Tiger guppies are a popular species of tropical fish known for their vibrant colors and active personalities. With their distinctive stripes and beautiful fins, they are a great choice for any freshwater aquarium. Native to the river basins of South America, they are hardy little fish that can add a lot of character to any tank.
As one of the most popular species of aquarium fish, tiger guppies are a great choice for hobbyists of all skill levels. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of tiger guppy care and discuss how best to keep these beautiful fish in a healthy environment.
Common Name (species)
Tiger Guppy Fish, Poecilia Reticulata
1 – 3 years
Calm and non-aggressive
Minimum Tank Size
10 gallons (for a school of 3)
72 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit
Most fish of similar size and temperament
OK, for Planted Tanks?
Good with most plants
Tiger guppy fish are one of the most active and energetic aquarium fish available. They are usually very active during the day and will swim around the tank, exploring every corner. Anything new or interesting will quickly draw their attention, and they love to find new places to explore. Tiger guppies also have a high metabolism, so they need regular feedings throughout the day.
Like most types of guppies, these fish are known for their calm temperament, which makes them an ideal addition to community tanks. They get along well with most other species of aquarium fish as long as there is enough space in the tank for everyone. You may notice some chasing between members of the same species, but this can usually be avoided by providing adequate hiding places within your setup.
Small community fish such as danios, tetras, mollies, and plays make good tank mates for tiger guppies. Stick to similarly sized fish, as tiger guppies may nip the fins of larger fish. It is important to avoid keeping tiger guppies with aggressive species, like cichlids or other large predators, as the guppies may become intimidated and stressed.
Those looking for more unique tankmates can also opt for snails and shrimp to help keep the tank clean. Make sure your snails and shrimp are fully grown before adding them to your guppy tank. In addition, you should have a plan in place to manage the population levels of these invertebrates, as they can quickly overrun a tank.
What to Feed
Tiger guppy fish require a balanced diet that includes both plant and animal matter. They are omnivorous, so they can be fed a variety of foods, including flakes, pellets, frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms as well as live food such as daphnia and brine shrimp. It is important to provide variety in their diet to ensure that all necessary vitamins and minerals are being consumed.
In addition, supplementing their diets with fresh vegetables like zucchini slices or cucumber rounds provides additional nutrients for proper growth and development – just make sure any veggie snacks you offer have been blanched first before serving! Doing so helps soften them up, so they don’t pose as much risk of indigestion when eaten by these delicate fish.
It is important not to overfeed tiger guppies as this can lead to health problems such as obesity or constipation down the line. A good rule of thumb is to feed no more than what the fish can eat in two minutes. Depending on your schedule, you can feed your fish one to three times a day, but be sure to remove any uneaten food after the allotted time.
What Not To Feed
Tiger guppies should not be fed any kind of human food, as this can cause health problems for the fish. This extends to things such as bread, chips, and other salty snacks. Another no-no is feeder fish, as these larger prey items can be too big for the guppies to consume. They could introduce parasites and diseases into their tank.
Despite the fact that tiger guppies are tiny fish, they need to be kept in schools of 5 or more. This translates into a minimum tank size of 10-15 gallons, giving them enough room to swim around and exercise. If you plan to keep your guppies with other fish species, or if your tank décor is elaborate, you need to increase the tank size accordingly.
You will need the following:
An appropriately sized tank
- Substrate (gravel, sand, or a combination)
- Live plants
- Decorations (driftwood, rocks etc.)
- A lid with an air pump and airstone for oxygenation.
Step 1: Fill the tank with dechlorinated water. Use a water conditioner, and test the water with a test kit to make sure that the pH, ammonia and nitrite levels are all within the proper range.
Step 2: Set up your filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The filter should be rated for at least twice the volume of water in your tank, as tiger guppies produce a lot of waste.
Step 3: Place a heater in one corner of the tank and set it to 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit (25-28 degrees Celsius). This temperature is ideal for tiger guppy health and activity.
Step 4: Add your substrate to the tank, sand or gravel, depending on your preference. This will provide a natural environment for your fish and help keep their water clean.
Step 5: Place any decorations in the aquarium such as rocks or driftwood (not essential but can add to aesthetics). Live plants are also recommended as they act as a natural filter. Plants also provide hiding spots for your tiger guppies.
Step 6: Finally, add the lid and air pump to ensure good oxygenation throughout the tank.
Step 7: Let your tank cycle for 1-2 weeks before adding tiger guppies. This will give the beneficial bacteria time to build up and stabilize your water parameters.
Now that you have a better idea of what tank size and setup you need for your tiger guppies, let’s take a look at the other habitat requirements.
Tiger guppies prefer water with a pH between 6.0 and 8.0, and a water temperature close to that of their natural habitat. Shoot for something between 78-82°F (25-28°C), and you should be in the right ballpark. Additionally, you should aim to keep the hardness of your water at 10-25 dGH (dH). All of these parameters can be tested with a simple aquarium test kit, and adjusted if necessary.
