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(Poecilia reticulate)

guppy, Poecilia reticulate

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Guppies or Poecilia reticulate belong to the family Poecilidae. They are some of the most colorfully decorated freshwater fish available on the market. Robert John Lechmere is accredited with "discovering" this tiny fish in Trinidad in 1866. Guppies are native to Barbados, Brazil, Guyana, Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Venezuela.

Just like goldfish and betta fish, guppies have been selectively bred to increase their coloration and exaggerated their dorsal fins. There are guppy societies devoted to breeding the next generation of show guppies. Some of these show class guppies can fetch a rather high price. The more generic fancy guppies found in fish stores are quite stunning in appearance and not that expensive.

Guppies are docile fish and make the perfect addition to community tanks. To insure their safety only keep them with other mild mannered fish and avoid mixing them with larger varieties who will view them as food.
The guppy thrives in neutral water with a temperature range between 72-83 °F.

Guppies are omnivores. They can survive just fine on common tropical fish flakes.

Adult males only grow to about 1.2 inches in length. The females can easily reach twice that length. Even with their dramatic difference in size, males have been known to bully the females. To keep domestic violence down to a minimum it is best to have two or three females for every male. Providing plants for the females to hide in is also a good idea.

Breeding Guppies

Guppies are among the easiest freshwater fish to spawn. Unlike most fish, guppies engage in internal fertilization. The anal fin of the male is used to inseminate the female. Once inseminated, the female stores sperm in her body for several months. She can produce multiple broods without the need for further fertilization.

Once impregnated, the female will develop a dark spot on her abdomen and the abdomen will start to swell. Guppies are live bearing fish. The fry will emerge from the mother fully developed. The fry emerge colorless. They will start to develop color in a few weeks.

Adult guppies will eat the newly hatched fry. The best way to avoid this is with a breeding trap. Breeding traps are inexpensive and readily available at fish stores. Breeding traps are transparent plastic containers comprised of two compartments. Place the impregnated female in the top compartment. As the female gives birth the fry drop through to the bottom compartment. After the female is done spawning remove her from the trap. The plastic piece that separates the trap into two compartments can then be removed to give the fry more room to maneuver. The fry can be kept in the trap while they are young. But remember that they are in an isolated compartment for their own protection. Replace part of the water with aquarium water regularly to keep it fresh.

Guppy fry can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp, or finely crushed dry food. Fry food specially formulated for live bearing fish is available at most fish stores.

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