Facts about the Different Types of Guppies
Many people, young and old, have kept fish as pets, with the most popular being one of the many types of guppies in the aquatic world. And with good reason; these small fish are available in numerous sizes, colors and variations. Anyone who holds a fascination with fish will find that the guppy group offers great interest and satisfaction in the home aquarium.
About the fish
Guppies got their name from the gentleman who was one of their first enthusiasts, Reverend J.L. Guppy. They also are known popularly as “millionfish”. Their natural habitat is in the tropical regions of Central America and Northern South America, such as Antigua, Trinidad, Brazil, Barbados and other such countries. Guppies are freshwater fish, found in rivers and lakes. They are omnivores, a term that means they eat either plants or other animal material. Main elements in the diets of these tiny fish are brine shrimp and algae, but they will also eat other organic matter and particles of food. One of the reasons that the fish found their way into different countries was not just due to their colorful cuteness, but more due to the inclusion of mosquito larvae in their diets. The guppies were brought to various areas in attempts to control mosquito populations so as to control the spread of malaria.
There are over 300 types of guppies in their natural habitats. After the small fish were introduced into different cultures, more and more people became fans of the colorful little swimmers and they began to find their way into people’s home aquariums. As the fish were bred by guppy fans, unusual strains of the fish began to appear.
Colors of the guppies are endless. White, yellow, orange, red, blue, purple and every variation in between has been adopted by the little fish through selective breeding processes. Body patterns also vary widely. The names of guppies, in fact, are often attributed by the patterns on the bodies as well as the tail formations. For example, “tuxedo” guppies applies to those fish with two colors; one color on the front half of the body and a second unrelated color on the back half of the body. When named for their color, it is always the color appearing on the tail that dictates the moniker. If the front of the body is a grayish hue but the tail is blue, the fish is called a Tuxedo HB, or half blue to denote that the fish displays two colors and the tail is blue. Grass strains are types of guppies that show small black spots on the body and tail. Mosaic types also have spots, but larger dots than those in the grass strains.
There are two basic types of guppies from which all variations emerge, feeder guppies and fancy guppies. Fancies are often developed and bred for show quality and can feature amazingly elaborate tail formations. From swordtail to pin tail to incredibly flowing tails, the guppies offer a wonderful visual.
Guppies are great fish for the home aquarium. In captivity, these fish can live up to 3 years when properly cared for and given the right care. The ideal environment for the small fish is in an aquarium of appropriate size in an alkaline PH water of approximately 70° to 76°. They are adaptable, however, and can acclimate to warmer or cooler weather. It has been discovered, however, that guppies kept in warmer temperatures do not have as long of life spans as those kept in cooler waters.
Any of the types of guppies are susceptible to threats from larger fish, so it is important to be selective in choosing tank mates for these colorful fish. When fed sufficient amounts, guppies do not typically eat their own young, although most breeders use caution nevertheless and remove the female to a more private environment shortly before giving birth. It is not unheard of for males to attack females during this vulnerable time in their cycle.
One of the most notable features of guppies is in their propensity for active breeding. Fry are delivered through live birth, with between 60 and 100 baby guppies in a single batch. The female fish have the unique ability of impregnating at will after mating with a male one single time. They do this by storing the male’s sperm. After giving birth, the female is able to become pregnant again almost immediately and will use the stored sperm to do so. This capability gave them the name millionfish.
The fry begin to swim and feed on their own as soon as they are born. They have an innate sense of danger as well to provide them with protection against their predators. Within just a few short months, the fry grow and mature into adult guppies.
Any of the many colorful types of guppies will do well in a home aquarium. Their beautiful patterns and elaborate tail fins, along with their easy care, make these small fish which are available in a virtual rainbow of colors, the most popular among aquatic enthusiasts in home aquariums.