Where Are Guppy Fish Came From? How Guppies became one of the Best Aquarium Fish?

Guppies came from northeast South America and are found everywhere around the world except for Antarctica. You can also find wild guppies in these places:

  • Antigua and Barbuda,
  • Barbados, Barbados,
  • Brazil,
  • Guyana,
  • Jamaica,
  • the Netherlands Antilles,
  • Trinidad and Tobago,
  • the US Virgin Islands, and
  • Venezuela.

Poecilia reticulata are native to these areas shown on the distribution map:

Guppy MAP
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GuppyMAPA.gif

Guppy history has a long story to tell, upon its discoveries, due to its varied types, many sources had registered multiple times. So here are the other names of a Guppy:

  • Acanthocephalus guppii (Günther, 1866),
  • Acanthophacelus reticulatus (W. Peters, 1859),
  • Girardinus guppii (Günther, 1866),
  • Girardinus reticulatus (W. Peters, 1859),
  • Lebistes poecilioides (De Filippi, 1861),
  • Lebistes reticulatus (W. Peters, 1859),
  • Poecilioides reticulatus (W. Peters, 1859)

Guppies were first named Poecilia reticulata by Wilhelm Peters in Venezuela in 1859. A couple of years later in Barbados, De Filippi named it Lebistes poecilioides in 1861. In the year 1866, Albert Gunther named it Girardinus guppii to honor Robert John Lechmere Guppy, the sender of the fish specimens of the species from Trinidad
to the Natural History Museum in London.

In 1913, Regan reclassified it as Lebistes reticulatus. Finally, in 1963 Rosen and Bailey brought it back to its original name, Poecilia reticulata. Even though the taxonomy of the fish was many times changed which resulted in many synonyms, the word “guppy” is the most common name.

So the popular word guppy is a person’s last name. Although there are many people who actually discovered it firsthand. We can’t deny the social influence of the sender since it was delivered in the prestigious museum in London.

How Guppies became one of the Best Aquarium Fish?

guppies in the aquarium

Guppies are very easy to pet in the aquarium as their food is not that expensive. Aside from the low maintenance, guppy’s brightly colored body and fins are one of their main attraction. Even though guppies normally weigh less than 1 gram and have a length of 0.6 to 2.4 inches, they are favored because of their colorful body designs and feathery tailfins.

They have a variety of colors such as yellow, red, blue, black, white, green, orange, multi-colored, or mixed. For this feature, they earned the other nicknames such as the ‘rainbow fish’ or ‘million fish’. The term ‘rainbow fish’ is derived from their colorful scales, while the term ‘million fish’ is due to its breeding habits in which they can easily multiply.

While most fish lay eggs, guppies reproduce and give birth their own way. Female guppies incubated their eggs inside of them for about a month, then delivers dozens of live birth babies called ‘fry’. They normally gather in groups called ‘school’.

Guppies are omnivores that prey mostly on algae, plant particles, mosquito larvae, and other commercially available food. They can live in freshwater as well as brackish water and are also known to fight against malaria disease since they are notorious for eating mosquito larvae in the waters, as a result, it reduces the mosquito population that can harm humans.

Due to their flamboyant design and low maintenance, guppies became widely accepted through various mediums as ornamental fish and it is still present these days.

Guppies are Peaceful and Have a Variety of Options to Choose From

set of guppies

There are currently more than 270 species of guppy that belong to the Poeciliidae family. But more than 50 types of guppies are popular to be used as an aquarium pet. Many of these types are not known yet for aquarium use but for sanitation purposes and irradiating mosquitos that cause malaria and other diseases in some areas.

These are currently known versions of guppy, the large and short strains. You can easily identify them with their tail and body structure. Try to compare both sides of the illustration below and see what type of guppies do you currently have.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Guppy-standards-grafik.svg

Large strains:
A – Veil tail
B – Triangle tail
C – Fan tail
D – Flag tail

Sword strains:
E – Double sword
F – Upper sword
G – Lower sword
H – Lyre tail

Short strains:
I – Spade tail
J – Spear tail
K – Round tail
L – Pin tail

For large strains guppy, you may enjoy looking at it for its beautiful and elaborate tails while the shorter strains guppies also don’t disappoint with their minimalistic yet cute tails.

Guppies are Great Beginner Fish

If you want to get started an aquarium hobby, as a beginner you may make mistakes. Much ornamental fish tend to have an unforgiving nature for mistakes, but let this not discourage you. Guppies are known to be low maintenance and forgiving to common mistakes made by amateur hobbyists.

Aside from being low maintenance, they are known to adapt quickly to their environment as long as it is not reeking with ammonia or saltwater. So, as long as the water is clean and healthy, you are good to go. Guppies are not picky eaters as well, they can thrive especially if you put freshwater plants since they like to eat algae.

Although algae are one of guppies’ favorite food, they are actually omnivores. This means they can consume a variety of food. There are commercially available feeds that contain the nutritional requirements of the fish diet. These micropellets feeds are best for guppies since they are small. You can add extra supplements as well, such as veggies but not more than once or twice a week.

Guppies are Friendly Tankmates

guppy fish history

Guppies are known to be peaceful, elegant, and easy-going schools of fish. therefore, you can mix other fish species that are not aggressive as well. The common live-bearing fish such as mollies or platys, and zebrafish or neon tetras are good tankmates to
include. You can also mix other guppy varieties on the same tank.

There are aquarium fish out there that are not suitable to live with your guppies. So make sure you search for the right fish tankmates as well. One of the common ornamental fish that are not suitable to mix with guppies is the bettas. Since bettas are bigger than them and are quite aggressive, it will make your guppies anxious or stressed most of the time.

Since we are talking about tankmates, you should know that guppies can multiply in a short period of time. Overpopulation on the tank is a risk and you should take precautionary measures. Separating male and female guppies is a good example. Don’t forget as well to separate the tiny fry, they too are at risk of being eaten by adult guppies.

Guppies are Good Stress Reliever


When is the last time you’ve seen your pet fish and made you smile? Guppies are graceful in their movement when they swim in the clear water. As long as your fish are not stressed and are in a healthy environment, you’ll get a reward like most fish owners to feel. It feels great to see them eating the food you prepared.

It also feels great to see them when you arrived after a stressful day at work. There are times when you don’t get what you wanted in life you’ll feel bored, stressed, or anxious. So, by having cute guppies you extend warm appreciation to other areas of life. You’ll learn to appreciate the little things, and that my friend can make a big difference.

Guppies are Easy to Breed and Sell

So what else can we add about caring guppies aside from them being adorable? Yes, you can sell them. Since guppies are easier to breed and multiply for a short period of time, you can as well make money to pay for the maintenance and at the same time, you share the joy of having to pet this amazing fish.

You will also avoid inbreeding by not mixing relative guppies. Inbreeding can affect the guppy’s birth and can lead to some abnormalities in the next generation of fry. Therefore, selling them is a good option. Just think of it as sharing happiness with other hobbyists or fish lovers.

These approaches can save thousands of guppies you can have. Although it may not be that high with the profit on each guppy type. The money that comes into your pocket from selling guppies can compound over time if you know how to save it. It will also depend on how you handle the business.

Knowing the origins of guppies can demystify some beginner questions. If you have any questions regarding guppies, feel free to leave a comment below.


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