Guppies are tropical freshwater fishes that are native to South America where the most number of variants can be found in the rivers of Amazon, Barbados, Brazil, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. They’re commonly found in small streams, slow-flowing rivers, lakes, ponds, pools, and occasionally in brackish waters.
They’re popular as aquarium pets chiefly they’re easy to grow and because of their attractive colors. They’re not fussy eaters and gets along well with other kinds of fish. Guppies have also been used in different experiments for the study of ecology, behavior and evolution.
Guppies by Species
This species originated from South and Central America and lives in brackish fish water, although they also do well in freshwater. Other names for the Micropoecilia picta include the scarlet livebearer, swamp guppy, and the painted puppy.
Of all the guppies distributed throughout the world, these guppies are the most common. They originated from South America, and they are also known as fancy guppies, rainbow fish, and million fish.
Fairly rare compared to the other species, they were first discovered in Venezuela in 1937. They are known as endler guppies.
Guppies by Color
With a unique type of pigment called iridophores, metal guppies can actually change their color and therefore hide from their predators. Unique pigments are secreted which help them mimic their environment, and they can adapt and become unnoticeable to predators.
The body and fin of these guppies are one solid color, and the most common colors include blues, yellows, and reds, although some blacks have also been found due to breeding.
Just like the name implies, this type of guppy is all white, and it even has a soft-pink color around its face and soft-pink or red eyes. In fact, there can actually be tints of other colors all throughout an albino guppy, but most of its body is colored in white. They get this way because there is a lack of black pigment melanin in their bodies. Albino guppies are attractive, in part because the white color gives them a soft, delicate look.
Although most albino guppies are solid-white in color, there are also albino guppies that are yellow and red. They usually have red eyes and a body that lacks the black pigment called melanin, which is where they get the color from.
AOC (Any Other Color) Guppy
Guppies are classified according to a chart established by the IFGA, and the AOC guppy is a guppy with colors that are unassociated with any other type or class of guppy. In fact, they can be in a variety of colors, including black, yellow, pink, and many others, so they are very eye-catching and attractive fish.
AOC Bi-Color Guppy
These guppies do not fit in any of the other red or blue-green bi-color categories. There are five criteria that must be met in order to be classified as an AOC bi-color guppy, and those are:
- It must have a very clear and distinct base color.
- The secondary color has to be 25% or more of their tail color.
- The secondary and base colors have to be different from one another.
- If a third color is included, it has to be 15% or less; otherwise, they are classified as a multi-colored guppy.
- The dorsal has to be the same color and pattern as the tail.
As you can guess from its name, the black guppy is solid black in color, which includes their caudal fin. Most are solid black from the body to the tail, and it is a deep, almost bluish-type of black color. However, the bigger the guppy is, the less solid-black they have in their body and the more variety they have between their body and their dorsal fin. This means that some black guppies actually have other colors in them besides black.
This guppy is solid blue in color, and it is a beautiful shade of blue; a striking, electric blue most of the time. In fact, the shade of blue can vary from sky blue to dark blue, and females have blue highlights in their fins. These are beautiful fish that are certainly noticeable inside a pet store.
Blue-Green Bi-Color Guppy
Although blue-green in color, this guppy can actually come in a variety of shades and tones. They, too, have criteria that must be met to be officially classified in this group, and those criteria include:
- The dominant color in the tail has to be blue, green, or blue-green.
- Both the color and the pattern of the tail fin and the dorsal have to match.
- The main color and the secondary color have to be different from one another.
- If a third color is included, it cannot be more than 15% of the fish; if it is, the guppy is classified as a multi-colored guppy.
To be put in this category, a guppy has to be a minimum of 25% gold in color and have black scales. The bronze guppy is considered a variation of a gold guppy, which like the bronze guppy, has to have a body of at least 25% gold color. Both the gold and the bronze guppies have a vibrant, very attractive color that truly stands out from other colors.
Female guppies sometimes have fin colors that are very attractive, and they have very large fins. To compete in the IFGA female class, the female guppy has to have a gravid spot in its tail. Female guppies are bigger than male guppies and have colors that are a lot less vibrant and beautiful.
Green guppies are very hard to develop, which is why they are in very high demand and also come with a hefty price. In most cases, their green color is interspersed with a blue iridescent color, and the females can even have green highlights in their fins. They are also a very attractive shade of green, which is somewhere between medium and dark in color.
Half-Black AOC Guppy
With a half-black body, they can have several other colors besides the black, and they often have tails and fins that are multi-colored. The black is a deep-black color, the same color as a black cat.
