Welcome to the amazing world of Guppies
Guppies are undoubtedly one of the most colorful tropical freshwater fish in the world. They are native to parts of the Caribbean and northern South America, they can thrive in tropical waters of varying PH, and can tolerate highly contaminated water. They are classified as beginner fish that are easy to keep mainly because of their resistance to bad environments. Common Guppies are a great choice for unexperienced fish keepers as they are hardy and are known to survive most common mistakes made by new fish keepers. Setting up an Aquarium for Common Guppies is not complicated at all, it is actually quite simple. If you are planning on keeping premium imported guppies, you might want to check out our newer Blog as there is some slight differences to keep them successfully. (Click here for "Introduction to Premium Imported Guppies")
What do I need to keep Guppies?
The equipment required for common guppies is very straightforward: An Aquarium, a Filter and a Heater.
- Aquarium: A 10 gallon Aquarium is a great size to start with, this will allow you to keep a nice size group of 5-6 guppies safely without overstocking the tank. A ten Gallon tank is a common standard size and usually comes in great dimensions that provide maximum swimming area and surface area for greater Gaseous exchange.
- Filter: The overall best type of filter for a Guppy tank is a common Hang On the Back filter AKA HOB. The best Hang On the Back filter will have the ability to reduce the currents flow with a simple touch and will have a basket that allows you to customize the media to fit your needs. An example would be the Aqua Clear 20 or 30 which slows down the flow with a simple swing of its lever and it comes with all the media you need, but can be changed if desired.
- Heater: An adjustable heater is best as you get full control over the temperature of the water in the Aquarium. This option usually comes with a slightly higher price tag, but it is well worth the small difference. If you are on a tight budget, opting for one with a preset temperature will do the work just fine. Any choice is perfectly fine as long as the wattage is adequate for your tank size. Check manufacturers specifications as certain designs have a higher capacity. Important: Buy a Fully Submersible Heater, you'll thank me later.
- Water Conditioner: A water conditioner AKA Dechlorinator is the most important chemical that will make the water safe for your Guppies. They are not all the same, but they serve the same purpose, to Detoxify the water from harmful substances that would otherwise kill your Guppies if untreated. An awesome product that has been trusted for generations and more to go is called "PRIME" from SEACHEM.
- Light Fixture: Light is not necessary for the survival of the fish, but it will make viewing your fish a lot more enjoyable than relying on indirect natural sunlight. There is a lot of different lighting options for Aquariums, but if you wish to bring out the best colors of your Guppies opt for an RGBW LED fixture, which not only has White, but also Red, Green and Blue LEDs. This combination of colors will dramatically highlight any fishes colors to their maximum potential. Bonus: You will be able to grow some Live Aquatic Plants.
- Decorations: Decorations in the Aquarium are also not necessary for the survival of the fish, but there is some types of decorations that you might want to stay away from if you have Long Finned Guppies. Any type of decoration with a Hard, Rough, Sharp, or Pointy surface will cause the fins to get snagged, or even cause physical damage if the body gets too close. As for the substrate, try to stay away from coarse or sharp gravels, a smooth medium grained size sand is the best choice over all.
- Thermometer: This vital equipment doesn't have to be expensive, but make sure you purchase a good quality thermometer that you can trust. There is a lot of great thermometers, but to make it easier on you, the ones inspected in the USA read the temperature more precisely.
Prepare the equipment
So now that you have gathered all the necessary equipment, there is few things that you will have to do, so let's get started.
- Aquarium, Heater, Decoration: Start by carefully rinsing the Aquarium to eliminate any contaminants that might've accidentally landed in the tank. All you need is running water, DO NOT USE DETERGENTS on anything that is going to be used for your Aquarium, as the slightest trace of it can be fatal to your Guppies. Rinse the heater & decorations as well.
- Substrate: In a clean bucket, pour the sand and rinse thoroughly under running water, this is best done outside with a garden hose. Pouring unwashed sand in the Aquarium will not only make the water cloudy, but it will also get the filter dirty prematurely.
- Filter: As you open your new HOB filter, try to memorize how everything is placed. This will be important to place everything back to its correct position once you are finished rinsing all the parts. Another reason for memorizing the placement of the internals is because it will give you a basic knowledge of how it functions and it will make it easier for you to clean. The most important element to rinse on a new filter is the Activated Carbon, just run it gently under water until the water comes out clear, do not crush it.
Setting up the Aquarium
Here comes the fun part...
- Aquarium placement: Find a flat, even, sturdy area to place your Aquarium. Keep in mind that a completed 10 gallon Aquarium weights over 100 pounds.
- Decorations: Start by placing the rinsed substrate, followed by the decorations.
- Filter: Install the filter on the back of the tank, do not plug the filter until the tank is filled with water. Never run an Aquarium filter dry, as it will ruin the motor, and that will automatically void the Warranty of the product.
- Condition the water: Next you will need the water conditioner to detoxify the Tap water going into your tank. Fill up the tank leaving approximately .5" to 1.0" inch on the top, just follow the manufacturers recommendation for your tank. Condition the water as per the instructions on the bottle of the product you are utilizing. If you are using "Prime by Seachem" it's as easy as 2 drops per gallon.
- Heater: Install the Heater on the rear glass panel, to minimize clutter you can safely hide it behind the largest decoration. If your heater has a preset temperature you don't have to do anything else, but if it has an adjustable temperature, set it to 79F.
- Start it up: Now that everything is in place, grab a small clean container and add water from the tank into the filter. You can now plug everything to a power outlet. The heater will start heating the water slowly, this is a process that can take a few hours to reach the desired temperature. The filter might make some crackling noise during startup, this is normal as the air going through the propeller creates a vacuum. The noise should stop once the water is flowing smoothly through the whole filter. Lastly, install the light fixture and turn it on, give it a quick check around the tank to make sure there is no leaks.
Can I add fish to a newly set up aquarium?
Now you can grab a comfy chair, sit back and relax... and to answer the question, no you cannot add fish to the aquarium yet. The Aquarium will be unbalanced for a few weeks so waiting is key to avoid killing all your beautiful, colorful Guppies. This is the number one reason why beginners kill their fish, but this is a whole different topic that we will have to talk about in a separate blog. Now that everything is ready and there is no fish, this is the perfect time to tweak the decoration and have fun moving things around until it reaches perfection to your eyes. This is actually my favorite step, I have a passion for Aquascaping and love decorating Natural Live Planted Aquariums. It is gratifying to see your fishes behavior change positively, as they recognize your effort of recreating a natural environment for them to feel at home.