Leopard Guppy

Leopard Guppies are mesmerizing freshwater fish with a distinctive spotted pattern that makes them a favorite among aquarium enthusiasts. These friendly fish are low-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 inches (5 cm)

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2 to 3 years

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Table of contents

Origin, Appearance, Size, and Lifespan

The Leopard Guppy, or Poecilia reticulata, is a popular freshwater fish originating from South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. They are found in various habitats, including rivers, streams, and ponds, where they prefer slow-moving waters with plenty of vegetation.

In the wild, Leopard Guppies are often found in warm, slightly hard to hard water. The temperature typically varies between 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 26 degrees Celsius), with a pH level of 6.8 to 7.8, 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 high-quality filtration system, and incorporate live plants and hiding spots.

By closely mirroring the Leopard 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.

Leopard Guppies are celebrated for their striking pattern, which features spots reminiscent of a leopard's coat. This unique pattern makes them an alluring and eye-catching feature in aquariums. Despite their small size, reaching up to approximately 2 inches (5 cm) in length, their distinctive appearance and spirited nature make them an ideal choice for those seeking a lively, vibrant aquatic display. 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, Leopard Guppies can enjoy a lifespan of up to 2 to 3 years. They thrive in groups and are best kept with several individuals of their own kind. To promote their well-being and ensure a long life in captivity, it's essential to provide a lushly planted aquarium with ample hiding spots, as well as a diverse diet consisting of premium flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods.

Fun Facts

Now that we've learned more about the appearance and lifespan of Leopard 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 striking patterns to their livebearing nature, Leopard Guppies are full of surprises and are sure to captivate any aquarist.

  • Vibrant colors and patterns: In the wild, Leopard Guppies display a wide range of colors and patterns, which can vary based on their geographical location. Their beautiful markings and colors are the result of selective breeding by hobbyists, making each Leopard Guppy unique and visually stunning.
  • Livebearing fish: Unlike many other aquarium fish, Leopard Guppies are livebearers, which means they give birth to live, free-swimming fry rather than laying eggs. This trait makes them relatively easy to breed in a home aquarium setting.
  • Rapid reproduction: Leopard Guppies are known for their ability to reproduce rapidly. A single female can give birth to multiple broods, with each brood containing up to 50 or more fry. This rapid reproduction rate can lead to a quickly growing population in your aquarium if not managed properly.
  • Adaptable to various conditions: Leopard Guppies are highly adaptable and can thrive in a wide range of water conditions. This adaptability makes them an excellent choice for beginner aquarists, as they are more forgiving of fluctuations in water parameters than some other fish species.
  • Sexual dimorphism: Male and female Leopard Guppies display sexual dimorphism, meaning they have distinct differences in appearance. Males are typically smaller and more colorful, while females are larger and less vibrant. This distinction makes it easy to identify the sexes and manage breeding in your aquarium.

Now that you've discovered some interesting tidbits about Leopard 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 Leopard 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 Leopard 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. Leopard Guppies are social fish and can be kept in pairs or small groups to promote their well-being. Typically, Leopard Guppies are priced between $1 and $5 per fish, although prices can vary based on factors such as quality, patterns, and availability.

Budget-friendly setup (around $200):

  • Tank: 10-gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($30 - $50)
  • Filter: Hang-on-back (HOB) or sponge filter rated for 10 gallons ($15 - $30)
  • Heater: 50-watt adjustable aquarium heater ($10 - $25)
  • Lighting: Basic LED aquarium light ($15 - $35)
  • Substrate: Inexpensive aquarium sand or small gravel ($5 - $15)
  • Decor: A few pieces of driftwood and rocks, along with low-cost live plants like Java Fern and Anubias ($15 - $30)
  • Fish: Minimum 1 pair, maximum 6 Leopard Guppies ($5 - $15)
  • 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 - $500):

