Red Guppy Fish – Complete Care Guide (growing, feeding and breeding)

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The popularity of guppies has not dropped much in over 50 years. They have been in the top 10 fish sold worldwide for as long as anyone can remember. It is probably their easy-going nature, colorful bodies, and ease with which we can breed them that have led to their popularity.

Red is an extremely popular color in guppies. In local fish stores, red is one of the most requested colors. There are guppy strains with just a little red on their tails and others with full red color head-to-tail. If you are looking for a red guppy, there will be a strain to suit your tastes.

One of the reasons red guppies are so popular is because their color just pops, especially against green aquarium plants.

Red Guppy Origins

None of the wide range of red guppies we have in the hobby today exists in the wild. In fact, the wild guppy is barely recognizable from the guppies we keep in our home aquariums.

Red guppies have been bred thanks to decades of selective breeding by dedicated and talented breeders. In fact, there is now such a wide range of colors available in the hobby, you can create an entire rainbow of guppies in your tank. Yellow, blue, green, black, take your pick. There is a guppy color to suit every taste.

Over the years breeders have taken guppies that had just a small amount of red on their bodies and bred them to other, slightly red guppies. Over time the amount of red color increased until today we have fish that are completely red.

Different Types of Red Guppy

There are many different red guppies available in the hobby today. Personally, my 7 favorite red guppies that I keep in my fish room are;

  • Red Lace Guppy
  • Red Snakeskin Guppy
  • Red Dragon Guppy
  • Red Albino Guppy
  • Phoenix Guppy
  • Red Rosetail Guppy
  • Red Santa Clause Guppy

Red Lace Guppy

Red Snakeskin Guppy

Red Dragon Guppy

Red Albino Guppy

Phoenix Guppy

Red Rosetail Guppy

Red Santa Clause Guppy

How to Breed Red Guppies?

Starting a brand new red strain of guppies is a lot of work, and the instructions on how to do so are beyond the scope of this article. However, if you are starting off with some nice red guppies and you want to continue breeding them, this is how you would proceed.

First, you need to source some good quality, brightly colored red guppies. It may be worth spending a little more for good-quality breeding stock. After all, you may end up breeding these red guppies and selling them for a profit.

I would suggest starting with one male and three females or two males and six females. You definitely want a ratio of about 3 to 1 otherwise the male can exhaust the female trying to breed with her continually.

Once you have your breeding stock you need to keep them separate from all other guppies. You want the red males to pass on their red traits. If you keep the females with different colored males, you will get a random selection of colored babies.

On average, female guppies will give birth to between 20 and 100 babies every 30 to 45 days. You will need to think about how you plan to raise these babies. On a small scale, guppy breeder boxes work well, but in a larger scale operation, you will want separate tanks to raise the babies in.

Feed your guppies well, make sure their water stays clean and they won’t be able to help but make you more red guppies.

Sexing Red Guppies

In the good old days, the male guppies had all the color and the female guppies were a drab bronze color. These days the females can be as brightly colored as the males.

To tell the difference between the male and female guppies you will need to look at the fish’s analfin. The analfin on the males will be pointed and on the females will be much rounder.

Although the image above shows Swordtails rather than guppies, as another livebearing species, Swordtails can also be sexed using the analfin method.

The pointed analfin of the male guppy is called a Gonopodium.

How Big Do Red Guppies Get?

Generally speaking, red guppies grow to around 2″ (5cm) long. The females tend to grow larger than the males although in most strains of red guppies the males have more color than the females.

What to Feed Red Guppies?

One of the reasons red guppies are so popular is their vibrant colors. To keep these colors bright, and for the general health of the guppy, we need to feed them a high-quality diet. Variety is key when it comes to feeding red guppies. In my own fish room, I try to feed my red guppies 3 or 4 times a day, offering them different food at each mealtime.

I usually start with flake food in the morning. A good quality flake food, ideally one with lots of krill (which enhances red colors) is my go-to. I currently feed my red guppies a lot of Xtreme Flake which has krill as one of its main ingredients. There is no doubt I have seen an improvement in the red color of my guppies since feeding them Xtreme Flake.

I give my red guppies a second feeding in the early afternoon, and at this feeding, I normally try to give them either frozen bloodworms or frozen mosquito larvae. If I have any live food in the fish room I will usually offer that to my guppies instead.

For their final feeding, normally in the early evening, I will offer a pellet food like Bug Bites, which is made by Fluval. Bug Bites is a high-protein food that has Black Soldier Fly Larvae as one of the key ingredients. Bug Bites help fish grow and build a good immune system.

There are many different foods on the market for guppies. I like to feed my guppies as much live or frozen food as I can. It is probably the closest thing we can give them to a natural diet.

Red Guppy Minimum Tank Size

Although guppies are small fish, they are active fish, and as such do need a bit of swimming space. Guppies are also livebearers, meaning they give birth to live, free-swimming babies. If you have at least one male and one female red guppy, there is a good chance your numbers will increase.

As such, the smallest tank you should keep a group of red guppies in is 10-gallons (38 liters). However, do remember that bigger is always better and the more water a tank holds, the easier it is to keep the water parameters stable.

If the number of red guppies you have in your tank increases too much, you may have to sell some or consider upgrading the tank to a larger one, or look for ways to control the guppy population.

Red Guppy Water Parameters

Guppies generally are very hardy fish, and in my experience, the red strains of guppies are no less hardy. These fish are extremely adaptable, and they are kept in a wide range of water parameters all around the world.

With that said, in my experience, they do have their ideal water parameters. I have listed these below.

  • Temperature: 72-82 °F (22-28 °C )
  • pH: 6.8 – 8.0
  • Hardness: 8-12 GH
  • Ammonia: 0ppm
  • Nitrite: 0ppm
  • Nitrate: less than 40ppm

Keeping your red guppy tank water in and around these parameters will give your fish the best chance of living a long, healthy life.

How Much Do Red Guppies Cost?

Red guppies vary in price from around $2 for a common red guppy to over $50 a piece for some of the high-end strains

Best Tank Mates For Red Guppies?

When it comes to selecting tank mates for red guppies, the list of potential candidates is long and varied. You essentially have two choices, you can choose fish whose color will compliment the guppies’ red colors or contrast with them.

Tank Mates to Contrast Red Guppies

If you want to add tank mates that create a striking contrast to your red guppies, I would consider some blue fish like German Blue Rams or Powder Blue Gouramis, or maybe consider some yellow fish like Lemon Tetras, Golden Barbs, or Yellow Platies.

Tank Mates to Compliment Red Guppies

If rather than a contrast you would like to choose tank mates that compliment your red guppies, I would consider other red fish like Ember Tetras, Red Swordtails, or Serpae Tetras.

To my mind, when it comes to color, the perfect fish to choose are those with red color and another color on them. Over the years I have made some great displays by matching my red guppies with Cardinal Tetras, Dwarf Gourami, and Neon Tetras.

Whichever fish you choose as tanks mates, make sure they are not too aggressive, and certainly not known fin nippers. Red guppies generally have long-flowing fins. It would be a shame if their fins were nipped to pieces.

In Conclusion

I am a massive fan of guppies in general, but red guppies are really special. Over the years I have bred many different red guppy strains.

Guppies are hardy and friendly and make the perfect fish for a community-style aquarium. The color of red guppies really pops, especially when they are kept in a planted aquarium.

About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James

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