How to Make Guppy Food at Home?
Growing guppies seems like the easiest thing in the world to an outsider who’s never tried it. Actually, getting a few guppies, setting up a tank, and caring for them daily will change anyone’s perspective quickly. Food-wise, in particular, there are a lot of ‘dos’ and ‘donts’ that you should know about.
While you may think it’s as easy as buying some fish food and sprinkling it in the aquarium every once in a while, the reality is different. There are also homemade foods that you should consider, especially for the more passionate guppy owners who like to go up-close and personal.
Today, we will discuss everything regarding guppy food, from food behavior, to what to do and what to avoid, and their preferred and less preferred items on the menu.
What do Guppies Usually Eat?
Knowing what to feed your guppies is essential, especially since they appear to eat mostly anything you’ll give them. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for them. Cats, for instance, will eat a lot of things that aren’t necessarily on their menu since they are carnivores. This includes chocolate, cake, ice cream, and even your occasional grass. The same goes for pretty much all animals.
When looking for the optimal food for your guppies, you shouldn’t look at what they would eat but what they should eat. This includes foods rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, providing them with all the nutrients they need every day. The optimal food choices will help your guppies:
- Remain more active and energetic throughout the day
- Remain healthy with a more robust immune system
- Reduce the chances for cannibalism
- Enhance their color patterns
- Keep their fins colorful and healthy
In short, guppies prefer a high-protein food with your occasional vegetables on the side. They are omnivorous, meaning that they will consume both live food like mosquito larvae, insects, baby shrimp, and various types of worms and algae, fruits, and several types of plants.
They are not necessarily too keen on the plant thing, but it does make a good addition to their diet.
What Homemade Food Should I Feed my Guppies?
Not all guppy owners are willing to put in time and effort to feed their guppies properly. Most will just stick to your store-bought fish food, which is fine. But getting involved personally does come with some satisfaction on the side.
If you’re determined to prepare your guppies some food on your own, here are some options to help you navigate the issue:
These are food options that guppies will prefer naturally due to their abundance in their natural habitat and nutritional output. Some of the most common options here include:
Brine shrimp flood guppies’ natural environment. Combine this with the high protein content and moderate fat and carbs, and you can see why they are at the top of the list. It is the ideal meal for both adults and fry, who will use the juicy brine shrimp to grow and strengthen faster.
However, you shouldn’t feed them brine shrimp too often. The fat content isn’t too good for guppies long-term. So, the big question – how do you feed them brine shrimp? The answer is simpler than you might expect – brine shrimp hatchery. In short, you grow brine shrimp to serve as food for guppies.
A brine shrimp culture is the best and easiest solution to having an unlimited supply of shrimp for your guppy population. You can purchase a shrimp hatchery and set it on according to the instructions, then let nature run its course. Just to be sure, I recommend having 2 or 3 hatcheries running around the clock.
This should provide you with consistent food for your guppies, especially if you have a larger tank with more than 10 guppies or several tanks. Shrimp eggs hatch within 1 to 3 days, ensuring an ongoing supply of nutritious food.
Their name is pretty self-explanatory. We’re talking about tiny worms growing in humid, carb-rich environments. Growing them is extremely easy since all you need is a sealed container and some wet bread. You place the bread inside, add the worm culture, and wait for approximately 2 weeks for the magic to happen.
You will soon have thousands of micro-worms swarming around, waiting to climb on anything solid. Use a stick to gather them and feed them to your guppies as necessary. You don’t need much to satisfy their need for protein, considering that you will also have other food options available for them.
This is another creature with an extremely suggestive name. The strong odor may make these animals more difficult to grow than others, but they’re often necessary. Most guppy owners I’ve talked to about vinegar eels, however, are put off by the mere thought of it. The smell can make the room feel toxic, unbreathable, and claustrophobic. Fortunately, I have a solution: keep the eel cultures outside.
This will eliminate the smelling issue and provide you with the necessary food supply to make your guppies healthy. Just like shrimp, micro-worms, and other live food, however, guppies should get vinegar eels in moderation. The eels have a 20% concentration of fat, and too much fat will affect your guppies’ health.
Daphnia is somewhat similar to brine shrimp in the sense that they belong to the same class – crustaceans. They bring protein, fat, carbs, and several vitamins and minerals to the table, making them essential to your guppies’ menu. However, daphnia will come with the same problem that tends to bother vinegar eel growers – the smell.
