20 Amazing & Strange Guppy Fish Facts
Guppy fish are so popular almost every pet owner has heard of them. If there’s a kid out there with an aquarium, he probably has guppies in it. That’s because they’re very easy to care for, they’re colorful, pretty, and otherwise very cool.
In this article, I’ve put together a list of 20 interesting facts about guppies. If you’re a fish lover like I am, this should make you drool with enthusiasm. So, buckle up because things will get wild!
Guppies Don’t Like Living Alone
Guppy Fish are very social and like mingling in groups. They’re the party-going teens of the fish species, basically. They don’t necessarily need other guppies around them, though. Other fish species are compatible as well. But keeping one single guppy in an aquarium is quite depressive, both for you and the fish.
How would you feel being isolated alone in a room, with no one else to talk to? Yeah, that’s how your guppy feels like. I recommend keeping one male to 2-3 female guppies, so they can make sweet love and breed. Making love is one of the greatest things in life, and who wouldn’t like it? Don’t try to keep a male-only aquarium because they may become aggressive with one another.
Colors & Fin Shape
Guppy fish are also known as the “rainbow fish” thanks to their various colors. Males, in particular, are very colorful to impress females. Females are pale and have dull colors. Selective breeding can lead to a very colorful aquarium if generations of the fish breed there.
Domestic fish kept in aquariums are quite different from fish you come across in the wild, even in terms of colors. Females only have a colorful tail with the rest of their body having a dull color. Males are a bright stain of rainbow-looking jelly swimming through the water. Their fin shapes differ wildly, as well.
Guppies Can Live in Ponds
Guppy Fish are live-bearing fish that don’t need any special attention. Only make sure that the temperature is warm enough, and that they get enough food. They can live in an indoor aquarium just as easily as in an outdoor pond. The pond needs to be 2-feet deep at the least, with aerators, air pumps, and lights, though.
The water temperature needs to be at 72-78 F (about 22-28 degrees Celsius). This means you can only keep guppies in a pond during summer. If you live in a varying climate where the temperatures are vastly different during seasons, it’ll be complicated to keep guppies in an outside pond. But if the climate is alright, then have at it!
Guppies Are Invasive
Did you know that guppies are some of the most “based” animals out there? They actively seek to harm females of other fish species so they can’t reproduce with males of their species. Not only this but male guppies try to mate with just about any female fish their size.
Sexual harassment most notably happened in the skiffia fish population in Mexico, where male guppies almost led the skiffia species to extinction. Guppies are an invasive species, after all. And when put together with another fish species that they can harass, they will do it without a second thought. Where are the animals’ rights activists now?
Guppies are some of the most adaptable fish species in the world. Originally, they came from South America which has a specific climate. But now, you can find guppies all throughout the world in varying climates. They can live in homemade aquariums, outdoor ponds, and so on.
Their species has learned to adapt to almost any condition out there. But this doesn’t mean guppies are immortal. Not by a longshot, they aren’t. Bad water conditions, insufficient food, and stress can lead to severe illnesses that drop their population. Fortunately, guppies are very prolific, so their population rarely dwindles.
Judging by how this list is going, you shouldn’t be surprised that guppies are omnivores. In fact, they’ll eat anything that moves and can fit into their mouths. They don’t exactly have a preference when it comes to food. So, you can feed them larvae, algae, insects, other fish, shrimps, egg yolk, beef heart, and more.
In captivity, you can feed your guppies spirulina, vegetable flakes, algae tablets, and many more foods that other fish wouldn’t like. Basically, guppies eat just about anything and they have next to no food restrictions. Now that’s an easily-maintained fish if there ever was one!
From this point on, it’ll seem like we’re entering fantasy-land. Guppies were indeed used to combat malaria in Asia and Africa. More specifically, locals released guppies into rivers and lakes so they could eat the Malaria-infested mosquitoes. Coincidentally, the local mosquito larvae were an exact fit for a guppy’s mouth. So, nature happened and malaria was staved off.
Testing Drink Water
While quite cruel for guppy fish, Indian locals used them to test whether water was healthy to drink or not. After countless natural disasters and floods, potable water became very scarce in India. Many would die after drinking polluted water. Since testing equipment was very expensive, there was only one solution left – guppy testing.
Those courageous fish died so that people would continue living. If the fish would be alive after a few days in a well, it meant that the water was good for drinking. If they died, then it wasn’t good. Quite simple, eh? While cruel, this method basically saved countless people from death by dehydration or poisoning.
The Name “Guppy”
While the guppy fish was initially discovered in 1859 by Wilhelm Peters in Venezuela, who named the species “Poecilia reticulata”, the “guppy” name didn’t appear then. In 1861, another zoologist named De Filipi named the fish “Lebistes poecilioides, but the “guppy” name still wasn’t there.
