How long do guppies live? Guppies, with their attractive colors, are one of the most popular fish species for home aquariums. In this article, I will describe the life expectancy of guppies and give tips for making them live as long as possible.
How long can you expect your guppies to live? Guppies live as long as four to five years in the wild if not eaten by predators. Guppies sold at most pet shops are highly inbred, so they only tend to live for two to three years.
To help increase the life of pet guppies, follow these 5 tips:
- Buy from a Reputable Source
- Give Them Quality Food
- Keep Their House Clean and Healthy
- Don’t Introduce Stress into the Tank
- Make the Aquarium Match Their Natural Habitat
Guppies are easy to take care of. If you do not neglect their needs, they can provide enjoyment and amusement for your family for several years. The key is to give them the proper care they deserve.
Read on to learn more about how long guppies live, including what you can do to prolong their lives.
How Long Do Guppies Live?
Most guppies that you can buy at the pet store are about three months to one year old. Your guppies can last for about two or maybe three years if you observe the right ways of cleaning and maintaining your aquarium, strictly observing the right density of its inhabitants, and feeding your fish with the right amount of food at the right time.
Wild guppies can last longer because they are in their natural habitat. If their natural predators do not eat them, they could live as long as five years. You are just simulating their home environment in your aquarium, so you can’t expect your domesticated guppies to live that long.
So, in other words, how long or how short your guppies will live depends a lot on you – since you are the one in control of their lives. You cannot control their natural genetics, but you can control the conditions of their habitat and the quality of their food, including their feeding cycles.
How Long Do Fancy Guppies Live For?
How long do fancy guppies live for? If all the conditions are right, it is not wrong to expect your fancy guppies to live for more than two years. Some who have really gone to great lengths in caring for their guppies have them living for as long as five years.
Some believe that the lifespans of male and female guppies are different. They say male guppies can live from two and a half to three years, while female guppies can live three and a half to four years. Their ability to breed stops one and a half years earlier.
So, the lifespan of these cute fish in the wild can be as long as five years. In a home aquarium, they can only live as long as two to three years. But you can extend their lives if you will give them the proper care that they need.
Which Can Live Longer: Female or Male Guppies?
There is really no research proving that male guppies live longer than female guppies. But some say that if they are kept separately, meaning there is no opposite sex in the same tank, they will live longer.
Some say that female guppies have shorter lifespans because they are the bearer of the young. So, if you keep your female guppy breeding all the time, it will naturally shorten its life. On the other hand, male guppies will also have shorter lifespans if they are always impregnating their female consorts.
How to Prolong the Life of Guppies
So, you know that home guppies can’t live for more than three years. Don’t be dismayed. Some effective ways can stretch their lifespan. They can even reach a maximum of five years if you give them superior quality care. How can you do this?
1. Buy from a Reputable Source
As with every living being, genetics plays a significant role in longevity. If your guppies are heavily inbred, they will not reach the peak of their lives. Guppies with poor genetics seldom reach their full adulthood.
Therefore, you need to buy your guppies only from reputable breeders and pet shops. At least these types of pet shops are careful in breeding their fish and getting their sources from reputable breeders.
If your guppies are not inbred, you won’t have any genetic issues that can result in early death. Thus, it is wiser to buy your first set of guppies from guppy breeders, who protect their reputation as reputable fish breeders.
These types of breeders do care about providing good breeds of fish to their customers and pet fish lovers. Don’t buy pet fish from individuals or stores just because they are cheaper. They often sell their fish cheaper because they are not concerned about the quality of their produce.
2. Give Them Quality Food
If you combine good genetics with quality food, you are assured of long-living guppies in your aquarium. Providing good food means you feed your fish with a variety of foods, such as plankton, tropical flakes, boiled peas, algae wafers, daphnia, and many more.
Good food will help your young guppies grow fast and your older guppies to remain healthy and active. You can interchange their food with commercial food and your own homemade concoctions. They shouldn’t be forced to eat the same kind of food day in and day out. That’s the easiest way to get them bored.
You can also give your guppies occasional treats like bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, and vinegar eel. These live foods will provide them with a sense that they are in the wild. Guppies are not difficult to feed because they will consume nearly anything that you will offer them.
Fish food sold at pet shops is a good source of vitamins for the fish. But you can also ensure that they get all their vitamins by preparing their food yourself. Fresh vegetables like green beans, cucumber, carrots, and spinach, cut into tiny fish sizes, will make them healthy. But one thing you should remember: don’t overfeed your guppies.
