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Why Should You Choose a Guppy?
September 01, 2022
No other freshwater fish is as well-known as the Rainbow guppy (Poecilia reticulata). Its popularity has been unbroken for decades, and countless varieties of color and form exist. Also, keeping and breeding these fish comes with no difficulties. Its friendly character comes with a healthy curiosity; therefore, if you are looking for a kind of fish that always loiters in front of the curious eyes, then search no longer: you have found the perfect fish.
The Origin of The Rainbow Guppies
Guppy species are indigenous to the northern part of Brazil, Venezuela, and the islands of Barbados and Trinidad; the aboriginals who lived there discovered the usefulness of the guppies centuries ago. They started to keep the guppies to reduce the number of mosquito larvae. Even though the "Guppy monk" – the geologist and plant collector Robert John Lechmere – and other explorers had sent several preserved specimens to the British Museum, the first live guppies only got to see Europe in person by 1908. People began to populate several subtropical and tropical freshwater habitats with them to help eat some of the mosquito larvae. People started introducing them to thermal streams, lakes, and some backyard ponds in countries with tempered climates. The actual popularity of the guppy began after the Second World War, in 1946, and a few years later, in 1954, at the International Guppy Exhibition of the German Guppy Society (Deutsche Guppy Gesellschaft) in Hanover. The longfin huge guppies of the "Guppy King" Paul Hähnel from New York mesmerized ornamental fish breeders and inspired them to start to compete with their guppies.
How to Keep a Guppy the Best Possible Way?
Guppies can adapt quite well to different conditions because their original habitats are also very diverse. We can safely say that most aquarium conditions are suitable for them. Ideally, they prefer a water temperature of 20-27 degrees, a pH of 6-8, and a water hardness of 8-20 GH. These relatively wide ranges are considered to be perfect conditions for a guppy. However, we need to pay attention to what other aquarium mates we keep them with because some fish can peck on their graceful, longer fins – for example, barbs.
Males are smaller (3-4 cm long) and significantly more colorful. The females have larger bodies (5-6 cm) and dull, pale colors. Males have a typical copulatory organ: their fin has been transformed into a gonopodium. It is located under the dorsal fin, and it stores sperm. A female might only need to mate with a male once because they can hold the sperm for later use and give birth several times after the first occasion.
If we want to keep both males and females in our aquarium, the number of females should be higher than that of the males, as they will court fiercely and persistently. This can cause a severe amount of stress for females that are smaller or equal in number. Since guppies are livebearers and can breed very fast, we should keep males only or devise a plan to save the growing population. Female guppies will give birth to 25-50 fry every 4-5 weeks and be ready to pair by 3-4 months.
Feeding guppies is not difficult since they will accept all kinds of processed fish food. On the other hand, giving them a wide variety of food is very important! Do this, and their colors will become more vibrant and vivid. Guppies that receive better quality and varied nutrition will live longer. They mostly like to swim near the water surface and – superior-mouthed fish, with their mouths oriented upwards – feed from the water surface. For this reason, they prefer food that floats on the water surface and will sink very slowly.
Green Aqua Best Bite Small - granulated fish food - 90 g
€0.11 / 1 g
Hikari - Fancy Guppy general food for Livebearers 22g
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Guppy Beauty Contests
In the past years, we've seen several Guppy Breeding Associations contests in Europe. These contests will award breeders for creating new guppy bloodlines based on different gene combinations, having new colors or distinct patterns. Judging criteria are based on requirements drafted in the internationally accepted 12 standard categories of dorsal fin shapes.
The creation of new mutations through the combination of different strains of guppies using rigorous selection is still underway today. These lines need to be clean and well heritable. The process requires a lot of patience and skill from the breeders. The new guppy-wonders are very appealing and attract more and more aquarists to these fish. Some breeding lines have even had females with striking colorful dorsal fins.
European guppy rating standard was accepted in 1981. The first European competition between Guppy Associations was held in 1986, hosted by the 25th Vienna Guppy Exhibition. We are proud that Hungary was able to host the European Guppy Championship twice: in 2019 and 2021. And at the 2020 World Championship from Brazil, the Hungarian István Toma's guppies won the World Champion title in the A4 dorsal fin category.
The "Nano" Guppy
Endler guppies (Poecilia wingei) with only 2-4 cm are an excellent choice for those with a smaller tank. Males are brightly colored. Orange, black, green, and blue colors form various patterns on their bodies. Females are slightly larger and wider than males; their color is a light, pale green. Males have a visible gonopodium. Sexually mature females have a dark gravid spot near their anus at the back of the abdomen. The gonopodium of a young male is often seen to develop even earlier than its vivid colors.
Guppy In a Community Tank
Guppies can be nicely kept together with other smaller-sized nano fish. As far as fish food goes, they are not picky, but please keep in mind that they have a small size, with small mouths, so they cannot consume larger grain-size pellets. With this in mind, we can safely feed them live or frozen planktons, crushed flakes, or smaller grains or wafers. They will also need plant-based food occasionally.
Breeding guppies, just like other livebearers, is easy. Males are very agile. They loiter around females for the whole day, looking for the perfect opportunity to mate with them. A fully developed female receiving diverse food will give birth to 40 larger fries every 23-24 days. The temperature of the aquarium influences the sex of the offspring: if the water is cooler, there will be more males; if the temperature is higher, more females will see the light of day. The parents do not eat them, but they still like to hide in the dense vegetation. Their growth rate is rapid, males will already be colored by week 2, and females can breed by the age of 2 months. Females will be able to produce the highest number of fries by 6-8 months.
Several color variations include the Tiger Endler guppy, the Japanese Blue Endler guppy, or even the Golden Endler guppy. The last one is a variant that is growing in popularity. It has turquoise-gold color, with some red patches. This already has some officially approved color varieties in Hungary (like the Poecilia wingei treck's black bar), and I'm sure there are a couple of non-approved, relatively new color variations already.
In conclusion, it can be said that both the guppy and the Endler guppy can be excellent choices for beginners or even advanced aquarists. Besides the variety of looks and vivid colors, its peaceful nature will undoubtedly speak in their favor.