Daphnia feed primarily on bacteria, yeast, and algae, so the source of the smell is pretty much self-explanatory. You can adopt the same tactic as with the eels and grow the daphnia cultures outside or in a more open area, where the odor will not make so much of an impact. Daphnia thrive on spirulina powder and algae flakes as alternatives to their natural food sources.
Frozen or Dried Food
If growing live food seems too much of a trouble for the reward, frozen and dried foods are your best friends. They are easy to prepare, come in pretty much ready to eat, and require a minimum of processing.
You can also combine several types of foods to create a nutritious mix that your guppies will greatly benefit from. Some of the most suitable dried food options include:
Shrimp and Fish
These work great as live food since they are part of guppies’ natural eating menu. If you have any fish or food in a live state, cut them into smaller pieces and feed them to your guppies regularly. If, however, you have more than your guppies can handle at once, you can always choose to freeze or dry the food.
You can then cut smaller portions for each meal and keep the rest for later. Both shrimp and fish are excellent food choices for guppies, thanks to their rich nutritional content. They both come with over 50% protein, a lot of fat, vitamins, and plenty of minerals like calcium, sodium, iron, potassium, zinc, etc. Many guppy foods contain krill, for instance, which is a small and nutritious fish that guppies will truly enjoy.
Egg Yolk and Beef Heart
This combination is ideal for your guppies, thanks to the amazing nutrient blend coming with it. Both beef heart and egg yolk are superfoods, packing a serious amount of protein, essential minerals, and vitamins that guppies need to grow and remain healthier for longer.
There are, however, several aspects to remember here. First is that both egg yolk and beef heart will come with plenty of fat. While fat is great for guppy fry during their developmental phase, it’s less optimal for guppy adults. Foods high in fat can damage their health over time. I recommend stripping as much fat as possible from the beef heart before preparing it. Unfortunately, you can’t achieve the same results with the egg yolk. The only way to control the fat content is by limiting how much egg yolk you feed your guppies and how often.
Second, you need to remember that egg yolk tends to pollute the water. It may be extremely nutritious, providing your guppies with flaming colors and an unmatched growth rate, but it’s also damaging to their environment. Leave egg yolk leftovers to muster on the substrate, and the levels of ammonia will increase dramatically over time.
If you feed your guppies egg yolk, I recommend changing the tank water more often.
Chicken breast is probably one of the most protein-rich foods you can feed your guppies. The low-fat content (approximately 5%) makes this food option ideal for both the fry and the adults. Some of the core minerals present in the chicken breast include cobalamin, calcium, iron, and magnesium, to name a few.
It also doesn’t hurt that chicken breast is cheap and easy to come by. It should be on your guppies’ menu regularly. You only need to boil it and chop it to pieces to feed your guppies over the days to come. You can also freeze it to use it in emergencies when you lack other food options for various reasons.
Vegetables and Greens
This is where the options are truly limitless. Although guppies don’t consume too many vegetables, they are still important additions to their diet. Vegetables add important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to their diet, complementing the protein-rich foods that are essential to their growth.
The good news is that guppies are not picky. Their menu can contain numerous options, including:
- Green beans
- Carrots, etc.
The list can go on forever since there are a lot of greens available that can provide your guppies with a lot of nutrients and minerals. Now the question arrives – How do you prepare the vegetables for your guppies? You can’t just throw them a carrot and hope to start chewing on it like some water rabbits.
The solution comes in the form of an ordinary blender. Pick your preferred vegetables, throw them in the blender, and make a thick paste. If the consistency is too thin, you can add some flowers in the process. You can also play with the recipe a bit and enrich the nutrient content with egg yolk, whole eggs, chicken breast, or even some fish. This will spare you the trouble of preparing different foods for your guppies.
You also have two ways of storing the mix. After using the blender to obtain the paste, you can either mold it into a shape and store it in the freezer or cook it. Regarding the latter, just place the paste onto a baking paper, mold it into the shape you desire, and put it in the oven at about 250 degrees F. Depending on the dough’s size and thickness, you may only need to bake it for several minutes.
Don’t keep the mix in the oven for too long, or you will destroy the valuable nutrients in the process.
Other Common Household Foods That Guppies Eat
While the former is the most relevant food option to include in your guppies’ diet, there are other alternatives to consider as well. Many of them are foods laying around everyone’s homes, in the pantry or the fridge, that you wouldn’t even think guppies would like.
Okay, so this may not lie around in your fridge, but it’s an exception, okay? Duckweed has a high protein content, making it ideal as a food addition whenever possible. However, keep in mind that guppies can’t really consume duckweed in its raw state, which is why you should mix it in your vegetable blend for optimal results.
