Fancy Guppy

Fancy Guppies are fascinating freshwater fish with a wide array of colors and tail shapes, making them a favorite among aquarium enthusiasts. These lively fish require minimal maintenance, making them an excellent choice for community aquariums.

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Care DIfficulty


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Central and South America

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2.5 inches (6.4 cm)

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3 years

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Table of contents

Origin, Appearance, Size, and Lifespan

The Fancy Guppy, or Poecilia reticulata, is a popular freshwater fish originally from Central and South America. You'll typically find them in slow-moving streams, ponds, and marshes.

In the wild, Fancy Guppies are most often found in warm, clear waters with abundant vegetation. These plants not only serve as hiding spots but also as a food source, while the diverse habitats make their brilliant colors and patterns stand out. These social fish thrive in groups and are known for their peaceful nature.

Their natural environment features warm, slightly alkaline water. The temperature typically varies between 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 26 degrees Celsius), with a pH level of 7.0 to 8.0, and water hardness between 8 to 12 dGH. To create a similar environment in your aquarium, make sure to maintain a consistent water temperature, use a top-quality filtration system, and incorporate live plants and decorations.

By closely mirroring the Fancy Guppy's natural habitat and ensuring the right water conditions, you'll be setting your fish up for a healthy and happy life in your aquarium.

Fancy Guppies are celebrated for their diverse colors and spectacular tail shapes, which can range from fan-like to lyre-shaped. These vibrant colors and unique patterns make them an irresistible and eye-catching feature in aquariums. Although they are small, reaching up to approximately 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) in size, their distinctive appearance and lively nature make them an ideal choice for those seeking a dynamic, vibrant aquatic showcase. These charming fish bring joy to observers as they gracefully swim through the tank, making them a cherished favorite among hobbyists of all experience levels.

With proper care, Fancy Guppies can enjoy a lifespan of up to 3 years. As sociable beings, they flourish in groups and coexist well with other peaceful fish species. To promote their well-being and ensure a long life in captivity, it's essential to provide a well-planted aquarium with abundant hiding spots, as well as a diverse diet consisting of premium flakes, pellets, and frozen foods.

Fun Facts

Now that we learned more about the appearance and lifespan of Fancy Guppies, in this section, we'll highlight some fascinating facts about these beautiful fish that make them stand out in the aquarium hobby. From their vivid coloration to their ability to adapt, Fancy Guppies are full of surprises and are sure to captivate any aquarist.

  • Selective breeding: Fancy Guppies are the result of generations of selective breeding, which has led to the development of their stunning colors and diverse tail shapes. Through careful selection, breeders have created a wide array of variations, making Fancy Guppies one of the most diverse aquarium fish species.
  • Sexual dimorphism: Male and female Fancy Guppies display significant differences in appearance. Males are typically smaller and more colorful, with elaborate tail fins, while females are larger, more robust, and have more muted colors and simpler fin shapes.
  • Adaptable survivors: Fancy Guppies are known for their ability to adapt to various environmental conditions, which has allowed them to thrive in a wide range of habitats. In some cases, they have even become invasive species, outcompeting native fish populations.
  • Livebearers: Unlike many other fish species, Fancy Guppies are livebearers, meaning they give birth to live, free-swimming fry instead of laying eggs. This reproductive strategy allows the fry to develop more quickly and increases their chances of survival.
  • Colorful communication: Fancy Guppies use their vivid colors and intricate patterns not only for camouflage and attracting mates but also as a form of communication. They can change the intensity of their colors based on their mood, health, or social interactions.

Now that you've discovered some interesting tidbits about Fancy Guppies, you'll be better equipped to appreciate their beauty and intricacies in your aquarium. In the following section, we'll provide recommendations on tank setups, ensuring your Fancy Guppies have an ideal environment to thrive and showcase their dazzling features.

