Lebistes poecilioides De Filippi, 1861; Girardinus guppii Günther, 1866
Poecilia: from the Greek poikilo, meaning ‘variable, variegated’.
reticulata: from the Latin reticulatus, meaning ‘reticulated, having a network-like pattern’.
Native to northeastern South America and the southern Caribbean with its original range considered to cover Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana plus the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda and the Netherlands Antilles.
Type locality is ‘Guayre River, Caracas, Venezuela’.
Wild examples are relatively rare in the aquarium hobby, however
Introduced or feral populations also exist in around fifty other countries across the globe, including the UK.
Some populations also exist in brackish conditions.
Maximum Standard Length
Aquarium SizeTop ↑
18″ x 12″ x 12″ (45x30x30cm)
Unfussy, though a planted tank with floating vegetation is appreciated.
Strong currents should be avoided.
Temperature: 17 – 28 °C
pH: 7.0 – 8.5
Hardness: 90 – 536 ppm
Wild fish are primarily insectivorous, but today’s tank-bred fish are far-removed from their ancestors and will accept most foods offered.
Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑
A very peaceful fish. Do not keep with fin-nipping species such as tiger barbs, serpae tetras etc. Does well in a quiet community tank with other livebearers, rasboras, corydoras, small loricariids and tetras.
Very easy. Livebearer. It is advisable to keep several females to each male as males can be quite vigorous in their constant pursuit of females. No real effort needs to be made to breed these fish although a densley planted species tank with lots of floating vegetation is the best way to ensure the survival of the fry.
A pregnant female can be identified by the gravid spot (darkened area) behind her anal fin just behind the belly. Between 5-100 young may be produced from a single female, and gestation takes between 4-6 weeks.
Excess viable sperm can be preserved in the female’s oviduct for a long time.
This means that the females are still able to produce young for 6 months or more if no males are present. Adult fish will eat the young so it is better to remove them after the fry are born to ensure 100% survival. They are incredibly prolific so if you do not want a tank full of fry buy fish of only one sex.
One of the most popular aquarium fish in the world, the guppy is instantly recognisable to most people. There are many aquarium bred varieties of this species available, most have elongated finnage and gaudy colouration. The wild form is seldom seen for sale.
Unfortunately many commercially bred guppies are not very hardy due to inbreeding and over-production and are prone to disease and premature death. We therefore recommend the purchase of quality stock from breeders or society auctions.
P. reticulata has been introduced into many third world countries as a means of malaria control, as these fish feed voraciously on mosquito larvae.
- Peters, W. (C. H.), 1859 - Monatsberichte der Königlichen Preussische Akademie des Wissenschaften zu Berlin: 411-413
Eine neue vom Herrn Jagor im atlantischen Meere gefangene Art der Gattung Leptocephalus, und über einige andere neue Fische des Zoologischen Museums.