How to Set up a Guppy Tank?

Guppies are colorful species that would make a good display wherever their tank is placed. Not only that, but they are also hardy fish that can be taken care of without causing their owner to put in too much effort.

How to set up a guppy tank? In order to set up a guppy tank, you have to take into consideration the tank’s size, cleanliness, lighting, water parameters, temperature, feeding schedules, and the decoration of the tank.

Setting Up The Guppy Tank (Video)

Now, let us explain thoroughly what you are supposed to do in order to set up a guppy tank that the guppies would feel comfortable in so you do not have to worry about their health.

Trying to look for some instructions to help you start up a good tank for your guppies is a very important step that you need to carry out before bringing your guppies home.

This is due to the fact that the fish tank is the most important thing that would make your guppies either comfortable or stressed out. To set up a guppy tank, you need to follow some instructions in order to help you provide your little guppies with the best atmosphere.

A healthy and convenient atmosphere has a pleasant effect on the guppies and it enhances their health as well as lengthens their lifespan.

Tank size

Tank sizes vary according to the number of guppies that you plan to purchase. The tank size for 5 guppies would be very different from that of 15 gupies. Another reminder; guppies hate overcrowded tanks and love to swim freely all around the tank without crashing into other fish.

Therefore, you have to keep track of the guppies’ sizes in order to calculate the suitable space needed for each guppy to feel comfortable and free.

A guppy grows to a maximum of 2 inches long. As a general rule of thumb, you are going to need a gallon of water for every inch of fish. Therefore, an adult guppy needs at least 2 gallons of water.

This amount of water would give the adult guppy enough room to feel happy, free, and healthy. Furthermore, purchasing a group of guppies is a good idea indeed. It is quite good to have a minimum of 3 guppies sharing the same tank because guppies love to live in groups.

They can get stressed and depressed if they are in isolation.

Guppies get along with other fish and it helps them function better than being isolated and separated to live solely in a big tank without companions. Fish have feelings just like human beings but they even have very delicate feelings. So, if you think that you can buy 3 guppies, this means you would need to get a 6-gallon tank.

Now, you must know that you need to buy a long tank rather than a tall one since guppies swim in a horizontal pattern and not a vertical one. Another aspect that we need to tackle is keeping male and female guppies together in one tank. As a result of keeping them together, undoubtedly they will reproduce and have fry. The female guppy gives birth to up to 100 fry in one birth only.

Then, it would get pregnant again and again. Now imagine you have a 10-gallon tank in which you started off by having only 4 guppies, and then came a population explosion of hundreds of guppies.

The fry do not take much space in the tank up till 6 weeks after their birth; so they do not produce lots of waste like adult guppies. But once they grow in size, your tank will be overcrowded and there would be lots of waste and stuff that would pollute the water and foul it completely.

Filtration systems would even find it difficult to filter the water which is completely and continuously fouled. As a result, the guppies could get infected by diseases and the water might intoxicate them.

In addition to that, there would be no space for every guppy to swim around freely and thus, stress can befall the guppies. This would lead to aggression among the guppies and fin nipping. Therefore, the tank’s size must be your first priority and first concern. Moreover, make sure you are ready to handle the unstoppable pregnancy of female guppies if you plan to purchase it.

Water parameters

These are the ranges of water parameters for guppy fish:

VariableOptimum range
Tank size2 gallons per fish
Temperature74-80 degrees Fahrenheit
Hardness8-12 dGH
Ammonia0 ppm
Nitrite0 ppm
NitratesLess than 40 ppm


Guppies need to have heaters in their tank. A heater is necessary to adjust the water’s temperature to a range between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Perhaps you would also like to make the water warmer, and to make this happen, you are going to need a heater. Warm water helps in slowing the guppies’ metabolism and this is actually something healthy for them.

It would make them eat less and produce less waste. Warm water also helps pregnant females relax during their labour. What is more, warm water helps in combating infections and diseases that hit the guppies. Besides the importance of the warm water, water’s temperature controls the gender of the fry.

Decorations and Plants

Do not overlook this part because it is not unimportant. Decorating the tank is something you should take care of because a decorated tank would make the guppies happy, comfortable, and stress-free.

It is enjoyable to have a decorated tank and it would make a good display which would attract people’s attention. The bottom of your tank could be decorated with pebbles, gravel, sand or even be kept bare (as a bare-bottomed tank).

It is up to you to choose the best decoration for your tank. It is necessary to add some decoration to your tank because guppies love to explore around the tank and look for places to hide.

Hiding for fish provides them with a sense of security. Adding plants to your tank would be a wonderful idea. Besides the fact that it would make your guppies feel home and comfortable, plants would also make your tank look pretty and attractive.

Whether you have live or fake plants, they will both be good for your guppies and give them good hiding places. Plants also hold the fry and the fry hide behind them till they grow in size. Without plants and hiding places, the fry will be eaten by adult and larger fish. This would cause a lot of stress in the guppy fish tank.

Not only do the fry need plants to hide, but also large fish sometimes need plants to hide behind them if they are bullied by other fish. Female fish also need plants to hide behind to stay away from males harassing them in the tank.

Plants are necessary as a means of decorations as well as a means of protection.

Let us now move to another part of cleaning the gravel. You can use vinegar to be covering the top of the gravel. This will make your gravel clean in a very good way. You can use your hand to clean the gravel as if you are stirring them. You also would need warm water to rinse the gravel off the vinegar.


Adjusting the water parameters and conditions is not a difficult task especially when it comes to a tank filled with guppies. However, there is something that would certainly kill your guppies if it present in the water.

The chlorine in the water could intoxicate the guppies and kill them. Chlorine must be taken care of once it is detected in the water.

