the necessary spermatophors for pregnancy, which will last about 5 weeks.

The reproductive properties of these fish are really impressive, being able to gestate in a single setting about fifty fry, with exceptional cases of up to 150.

As a general rule, people tend to place abundant vegetation inside the aquarium to protect the fry from the mother’s predatory instincts.

Regarding the temperature, and since it can reverse the reproductive process, try not to exceed 26 degrees Celsius.  It’s good to point out that there is nothing better than artemias because of their nutritional properties, although you can also use crushed flakes or powdered food.

How to tell if a female guppy fish is pregnant 🐠

The easiest way to identify a pregnant guppy is to look for a dark spot under her tail towards the back of the stomach. This dark spot is called a gravid patch and, as babies grow, this guppy female’s gravid spot will increase in size and also become darker. In the final stages of pregnancy, this point will turn black and the guppy will look very swollen or fat.

Tankmates 🐠

The most common tank mates for a Guppy, is more Guppies! The majority of people who keep this fish do so because they like the vibrant colors of the males.  You can keep one Guppy per 2 gallons of water; for example, you can keep 5 in a 10 gallon tank and 10 in a 20 gallon tank. If you choose to keep both males and females, keep them at a ratio of 2:1.

They can also be kept with other peaceful community fish such as Mollies, Platies, Gouramis, Corydoras and peaceful tetras. Almost all livebearers such as ender’s livebearers and swordtails can make ideal tank mates for them too.

You should avoid housing them with larger aggressive species, especially if they’re likely to make a meal of them. Keep them away from species such as Red Tailed Sharks, Barbs and aggressive Tetras. They will nip at their fins.

If you want to keep them with other non-fish animals, you could house them with Ghost Shrimp or African Dwarf Frogs.

Let’s watch and learn

Types of Guppy Fish 🐠

There are so many different types of guppies that it’s difficult to list them all, and as if that were not enough, breeders are constantly working to create new varieties all the time.

If you ever visited a pet store and admired the different types of guppies you saw there, you might be surprised to know that you have probably only seen a small amount of the varieties in which these fish come. Learn more about them.

According to the Animal Encyclopedia, guppies are members of the Poeciliidae family. In this family, you will find:

✅ Poecilia reticulata: this is the common guppy, and this name is widely accepted as the correct name for the species, although some taxonomists sometimes call it Poecilia (Lebistes) reticulatus.

✅   Poecilia wingei – These are also known as Endler guppies. It’s closely related to the common guppy and, therefore, can hybridize with it, although most fans believe that each species should remain pure. These fish are not found in pet stores as often as common guppy, but they are available.

✅  Micropoecilia picta: this is a smaller member of the Poeciliidae family that lives in whitewater.

An overview of the different types of guppy

Guppies have been favorites of amateur fish breeders for decades, and many different types of guppies have developed over the years.

These «types» are also referred to as «strains» by amateur breeders when a particular set of characteristics begins to reproduce as regularly. When you start mixing and combining all the possible characteristics found in these fish, it’s easy to understand why there is such an incredible variety to choose from.

Let’s meet one of them

Characteristics of Guppy types 🐠

Apart from the fact that guppies are sexually dimorphic, there are three main characteristics that distinguish one type of guppy from the following.

      • Color: this includes the color of the body and the color of the fin, since both can be different.
      • Pattern: this includes the pattern of the body and the pattern of the tail, as both may vary.
      • Type of fin: there are many different types of fins that can be seen in aquariums.


Guppies come in almost all colors. Some even come in metallic colors. Metal guppies, (as they are sometimes called), have a particular glow because they have cells called iridophores.

Iridophores are literally colored cells that have no color of their own and instead reflect the light of their reflective platelets to create an iridescent effect.

Multicolored guppies

Guppies can also wear different colors on the top and bottom of their bodies. The upper part of the body, which includes the head and the main body, is typically lighter in color, like a light gray.

In fact, this gray is probably the most dominant body color in the species, but you will also find some gold and platinum bodies, as well as albinos. The thinner back of the body that leads to the tail is sometimes a different color than the rest of the body.

Guppy varieties by color

Within the varieties of Guppy, we can classify this fish as one of the most beautiful and varied, not only because of the shape and size of its tail, but due to the colors it can have, becoming one of the most striking among All the fish. The color range is the widest and covers almost all the colors we know. The main, and most common, basic colors of the body of the Guppies can be:


This is the dominant color among all the basic colors. It’s the original color and comes from the wild guppy. The gray coloring is due to the presence of black and yellow cells on the epidermis of the fish.

