Starting a guppy fish tank can be daunting if it’s your first time. Or, it could be easy if it’s your first time and you naively think that you know exactly what to do! In this article, you’ll learn how to properly set up and start a guppy fish tank for proper guppy fish care.
The first thing you need (even before you buy your fish) is the tank or aquarium. Guppies are small fish but can grow quickly. They may not need a lot of space but space will run out as the population increases. In the beginning, a minimum amount of water is more important.
You can either purchase the tank, filter, lights, and heater separate or you can buy an aquarium kit. Whatever choice you make, a 10-gallon aquarium is best to start with. You can find one on Amazon. It includes a 10-gallon glass aquarium, a hood with LED lightning, filter, heater, fish food, water conditioner, fishnet, and thermometer.
Add 1-2 inches of gravel or another substrate at the bottom of the aquarium. However, you can also leave it bare. I recommend using a substrate as it helps keep the water clean. Fish waste not picked up by the filter settles at the bottom and can be removed through vacuuming the gravel.
The nitrogen cycle is an essential step in setting up a new aquarium. It’s also called cycling your aquarium. What it does is allow the growth of beneficial bacteria in your fish tank that will get rid of toxic material like ammonia and nitrites. Both of which are created by fish waste and leftover food.
- Fill your tank with tap water and use a conditioner to remove the chlorine content. Prime by Seachem is a good choice.
- You can speed up the cycling process by adding beneficial bacteria like Seachem Stability.
- Turn the filter on and let it run 24/7 for about 5 days.
- During this time, change 50% of the water, add tap water, Prime and Stability.
- Repeat the above steps for another 5 days.
- Then, once more for another 5 days
- Now you can introduce your guppy fish.
- Monitor the ammonia level in your fish tank.
- Do frequent water changes during the next two months.
- After two months, your aquarium should be fully cycled.
Please do not rush the process and do not add any fish before two weeks. Ammonia is a highly toxic compound and will kill all your fish. You should always keep ammonia levels at 0ppm. To test ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, you can use an API test kit.
Adding Guppies to Aquarium
Once the cycling is complete, go and buy some of the many different types of guppies! How many guppies can you add to your aquarium? It depends on the size of the tank. Here are some general guidelines:
- 10 gallons – 7 guppy fish
- 15 gallons – 10 guppy fish
- 20 gallons – 13 guppy fish
- 25 gallons – 17 guppy fish
- 30 gallons – 20 guppy fish
- 35 gallons – 23 guppy fish
- 40 gallons – 27 guppy fish
Generally, you add “one inch of fish per gallon” of water. Following this rule, an adult guppy will need 1.5 gallons of water.
Maintaining Your Guppy Tank
To keep your guppies healthy, it is important to maintain your tank regularly. Change the water (about 20-30% of it) once a week. Smaller tanks (5-10 gallons) require a 50% water change.
Never change all the water in the tank as do so will kill all the beneficial bacteria in the tank. This then leads to high levels of ammonia and eventually the death of your fish. Always add a conditioner to your tap water before adding it to the tank as chlorine is just as toxic to fish as ammonia.
Clean the glass of your tank with a sponge or cleaning brush. Use the sponge only in your fish tank! Algae are harder to remove from the galls. For this, you can use an algae scrubber or magnetic algae cleaner.
For the filter, clean it every other week. Always keep and wash the filter media in aquarium water. Do not wash it in the siphon, because tap water, which contains chlorine and chloramine, will destroy all the beneficial bacteria in the filter media. Do not let the filter media dry out.
If you have live plants in your tank, remove dying leaves. Decaying leaves also contribute to increasing ammonia levels in the water.
Once a month clean the substrate with a gravel vacuum. This removes fish waste that settled in the substrate.