|Synonyms||Acanthophacelus guppii, Girardinus guppii, Girardinus reticulatus, Heterandria guppyi, Lebistes poecilioides, Lebistes reticulatus, Poecilioides reticulatus|
|Distribution||South America: Barbados, northern Brazil, the Guyanas, Trinidad, Venezuela. Introduced to many other countries to help control mosquito populations but had little effect on them. Most specimens offered for sale in the trade are captive bred.|
|Sexual Dimorphism||Males have a gonopodium and generally much longer ornate and colourful finnage.|
|Maximum Size||5cm (2”)|
|Water Parameters||Freshwater to slightly brackish. pH:7-8, KH: 8-20 degrees.|
|Temperature||20-28 deg C (70-82 deg F)|
|Lighting||No special requirements|
Guppies have a well-deserved legendary status as aquarium fish and are even well known outside the hobby. The enormous variability of these little livebearers has transformed them from short-finned wild fish with a variety of coloured spots, to a whole host of selectively bred forms in a range of fin and colour types. Fancy guppies are akin to any pedigree animal and are not the tough bullet-dodging fishes that earned a reputation for hardiness. Like domestic dogs they’re all the same animal, but nobody expects a chihuahua to pull a dog sled. The real power of these fishes is their ability to breed and adapt, even these highly bred forms will happily cross breed until your aquarium is home to smaller spotted fish that can tolerate all manner of conditions that would stress their aristocratic ancestors.
Posh guppies are prone to bacterial infections and these can often be linked to a build-up of waste and low carbonate hardness levels. Regular maintenance and the use of buffers should sort these key issues and it’s worth noting that tap water with a high general hardness (GH) can be lower in carbonates than you’d expect. If these fish are a key part of your stocking, we’d suggest maintaining a level of 10dKH as a minimum. Given these conditions, they’ll soon produce offspring that will be accustomed to your water parameters and show more resilience than their parents, although it should be remembered that unless you only keep a single variety they’re unlikely to look exactly like the adults and that’s the challenge of line breeding this species. As they’re so much closer to a wild, genetically diverse form, wild or feral guppies and crosses with Endler’s guppies (P. wingei) are usually far more adaptable and robust. These generally make an easier choice for the general community set up.
As guppies are social fish that are generally obsessed with mating, it’s best to keep them in good numbers. Should you choose to mix the sexes, outnumber the males with females and expect to see fry on a monthly basis. After all, they’re not called Millions Fish for nothing…