Also known as the millionfish and rainbow fish, the guppy is one of the world’s most popular freshwater aquarium fish. Found all over the world, in a variety of environmental and ecological conditions, this adaptable fish is a member of the family Poeciliidae.
Even more importantly, the guppy may be one of the most enjoyable fish species that you can choose to keep in your freshwater aquarium. Easy to raise and even easier to watch, these fish should be at the top of every aquarium hobbyist’s lists. If you’re interested in raising guppies but aren’t sure where to start, consider our complete guppy care guide to help you get started.
In the wild, these fish are not believed to be endangered or threatened in any way. To the contrary, in many of the places where they were introduced out of their native range, they are now viewed as an invasive species, threatening wild natives by competition. They are natural sources of prey to larger fish and birds, and engage in schooling to help survive the pressures of predation.
Guppies come in many different colors, sizes, and patterns. Many even have tails that stand out from the crowd. In the wild, females are usually grey while males have colorful patterns (usually stripes or spots). In captivity, there is no end to the aquarium varieties available, as breeders create new strands with different, more vibrant colors and patterns every single day.
In general, males are smaller than the females, growing between half an inch and an inch and a half in size. Females are usually 1.2 to 2.4 inches in length. These fish are normally paler on top and brighter on the bottom, with some varieties exhibiting a metallic hue. This is because guppies possess iridophores, which are cells that lack color and as a result reflect light, producing an iridescent glow.
Some guppies are solid, while others have a main pattern. Common patterns include cobra, which has vertical bars, and tuxedo, which includes a front and back half with two different colors. Similarly, the tali can be either solid or patterned, with common patterns including lace and leopard.
Tails can also come in a variety of shapes. Some guppies possess fan-shaped tails, while others are triangular or sword shaped. Guppies can also have flag, spear, or rounded tails, too.
Types of Guppies
Albino guppies have recessive albino phenotype traits, and have red eyes as a primary characteristic. Contrary to popular belief, these guppies can be found in colors besides white – there are some with alternative colorations, such as red. These guppies should only be raised in heavily planted tanks, as they have poor vision and are more susceptible to too much sunlight.
Black guppies are completely black with no other colors or variations. These tend to be smaller in size, as breeding for a larger size results in a loss of that jet-black color.
The Green guppy is one of the most highly sought-after color strains, as it is difficult to develop. There are many guppies with blue iridescence or certain greenish tinges, but the truly green guppy is extremely rare.
This unique guppy has a snakeskin genetic that shows a rosette pattern throughout most of its body. It will have vertical bars and can be a number of different colors.
For some reason, swordtail guppies live much longer than other varieties of guppies. These fish can have a single or double swordtail, and usually only a small portion of the tail is colored.
- Round Tail:
This type of guppy was one of the first types to be bred from the wild type guppies. It has a rounded tail and can come in a variety of colors.