Guppy (Poecillia raticulata) is one of the smallest fishes you may know. It is also widely known as million fish and rainbow fish. It is considered to be one of the most known freshwater aquarium fish species. These were naturally found in South America, later introduced in other habitats and now found all over the world. They come in huge variety of shape, size and colour. They are very adaptive kind of fishes that mend into different environmental conditions. This factor even makes it a model organism in the strata of evolution, behavioural studies and ecology.
When you talk about male guppies they are comparatively smaller than females, with shiny ornamental caudal fins and dorsal fins, whereas females are dull in colours and appearance. Wild type female guppies are usually grey in colour and males have different size of spots, stripes and splashes in various colours. The males measure up to 1.5-3.5 cms, but females are longer up to 3-6 cms in length.
Guppies can form excellent and beautiful pet fish. They are cute, good-looking, catches eyes of the viewer, and extremely flexible to atmospheric changes. If you hope to keep it as your pet, you need remember certain important pointers:
- THE TYPE OF FISH: Remember guppies come in a variety of colour and structure. So when you choose two same colour guppies their fins and caudal will even be the same. You should even decide whether what number of fishes to start with. It’s always suggestible to have one male and two to three females per tank. They blend in together in harmony. On the other hand if you keep one male and one female, the male tends to be more aggressive. The prior option even makes the mating process easier. It divides the male’s attention to two different fishes keeping him busy. Guppies’ colour depends upon their type – wild (grey or olive), blond (light colours with black pigments), albino (light range and even white) and blue shimmering. They even vary in their tails. The most common being the round tail, fantail, and the delta tail.
- THE TANK: Make sure the tank is as big as 10 to 20 gallons. They must be associated with a slow speed and gentle filter with a heater. The filter is supposed to be slow as the size of the fish is very small. They cannot resist the force of the filter. Add some small plants in your tank. This assures your baby guppies protection. The adult guppies can turn savagious and eat their own infants at times. Small plants give a hiding place for the infants. Usually avoid substrates, as it makes the cleaning easier and helps you keep a record of the fries.
- OTHER NEEDS: Adjust the temperature of the tank up to 77-79 Fahrenheit when both male and female guppies are together in it. Guppies are good breeders. So before you place them in the breeding tanks, buy healthy food with high nutritional value to promote sound breeding. After all necessary set up, place the fishes in the tank. Now all you need to do is waiting until your female gets pregnant. You can tell whether she’s pregnant or not by a small mark on her abdomen called as gravid spot. It becomes darker in shade with time, when the eggs start fertilizing.
- THE BIRTH TIME: Once she gets pregnant, the female will start growing in size. Its gravid spot will appear dark black or eve dark maroon at times. Its stomach starts puffing. And instead of round shape it will grow somewhat square shape like a cardboard. When the mother is ready to deliver she will show symptoms of seclusion, shivering, contractions etc. Keep a keen eye on her. It is very important to remove the fry’s as soon as they are born. Because as mentioned earlier they have a chance of getting eaten up by their own mother.
- THE FRY CARE: If you think to take a lot of care and attention towards a guppy fry, that hold that thought. Because it is not at all true. These fry’s are born inherently with a strong immune and fighting spirit. They know how to survive on their own. Even if you miss their birth by any chance at least provide them hiding space to dodge their cannibalistic mother. Even maintain the temperature up to 78 Fahrenheit. Guppies’ fry usually enjoy powder flakes, brine shrimp and micro-worms. They eat meat and vegetables both. They need to be fed at least twice a day. Do not over feed them. They are extremely tiny creatures. So make sure you don’t fill the tank with food. This results in the leftover food spoiling the atmosphere in the tank. It makes difficult for the fry and can lead to mortality.
Thus, these some bullets one must keep in mind if you ever want a guppy or guppies as pets. They will not disappoint you. And why not try something different than the usual!