Half-Black Blue Guppy
This type of guppy has a body that is half-black, with most of the rest of the body being blue in color. The blue can be various shades of blue, so any blue-lover will be able to find a guppy with the shade of blue they like.
Half-Black Green Guppy
Just like the green guppy, this type of guppy is difficult to find. They have a beautiful half-black body and the rest of their body is green, although they can have tints of gold or other colors near the face area.
Half-Black Pastel Guppy
The body of the half-black pastel guppy is at least half black, but the pastel in their caudal tail can be any color except for yellow. Most often, these guppies are found with a caudal fin that is white pastel. If you decide to get a half-black pastel guppy, it is good to note that the caudal fin could be affected by the type of food you feed them, so it is best to handle these fish with caution. The store you purchase them from should be able to give you additional information.
Half-Black Purple Guppy
With a beautiful half-black body and deep-purple fin and tail, this fish makes a beautiful addition to the “half-black” category of guppies.
Half-Black Red Guppy
The half-black red guppy has at least half its body in black and the rest in red. To compete, they have to have a one-to-one proportion of body length to tail length, but in fact, this is more difficult to find than most people realize. With its black body and bright-red tail and fins, it is quite a striking fish.
Half-Black Yellow Guppy
These guppies have a half-black body and a yellow tail and fin. They are also one of the types of guppies that is difficult to obtain, but they are beautiful and eye-catching nonetheless.
Almost everyone is familiar with the multi guppy, and to be classified in this category, the guppy has to have a minimum of three distinct colors in its caudal fin. By “color,” it is meant a color that is at least 15% of the caudal fin area. Furthermore, the dorsal should match the caudal fin in both color and pattern. Some multi-colored guppies look like rainbows, and because of their three-color minimum, they are a very beautiful fish.
Just like the name suggests, the purple guppy has a fin and tail, and at least half of their body, that is purple in color. It is usually a very vibrant color that will catch people’s attention and cause onlookers to sit up and take notice of it.
Red Bi-Color Guppy
These are essentially red guppies but have several color variations in their bodies and their fins. Like some other types of guppies, there are certain criteria for being included in this category, and they are as follows.
- In the tail, the secondary color has to cover a minimum of 25% of that tail.
- The dorsal and the fin need to match exactly in color and in pattern.
- The base and the secondary color must be distinctly different from one another.
- If a third color is included, that color has to be 15% of the body of the fish or lower. If they are more than 15%, they are classified as a multi guppy.
With a beautiful, dominant solid-red color throughout their body and their fins, this is a variety that is certain to catch people’s attention. There are several variations in the red guppy, and they can even be gold, grey, or albino in color. Red guppies often have bodies that are very large, and you can get a clear-red color by eliminating or minimizing the black melanin gene trait, so this is one way to produce some variety when you want a red poppy.
The yellow guppy’s body is predominantly yellow, including the body and fins. Interestingly, most yellow guppies are genetically blond, and they are bred that way to reduce the domination of the black gene in order to get a fish that has a cleaner look. The yellow guppy is also difficult to obtain, so it may take you awhile to see this type of guppy in person.
Guppies by Pattern
The cobra guppy has both vertical patterns and rosettes throughout its body, and it can be colors such as bright-orange, green, black, and white.
Snakeskin guppies have a vertical pattern over their body, but they can be nearly any color possible. Sometimes, individual rosettes are placed randomly throughout their body, and since the stripes often resemble the stripes of a tiger, those colors can include colors such as gold, orange, and black.
Tuxedo guppies have two different body colors located between their front and back body. Their upper body is light in color, and their lower body is a bit darker, sometimes resembling a tuxedo suit, hence the name.
Grass Tail Guppy
The grass tail guppy has a tail that is similar to the leopard tail guppy and is usually considered to have a finer pattern than the leopard guppies. There are tiny dots in the tail which resemble grass seed, although the color can be nearly any color you can imagine. The dots, however, are the reason they are named grass tail guppies.
Lace Tail Guppy
This type of tail has a pattern that looks like a fine web. If the guppy has a snakeskin pattern on its body and tail, it is common for it to have a lace tail, as well. The lace tail guppy has a beautiful, delicate-looking tail that can resemble a type of fan.
Leopard Tail Guppy
This name says it all when it comes to this type of tail, because it has dark spots on it that make it look a lot like a leopard.
