Guppy (Poecilia Reticulata): Profile and Information

Guppy Poecilia reticulata colorful rainbow tropical aquarium fish

The guppy (Poecilia reticulata) is a beautiful fish, also known as rainbow fish, and million fish is one of the most beautiful and widely distributed tropical fish in the world and is also one of the most famous freshwater aquarium fish species that exist.

The fish is a member of the Poeciliidae family and, like almost every American members of this family, is a live-bearing first.

Scientific classification

  • Family: Poeciliidae
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Scientific name: Poecilia reticulata
  • Higher classification: Mollies
  • Rank: Species

Guppies are a group of tropical freshwater fish that is native to South America and are members of the Poeciliidae family.

Poecilia wingei, also popularly known as the Endler Guppy, is also a member of the Poeciliidae family and is a close cousin to the common Guppy, also known as Poecilia reticulata. In this article, it is the Poecilia reticulata that we will focus on.

There are nearly 300 different varieties of Guppies. The guppies come in a wide range of sizes, colors, and tail shapes.

The name of this fish comes from the man who found them back in Trinidad and Tobago in 1866, Robert John Lechmere Guppy. It was transported back to the British Museum and called Girardinus guppii, by one of the Ichthyologists at the time.

Since then, the name of this fish has undergone several changes, including the name Lebistes reticulates and, which is now called Poecilia reticulata.

These fishes are also known by some familiar names like the Millions Fish (due to their alarming breeding rate) and also called the Rainbow Fish (due to the wide variety of colors that they come in).

As well as the lovely color and catchy nature they add to the fish tank; these fish have also been used in the freshwaters of Asia to control the growth of mosquito populations. However, in several cases, the release of these fish harmed the water’s native fish populations.

Behavior of Guppies

Guppies are not only beautiful but peaceful fish that enjoy being kept in medium to large groups. These fish are active swimmers and move around pretty much all the time.

You will often sight the males of this fish chasing after the females in an attempt to impress them by wiggling their colorful fins.

If you have this fish in your tank, and they are continuously hiding, it is likely an indication that they are I’ll or stressed.

The appearance of the Guppies

As we have mentioned earlier, Guppies come in several sizes and colors, with tails of various shapes too.

In their natural habitat, the female guppies are usually grey in appearance, while the males have lovely stripes, splashes, or spots in various colors. Today, there are several aquarium varieties of guppies because of breeders creating new species with brighter colors and different patterns on their tails and bodies.

New species of guppies are introduced continuously that it has become almost difficult to estimate the exact number of species available.

Male guppies are typically smaller in size than the females, growing to between 0.6-1.4 inches, whereas the female guppies are somewhere around 1.2-2.4 inches in length.

Unlike some other fish is this particular fish is sexually dimorphic. What this means is that one can quickly tell the difference between the females from the males by looking at them.


When it comes to colors, you can expect guppies to come in every color you can imagine. This is why they are popularly known as the rainbow fish.

These fish are usually a duller color on the upper half of their body and have a brighter rear part with a more vivid color.

Some varieties of guppies can also have a metallic look. They possess iridophores, which are cells that lack color, and reflect can light, which forms an iridescent effect.

The pattern of the guppies

Some of these fish come in a solid color; others have a unique pattern over their primary body color.

Popular Examples include:

  • Cobra pattern: vertical barring and rosettes.
  • Snakeskin pattern: chain-link pattern and rosettes.
  • Tuxedo pattern: front and back half with two different colors.

Also, the tail of this fish can be either a single color or feature patterns. Here are a few examples:

  • Grass pattern: tiny dots that appear like grass.
  • Lace pattern: excellent web-like design.
  • Leopard pattern: spots that appear like leopard spots.
  • Mosaic pattern: many irregular spots that are connected.

Guppy Tail Shape

You will find a wide range of tail shapes as well, including:

  • Fan-shaped
  • Triangular shaped
  • Sword-shaped ( top sword, bottom sword, and double sword)
  • Flag shaped
  • Spade shaped
  • Rounded
  • Spear shaped
  • Lyretails

Ideal Tank Conditions and Habitat

The natural habitat of this fish is in the South America warm freshwaters, so tank owners must replicate these conditions to provide the fish with an environment that is nearest to natural.

Just like any fish tank, you must ensure that you set up your tank correctly and that the water in your tank is cycled correctly. This will help to ensure that you have the right bacteria, which will make any harmful compounds less toxic.

Most people who own Guppies choose to keep them in a ten-gallon tank, but you can opt for a 5-gallon tank or anything more significant than ten gallons.

You’ll need to have a heater that will help to keep the water in the tank between 75 to 82OF. Always ensure that your heater is placed at one end of the fish tank, and a thermometer is placed at the other end to find out if that the water is heated evenly.

While these fish can stand a wide range of pH’s and waters, the ideal pH for them is from 5.5-8.5, the best pH for them is anywhere from 7.0 and 7.2.

As with the majority of aquarium fish, you’ll also require a filter – and the type you choose will be determined by your personal preference and the size of your tank. A hang on the back filter will suffice for most setups. If your tank is huge (above 50 gallons), you may want to consider getting an external canister filter.

Your reason for keeping this fish will determine how you set up your fish tank. Do you just need them to beautify your tank, do you want to breed them, or you want to have all males or females in your tank?

  • Show Tank: For a show tank, you need to plant the tank up with lots of live green plants, substrate, and rocks. The best plants to keep these lovely fish include Amazon Sword Plants and Hornwort. The type of substrate you decide to use is entirely down to what you prefer. Guppies are known to spend most of their time at the top or in the middle of the tank.
  • Breeding Tank: To breed guppies, keep the fish tank bare-bottomed so that you can quickly suck out any uneaten food. Use only floating plants like Java Moss to create a hiding place for your fry. The plants are also helpful for filtration.

Regardless of the tank setup, make sure that you have your tank cleaned on a weekly basis, and also perform around 25% partial water change.

Guppy Tank Mates

The most appropriate tank mates for a Guppy is more Guppies! The bulk of individuals who keep this fish only do so because they look good. If you are only keeping guppies for their looks, it is recommended that you keep only males.

You can keep a single Guppy in 2 gallons of water, 5 in a 10-gallon tank, and 10 guppies in a 20-gallon tank. If you decide to keep both females and males, make sure to keep them at a 2:1 ratio.

They can also decide to keep them with other peaceful species fish such as Platies, Corydoras, Mollies, Gouramis, and peaceful tetras. You can use almost all livebearers like swordtails and ender’s livebearers as tank mates for your guppies.

You should avoid the temptation of housing these fish with larger or aggressive species, especially if you know they will likely make a meal of them. Do not keep them in the same tank with species such as Barbs, Red-Tailed Sharks, and aggressive Tetras.

If you are looking to have them and other non-fish creatures, you could house them with African Dwarf Frogs or Ghost Shrimp.

Diet for Guppies

The food you feed your fish will depend mainly on what is available in their natural habitat and their anatomy.

Guppies are natural omnivores, which means that they eat both animal and plant matter. These fishes will eat anything you give them, as they are not fussy eaters, including mosquito larvae.

The main diet of this fish is good quality fish flakes. Make sure that you go for a product that contains high protein.

We hope that you found this article useful. Please leave a comment below.

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