Gold or Blonde:

It’s the first of the three basic recessive colors that we will mention. This mutation occurs because the black colored cells are reduced in size, number and distribution in the epidermis of the fish, causing a golden effect.


This mutation, or basic recessive color, has the peculiarity that the fish in the fry stage is completely gray and there is a change in the number and distribution of the black cells of the epidermis of the fish, being in the adult stage only some black-bordered scales, giving the Guppy a tanned appearance.


It’s a mutation that refers to the total or partial absence of color cells in the body of the fish, but not in its fins.

When the absence is total, the fish will have red or pink eyes (in reality they are not red, but they are clear and with the color of the blood they look red). When the lack is partial, the fish will present wine red eyes.

On the other hand, we will now classify some of the colors that Guppies can have.

We will begin by mentioning the colors that, as such, may exist in the Poecilia reticulata since, subsequently, although they are classified as such, we will list the different «patterns» or schemes they have.

We will make this separation only in order to cover a little more the wide range of possibilities that exist, since within the same «pattern» we can find different colors, making the possibilities almost endless. The colors that we can find in the body of the Guppies, regardless of the pattern in which they are found, are:


The color red can vary, ranging from very intense reds to orange and other similar shades. It’s a very popular color and, although it’s one of those that can be found more easily, it’s one of the ones that connoisseurs like best.


Blue is also a color with a wide range of shades ranging from sky blue to a dark blue that can even go black if not observed well or with the right light. It’s one of the colors that can be easily confused since, as we said, lighting greatly affects the perspective of this color.


Green can vary from a very light shade, almost mint, to dark greens that become pine. This is another shade that can be seen differently depending on the light conditions we have.


This is not as common as some others. Again, the range goes from the lightest lilacs to some purples so dark they look black. It’s a color that may look different depending on the type of light it receives.


Another of the colors appreciated by lovers of this fish and other aquarists in general. The range goes from an almost white or transparent tone, to tones that reach gold.

Pastel (also known as neon):

This is not as such a color, but a hue that can be given in any color. The pastel shade is the lightest of all the colors already mentioned, including white. As we see, it’s not a color in itself, but a tone that is achieved by «lightening» any color.

This type has the characteristic that it has well accentuated brightness that contrasts with the light color of the fish.


To become considered a black Guppy, the color has to cover approximately three quarters of the body. The more surface is covered, the specimen is said to be of higher quality.


It’s any fish that has more than three colors (or even shades of the same color) on its fins, no matter what these are. Another requirement is that the third color has to cover more than 15% of the surface of the tail.

Here they are

Color Paterns 🐠

As mentioned earlier, there are different «patterns» of color that a Guppy can have. As such, the classification of Guppies is based on these patterns that we will mention; the division we made was only for the purpose of explaining things in more detail, since each of these «combinations» can have several colors and not just some specific:

Snake / cobra skin (Snakeskin / King-cobra):

This variety has easy to distinguish characteristics: It has a pattern that looks like a chain on its body and fins; this «chain» is continuous and covers more than 60% of the body and fins of the fish.

This pattern may vary slightly, sometimes looking like spots, although if we look closely we will see that they are continuous drawings. This pattern can be divided in two ways: –


Both the body and the fins have these drawings that resemble chains, said drawing covers more than 60% of the surface.


The pattern is only found in the body. The fins can have different colors. To be considered as a good specimen, the color on the fins must be solid (in all, not just the flow) Examples: blue cobra, green cobra, red cobra, King cobra yellow, etc.

Half Black or Tuxedo:

The distinctive feature of this pattern is the black color that covers the back of the fish’s body (it has to occupy 50% of the body).

The fins can be presented in any color, which, together with the black color, gives the fish the appearance of wearing a tuxedo or tuxedo (hence its name). Example: Tuxedo Azul, Tuxedo Rojo, Tuxedo Amaillo, etc

3/4 Black:

It’s very similar to Half Black Black, only that black does not cover only half of its body, but 3/4 of it and its tail and fins are black as well.

Sunshine or Sunshine tequila :

This variety has a bluish-green color and orange or red fins. Many times, the body also has red tones, but at least in the lower part of the body it has the green / blue tone already mentioned.

Another very popular feature, and that really looks great in this variety, is the fact that the tail is divided into two colors: let’s say it starts with a small yellow «sphere» surrounded by orange, which gives it its name by resembling a Sun.

Moscow or Moscow:

Generally the color is applied to the entire fish, that is, 100% of the fish’s body must be of the same plain color, and even the pectoral fins must have the same color.

Many times the color looks a bit degraded, being usually darker in the back and lighter in the front. We can commonly find it in Blue, Purple, Green, Red and Black.