Mosaic Tail Guppy
This type of guppy is called a mosaic tail guppy because its tale has an irregular pattern. The pattern consists of many spots that are connected to one another in a unique way, making that irregular pattern. Moreover, the irregular pattern makes for a very attractive tail.
Delta/Triangle Tail Guppy
With a triangular-shaped tail, these guppies’ tails usually flare out to at least a 70-degree angle when opened up, making it not only a beautiful tail but a very large one as well.
These guppies have fan-shaped tails that can be quite large, and they are also known as fancy guppies. The shape of the tail gives the guppies a bit of ambiance and style.
Fire Tail Guppy
The fire tail guppy is so named because of its reddish-orange color at the edge of its tail, which many people think resembles a light of fire. It is bright and eye-catching, and presents quite a beautiful image.
Flag Tail Guppy
These guppies’ tails are relatively small and shaped like a rectangle. Because of the way it flows back and forth while the fish swims, it resembles a small flag flying, hence its name.
The lyretail looks like it is two separate parts, but if you look close enough you’ll see a small membrane that actually connects the two parts. They are a cross between the double tail and double swords variety of guppy, and the tail often resembles two swords facing each other.
Pin/Needle Tail Guppy
You can tell if a guppy has a pin/needle tail because both the dorsal and caudal fin contain long, thin tips that resemble a sharp needle. Because of this, they look a lot different from any other type of guppy you’ll find.
Red Eye Guppy
Since most guppies have dark eyes, these types of guppies are unique and a little different, not to mention rare. Two types of guppies fall under this category, and they include:
- The real red-eye guppies, or RREs, which have red eyes but are not albino fish. Because these guppies generally have very small bodies, nowadays breeders are working to develop RREs that are a bit larger.
- The real red-eye albino. Because these fish lack melanin pigment in their eyes, they end up with red eyes. Compared to the RREs, the albino version has eyes that are a little bit paler.
Round Tail Guppy
The round tail on these guppies are shaped like balls or circles, and they are not super large but are still very distinct and unique.
Spear Tail Guppy
This guppy has a tail that looks like the tip of a spear, hence its name. It is an unusual type of tail and not exceptionally large. It has a very distinct shape and look.
The swordtail guppy has a tail that is long and narrow, and even its body can be long and narrow. It can even resemble a swordfish with its long, slender shape. Their tails are quite different than other guppies’ tails, and this makes them a very unique type of guppy.
Veil Tail Guppy
Guppies with veil-like tails have tails shaped like an isosceles triangle, and each angle is at 45 degrees. Very impressive indeed.
Fun Facts about Guppies
- Because guppies are omnivores, you can feed them most meats and vegetables. You should always give them a wide variety of foods, because it can make their colors even bolder.
- Because the female guppy can store sperm, she is able to get pregnant several times just from one mating season. Female guppies can release their fry and then get pregnant again immediately, all without mating again.
- Guppies are classified according to their colors, tail types, and patterns. There are officially 12 types of guppy tails that have been recognized by international guppy associations.
- Guppies are easy to grow and therefore are perfect for beginners.
- Guppies are freshwater fish but if acclimated, they can survive in salt water.
- Guppies are often called the “million fish” because of their ability to breed so easily and quickly.
- Guppies are relatively small in size and stature. Males get up to approximately 1 1/8 inches and females grow to around 2 1/8 inches. Females are indeed larger than males, but the male guppies are a lot more colorful.
- Guppies can be released into the water to fight malaria. This was actually done in southern India in 2014. This is accomplished because the guppies eat all of the mosquitoes, which are what causes malaria.
- Guppies have two nicknames – million fish, because each female guppy can deliver up to 50 fries (baby guppies) every month; and rainbow fish, because they are available in so many different colors.
- Guppies swim in schools like other large fish do. If you keep several of them in your aquarium, they will eventually start swimming around together in the tank.
- If the water in your aquarium is warmer, guppies can live longer because this speeds up their metabolism.
- Like humans, guppies have 23 sets of chromosomes. This includes a pair of sex chromosomes.
- Most fish lay eggs to deliver their young, but this is not so with guppies. Guppies are livebearers and give birth to live young, called fry. Guppy fry are able to swim as soon as they are released from their mothers, but since adult guppies can eat their young, it is best to hide newborns if you have any in your aquarium.
- Most well-kept guppies can live for two to three years, but many live up to five years.
- There are no two guppies which are alike.
- They are named after their discoverer, Robert John Lechmere Guppy.
- Unlike many other fish, guppies get along with other fish, and they are peaceful fish that do well even in a community fish tank.