Snakeskin Guppy

Snakeskin Guppies are fascinating freshwater fish prized for their intricate and distinctive patterns. These friendly fish require minimal maintenance, making them an excellent choice for community aquariums.

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Care DIfficulty


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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 Snakeskin Guppy, or Poecilia reticulata, is a selectively bred variety of the common guppy, originating from South America, particularly in the countries of Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela. The name "Snakeskin" comes from the unique pattern found on their bodies, resembling the scales of a snake.

In the wild, Snakeskin Guppies are most often found in calm, slow-moving waters with plenty of plant life. These plants not only serve as hiding spots but also as a food source. These social fish thrive in groups and are known for their livebearing nature, giving birth to live fry rather than laying eggs.

Their natural environment features warm water with a temperature typically varying between 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 28 degrees Celsius), with a pH level of 7.0 to 8.5, 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 hiding spots.

By closely mirroring the Snakeskin 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.

Snakeskin Guppies are celebrated for their striking and intricate pattern that adorns their bodies. Their beautiful, diverse colors and lively nature make them an ideal choice for those seeking a visually stunning and dynamic aquatic showcase. Even though they are small, reaching up to approximately 1.2 to 2.4 inches (3 to 6 cm) in size, their distinctive appearance and animated behavior make them a cherished favorite among hobbyists of all experience levels.

With proper care, Snakeskin Guppies can enjoy a lifespan of up to 2 to 3 years. As sociable beings, they flourish in groups and can coexist 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 high-quality flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods.

Fun Facts

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

  • Mimicry for survival: In the wild, Snakeskin Guppies have evolved their unique patterns as a form of camouflage, helping them blend into their surroundings and evade predators.
  • Livebearers: Snakeskin Guppies, like other guppies, are livebearing fish, meaning they give birth to live young rather than laying eggs. This trait makes them easier to breed in captivity and fascinating to observe as they reproduce.
  • Sexual dimorphism: Snakeskin Guppies exhibit sexual dimorphism, with males typically having more vibrant colors and longer, more elaborate tails than females. This difference helps aquarists easily distinguish between the sexes in their aquariums.
  • Ability to adapt: Snakeskin Guppies are highly adaptable and can survive in a wide range of water conditions, making them suitable for beginner aquarists. However, providing them with the ideal environment will ensure their health and well-being.
  • Social behavior: Snakeskin Guppies are social fish that thrive in groups and interact well with other peaceful fish species. This compatibility makes them an excellent choice for community aquariums, where their stunning patterns and lively nature can be appreciated.

Now that you've discovered some interesting tidbits about Snakeskin 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 Snakeskin 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 Snakeskin 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. Snakeskin Guppies are social fish and need to be kept in groups to reduce stress and ensure their well-being. Typically, Snakeskin Guppies are priced between $3 and $6 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: 50-75 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($15 - $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 Fern and Anubias ($15 - $35)
  • Fish: Minimum 6 Snakeskin Guppies ($20 - $35)
  • 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: 15-20 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: 75-100 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($20 - $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 Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne species ($30 - $70)
  • Fish: Minimum 6 Snakeskin Guppies ($20 - $35)
  • 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 ($25 - $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 ($50 - $100)
  • Fish: Minimum 6 Snakeskin Guppies ($20 - $35)
  • 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 Snakeskin 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 Snakeskin 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 Snakeskin 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 ideal location for your aquarium, ensuring it's away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and drafts. Make sure 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 Snakeskin 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. Snakeskin Guppies are omnivorous and can be fed a variety of foods, including high-quality flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms. 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 Snakeskin Guppies and other fish flourish in their new home. Remember to always provide proper care, attention, and a suitable environment to ensure the health and well-being of your fish. Enjoy the beauty and charm of your Snakeskin Guppies as they swim gracefully in their vibrant aquarium setting.

Recommended Water Parameters

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

  • Temperature: Keep the water between 75°F and 82°F (24°C and 28°C) for optimal comfort.
  • pH: Aim for a slightly alkaline pH of 7.0 to 7.5, but they can tolerate up to 8.0 if changes are gradual.
  • Hardness: Soft to moderately hard water (5-15 dGH) is ideal, though they can adapt to slightly harder water.
  • Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate: Keep ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, and maintain nitrate levels below 40 ppm.
  • Lighting: Provide moderate to bright lighting with shaded areas and floating plants to offer hiding spots and simulate their natural habitat.
  • Water movement: Gentle to moderate water flow is suitable, replicating their native slow-moving environment.

Make sure to regularly test your aquarium water and perform necessary water changes to maintain a stable and healthy environment.

Routine Water Maintenance

Water changes play a crucial role in keeping your Snakeskin Guppies' tank healthy. They help remove waste, excess nutrients, and toxins. Here's a suggested routine for water maintenance:

  • Weekly water changes: Replace 20-25% of the tank water every week.
  • Test water parameters: Regularly check pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and hardness levels.
  • Use a gravel vacuum: Clean the substrate during water changes to remove debris and waste.
  • Dechlorinate the water: Treat tap water with a water conditioner to remove chlorine or chloramine before adding it to the aquarium.
  • Match temperature and pH: Ensure that the new water you add is similar in temperature and pH to the tank water.
  • Acclimate the fish: Allow your Snakeskin Guppies time to adjust to the new water conditions after each water change.

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

  • Monitor lighting duration: Aim for a consistent 8-10 hour photoperiod each day to prevent excessive algae growth.
  • Plant maintenance: Regularly trim and remove any dead leaves or decaying plant matter to maintain water quality and the overall appearance of your aquarium.
  • 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 to prevent disruption of beneficial bacteria and potential water quality issues.