Recommended Tank Setups

Each setup includes the core components—tank, filter, heater, lighting, substrate, and more—ensuring that you can create an appropriate environment for Fancy Guppies and other compatible freshwater fish species in your aquarium. As you move from budget-friendly to high-end setups, you will also have more options for customization, aesthetics, and advanced features. Fancy Guppies are social fish and can be kept in groups or pairs. Typically, Fancy Guppies are priced between $1 and $5 per fish, although prices can vary based on factors such as size, quality, and availability.

Budget-friendly setup (around $200):

  • Tank: 10-gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($30 - $60)
  • Filter: Hang-on-back (HOB) or sponge filter rated for 10 gallons ($15 - $30)
  • Heater: 25-50 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($10 - $25)
  • Lighting: Basic LED aquarium light ($20 - $40)
  • Substrate: Inexpensive aquarium sand or small gravel ($10 - $20)
  • Decor: A few pieces of driftwood and rocks, along with low-cost live plants like Java Moss and Anubias ($20 - $40)
  • Fish: Minimum 3, maximum 6 Fancy Guppies ($5 - $20)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Mid-range setup (around $300 - $450):

  • Tank: 10-20 gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($40 - $90)
  • Filter: Canister filter or high-quality HOB filter rated for the tank size ($40 - $100)
  • Heater: 50-100 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($15 - $40)
  • Lighting: LED aquarium light with adjustable settings for plant growth and color enhancement ($40 - $100)
  • Substrate: Nutrient-rich aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks ($15 - $35)
  • Decor: A mix of driftwood, rocks, and live plants such as Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne species ($30 - $60)
  • Fish: Minimum 3, maximum 12 Fancy Guppies ($5 - $40)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

High-end setup (above $500):

  • Tank: 20-30 gallon rimless aquarium with a glass canopy ($80 - $200)
  • Filter: High-quality canister filter rated for the tank size ($80 - $200)
  • Heater: 100-150 watt adjustable aquarium heater with an external temperature controller ($25 - $60)
  • Lighting: Advanced LED lighting system with customizable settings for plant growth, color enhancement, and day/night cycles ($100 - $250)
  • Substrate: Premium aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks, with added root tabs for extra plant nutrition ($20 - $50)
  • Decor: A combination of driftwood, rocks, and live plants to create a natural aquascape, featuring plant species such as Java Fern, Anubias, Cryptocoryne species, and carpeting plants like Dwarf Hairgrass or Monte Carlo ($40 - $100)
  • Fish: Minimum 3, maximum 20 Fancy Guppies ($5 - $60)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Please note that these numbers are just recommendations, and you should consider other factors such as tank mates and individual fish personalities when deciding how many Fancy Guppies to keep in your aquarium. Prices may vary depending on location, brand, and availability.

Set Up Your Tank

In the previous section, we discussed the recommended tank setups for your Fancy Guppies and other fish. Now that you have a better understanding of what's required, let's dive into the step-by-step process of setting up your aquarium. These steps will guide you through selecting the ideal location for your tank, cleaning and preparing the tank, installing essential equipment, and cycling the water to create a healthy environment for your fish. We'll also cover the proper acclimation process to ensure a smooth transition for your Fancy Guppies and other fish into their new home. By following these guidelines, you'll be well on your way to creating a thriving aquatic ecosystem for your fish to flourish in.