Red Fire:

A color much appreciated by lovers of these fish. The fish has a solid orange / red color that covers the entire body and fins, except for a small «spot» of light color (silver-yellow) between the pectorals.

Neon Tuxedo:

The front part of the fish has a light color with iridescence in light blue and silver, the upper part and the pectoral fins being a golden yellow color.

These brightly colored iridescences give it the appearance of shining like a neon light.

The back half of the body is a color that goes from very dark blue until it reaches black at the end of the peduncle. Its caudal fin can be of an intense blue or intense red color, depending on whether it’s the Neon Blue or Neon Red variety.


It’s one of the rarest. The color of the fins can range from a very light red (fuchsia pink), to a very pale pink. The body is usually a little darker than the fins


It has black spots on a yellow background, although the background can also be blue or pastel (white). It has marks that resemble the spots of the Leopard’s skin.

It comes in a wide variety of colors. It’s similar to the Grass pattern, but the spots are much larger. Generally, said spots are only in the flow rate.


It’s a pattern based on the tail and dorsal fin. The mosaic is formed by irregular dark blue spots that extend from the caudal peduncle. Intense orange is the most striking and preferred color in this pattern.


This is a pattern only of the tail and dorsal fin. Unlike the Mosaic pattern, dark marks on the color of the tail are presented in a very fine and delineated way. The dots are small and can appear together, but most of the time they are separated from each other.


Very similar to neons, only it does not have so many reflections or glows of other colors, thus creating a silver body almost 100%. The fins can be any color.

Let’s enjoy them one more time….

Classification of Guppy Fish According to their Tail 🐠

Let’s learn about some other classification of these wonderful fish


Veil-tail guppies have a tail that resembles an isosceles trapezoid. The dorsal and ventral fins are usually elongated and fluid.


These guppies have elegant-looking tails that resemble an open fan. This type of tail is really typical of elegant guppies. The dorsal fins can be elongated, the ventral fins are usually smaller.

Triangular tail

The triangular tail guppy has an impressive tail size that is beautifully colored or shows interesting patterns.

The dorsal fins are long and fluid, the ventral fins are usually smaller.


This variety is also known as flag tail guppy. This tail shape is much narrower at the edges compared to the other types of tail, but it’s still equally impressive in terms of colors and patterns.

Double sword tail

The double-sword guppy has a unique tail shape that distinguishes them from other guppy fish.

It’s very similar to the tail of the sword-tail fish, but instead of an elongated tail, the double-sword guppy fish has two elongated sword-shaped tails on each side of the tail base.Top sword tail

Some sword-tail guppies lack double tails; however, the tail lengthens on a single edge, as in the case of the top sword-tail guppy, which has an elongated tail at the top of its tail base.

Bottom sword tail

The bottom sword tail guppy is a reflected version of the top tail guppy, since only the lower edge of its tail is elongated.

The edge of the tail that is not elongated is narrow and has the shape of the tail of the flagtail guppies.


Lyre-tailed guppy is not very different from double-sword guppy. In fact, it’s a variation of the double-tailed guppy.

In the case of guppy of lyre tail guppy, the tails appear to be independent of each other, but after closer inspection, you may notice that, in fact, they are connected by a small transparent membrane.


Guppies with palette-shaped tails are called cofertail guppies and are part of the short-tailed guppy category. This type of tails form appears in the Evaluation Standard for Guppy World Contests.


This type of guppy does not have a particularly large tail, but it’s still an impressive-looking tail that catches your attention. Of course, there are variations within this category also with some queues that are larger than others.

Round Tail Guppy

Well rounded and generally on the shorter side, the round-tailed guppy is another impressive specimen that can be an interesting option for those interested in the aesthetics and breeding of unique and differently shaped guppies.

Halfmoon Tail Guppy

The tail begins wide at the base and widens even more until it resembles a crescent.

It’s one of the most impressive looking guppy tails, especially when it has an amalgam of colors and shapes.

Let’s enjoy them

Common Diseases in Guppy Fish 🐠

The first factor to consider preventing your guppy fish or any fish you have in your aquarium from getting sick is prevention. Try to keep the water quality in optimal conditions by constantly measuring the levels.

In case your fish is sick, do not get disturbed, there are several options you can do to improve it, but the most important thing is to identify the disease .

When you buy and want to introduce new fish into your aquarium, they must first go through a quarantine stage.

During this time you should place the guppy fish in a separate water tank for at least 2 weeks and see if they have any disease. If they are sick, it’s easier to cure them in this way, while not infecting the other fish in the aquarium.

