Guppies are one of the most favorite fish to raise in an aquarium. These fish have beautiful coloration, full of energy, and hardy. These are the reason why they are popular to keep in an aquarium. Guppies are one of those species of fish that doesn’t have a long lifespan. However, which the right knowledge and care, you could help increase their lifespan.
How long do guppies live? Most guppies will live for 1 to 3 years. However, there are guppies that can live much longer than that. Good guppy genetics, high-quality food, good water parameters, and less stress can help extend the lifespan of the guppy.
To help extend the life of the guppies, there are 8 factors to take into consideration. These will help give your guppies a longer lifespan so you can enjoy their beauty.
1. Guppy Genetics
Genetics plays an important role in the lifespan of the guppies. If your guppies have bad genetics, they will have a very short lifespan. Most with bad genetics will not live to become an adult.
To prevent raising guppies with bad genetics, always buy the fish from experienced guppy breeders. These breeders care about breeding only healthy guppy fish. Do so will ensure your guppy will live to their life expectancy.
Pet stores are another place where you can buy healthy guppy fish. These places have their reputation at stake so most of the fish from pet stores have good genetics.
Based on various fish forums, most fish keepers report that guppies bought at pet stores tend to have a shorter lifespan than guppies bought from breeders.
For me personally, my first option would be a guppy breeder. These breeders specialize in guppy fish only, so it makes sense to buy from them.
2. Feeding Guppies Quality Food
Increasing their lifespan will require quality food as part of their diet. Quality food is made to the highest standard and is made to meet the fish diet requirement. You can feed them commercial food, home-made food, and live food.
When it comes to guppy fish, these fish are not picky eaters. They will eat almost anything that is given to them. They can be fed commercial fish food or even home-made food. Giving them a variety of food can help them live longer due to all the nutrition they will be getting.
Feeding Guppy Fish Commercial Fish Food
If you choose to feed them commercial fish food, always choose a brand that is reputable and known for quality products. These high-quality fish food can be easily found at pet stores or online such as Amazon.
Commercial fish food is formulated to meet the guppy’s diet requirements. You can purchase them in different varieties such as dried fish food or freeze-fried. Some of the food available for guppies are tropical fish flakes and veggie pallets.
Beside dried fish food, they can be fed freeze-dried food as well. Freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, and tubifex worms are great for guppies.
Homemade Fish Food For Guppies
If you prefer to make your own fish food at home, make sure to give them the necessary minerals and vitamins. To provide them with all the nutrition they require, you’ll need to feed them with a variety of vegetables. Guppies can eat fresh or cooked vegetables. Some of their favorite vegetables are carrots, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, and beets. You can cut them into small pieces and put them in the tank, and watch those guppies gobble them up.
Besides fresh and cooked vegetables, you can prepare a vegetable paste for them as well. This is an excellent choice if you’re busy, but want homemade food for your guppies. To prepare the paste, gather all the vegetables you want first. Then blanch the vegetables for a few minutes to make them soft. Finally, put them in a blender and blend it all together until it forms a paste. You can then put it in the freezer or cut it into pieces to feed them.
Since you’ll be making homemade fish food for your guppies, you know it’s high-quality food due to the ingredients you are using.
Feeding Guppies Live Food
Live food is probably the highest quality of food available. However, most people tend to not use live food due to the cultivation process. If you do plan to feed guppies live food, you won’t have to worry about the low quality of the food.
Live food that is great for guppies includes brine shrimps, daphnia, and infusoria. These live foods are excellent at extending the lifespan of the guppies.
3. Increase Guppies Lifespan By Providing The Right Water Parameters
One of the most important factors in raising a long-living guppy fish is the water parameters. Guppy fish are hardy fish and can live in a wide range of water parameters. To keep them healthy and give them a chance to live a long life, below are the ideal conditions for guppy fish:
- Water Temperature: 72-82 °F (22-28 °C )
- Water Hardness (dGH): 8-12
- Water pH: 6.8 to 7.8
- Ammonia Level: 0 ppm
- Nitrites Level: 0 ppm
When it comes to water for the aquarium, tap water is a good choice to use. In addition, you could also use spring water as well. Both types of water are safe for guppy fish. However, tap water may contain chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals. Even though these substances are in low quantities, they can be dangerous for the guppy fish.