Tiger guppies aren’t particularly picky when it comes to filtration, but the most important factor to keep in mind is that the filter shouldn’t produce too much current. These fish aren’t strong swimmers, so they can easily get pushed around by the powerful flow of a filter that is too large.
A good rule of thumb is to choose a filter with an output rated for at least 4 times the capacity of your tank – so if you have a 10-gallon tank, look for something with an output rated for 40 gallons. This will ensure that the filter is powerful enough to keep the water clean without being too strong for the guppies.
Heat and Lighting Requirements
Tiger guppies don’t require any special lighting, but a few hours of light each day will help keep them active and healthy. If you are keeping live plants in your tank, you may also want to invest in some specialized aquarium lights that can support photosynthesis.
Heaters are valuable in colder climates, as they can help keep the water temperature in a safe range. Even if your home is temperature-controlled, using a tank heater can protect your guppies against temperature fluctuations. We also recommend investing in a reliable aquarium thermometer, so you can easily monitor the water temperature.
Decorations and Substrate
Tiger guppies like to have plenty of hiding places, so it’s a good idea to include plenty of live plants in your tank. This will not only provide them with shelter but will also help keep the water clean and oxygenated. If you don’t want to use real plants, you could opt for some plastic or silk alternatives instead – just make sure that they aren’t too large, as the guppies might get stuck in them.
As for the substrate, you can use whatever you prefer – gravel, sand, or even plain old aquarium glass. Just be sure to choose something that won’t disrupt your water parameters too much and that is easy to clean.
Arguably the most important part of owning tiger guppies is regular tank maintenance. A dirty, neglected tank can quickly become a health hazard for your fish. To keep things running smoothly, you should perform partial water changes weekly and clean the filter as needed.
It is also a good idea to test the water parameters regularly to ensure that everything is balanced correctly and that no toxins are building up in the water. If necessary, you can use aquarium treatments to help keep the water clean and free of disease.
Common Health Issues and Treatment
Understanding the common health issues associated with tiger guppies is the best way to prevent them from occurring in the first place. These are some of the most prevalent health issues among this species:
Symptoms or Causes
Causes: Poor water quality, stress
Symptoms: Clamped fins, lethargy, ulcers
Address the root causes of the issue – whether it’s performing a water change, or reducing the stress of other fish in the tank. Then, administer an appropriate antibacterial medication.
Ich (White Spot Disease)
Causes: Poor water quality, temperature fluctuations, poor nutrition
Symptoms: White spots on fins and body
Raise the water temperature to 83-86°F (28-30°C), perform a partial water change and treat with an appropriate aquarium medication.
Swim Bladder Disease
Causes: Poor diet, constipation
Symptoms: Difficulty swimming
Feed small amounts of food more frequently, avoid overfeeding and provide a varied diet.
Ich (White Spot Disease)
Symptoms or Causes
Ich is a very common disease that’s caused by an aquatic protozoan parasite.
Fish infected with Ich develop a sprinkling of tiny white spots on their fins, gill covers, and bodies. They also flash against the gravel and other solid objects in the aquarium.
Raise the water temperature to 82o F for three days. Use an OTC White Spot Disease medication to treat the tank.
Symptoms or Causes
Flukes is the term used to describe various types of external fish parasites. These macroparasites can often be seen with the naked eye attached to the fish’s skin or gills.
Treat the fish tank with an OTC antiparasitic medication.
Symptoms or Causes
White fluffy growths on the fish’s body, mouth, and head.
Quarantine infected fish, and treat with an antifungal medication.
Symptoms or Causes
Sores and ulcers on the body and head, ragged, bloody fins.
Treat the tank with OTC antibacterial treatment.
Can’t get enough of these little critters? If you’re feeling adventurous, breeding your own tiger guppies is a great way to add some variety to the tank. Breeding these fish isn’t too difficult, but it does require patience and practice. Here are some tips for success:
- Choose healthy specimens – only breed guppies that are free from disease or deformities.
- Provide plenty of hiding places in the tank – this will help reduce stress levels.
- Provide plenty of food – high-quality, live food such as brine shrimp or bloodworms is best.
- Remove the parents – once the female has given birth, it’s best to remove her from the tank as some guppies may eat their fry.
- Monitor water parameters – test and adjust as needed in order to maintain optimal conditions for your fry.
For a more detailed guide on breeding guppies, check out our in-depth article here.
Before we wrap up, here are a few of our favorite products for keeping tiger guppies:
- API Aquarium Test Kit – this test kit can help you monitor and adjust your water parameters quickly and easily.
- Aquaneat Aquarium Light – if you plan to keep live plants or want to give your guppies some extra light, this is a great choice.
- Aqueon Aquarium Heater – this reliable heater is perfect for maintaining the correct temperature in your tank, no matter what climate you live in!
Tiger guppies are an adorable and hardy species that make a great addition to any aquarium. With the right tank size, water parameters and habitat requirements in place, you can easily keep these fish happy and healthy for years to come!
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