Bread and rice
Although guppies can eat bread if you throw some inside their tank, I recommend otherwise. Commercial bread contains plenty of harmful additives that may no be ideal for your guppies. Try to avoid feeding them bread, but keep in mind that they can eat it and get some useful nutrients out of it if you leave them no choice.
The same thing goes for rice, which isn’t nutrient-rich enough to justify a rice-based diet. You can feed your guppy adults rice once in a while, but you should focus on more nutritious food options if possible.
Just like in the wild, guppies will munch on a variety of fruits. As domesticated pets, they will have access to even more fruits than in the wild. These include:
- Bananas – Ideal for delivering a rich content of potassium, magnesium, and B6. Several occasional banana bits should satisfy their appetite with ease.
- Grapes – Grapes are nutritious and tasty. It is only natural for guppies to enjoy some once in a while. However, grapes are very high in sugar, which could lead to extensive bacterial growth in the water tank. Only feed guppies with grapes occasionally to make sure that doesn’t happen.
- Watermelon – A tasty fruit that also comes with some nutrients on the side. It is watery, making it easier for guppies to eat and digest it. The problem is that it isn’t as nutritive as other entries here, and, being a seasonal fruit, it’s not that common anyway. If you don’t have any around you, don’t worry, your guppies won’t miss much in terms of nutritional intake.
- Tomatoes – Guppies also consume tomatoes when possible since they’re both very tasty and nutritious. They are also easy to come by, making them a smart addition to your guppies’ menu.
Insects and worms
These naturally rank high on your guppies’ menu due to being live food with plenty of protein content. Regarding insects, however, one key point to mention. Compared to naturally-bred insects, those swarming around your home may not be fit for your guppies. These insects often tend to consume human foods filled with chemicals. They also carry bacteria and diseases that will kill your guppies faster than you realize.
Avoid feeding them regular insects living around your home and only get safer ones from the store. Some of the worms and insects guppies will consume with great pleasure include detritus worms, micro-worms, etc.
You may not have expected garlic to reach this list, but here we are, and it’s no surprise either. Garlic is a very potent antibiotic that can destroy harmful bacterial cultures and boost the immune system’s effectiveness. It is a good addition to your guppies’ menu but in moderation.
Too much of it can actually kill your guppies. Like everything else, the difference between medication and poison is in the dose.
Earthworms are omnipresent, rich in valuable nutrients and protein, and make for a great meal for your guppies. However, you should look for worms coming from pesticide-free zones since those are less likely to be contaminated with various chemicals.
If you’re up for an earthworm hunt, capture a few, chop them to pieces, and feed them directly to your guppies. You can also blend them in your vegetable mix for a plus of protein and, why not, taste.
If you’ve been an aquarium owner for a long time, you may have recognized this type of flatworm immediately. Planaria is a common worm living primarily in dirty waters. This includes your unfiltered and polluted water tank, which you may have forgotten to cleanse in a while. Overfeeding your guppies and not changing the water for longer periods will create the ideal environment for planaria worms.
This worm is potentially deadly for shrimp, but they are quite beneficial for guppies thanks to their protein content.
Mealworms are another addition to your guppies’ menu, so long as they can eat it. Mealworms are naturally tougher on the exterior, making them less ideal as guppy food. If you insist on adding them to your guppies’ menu, I recommend chopping them into smaller pieces so they can enjoy them easier.
There are few occasions in nature where guppies will actually kill and eat a snail. The snail’s shell can be a pretty good guppy deterrent. If, however, you live in a rainy area where snails are common, you have a pretty much unlimited supply of food for your guppies. Just make sure you crack their shells before throwing them into the tank.
The guppies will do the rest and will surely be thankful for your contribution.
In conclusion, there is an impressive variety of foods available for your guppies, both read-to-eat and in the fresh state, ready to be prepared. Whether you choose live food, homemade recipes, or store-bought food, diversity is the last thing to complain about.
To name a few personal recommendations:
- Keep your guppies’ fat intake on the low side, especially for adults
- Avoid feeding your guppies too much human food, which can contain a lot of harmful additives and chemicals
- Don’t feed guppies flies since they carry diseases that can wipe out the entire tank
- Don’t rely on one or two food items; guppies need a diverse menu to remain healthy and disease-free
- Don’t be afraid to test various fruits, plants, insects, and worms that your guppies may enjoy
For any questions on the topic, leave a comment below or contact me directly via the contact form if you wish for a more in-depth answer.