To help eliminate the toxic substances from the water, you can use a water conditioner. The one I use and recommend is the Seachem Water Conditioner, which can be found at Amazon.
4. Increase Guppies Lifespan By Reducing Lights
Some people think because guppies don’t have eyelids, they never sleep. But, in reality, they do sleep and they need to sleep. This is the reason why you need to turn off the lights at night.
When there is too much light, this can cause stress on the guppies. Guppies that are stressed could become ill and they could even die from it.
If you use artificial lighting in the aquarium, make sure it’s off for at least 7 hours each day. The best time of the day to turn them off is when you go to sleep. After waking up, you can turn it back on.
A timer is also available to turn the lights on and off. There are manual timers that you can hook to the lighting and it will turn the lights on and off at a set time. Rotate the dial to your set time for lights on and set time for lights off.
Your home lighting may affect the sleep of the guppies too. If your aquarium is located by the windows, it might still get affected by the lights from the city street lights. To remedy this problem, remember to close the blinds or put a towel on the aquarium facing the window, to prevent lights from reaching the aquarium.
5. Increase Guppies Lifespan By Providing Hiding Space
Guppies find a place to hide for many reasons. Hiding makes them feel safe from other fish. They use a hiding place to sleep at night and keep themselves from floating around.
Good hiding places for guppies are plants and aquarium decorations. For plants, you can use artificial plants or live plants. However, I would recommend using live plants in the aquarium. Live plants help remove toxins from the water and improve the water condition.
For aquarium decoration, there is plenty of decoration you can choose from. They come in the form of a castle, sunken ships, caves, and many other designs. For guppies, you want decorations that are not too small and not too big. A decoration that will allow them to swim into and hide.
6. Overcrowded Fish Tank
This is a common mistake for beginners. They will usually put as many fish in the aquarium as possible. Sure, the more fish there is in the aquarium, the more beautiful the aquarium looks. But in reality, this overcrowding in the aquarium will cause stress for the guppies.
Guppies prefer to be in an aquarium that has a lot of room to move around. In an overcrowded aquarium, they will not have a lot of room to swim. When this happens, they will start to be stressed. In an overcrowded aquarium, if you start to see the guppies hiding for most of the day, this means they are stressed. If the guppies are kept under this condition for a long period of time, they will die due to stress.
To reduce stress and keep guppies happy, I recommend 1 guppy for every gallon. For example, if you have a 10-gallon tank, you should have only 10 guppies. However, in a community tank, you may want to lower that amount of guppies.
7. Incompatible Tank Mates
If you’re keeping guppies in a community tank, you need to keep track of what fish is in the tank. Guppies are small in size when compared to other popular fish kept in an aquarium.
Tiger barbs and angelfish are very aggressive fish. These fish will attack any fish that is smaller than them, including the guppies. Guppy fish will usually not have a long lifespan when putting in with these aggressive fish.
If you’re planning to keep guppies, I would recommend keeping them in their own separate tank or keep them with other species of fish they are compatible with.
8. Inadequate Male To Female Ratio
When it comes to guppies, people are attracted to their vibrant colors. For this reason, they will get more males than females guppies. Male guppies are more colorful than female guppies.
If there are more male than female guppies, the males will start to harass the female and stress them out. So much stress that the female guppy can die from it.
If you’re planning to have both male and female guppies, I recommend the ratio of one male to three females. This is to minimize the stress caused by being harassed by the male guppies.
Guppies usually live between 1 and 3 years, but with the right care, you can extend their lifespan even more. As long as the guppies are kept in an environment where there is less stress, they will keep you entertained for a very long time.
Fred has been a fishkeeper his whole life. At the age of 3 yrs old, he got started with a goldfish that was given to him on his birthday. Ever since then, he loved caring for fish of all types and species. Beside fishkeeping, he enjoy fly fishing and the outdoors with his 4 kids.