Beginner fish keepers looking for the perfect pet to start off with inevitably find themselves drawn to guppies.
Guppies are a very hardy fish which make them perfect for beginners to ease their way into the world of fish keeping.
Strong, resilient, adaptable, and a lot more “bulletproof” than most people expect from such a beautiful fish, if you are just getting into the world of keeping these aquatic animals as pets you could do a whole lot worse than to start off with guppies.
Are Guppies Hardy?
There are a couple of things that make guppies so resilient and so hardy, not the least of which is their ability to adapt to all different kinds of environments.
Below we run through (almost) all of the different things that contribute to the hardiness of these incredible fish.
The adaptability of guppies is near legendary in the fishkeeping world.
A tropical freshwater fish, they definitely appreciate warmer water (anywhere between 72°F and 82°F) but can do really well in water temperatures that drop as low as 60°F – for short amounts of time, anyway.
There aren’t a lot of other tropical fish that can tolerate anything south of 68°F without sending extreme shock through their system (potentially even killing off entire schools of less adaptable fish).
On top of that, guppies are known to have a much easier time going from their “original water conditions” at the fish store to their new “home water” than a lot of other fish species.
Even betta fish need to sort of be acclimated to a greater degree than guppies do, showing just how resilient guppies are!
Can Go Without Food for Long Stretches
Certain species of tropical fish need to be fed around the same time every single day – at least twice a day – or their health starts to deteriorate almost immediately.
Guppies, on the other hand, are far more resilient than that.
Sure, guppies would love to be fed around the same time every day and get a splash of food once or twice every 24 hours. But if they have to go a couple of days without a meal (or a couple of days without both meals) they aren’t going to be all that worse for wear.
In fact, some researchers and fish keepers have found that guppies can go up to almost 2 weeks without any food at all and still bounce back.
For obvious reasons this isn’t recommended. It puts a lot of stress on your guppy population and then bouncing back from this kind of extended starvation is never guaranteed.
Still, it’s nice to know that your guppies aren’t going to fall apart immediately if you aren’t able to feed them exactly at 6 o’clock in the morning and 5 o’clock at night every single day.
How to Boost the Hardiness of Your Guppies Even More
Fish keepers that are looking to improve the health and happiness of their guppies will naturally improve their overall hardiness at the same time.
Feed High Quality Food Sources
Guppies are omnivores (they can eat both plant and animal nutrition sources), and if you want to be sure that you are fueling your guppies as best you can you want to be sure that you are giving them top-quality food sources.
Commercial fish food is always a little bit suspect. Even when you are buying from some of the bigger brands.
Unless you are willing to pony up a small fortune for commercial fish food it’s probably not a bad idea to start feeding “real” food to your guppies as quickly as possible.
Dropping insects, small worms, tiny shrimp, and even mosquito larvae into the tank on a regular basis will definitely improve the hardiness of your fish.
You can supplement with a sprinkle of flakes or some pellets every now and again, but making live sources of food and tiny bits of plants and vegetables the foundation of the food you give your guppy is huge.
Stick to Strict Tank Maintenance Schedules
The water that your fish live in needs to be properly maintained for them to stay happy and healthy.
Skip regularly scheduled tank maintenance and you are effectively poisoning (suffocating) your fish.
By sticking to a strict tank maintenance schedule (making sure that your fish get freshwater that is pH balanced and the right temperature) eliminates a lot of stress and pressure otherwise placed on your guppies.
When your fish aren’t stressed they are far more resilient, able to deal with actual stressors much more effectively, and are generally going to lead much longer and much healthier lives.
Be Proactive with Sickness and Disease Issues
There are a couple of diseases that can plague guppies, especially a number of diseases that can cause significant trauma that may lead to them losing their lives.
Luckily, though, the overwhelming majority of diseases that are known to plague guppies are pretty easy to spot always off.
You should be able to intervene well in advance of these issues becoming major emergencies – so long as you are paying attention.
Swim bladder disease, fin rot, constipation, ick, bent spine disease, dropsy, and protozoan issues are just some of the diseases guppies may have to deal with.
If you spot the symptoms for any of these conditions (or any other conditions, for that matter) research treatment protocols ASAP and jump right to it. The longer you wait the worse things are going to be for your guppy.
Always Choose Guppies from Good Stock
It is critically important to make sure that your guppy schools start off with the strongest stock possible, especially if you want future generations of your fish to be as hardy as possible.
Source your guppies from reputable fish and pet stores and ask about the genetics of those fish before you pull the trigger and add them to your tank.
If you have the ability, it’s not a bad idea to source your guppies from reputable fish breeders and fish keepers, either.
It may end up costing you a little bit more than it would have at the fish or pet store but you’ll almost always get higher quality fish that aren’t going to cause any issues (genetically, anyway).