You can buy some products like Seachem Prime to help in removing the chlorine and getting rid of the ammonia. You can click the affiliate link for this product to access its detailed description on Amazon.

What is more, guppies like to swim in hard water. The water has to be a bit salty but not as salty as the sea; though they can withstand it, yet it is not their preference.


Guppies are active swimmers.

When female and male guppies are placed in the same tank, it is expected that they will become even more active. This is because male guppies always chase females and swim around them, wiggling their tails to mate.

This activity needs enough oxygen to make up for the lost energy. Adding a bar type air would make your guppies find enough oxygen and enjoy the bubbles in the water. Yes, having a filter is important too but it is not enough.

Moreover, you would need to purchase a small air pump with your bubbler. It is good to get a regulator to control the amount of oxygen in your tank.


Lighting is also important for the guppies. If you are purchasing a tank that has lighting provided with it, then it would be enough. But if you are going to grow tropical plants that need certain lighting, you can use any kind of LED light.

Light is important to help the guppies function, they need lots of light to function properly. But only when it is morning. You cannot keep the light directed towards the guppies for more than 16 hours in a day because they also need some darkness to help them sleep and relax.

Resting is essential for guppies to store their energy and regenerate it. Too much light would prevent the guppies from sleeping and this could lead to stress in the long run. At least give them about 8 hours of darkness to sleep.

To help the guppies function properly, they need lots of light but only during the morning. You cannot keep the light directed towards the guppies for more than 16 hours in a day because they also need some darkness to help them sleep and relax.

Resting is essential for guppies to store their energy and regenerate it. Too much light would prevent the guppies from sleeping and this could lead to stress on the long run. At least give them about 8 hours of darkness to sleep.


Filtration is good for a tank filled with guppies, though it is not very necessary. It would indeed improve the water’s quality and reduce the risk of getting the guppies intoxicated or infected with parasites or bacteria.

Filters will help purify the water from wastes and chemicals that foul the water and poison the fish. If you are going to purchase a filter, make sure you bring a good size that would be convenient for the tank’s size.

For example, if you have a 10-gallon tank, a filtration system for a 20-gallon tank would be better to use. Whatever filter you are going to add to your tank, it is better to rinse it off once before using it to have it cleaned. It is recommended that you use some old water from the guppies’ tank since it consists of some good bacteria that would help in combating ammonia or chlorine from the tap water.

Though setting up the tank for guppies might seem like a lot of work, guppies are easy to keep hardy fish. Once you learn how to care for them and give them a suitable atmosphere, you do not need to worry about the rest. Feeding them would never cause you any exhaustion and cleaning their water is quite easy too.

Quality food

Feeding your guppies quality food would guarantee you have very healthy guppies. Luckily, you would never find it difficult to feed your guppies because they are not picky eaters. They will eat whatever you give them. However, if you really care about your guppies’ health, you should pick the best-quality food!

Be careful because a lot of food products are only full of “fillers” and fillers would not make your guppies healthy. It is better to check out the ingredients’ list on the food product to notice the amount of protein and vitamins that it contains.

Providing your guppies with proteins and vitamins would lengthen their lifespan and improve their health, indeed. You can also feed them chopped vegetables that are rich in vitamins. This would be very safer and healthy for them.

Make sure you give them a variety of food and minerals. Giving your guppies live food would actually enhance their health. Frozen food, too, is good for them. For example, you can feed them brine shrimp, daphnia and bloodworms too.

Any type of fish food can be eaten by guppies as long as the food is in small pieces. Did you know that you can give them chopped fruits? But feed them only as a treat once a week because too much sugar is not healthy for the guppies.

Feed them twice a day which would be enough. Your feeding schedule is a part and parcel of setting up a perfect tank for your guppies. One highly recommended food product is Omega One Freshwater Flakes. You can click the affiliate link for this product in order to be redirected to the Amazon store where you can read detailed descriptions and reviews of the product.

Tank companions

This is a very important overlooked aspect that we should really turn our attention to. Part of setting up a good tank for your guppies requires your reasonable choice of their tankmates.

Guppies get along easily with other fish types and different species. They love living in groups and they adapt in fish communities. So. you can be sure that when you place them in the same tank with the fish species that are as friendly as they are, they would be very comfortable and happy. You will be entertained by their happy and free swimming patterns and you would rarely come across a guppy that is hiding because it is stressed or scared.

For example, neon tetras would make super great tankmates since they are so peaceful and colorful like the guppies. Moreover, platies and Gouramis would also get along with guppies.

To be honest, adding more guppies to the tank would be a plus. Guppies enjoy living among each other. Besides, your tank will be looking heart captivating because of its sensational and bright colors, thanks to the little guppy fishes inside it.

Do not add large fish to a tank filled with guppies and little fish in general. This is because larger fish might prey on the little guppies and devour them completely. Moreover, you should not add aggressive fish to the guppies’ tank because they would chase the guppies and nip at their fins or bully them. Bullying the guppies would make them stressed which would decrease their lifespan

Flower Vase as a tank? Absolutely not!

If you believe that a flower vase could be a good tank for your guppies, you are wrong on so many levels.

Although you might believe that flower vases look big enough to contain guppies; this is not true. They are relatively small and narrow. Guppies will hate swimming in such a tiny place where they would not be able to perform their swimming practices.

You can, however, purchase a fish bowl, 5 gallons would make enough space for a guppy or 2 to swim freely.

Related questions

What is the recommended filter for guppies? A sponge filter would be good enough to purify the water for the guppies.

Are there many types of guppies? There are 12 types of guppies with different types of tails and body patterns. Colors can also be used to determine their type.


Other sources

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