In 1866, a zoologist and naturalist named Robert John Lechmere Guppy discovered the fish in Trinidad. It gave the fish the scientific name of “Poecilia reticulata”. And then, the world came to know this fish as the “guppy” fish, in honor of its discoverer (even though Robert was not the first discoverer).
Remember when I said that guppies are a very prolific species? Well, that was a lie, an understatement to be more specific. They are extremely prolific, so much so that they are commonly known as the “million fish”. Their ability to reproduce brings any other animal species to shame. One female can give birth to a few dozen fry at once, and these fish mate constantly. Male guppies are known as “sex machines”, even in the scientific community.
This comes hand in hand with the point above. The “million fish” guppy is a king of reproduction. Female guppies can spew out 20-60 fry every 30 days, and some guppies can even go double that in the same amount of time. After doing some calculations, it comes around to 500+ newborn guppies per year, sometimes even more. And this is just one female guppy giving birth.
We should really be concerned about guppies taking over the world at any time, right now. God forbid someone experimented with giving guppies the ability to breathe on land. That’s a bad idea if I’ve ever heard one!
Guppies don’t lay eggs when mating. Female guppies give birth to live babies, called fry, which are capable of swimming and eating from the beginning. Imagine how helpful that would be with human babies.
Guppy fish averagely live between 1-3 years. But you’ll also see guppies living up to 5 years. While their lifespan may seem short, think about this for a second – female guppies give birth around 10-15 times during their life. That’s quite a stressful process, so it’s no surprise they have such a low lifespan. After some calculations, that’s about 500+ fry in just 1-1.5 years from just two guppies. Even though they live short lives, there’s no shortage of guppies in the world.
Used as Feeder Fish
Guppies make for perfect feeder fish because of their high adaptability to most conditions. Live feed is generally a good idea for most fish, as well. Plus, guppies have high reproduction rates, so there’s no worry of leading them to extinction. Most experts say that guppies are one of the best feeder fish out there, though they may carry parasites and diseases.
Different Guppy Species
You might not know but there are three guppy species out there – Fancy, Endler, and Swamp. The Fancy Guppy is the Poecilia Reticulata, and it’s also the most popular one. It’s the rainbow and million fish we all know and love. This species breeds quickly, it’s hardy to most conditions, and it’s very colorful.
The Endler Guppy (Poecilia Wingei) are very similar to their cousins. They’re colorful, omnivores, and easy to take care of. But they are another species, so try keeping them separates from Fancy Guppies if you plan on maintaining their purity.
Swamp Guppies (Micropoecilia Picta) are quite rare, even with pet vendors. Their natural habitats include brackish marshes, coastal swamps, and freshwater, similar to their cousins. They’re also omnivore and very nicely colored.
Guppies will actively hunt down and eat their own offspring (fry). Don’t ask me why. They just do. They’re a cannibalistic species, in other words. So, if you want to keep the fry, make sure they have plenty of hiding spaces. Their kin will gladly eat them if given the chance. Pregnant females should also hide away from other males because once they give birth, it’s going to be a feast.
Though, once the fry grow up, no one will eat them anymore. Only when they’re small can other guppies eat them. You don’t have to worry about them all the time.
Guppies aren’t the biggest fish out there – that’s an understatement if I’ve ever heard one. Female guppies only reach 1.5 inches (3.8 cm), while males get to 1.2 inches (3 cm). So, if you’re limited to a small aquarium, guppies will be your best choice. They’re small and you can have lots of them without overcrowding them.
The cannibalism thing really got you spooked, right? Well, despite this, guppies are very chill and relaxed most times. They’re a peaceful species. Aside from the sexual harassment of other fish species, the cannibalism, the sex-crazed mating, and the common fin-nipping between males, they’re very peaceful. But I do recommend you keep them away from other aggressive fish species. Guppies aren’t good fighters.
Survive Without Feeding
Well, no one saw this coming buy guppy fish can survive up to 2 weeks without food. They’ll be just fine when you come back home. It’s just that they’re going to have a voracious appetite but otherwise, they’ll be fine.
Great Tank Mate
As long as you keep them housed with other peaceful fish like tetras, plecos, swordtails, platies, or molies, Guppies are the perfect tank mates. They’re peaceful, friendly, and they won’t get aggressive with other species. As long as there are enough females to go around, guppy males will also leave each other alone.
So, what do you think, are Guppies interesting or not? They’re a funny bunch if you know what to expect. They also have quite a history behind them. Few animal species have such a rich culture and history around them. Guppies have proven essential for humans many times, and we thank them for that.
If you want to keep guppies at home, I recommend reading my other articles about caring for them. While they’re very low-maintenance, they can get sick and fall ill. They need a very specific temperature in the aquarium, stress can even be deadly for them, and overfeeding isn’t a good idea. They don’t have complex needs but they still have needs. Most pet owners don’t admit that guppies need special attention but at times, they do.
See you in the next guide on guppies!