If your guppy fish are healthy after 2 weeks, you can re-introduce them to the community aquarium without any problem.

Similarly, you should try to clean your aquarium with a siphon at least once a week to collect the remains of food and feces that accumulate in the substrate and promote the formation of bacteria and diseases. Among the most common diseases that usually affect guppy fish are the following:

White Point

This disease has the scientific name of ichthyophthirius. The most common symptoms are small white spots the size of a pinhead over the entire skin and fins of the fish.

In addition, the specimen that is affected tends to have aa weird behavior scraping against the walls and stones that are in the aquarium.guppy fish: white point

The white spot can be produced either by a parasite that develops in fresh water, due to poor diet, temperature or stress.

To combat this parasite it’s important to visit the veterinarian to recommend a solution containing malachite green and formalin. But attention, it’s essential to follow the instructions to the letter; otherwise we could cause the death of guppy fish due to poisoning. We invite you to read our article White sppoted ciclhilds to learn more about how to treat white point

Velvet disease

This problem is also presented by the presence of the Oadinium parasite, when it’s housed in the tank water. This parasite primarily attacks the animal’s gills.

Its symptoms include small points of velvet and when the disease is more advanced it can cover the skin of guppy fish with a full layer of velvet. In addition to this there is an agitated breathing and apathetic behavior.

In cases of not paying enough attention to the problem, the skin of the guppy fish begins to detach on fringes due to the bacteria that attacks it.

To combat them, the first thing is to turn off the light in the room where the aquarium is, because the dark environment weakens the parasite

As a second step, medicines such as Metronidazole, Copper Sulfate, Malachite Green or Methylene Blue are supplied; but always under the specific instructions of a veterinarian.


Although it’s not a disease as such, it usually affects many guppy fish, mainly those whose owners are new to fish breeding.

The question is not the feeding of these curious little fish, what really should worry you is the overfeeding, since they are very greedy and some people can give tehm food again and again believing that they are not yet satisfied.

But this can only result in intestinal problems for your pet, which cause them to swell and swim apathetically or even lie on the stones or soil of the pond. It’s better to feed them in small quantities several times a day

Let’s learn about treating velvet disease

What type of aquarium does a guppy fish need? 🐠

The guppy fish is a fairly resistant species, which can withstand better than other fish the changes in the conditions of a fish tank.

It’s very interesting to keep it in the aquarium whether you are a beginner or if you are an expert.

These are the General requirements that your aquarium should meet in order to have guppies:

Do not keep more than one guppy for every 5 liters.

If your aquarium is 60 liters, for example, you could keep up to 12 guppies. Thus, dividing the liters of your aquarium by 5 you get the number of guppies that fit in your fish tank. Your aquarium, preferably, should be at least 20 or 30 liters so that the guppies have freedom to swim.

Avoid strong currents in Your Fish Tanks

Guppies are active swimmers, but they will soon get tired if the water outlet of your filter generates sudden currents, to the point of making it difficult for them to feed and generate great stress.

If you have a filter with a lot of flow, consider reducing it, aiming the outlet jet towards the aquarium wall or placing said outlet near the bottom.

Guppies usually swim between two waters and near the surface.

Optimal and stable temperature.

Guppy fish adapt to temperatures between 18 and 28ºC, but the optimum temperature for comfort is between 20 and 25ºC.

The most important thing is that the temperature is stable since sudden variations can cause diseases in the guppies. You should get an aquarium heater.

High hardness and neutral pH.

The water in your aquarium should have a high hardness (gH), between 10 and 20, and preferably a neutral pH of 7 to 7.2 (although they can withstand pH of 6.5 to 7.8.)

They prefer planted aquariums, with abundant vegetation and hiding places.

Plants that are very compatible with guppies due to their resistance are those of the genus Anubias sp, Java moss or Java fern.

The lighting should not be more than 8-10 hours on. Guppies also need night and day cycles. We invite you to read our article fish for fish tanks to learn how to create and mantain your own aquarium

Food for guppy fry 🐠

0 to 6 weeks:

Newborn fry must be given saline artemia, which is what their small mouths and digestive systems can cover.

Two days after birth you can start adding dry powdered food. Feed them in a small amount but many times a day (4 to 5 times).

From 6 weeks:

They are adults. It’s important to give them a balanced diet based on vegetables, cereals, meat, fish, saline artemia, worms, etc. A feeding routine advised by guppy breeding experts is: saline artemia as a first meal, a variety of dry foods during the day, and Grindal worms at night before turning off the lights.

Let’s learn how to draw these wonderful fish


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