  • Step #1: Choose the perfect spot for your aquarium, making sure it's away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and drafts. Ensure the surface is level and sturdy enough to support your filled tank. If your aquarium requires a stand, assemble it according to the manufacturer's instructions and place the empty tank on it.
  • Step #2: Next, clean the tank by rinsing it with clean water (avoid using soap or chemicals) to remove dust or debris. Wipe the inside with a clean cloth or paper towel. Rinse the substrate (sand or gravel) thoroughly in a bucket until the water runs clear, then spread it evenly across the bottom of the tank, creating a slight slope towards the back for visual depth.
  • Step #3: Before filling the tank with water, plan the layout of your aquarium, including the position of equipment like heaters and filters. This will make it easier to set up and maintain the tank in the long run. Install the heater and filter according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you're using a sponge or under-gravel filter, place it beneath the substrate before adding water.
  • Step #4: Decorate the tank with driftwood, rocks, and plants to create hiding spots and a visually appealing environment, ensuring there are open swimming areas for your fish. When decorating the tank, be careful to arrange driftwood, rocks, and plants in a way that won't damage or obstruct the equipment. You can also anchor plants to driftwood or rocks to help them stay in place.
  • Step #5: Fill the tank with water treated with a water conditioner if your tap water contains chlorine or chloramines. Place a clean plate or plastic bag on the substrate to prevent disturbance while filling. Fill the tank until it's about 2/3 full. Attach the aquarium light to the hood or canopy, following the manufacturer's instructions. Consider using a timer for your aquarium light to maintain a consistent day and night cycle, which is essential for fish and plants. Connect the heater, filter, and any additional equipment (air pump, CO2 system) to power sources, and install the thermometer in an easily visible location.
  • Step #6: Top off the water, leaving space between the water surface and the top of the tank for oxygen exchange. Turn on the filter, heater, and other equipment. Monitor the water temperature and adjust the heater as needed. Allow the tank to cycle for 4-6 weeks to establish beneficial bacteria and stabilize water parameters. During the cycling process, you can add a bacterial starter culture to speed up the establishment of beneficial bacteria in the tank. Use an aquarium test kit to monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
  • Step #7: After the tank has cycled and water parameters are stable, slowly acclimate your Fancy Guppies and other fish to the tank's conditions before introducing them. Begin by floating the unopened fish bag in the tank for 15-20 minutes to equalize the temperature. Afterward, open the bag and add a small amount of tank water to it. Continue adding small amounts of tank water to the bag every 5-10 minutes for at least 30-60 minutes, allowing the fish to adjust to the new water chemistry gradually. Use a net to gently transfer the fish from the bag to the tank, avoiding any unnecessary stress or exposure to the water from the bag.
  • Step #8: Once all the fish are introduced, establish a consistent daily feeding schedule, providing high-quality food in appropriate amounts for your fish species. Perform regular water changes (20-30% every 1-2 weeks) and monitor water parameters using a test kit to maintain a healthy environment for your fish. Observe your fish closely for any signs of stress or illness, especially during the first few weeks after introduction. Be prepared to take action if necessary, such as adjusting water parameters or seeking advice from an experienced aquarist.

By following this step-by-step guide and incorporating the additional setup tips, you can create a thriving aquatic environment that will help your Fancy Guppies and other fish flourish in their new home.

Recommended Water Parameters

To maintain a healthy and thriving environment for your Fancy Guppies, it's essential to keep specific water parameters in your aquarium. Here's a breakdown of what to aim for:

  • Temperature: Keep the water between 74°F and 82°F (23°C and 28°C) for optimal comfort.
  • pH: Maintain a pH of 6.8 to 7.8, but they can tolerate a slightly broader range if changes are gradual.
  • Hardness: Fancy Guppies prefer moderately hard water (8-12 dGH), though they can adapt to a wider range.
  • Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate: Keep ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, and maintain nitrate levels below 20 ppm.
  • Lighting: Provide moderate lighting with shaded areas and plants to prevent stress.
  • Water movement: Moderate water flow is best, mimicking their natural habitat.

Make sure to test your aquarium water regularly and perform necessary water changes to keep the environment stable.

Routine Water Maintenance

Water changes are crucial for a healthy Fancy Guppy tank. They help remove excess nutrients, waste, and toxins. Here's a suggested routine:

  • Weekly water changes: Replace 20-25% of the tank water every week.
  • Test water parameters: Check pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and hardness regularly.
  • Use a gravel vacuum: Clean the substrate during water changes.
  • Dechlorinate the water: Treat tap water with a water conditioner before adding it to the aquarium.
  • Match temperature and pH: Ensure new water is similar to the tank water.
  • Acclimate the fish: Give your fish time to adjust to new conditions after water changes.