Diet and Feeding Schedule

Snakeskin Guppies are omnivorous and require a varied diet to thrive. Here are some feeding guidelines:

  • Flakes and pellets: Offer high-quality flake or pellet food specifically designed for small tropical fish.
  • Frozen and live foods: Provide occasional treats such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, or mosquito larvae to enhance their diet.
  • Vegetable matter: Supplement their diet with blanched spinach, zucchini, or cucumber for added nutrients.
  • Feeding frequency: Feed moderate portions two to three times a day, ensuring not to overfeed, which can lead to health issues.

Stress and Diseases

Snakeskin Guppies may experience stress from various sources, including poor water quality, aggression, or unsuitable tank conditions. Identifying and addressing these stressors is crucial for the well-being of your fish. Here are some tips:

  • Watch for stress signs: Keep an eye out for unusual behavior such as hiding, lethargy, color loss, or rapid breathing, as these may indicate stress.
  • Check water quality: Regularly test your aquarium water to ensure it meets the ideal parameters and perform regular water changes to maintain a healthy environment.
  • Monitor tank mates: Ensure that your Snakeskin Guppies are not being harassed or attacked by other fish in the tank. If necessary, remove any aggressive tank mates.
  • Create a suitable habitat: Provide ample hiding spots, appropriate lighting, and a properly sized tank for your Snakeskin Guppies to reduce stress and promote their well-being.

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

  • Ich (white spot disease): This parasitic infection causes white spots on the body and fins, lethargy, and loss of appetite. 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 characterized by 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 that results in 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: This condition causes fish to have difficulty swimming upright. Treat swim bladder disease by fasting the fish and offering them blanched peas. Consider using antibacterial medication if necessary.

Preventing diseases in Snakeskin Guppies can be achieved by maintaining excellent water quality, avoiding overfeeding, and providing a balanced diet. It is also recommended to quarantine new fish before adding them to the main tank and promptly address any signs of illness.


Breeding Snakeskin Guppies can be an exciting endeavor, but it requires the right setup and conditions. Follow these steps to breed Snakeskin Guppies successfully:

  • Step #1: Create a suitable breeding environment: Set up a separate breeding tank of at least 10 gallons with a pH level of around 7.0 to 7.5 and a temperature of approximately 78°F (26°C). Maintain soft water (5-10 dGH) and include hiding spots like plants or spawning mops to provide comfort for the fish.
  • Step #2: Select healthy, mature breeding pairs: Choose a ratio of one male to two females to prevent aggression and ensure successful breeding. Identify males by their vibrant colors and females by their rounder bellies.
  • Step #3: Prepare the breeding pair: Feed the breeding pair a high-protein diet of live or frozen foods for several weeks to enhance their health and energy levels.
  • Step #4: Encourage spawning: Introduce the breeding pair to the breeding tank and gradually raise the water temperature while dimming the lighting. Create a natural day-night cycle by adjusting the lighting duration. Provide spawning mops or fine-leaved plants for the female to deposit eggs.
  • Step #5: Care for the eggs and fry: After spawning, remove the breeding pair from the breeding tank. Keep the tank dimly lit, as the eggs and fry are light-sensitive. The eggs will hatch within 24-36 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming after a few days. Gradually increase the lighting duration as the fry grow. Initially, feed them infusoria or liquid fry food and gradually introduce crushed flake food.
  • Step #6: Monitor growth and development: Keep an eye on the fry's growth and separate them by size if needed to prevent larger fry from preying on smaller ones.

Breeding Snakeskin Guppies can be a rewarding experience for dedicated hobbyists. Patience, attention to detail, and creating the right conditions are key to achieving successful breeding outcomes.

Recommended Tank Mates

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

  • Dwarf Corydoras
  • Neon Tetras
  • Ember Tetras
  • Guppies
  • Bristlenose Plecos
  • Pygmy Corydoras
  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Nerite Snails
  • Rasboras
  • Otocinclus Catfish

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


To summarize, Snakeskin Guppies are a captivating species of freshwater fish known for their unique patterns and ease of care. They require specific water parameters, a balanced diet, and a suitable environment to thrive in captivity. With the right conditions, they can live up to five years and be a beautiful addition to any aquarium. When selecting tank mates, it's essential to choose peaceful and non-aggressive species to ensure a harmonious community. Breeding Snakeskin Guppies can be a challenging yet rewarding experience for experienced hobbyists, and patience and ideal conditions are key to success. Overall, Snakeskin Guppies are stunning and vibrant fish that can enhance any aquatic display with their distinct patterns and lively nature.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Snakeskin Guppies?

When setting up a home for Snakeskin Guppies, a 20-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 Snakeskin Guppies should be kept together?

Keep in mind that Snakeskin Guppies are schooling fish, which means they thrive in groups of at least 6-8 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 Snakeskin Guppies require?

Snakeskin Guppies thrive in water temperatures between 75°F and 82°F (24°C and 28°C), a pH between 7.0 and 7.5, and soft to moderately hard water with a hardness between 5 and 15 dGH.

What do Snakeskin Guppies eat?

Snakeskin 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 Snakeskin Guppies compatible with other fish?

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

How can I differentiate between Snakeskin Guppies and other guppy varieties?

Snakeskin Guppies are distinguishable by their unique pattern, which resembles a snake's skin. They exhibit intricate and irregular patterns on their bodies, distinguishing them from other guppy varieties.

How long do Snakeskin Guppies live?

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

Do Snakeskin Guppies require a planted tank?

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

Can Snakeskin Guppies change color?

Yes, Snakeskin Guppies can undergo color changes due to various factors such as genetics, age, and environmental conditions. It is not uncommon for their colors to intensify or fade over time. Additionally, stress or illness can also temporarily affect their coloration. It's important to provide a well-maintained and stress-free environment to help them showcase their vibrant and beautiful colors.