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New to Guppies?

Updated on May 28, 2009


Guppies are a blast.  They're fun to watch, easy to keep, and even easier to raise.

About Guppies

Guppies are a small freshwater fish that are kept by many, many hobbyists. Due to their wining personalities, attractive and varied colors, and the ease with which they can be raised, guppies remain one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fishes.

There are two kinds of guppies:

  • Fancy Guppies: the pretty ones, and the ones most likely to be for sales in your local pet store or aquarium specialist. Males guppies have the most color, while females are typically larger and a little bit plainer in appearance.

  • Plain or Feeder Guppies: some stores also sell the more-plain-looking feeder guppy. A rose is a rose and a guppy is a guppy, so you'll likely find that plain guppies are (1) less exciting to look at than their fancy brothers & sisters, and (2) cheaper to buy.

Buying Guppies

You can buy guppies just about anywhere that sells fish. The chains (Petco and the like) usually have tons of males for sale, and may even have males and females in the same tank.

Note: if you buy a female guppy that's been in the same tank as males, she's pregnant.

Most people pick their male guppies based on appearance -- body and tail color, tail shape etc. Besides picking your beauty, make sure that the fish you choose appears healthy, isn't mishapen, is active and essentially looks like a happy fish.

If you're buying females, you'd better be doing that because you want to try raising guppies. They are such prolific breeders that just about any female you can buy will end up pregnant.

Most of the chains sell fancy males guppies individually, for anywhere from $2.00 to upwards of $5.00 each.

Specialty stores are more likely to sell them as a trio -- one male and two females for around ten bucks.

Note: This is a good way to start -- male guppies are enthusiastic and relentless suitors that will wear your females out if you're not careful. Keeping the male:female ration at about 1:2 is wise. This 1:2 ratio gives the females a chance to rest, since the male will have to divide his attentions. A 1:1 ration or (even worse) more male guppies than female guppies is a bad idea, and leads very quickly to stressed females and then to dead females.

When you're really going gangbusters, you'll probably want to buy from a specialty breeder, who will sell you a trio that's guaranteed to breed true -- all the babies look lke mommy and daddy guppy. Prices escalate pretty quickly when you start thinking specialty breeder.

The bottom line: if you don't want to raise baby guppies, don't buy females. Make sure the ones you do buy look happy & healthy. When they hand you that plastic bag, look closely at the ones you do get to make sure they are the fish you want, and beware that some pet stores will sell you females that they think are males (especially if they're light-colored, because that makes it harder for the pet store kids to see the fermale's gravid spot & tell the difference.)


What a beauty.  Photo used w/permission from
What a beauty. Photo used w/permission from


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      guppy101 3 years ago

      I have that guppy her name is Scarlet

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      grumpyguppy 4 years ago

      Guppies are wonderful pets, but I would not recommend breeding them unless you have a 50 gallon or larger tank. Many people breed guppies, thinking that they will just have many beautiful fish, but it gets out of control and they end up dumping their tank or throwing away or killing their fish.

    • caninecrtitics profile image

      caninecrtitics 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Not a good idea to buy guppies from stores they are usually the culled out babies from broods of fry. Buying from a breeder is cheaper and a lot better.

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      alex 7 years ago

      thanks, this has been really helpful and is set out really well