  • Tank: 10-20 gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($50 - $100)
  • 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 ($30 - $100)
  • Substrate: Nutrient-rich aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks ($10 - $30)
  • Decor: A mix of driftwood, rocks, and live plants such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne species ($25 - $60)
  • Fish: Minimum 1 pair, maximum 10 Leopard Guppies ($10 - $30)
  • 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 $600):

  • Tank: 20-30 gallon rimless aquarium with a glass canopy ($100 - $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 ($30 - $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 Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, Cryptocoryne species, and carpeting plants like Dwarf Hairgrass or Monte Carlo ($40 - $100)
  • Fish: Minimum 1 pair, maximum 15 Leopard Guppies ($15 - $45)
  • 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 Leopard 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 Leopard 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 Leopard 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 Leopard 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 Leopard Guppies and other fish flourish in their new home.

Recommended Water Parameters

To maintain a healthy and comfortable environment for your Leopard Guppies, it's crucial to keep specific water parameters in your aquarium. Here's what you should aim for:

  • Temperature: Maintain the water between 74°F and 82°F (23°C and 28°C) for optimal comfort.
  • pH: Aim for a pH of 6.8 to 7.8, but they can tolerate slight fluctuations if changes are gradual.
  • Hardness: Moderately hard water (8-12 dGH) is ideal, though they can adapt to a wider range of hardness levels.
  • 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 slow-moving 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 essential for a healthy Leopard 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

Leopard Guppies are omnivores and require a varied diet. Here are some feeding guidelines:

  • Flakes and pellets: Use high-quality flake or pellet food designed for guppies or other 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

Leopard 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 Leopard 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 Leopard Guppies aren't being harassed or attacked 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 Leopard 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 Leopard 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 Leopard Guppies can be relatively simple, even for beginners. Follow these steps to breed Leopard Guppies:

  • Step #1: Create a suitable breeding environment with a separate 10-gallon or larger breeding tank, a pH level of around 7.0, and a temperature of about 80°F (27°C). Include hiding spots like plants and spawning mops for the fish's comfort.
  • Step #2: Select healthy, mature male and female Leopard 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 pair to the breeding tank. Leopard Guppies are livebearers, and the female will give birth to live fry after a gestation period of around 28 days.
  • Step #5: Care for the fry by removing the breeding pair after birth. Provide them with infusoria or liquid fry food initially, then gradually introduce crushed flake food.
  • 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 Leopard Guppies can be a rewarding experience for hobbyists. Patience and the right conditions are key to success.

Recommended Tank Mates

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

  • Dwarf Cichlids
  • Mollies
  • Platies
  • Swordtails
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Nerite Snails
  • Rasboras
  • Endler's Livebearers
  • Tetras

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


In summary, Leopard Guppies are a visually striking and easy-to-care-for freshwater fish species. These fish require specific water parameters, a well-balanced diet, and a suitable environment to thrive in captivity. However, with the right conditions, they can live for up to 3 years and make 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 Leopard Guppies can be a simple and rewarding experience, even for beginners, as long as patience and the ideal conditions are maintained. Overall, Leopard Guppies are a vibrant and lively species that can enhance any aquatic display with their attractive patterns and active behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Leopard Guppies?

A 10-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for a small group of Leopard Guppies. 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 Leopard Guppies should be kept together?

Leopard Guppies are social fish that prefer to live in groups. It's best to keep a minimum of 4-6 individuals together, with a balanced mix of males and females.

What water parameters do Leopard Guppies require?

Leopard Guppies thrive in water temperatures between 74°F and 82°F (23°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 Leopard Guppies eat?

Leopard 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 Leopard Guppies compatible with other fish?

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

How long do Leopard Guppies live?

With proper care and optimal tank conditions, Leopard Guppies can live for 2 to 3 years.

How do I breed Leopard Guppies?

Breeding Leopard Guppies can be relatively simple, even for beginners. Create a suitable breeding environment with a separate breeding tank, introduce a healthy male and female, and provide proper care for the fry after birth.

Do Leopard Guppies require a planted tank?

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

Can Leopard Guppies change color?

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