Most popular fish: Peacock guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

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If you want to set up our first aquarium, it is worth choosing such fish species that tolerate a wide range of water parameters and will “forgive” the mistakes of a beginner aquarist. This does not mean that we can do everything with an aquarium with such fish, but only that these fish will allow us to learn how to care for the aquarium and develop habits that will not lose their validity even when we reach for much more demanding species.

One of the best known and most frequently kept species of aquarium fish is the peacock’s eye guppy. It is native to Central America and Brazil. However, these fish have been introduced on all continents as part of the fight against malaria. This disease is transmitted by mosquitoes whose larvae feed on guppies.

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Peacock guppy sexual dimorphism

It is very easy to distinguish a male from a female, which is larger (up to 6 cm), thicker, less colored, has a shorter caudal fin, and during pregnancy in the lower part of the rounded abdomen, the so-called pregnancy spot. A few days before giving birth, a careful observer can make out the eyes of the fry. The male, on the other hand, has a much more impressive dorsal and caudal fin, it is smaller (3-4 cm) and slender. In addition, instead of an anal fin (in normal-shaped females), it has a gonopodium.

Peacock guppy nutrition

Guppies are fish that live mainly near the water surface. They are omnivores and eat both natural (live or frozen) and dry food, such as flakes. It is worth enriching the diet with plant-based products, e.g. flakes with spirulina. A more meat-based diet may cause the fish to nibble on more delicate plants. Like all livebearing fish, they have a fast metabolism, so the water in the aquarium must be changed frequently with fresh water.

Peacock guppy – female
Peacock guppy – female

Conditions for peacock guppy

These fish do not have any special living conditions. In the environment, they can be found in streams and rivers as well as in lakes, ponds, drainage ditches, and even in reservoirs with water with a slight salinity. Nevertheless, the aquarium should be quite brightly lit, planted with plants with small or feathery leaves. Ludwigs, limnophiles, pearl weeds (Hemianthus micranthemoides) rotals and coon’s-tails (Ceratophyllum) will work well for this purpose. Floating plants such as pistia, limnobium, and rosary are also desirable. Why? Because among the leaves or roots, the fry will find shelter, and the tired female will also hide.

The guppy is a calm, gentle, sociable fish, suitable for a social aquarium. However, other species of fish should be selected so that they do not eat guppies or gnaw their fins. We should also remember that the requirements as to the conditions should be as similar as possible. Guppies do well in the presence of swordtails (Xiphophorus), petals and molynesia.

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Many varieties of guppies have been bred, differing in colors and the shape of the caudal and dorsal fins
Many varieties of guppies have been bred, differing in colors and the shape of the caudal and dorsal fins

Peacock guppy breeding

They reproduce without the intervention of the aquarist, and often lack of intervention can quickly result in overgrowth. Guppies are oviparous fish, which means they do not lay eggs that develop in the female’s belly. The male fertilizes the female with the anal fin transformed into a special copulatory organ – the gonopodium. A pregnant female can be recognized by a dark spot on the back of the abdomen, the so-called the pregnancy spot. After fertilization, the female can store the milk (sperm) for up to six months. Gestation lasts 4-6 weeks. The female can give birth to 5-100 young fish at a time. Females mature quickly at about 3 months of age, and males even earlier. It is good to have more females than males in the aquarium. Thanks to this arrangement, not all females will be harassed at once by males courting them.

Lots of color varieties of guppies have been bred, as well as forms that differ in the shape of male fins.

Guppy breeding standards: A - Fan; B - Triangel; C - Veil; D - Pennant; E - Two-sword; F - Upper Sword; G - Lower Sword; H - Lira; I - Blade-bone; J - Flame; K - Racket; L - Needle (Source: Wikipedia)
Guppy breeding standards: A – Fan; B – Triangel; C – Veil; D – Pennant; E – Two-sword; F – Upper Sword; G – Lower Sword; H – Lira; I – Blade-bone; J – Flame; K – Racket; L – Needle (Source: Wikipedia)
Family: Poeciliidae
Size: females up to 6 cm, males up to 3-4 cm
Zones in the aquarium: surface
Temperature: 18-28 oC
Total water hardness: 4-30 on
pH: 6,5-8,5
Minimum aquarium size: 40 l
Food: vegetable and animal, diverse; alive, frozen, dry
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Animal at home is a project derived from the Polish portal dedicated to domestic pets, which I run. This blog category features the best articles I have created with pet experts. Together, we help educate their current and future owners.

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Jakub Markiewicz
Jakub Markiewiczhttps://jotem.in
Hi, I am the author of the Jotem.in blog and series of thematic portals since 2013. I have nearly 15 years of experience in working in the media, marketing, public relations and IT. If you are interested in cooperation, you would like me to write about something or test a product - let me know.