In addition to routine water maintenance, consider the following to ensure the health of your fish and the overall appearance of your aquarium:

  • Monitor lighting duration: Keep track of how long your aquarium lights are on each day, aiming for a consistent 8-10 hour photoperiod. Too much light can lead to excessive algae growth.
  • Plant maintenance: Regularly trim live plants to maintain their health and appearance. Remove any dead leaves or plant matter to prevent water quality issues.
  • Filter maintenance: Clean or replace the filter media as recommended by the manufacturer, usually every 4-6 weeks. Avoid replacing all filter media at once, as this can disrupt the beneficial bacteria and lead to water quality issues.

Diet and Feeding Schedule

Fancy Guppies are omnivores and require a diverse diet. Here are some feeding guidelines:

  • Flakes and pellets: Use high-quality flake or pellet food designed for small tropical fish.
  • Frozen and live foods: Offer brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, or mosquito larvae as occasional treats.
  • Vegetable matter: Provide blanched spinach, zucchini, or cucumber for added nutrients.
  • Feeding frequency: Feed modest portions two to three times a day, and avoid overfeeding.

Stress and Diseases

Fancy Guppies may experience stress from various sources, such as poor water quality, aggression, or unsuitable tank conditions. Identifying and addressing these stressors is vital for your fish's health and well-being:

  • Watch for stress signs: Keep an eye on your Fancy Guppies for unusual behavior like hiding, lethargy, color loss, or rapid breathing, which may indicate stress.
  • Check water quality: Test your aquarium water to ensure it meets the ideal parameters and conduct regular water changes to maintain a healthy environment.
  • Monitor tank mates: Make sure your Fancy Guppies aren't being harassed or attacked by other fish by other fish and remove any aggressive tank mates if needed.
  • Create a suitable habitat: Provide plenty of hiding spots, appropriate lighting, and a properly sized tank for your fish.

While Fancy Guppies are generally hardy, they can be susceptible to some common fish diseases, such as:

  • Ich (white spot disease): A prevalent parasitic infection causing white spots on the body and fins, lethargy, and appetite loss. Treat Ich with aquarium salt or anti-parasitic medication and raise the water temperature to around 82°F (28°C).
  • Fin rot: A bacterial infection that leads to frayed or discolored fins and tail. Treat fin rot with a partial water change, aquarium salt, and antibacterial medication containing erythromycin or tetracycline.
  • Velvet disease: A parasitic infection causing a yellow or brownish velvet-like coating on the fish's body. Treat velvet disease with anti-parasitic medication containing copper sulfate or formalin.
  • Swim bladder disease: A condition where fish have difficulty swimming upright. Treat swim bladder disease by fasting the fish and offering them blanched peas, and consider using an antibacterial medication if needed.

Prevent diseases in Fancy Guppies by maintaining excellent water quality, avoiding overfeeding, and providing a balanced diet. Quarantine new fish before adding them to the main tank and promptly address any signs of illness.


Breeding Fancy Guppies is relatively straightforward and can be a rewarding experience for both novice and experienced aquarists. Follow these steps to breed Fancy Guppies:

  • Step #1: Create a suitable breeding environment with a separate 5-10 gallon breeding tank, a pH level of around 7.0, and a temperature of about 78°F (25°C). Include hiding spots like plants and spawning mops for the fish's comfort.
  • Step #2: Select healthy, mature male and female Fancy Guppies for breeding. You can determine the gender by observing their physical characteristics and behavior.
  • Step #3: Prepare the breeding pair with a high-protein diet of live or frozen foods for several weeks to help them build strength and energy.
  • Step #4: Introduce the breeding pair to the breeding tank. Fancy Guppies are livebearers, meaning they give birth to live, free-swimming fry rather than laying eggs. The female will give birth within 4-6 weeks after mating.
  • Step #5: Care for the fry by removing the breeding pair after birth. Feed the fry liquid fry food or powdered flake food initially, then gradually introduce crushed flake food as they grow.
  • Step #6: Monitor the growth and development of the fry, and separate them by size if needed to prevent larger fry from preying on smaller ones.

