The cost of guppies varies wildly depending on the source, quality, and rarity of the strain. So-called Mutt Guppies (just a random selection of colors) will usually cost between $1.00 and $3.00 per fish. Strains that have been specifically developed over many generations, such as the Berlin Buttercup Guppies may set you back between $25 and $50 per pair. Competition-winning strains of guppies such as the Platinum Snakeskin Variegated Guppies may sell for $100 or more for a single pair.
Guppies have been popular in the fish-keeping hobby for decades. As far back as the early 1960’s enthusiasts were keeping and breeding guppies. The ease with which guppies could be bred into a kaleidoscope of colors lead to them becoming one of the most popular fish ever!.
I first started keeping guppies over 30 years ago when I was given a 10-gallon tank with a small group of guppies. I don’t think there has been a single day from then to today when I didn’t have at least one tank full of guppies in my fish room.
What Are Mutt Guppies
Mutt Guppy is the name given to a tank of guppies that are left to just breed amongst themselves. Most guppies bought at a local pet store will be mutt guppies.
Mutt guppies can be just as bright and colorful as any strain of guppies. Their tales can be long and flowing and they can be strong, healthy fish. Mutt guppies can be, genetically, some of the best guppies available.
The downside with mutt guppies is their color won’t be ‘set’. This means, although you might have a yellow male and a yellow female, their offspring could be any color or even a mix of colors.
Countless guppy keepers have carefully selected themselves a breeding pair from a tank of mutt guppies because they wanted a tank of this color or that color guppy, only to find the babies are a rainbow of different colors.
To my simple mind, a tank of mutt guppies is just as nice as a tank filled with one strain of selectively bred fish.
Why Do Selectively Bred Guppies Cost More?
You could easily expect to pay somewhere between $25 and $50 for a single pair of guppies that have been selectively bred. Take a pair of Berlin Buttercup Guppies, which I saw recently advertised at $45 for a ‘breeding pair’.
At first glance, this may appear expensive. But when you consider that it may have taken 5 or more years to breed those guppies, repeatedly breeding offspring back to parents, discarding the hundreds of fish that didn’t match the criteria you were looking for, and carrying out thousands of water changes over the years to keep your breeding stock healthy and happy, $45 doesn’t sound too bad.
It is said that to create a single guppy strain takes around 5 years and means having about 10 separate tanks dedicated to that one strain of guppy!
Assuming you are buying your selectively bred guppies from a reputable breeder, you can be reasonably sure they will breed true, meaning the babies will look just like the parents. This is often referred to as the color being ‘set’.
What Makes One Strain Of Guppies More Expensive Than Another?
Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder! Just because a guppy is rare, doesn’t mean it is beautiful, or even desirable.
When a new strain of guppies comes along, the fact that it is new and rare can raise the price. When Dumbo Ear guppies first hit the market they commanded a hefty price tag. Now you can pick a pair up from your local PetSmart.
The very nature of guppies is they will reproduce. Within a few months of a new strain of guppies coming to market, dozens of others will have bred them and the price will quickly fall. The laws of supply and demand!
Can You Make Money Breeding Guppies?
If you want to breed ‘fish for profit’, guppies are one of the few fish you will be able to make a profit from. They are popular, easy to breed, and sell quickly.
Mutt guppies may only sell for $1 or $2 each, but you will sell them in their hundreds. Show strain guppies on the other hand may sell for $50 or more, but you might only sell a couple of pairs.
When it comes to breeding guppies for profit, mutt guppies are the way to go. You can find out more about ‘Breeding fish for Profit’ in my article HERE
Guppies usually sell for anywhere between $1 per fish to $100 per pair. The cost is usually dictated by rarity. Over time, rarity, and therefore value, goes down.
If you are a real connoisseur of guppies and you are always looking for the next new strain, maybe spending $100 on a fish you don’t currently have is worth the investment. To me, after 30 years of enjoying guppies, a tank full of $1 mutt guppies is always a pleasure to sit and enjoy.