Setting Up A Guppy Tank:

Guppy (Poecilia reticulata) is no doubt the most popular and very hardy tropical fish native to South America. Around 300 different type of guppies are found in Amazon river. However, most of the fish kept in the hobby are not caught in the wild. Guppy fish are live bearer and prolific breeder, guppy fry are free swimming at birth. Male guppies are usually very colorful with long fins while female guppies are less colorful with large bodies. 

Watch how to setup a guppy aquarium & see all the essential requirements for a healthy guppy tank in a video below:

How to setup a guppy aquarium

Caring for guppy fish is extremely easy but it is important to setup a tank that is large enough for the fish. You could either fill the bottom with decorative gravel or leave it empty. Both approaches have its own pros and cons and i have tried both and have had no issue at all. In order to create a perfect healthy habitat, it is best to add plants to the tank and get the tank cycle before adding any fish.


1. Tank Selection:

Guppy are schooling fish and they enjoy each others company. If you want to keep both sex then you should have 1 male to 2 females. My recommendation would be choose at least a 20 litre tank for a few fish if you are experienced fish keeper. Otherwise start with at least 40 litre tank and keep 5 guppies. More fish can be kept in a 40 litre tank but maintenance would be bit high. Fill one third of the tank and position your aquatic plants, decoration, driftwood and rocks. All items must be secured so they don't fall on fish and potentially kill them. 

Tank Filtration
Guppy Aquarium

Nano aquarium is used for guppy. This aquarium has gravels, artificial plants, filter & a tank light which meets the requirements of guppy. Also it is recommended to add tank heater. 

If you want to keep both male and female guppies then keep in mind that they breed crazy. 1 female can give birth to somewhere between 1 to 100 fry. It means that your 20 litre or 40 litre fish tank would no longer be the right tank to keep all the fish as the fry will grow big with in few months. It takes 3 months for fry to show colors and by then the same mother would have given birth to 3 more batches of fry. The reason i have mentioned all this is to make sure you are ready when it happens and plan accordingly. It won't be a bad idea to sell the fry and use money towards the hobby.


2. Tank Filtration:

Guppy are small fish and doesn't create massive bio load. However, they do require a filter in a tank. I have kept 40 plus guppies in a 3 litre tank with a sponge filter and did weekly water changes. Added filtration was provided by introducing aquatic plants. Both internal and external power filter can be used in the guppy tank. Most hobbyist tend to invest in hang on back filter which is less powerful but efficiently filters the tank water. A general rule of thumb is a filter should clean the aquarium water at least five times per hour. A sponge filter is driven by air, there are various sponge filter available in the market and my favorite is a twin sponge filter. 

Tank Filtration
Tank Filtration

Tank filter can provide chemical & mechanical filtration. 2 types of foams are used for mechanical filtration such as coarse foam & fine foam for proper cleaning.
Cycling the tank prior to adding guppy fish is a must. In the absence of beneficial bacteria in the filter, water will get dirty really fast and guppies would be exposed to ammonia spikes. If you want to know more about tank filtration and type of filters then i would suggest searching my site as i have uploaded a lot of content on this topic.


3. Tank Heater:

Guppies are tropical fish and would thrive in aquarium with water temperature between 75-80 degree Fahrenheit which is equivalent to 24-27 degree Celsius. Guppies kept in cooler water will develop disease and start to die if no action is taken by the hobbyist. I recommend placing a thermostat heater in the tank which will automatically turn ON/OFF when needed. 

Aquarium Heater With Thermostat
Aquarium Heater With Thermostat
Brand: Yani

Once the tank is full of water then submersed the heater and leave it ON for at least 24 hours prior to adding any guppy to the fish tank. Setting the heater to the lowest range will slow down their metabolism, which means less food consumption and less waste created by guppy. However, setting it close to the highest range will speed up their metabolism. Warmer water will help the guppy to grow fast and will also relax pregnant guppies. Fighting infections during medication does require warmer water temperature.


4. Tank Lighting:

Every aquarium requires a light, it is needed by both plants and the fish. Aquatic plants will absorb CO2 and release oxygen in the presence of light and will do the opposite when it is dark. Guppies will be more active in the presence of light, and will look for food and will also socialize. In the absence of adequate lighting in the fish tank, guppies are more prone to developing deformities. 

Aquarium Lighting
Aquarium Lighting

Guppy do require period when it is dark in the tank otherwise they won't be able to rest properly. It is recommended to turn the aquarium light ON for 8-10 hours a day. If it is hard to remember turning ON/OFF the aquarium light then i would suggest investing in a gadget that can do it automatically. Alternatively, you could always set an alarm on your phone as a reminder.


Setting up a guppy tank


5. Aquatic Plants:

Guppies kept in a planted aquarium are a lot healthier, relax and happy then a tank without plants. In wild, guppy hangs around heavily planted areas or places covered in logs. To replicate their natural habitat it is recommended to keep plants, driftwood and other such decoration in the fish tank. Guppies would be more relax hiding behind the plants and it is also a good place for a pregnant guppy to give birth to fry. Micro organism growing on the plants especially on java moss is main source of food for guppy fry. The tiny spaces between leaves and branches are also a great hiding spots for the fry as adult guppy do eat their fry.

Aquarium Plants
Aquarium Plants

Before adding any plants to your tank, make sure to rinse them properly. As store bought plants might have parasites that you don't want to introduce to your tank. On many occasions, i have introduced small snails to my tank through store bought aquatic plants. These snails were invasive and it took me a while to get rid of them. I have never sterilize the plants, but rinsing thoroughly with tap water has given me great results.

I hope you have found above 5 important factors useful as in my opinion every hobbyist should consider these before setting up a guppy tank.

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