Breeding Fancy Guppies can be a fun and enjoyable aspect of the hobby, allowing you to raise healthy and colorful fish for your aquarium.

Recommended Tank Mates

Here are the top 10 recommended tank mates for Fancy Guppies:

  1. Dwarf Corydoras
  2. Neon Tetras
  3. Ember Tetras
  4. Harlequin Rasboras
  5. Bristlenose Plecos
  6. Pygmy Corydoras
  7. Cherry Shrimp
  8. Nerite Snails
  9. Danios
  10. Otocinclus Catfish

Remember to avoid large, aggressive fish like cichlids, angelfish, and predatory species, as they may harm or eat the Fancy Guppies. Always observe the behavior of new fish and ensure they don't cause stress or aggression towards the Fancy Guppies.


To summarize, Fancy Guppies are a captivating species of freshwater fish renowned for their striking colors and ease of care. These fish necessitate specific water parameters, a well-balanced diet, and a suitable environment to thrive in captivity. However, with the right conditions, they can live up to 3-5 years and be an excellent addition to any aquarium. When selecting tank mates, it's crucial to choose peaceful and non-aggressive species to ensure a harmonious community. Breeding Fancy Guppies can be a simple and rewarding experience for both novice and experienced hobbyists, and patience and ideal conditions are key to success. Overall, Fancy Guppies are a stunning and lively species that can enhance any aquatic display with their vibrant hues and lively behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Fancy Guppies?

When setting up a home for Fancy Guppies, a 10-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for a small group. Opting for a larger tank is even better, as it helps keep water conditions stable while offering plenty of room for your fish to swim.

How many Fancy Guppies should be kept together?

Keep in mind that Fancy Guppies are social fish, which means they thrive in groups of at least 3-5 individuals. By maintaining a larger group, you'll not only help your fish feel safer but also encourage them to display their fascinating natural behaviors.

What water parameters do Fancy Guppies require?

Fancy Guppies thrive in water temperatures between 72°F and 82°F (22°C and 28°C), a pH between 6.8 and 7.8, and moderately hard water with a hardness between 8 and 12 dGH.

What do Fancy Guppies eat?

Fancy Guppies are omnivorous and require a varied diet. Feed them a mix of high-quality flake or pellet food, along with live or frozen foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms.

Are Fancy Guppies compatible with other fish?

Yes, Fancy Guppies are generally peaceful and can coexist with other similarly sized, non-aggressive fish species. Ideal tank mates include small tetras, rasboras, corydoras catfish, and small plecos.

How can I differentiate between male and female Fancy Guppies?

Male Fancy Guppies have more colorful and larger tail fins, while female Fancy Guppies are generally larger with a more rounded body and have less vibrant coloration.

How long do Fancy Guppies live?

With proper care and optimal tank conditions, Fancy Guppies can live for 3 to 5 years.

How do I breed Fancy Guppies?

Breeding Fancy Guppies is relatively straightforward. Use a separate breeding tank, provide a high-protein diet for the breeding pair, and monitor the fry's growth and development after birth.

Do Fancy Guppies require a planted tank?

While not strictly necessary, a planted tank is highly recommended for Fancy Guppies. Live plants provide hiding spots, improve water quality, and create a more natural environment that closely resembles their native habitat.

Can Fancy Guppies change color?

Indeed, Fancy Guppies can undergo color changes as a result of several factors, such as stress, illness, or alterations in water conditions. If you observe your Fancy Guppies experiencing a loss of color, it's important to examine the water parameters and keep a close watch on their health.