3. Keep Their House Clean and Healthy
Guppies are hardy and can endure any living conditions. They can even survive in the sewers. But you are aiming to stretch their lives, right? So, one of the first things you have to provide them is a clean and healthy aquarium.
First, you should provide them the highest quality of water that you can provide. Your guppies can live for many years with the perfect water conditions below:
- Temperature – 72 to 82°F (22 to 28°C)
- pH – 6.8 to 7.8
- Nitrites – 0 ppm (parts per million)
- Ammonia – 0 ppm
- Nitrates – 10 ppm maximum
- Hardness (dGH) – 8 to 12
If you can only use tap water for your aquarium, use a water conditioner before putting it into the tank. The water conditioner will remove chloramine, chlorine, heavy metals, and other toxic substances (to the fish) in the water.
If you can’t buy a water conditioner, you should expose the water to the sun’s rays at least one day before putting it inside the tank. Sun exposure will get rid of chlorine and other harmful chemicals.
4. Don’t Introduce Stress into the Tank
Stress is one of the debilitating factors in the health of a living being, including fish. You will introduce stress in your tank if you populate it with more than the recommended number of fish.
For them to be healthy, each fish has to have its minimum area of movement. If the swimming spaces of each fish in an aquarium are extremely limited, they will turn against each other, and pretty soon, you will have anarchy in the kingdom inside your aquarium.
How long do guppies live when kept at home? As mentioned earlier, guppies live about three years; however, they can live longer if you reduce stress in the tank. Apart from limited space, many things can stress your guppies in the aquarium.
- There is no hiding place – Once in a while, fish would like to have a hideaway when bigger species are bullying them.
- Improper tank mates – Guppies don’t mix well with angelfish and other bigger fish. These bigger fellows can eat them.
- Incorrect male to female ratio – The recommendation is to have three females to one male. More males than females will stress the females too much and will reduce their lifespans. If you are keeping guppies for their beautiful colors, just buy males only and no female.
- Too much light in the tank
- Poor quality of the water
- Overcrowded aquarium
5. Make the Aquarium Match Their Natural Habitat
Guppies will enjoy their lives better if they live in a tank that is as close to their natural habitat as possible. Of course, you can’t really replicate all the conditions where they naturally live. But you can introduce natural elements to the tank that will simulate their natural conditions.
It is best to add natural river plants in your aquarium and not just the plastic ones sold in pet shops. You can also buy these organic plants in pet shops, though. Natural green plants will also help control the level of nitrates in the water and maintain its vibrancy.
But be sure that you have disinfected these plants before introducing them to the inhabitants of the tank. Some organic plants may carry bacteria and may harm your fish. In fact, you should disinfect all things that you want to introduce into the tank to avoid unwanted outcomes.
Will Guppies Live Longer with a Filter?
A tank with a water filter is better than a tank without. But it is not really necessary to have a water filter to keep your guppies living longer. However, since water condition is essential in stretching the lives of your guppies, you can say that not having a water filter has an indirect effect.
If the water condition is good, guppies will be less stressed. And if the condition of the water is bad, it is not good for the health of the aquarium inhabitants. So, there you have it. It will do a lot of good to the lives of your guppies if you can install a water filter.
What does the water filter do to make the quality of the water good? It prevents the buildup of ammonia and nitrates in the water. These two substances are detrimental to the health of your fish.
But you can avoid it by regularly replacing old aquarium water with a fresh one. If it is not convenient for you to do that, a water filter can truly help. With this aquarium accessory, you don’t have to change the water too frequently.
Again, a water filter does not directly affect the longevity of your guppies. It affects the quality of the water where your guppies live. A filter is not required if you can maintain the quality of the water required for guppies to live their normal lifespans. The main issue is if you can change the tank water as frequently as needed.
Do Guppies Sleep?
To humans, sleep is very important for longevity. How about guppies? Yes, guppies also sleep. They also need to rest. To be able to sleep, they need darkness as well. Therefore, if your aquarium is always lighted, it will affect your guppies’ health and lifespan.
So, if you are using aquarium lights, be sure to turn them off as the evening comes or at least six hours every day. You can use a timer so that you won’t forget to turn the lights on and off.
Conclusion – How Long Do Guppies Live?
So, to recap everything and to answer the question: How long do guppies live? Guppies live as long as four to five years in the wild if their natural predators do not eat them. But in home aquariums, they can only last for two to three years.
You can make your guppies live longer if you observe the right ways to make them healthy and active. These factors include good quality food, clean water, and just enough swimming space for everyone.