ORIGINS South America, occurring in the Caribbean and
in South America north of the Amazon.
SIZE 2 in (5 cm).
DIET Prepared foods and small livefoods.
WATER Temperature 70–77°F (21–25°C); hard
(100–150 mg/l) and alkaline (pH 7.5).
TEMPERAMENT Placid and social.
One of the best known of all tropical fish, the Guppy is named after Rev.Thomas Guppy, who identified it on the Caribbean island of Trinidad.
The several thousand varieties available to aquarists today are far removed from their wild ancestors, and can be found in a wide range of colors and with many different body patterns and fin types.
The different color variations are displayed most impressively in male fish, which are naturally more colorful as well as smaller than females. (All the fish illustrated here are male.) Guppies show well as a group in a single-species tank, but they can also be kept with other nonaggressive fish as part of a community aquarium.
The female Guppy gives birth to live offspring, but unfortunately, these are likely to be cannibalized soon after birth, even in a breeding tank setup, unless the young can escape out of reach.Various breeding traps are available for this purpose .When buying these fish, it is worth remembering that the largest females give birth to correspondingly bigger broods.
One of the most significant factors to consider when breeding guppies is that a female only needs to mate once in order to continue producing young throughout her life—potentially giving birth to seven or more broods using sperm
stored in her body.
This is why even if you choose a well-marked male and female from the same tank in a pet store, the likelihood will be that at least some of the young will not be the offspring of that particular male (although the majority of offspring are likely to be the result of the most recent mating).This also explains how females kept on their own can give birth to young.
The only way to be sure of the parentage of guppies is to separate the sexes as early as possible. As soon as the young males can be recognized by their gonopodium—usually when they are about three weeks old—they should be transferred to a separate tank.The females will be noticeably larger than the males from three months onward, by which time some of the males will already be sexually mature. A female guppy will have her first brood approximately a month after mating.
The number of offspring produced is likely to be small at first, sometimes no more than 10, but it increases to between 50 and 100 per brood as the female grows bigger. Some strains are more prolific breeders than others.
Selective breeding of guppies began during the 1950s, but unfortunately, a number of strains—even some
that are carefully maintained—are not stable.This means that many of the resulting offspring may not display the most desirable characteristics of their parents. Cobra patterning is one of the most stable characteristics in terms of
markings.This is a dominant genetic characteristic, so well-marked individuals are always likely to pass their cobra patterning on to the next generation. However, recessive characteristics, such as tuxedo patterning, may disappear for several generations of a particular bloodline, and then reemerge unexpectedly at a later stage.
Tuxedo Multicolored Delta Guppy fish The tuxedo
characteristic (the black area toward the rear of the body)
can be combined with different colors to striking effect.
This variety also has the broad delta-tail.
Wild Guppy These fish may be found in brackish water,
and the addition of salt to their aquarium is recommended.
Wild Guppies are not readily available today, and domestic
strains will prove far more adaptable.
German Yellow Guppy Named after its country of
origin, this is a particularly striking variety in which the
enlarged caudal fin and the dorsal fin are both yellow.
Fin shape, as well as color, is important in fancy guppies.
Blonde Guppy The red caudal fin and rear part of the
body contrast with the lighter blonde coloration seen on
the underparts near the head. The use of color food is
often recommended for red strains of guppies.
Red Tail Half-Black Guppy As with other strains
created by selective breeding, fertility may be impaired
if these fish are heavily inbred. Not all such strains are
commercial products; some are bred by enthusiasts only.
Guppy The distinctive
black area on the flank
varies in size and density
Golden Snakeskin Delta Guppy
This is one of a number of guppy
varieties that have become very popular
in Russia. It is thought that the famous
Moscow Blue strain may have evolved
from the Snakeskin line.
Red Varitail Guppy (above) Broad-tailed guppies like
the Red Varitail tend to be more popular than those
with narrow tails, because the wide caudal fin allows
for some striking tail patterns to be developed.
Gold Cobra Delta Guppy Of American origin, Cobra
Guppies are now popular internationally. The male (seen
above) is always more colorful than the female, although
she may display a patterned caudal fin in some strains.
Resources from Encyclopedia of Aquarium and Pond Fish D. Alderton DK 2008