Temperature and water quality becomes increasingly difficult to control as aquarium size drops below 10 US Gallons. I use many smaller tanks in my fish-room, but within a circulating system that keeps water quality and temperature exceptionally stable. I still have a few that require manual water changes. There's always something else that seems to be a higher priority. Avoid small stand-alone tanks if possible.
Guppies are prolific breeders and give birth to live young rather than laying eggs. They tolerate a wide range of conditions, and are colourful and active. That makes them the perfect beginner fish.
Bcause of the vast genetic variation, the fast maturity and the colour potential, guppies are also an almost irresistable challenge to the serious breeder.
One of the joys of raising guppies is the frequent appearence of babies in the tank. One of the heart-breaks for many children is seeing those babies eaten. Plants are the best natural solution.
A simple and cost-effective hiding place can be provided in minutes by unraveling a plastic pot scrubber. Check first to ensure it floats. If it sinks you can use it in the kitchen with no loss, but the floating ones work better in the aquarium.
Guppies thrive from 22 to 27 degrees C (72 to 80 degrees F). They survive a much wider temperature range. The most critical thing is a stable temperature with very slow temperature changes. Set your sights higher than just survial.
Shipping can be done across Canada. At this time I don't ship internationally. More details will be found at the end of the "Featured Guppy Strains."
Most recent water tests (July 25) showed: PH 8.3
Live food such as Brine Shrimp, Microworms, Whiteworms, Misquito Larva, etc. will be taken with great eagerness by Guppies. However any of those foods given exclusively will likely miss essential nutriants. A high quality prepared food is ideal, with frequent live food treats.
Most research calls for a minimum of 25% water change a week. Most of us love to watch our fish eat, and most of us overfeed. In fact, that is probably the single biggest reason for many fish deaths. Water changes reduce the buildup of toxins from uneaten food and fish waste. 25% a week is an excellent target.
In nature almost all fish, guppies included, browse constantly, searching for small morsels. In theory, multiple tiny feedings are ideal. In reality, that usually leads to overfeeding and a buildup of toxins. A single small feeding in a tank with an abundance of live plants provides a very healthy enviornment for your Guppies.
If your room temperature does not change more than a few degrees over a 24 hour period, Guppies should do just fine. If the room overheats in the summer, or becomes chilled in the winter, your fish will be stressed, with that stress increasing the smaller your aquarium. 20 degrees (68 deg F) is lower than ideal for your guppies.
A pregnant female guppy will show a "gravid" spot. It is actually the eyes of the baby fish showing through the stretched skin of her belly. Shortly before giving birth, the female's shape will become almost square from the front or side.
Often the first drop of a young female guppy will be a dozen or fewer babies. Many of the lines of carefully inbred Fancy Guppies will also typically have small drops of a dozen or less. Guppies with more genetic variation will often have drops of up to 50 babies at a time.
My personal opinion is you are better to avoid almost all of them in a fresh-water tank. Raising and lowering your PH or other water parameters with chemicals risks changing water conditions too fast and shocking your fish, often doing more harm than good. An exception would be if your municipal water is treated with chloramine. In that case seek the research of people who have had to deal with it.
If you are like me, you don't realize you have been starving for nature until you take a walk in the woods or spend an hour by a waterfall. Live plants are more work, but offer many benefits to water quality and to the fish themslves. Guppies will nibble at plants constanly, and can do very well for a week without feeding if plants are thriving in their tank.
High-tech planted tanks must rank among the most beautiful Aquariums anywhere. I'm intrigued and eager to try my hand.
Two issues though. The high light demands add to operating costs. Covers absorb light, so plant-featured tanks are almost always open at the top, adding to humidity.
You are mixing pathogens from fish coming from distinctly different environments. Both can be strong and healthy, yet have no immunity to something the other is carrying. Quarantine, if done well, protects both your existing fish and your new fish. Use new water, aged to clear chlorine and raised to the appropriate temperature. Use filter media from an old filter, so the bio-filter bacteria are already established. Keep lights low and feed sparingly. If possible provide hiding places or shelter of some type for your fish.
Make small water changes often. After three week begin to use water from the tank the new fish are to go into when you make water changes. At that time, also expose one or two fish from your old tank to water from the new. These need to be healthy fish, but should be ones you are most willing to lose. If all looks well, you can end the quarantine after another week.
Siphons are quick and simple to install, but unforgiving if one bubble too many finds a way into the system. Murphy's law seems to work overtime any days the primary fish-keeper is away. In my opinion drilling is well worth the cost and effort. A word of caution. The bottom glass from some aquarium makers is freqently tempered. It will shatter if you try to drill it. On a new tank you should find a warning sticker. On an older tank it is probably etched on the glass itself, but most likely in a corner and covered with silicone. It is less common to temper side glass, but is sometimes done.
I have one tank of Cichlids and one tank of Corydoras. I hope to breed Cory's, but have none available at this time.
My interests go far beyond Guppies, however, trying to do one thing with excellence keeps me more than busy enough.
Bare tanks simplify cleaning. Most breeders who have fish-rooms are single person operations. That single person is almost always someone passionate about fish-keeping, so spends much time and energy making conditions as good as possible for their fish. Bare tanks have a number of drawbacks, but many advantages when multiple aquariums are being maintained. That is expecially true where bloodlines must be kept carefully separated and all births recorded.
If I don't miss a day and have to play catch-up, two hours a day meets the normal feeding, maintanence and care requirements of my 133-tank fish-room. The more live-foods and the more types of live-foods I feed, the more that time alotment must be increased. Automatic water aging / chlorine disipation and refills is esssential to surviving and continuing to delight in a Fish-Room. I siphon the bottoms of a number of tanks every day, but they refill without help from me, saving many hours.
The biggest you can find space and budget for -- with this caution: That 150 gallon tank that looks stunning in the aquarium store, will weigh well over 1,500 pounds when it is full of water, gravel and stones. BE SURE your stand can carry the weight. BE SURE your floor can carry the weight. Also, think about how many pails that takes to fill and to do weekly water changes if you don't plan an automatic water system. Spills won't happen every time, but they will happen. Carpets & laminate floors don't tolerate spills very well. Spouses or parents aren't usually thrilled either. Fancy Guppies are more prone to damaging fins and tails in tanks larger than 40 Gallons, possibly because of being more active.
Almost all municipal water has chlorine added. Less common is a chlorine-ammonia mix, usually called chloramine, and a challenge I won't address because I've never dealt with it.
Bucket Water Chages -- I'm never willing to change more than 10% at once with water direct from a chlorinated tap. 24 hours in an open bucket will eliminate almost all chlorine, although I usually plan for 48 hours.
Automatic Systems -- I have a slow drip of softened water going into a cory tank, but my main new water source for my guppies is unsoftened tap water, passing through two 15 gal garbage barrels with constant areation.
If you are talking about food molding on the bottom, I would say a forceful "NO!" If you are talking about the mulm, the brown silt-like residue that stirs up any time a fish swims near, it is teaming with microscopic life. It is some of the best first foods for any of your fry. It can be unsightly in a display tank -- and if you are inviting people to tour your fish-room, it looks and feels like you are neglecting basic cleaning. Consider your priorities carefully. Even a beautiful display tank will profit if you allow for a few hidden spots where mulm can accumulate. It is natural and healthy. Young fry will benefit greatly if you leave some in their tank.