Did you recently go out of your way and buy yourself a guppy fish? Perhaps you thought they make a beautiful addition to your aquarium? After all, they are often referred to as the rainbow fish! But there is one question you might be wondering, a question I, myself definitely wondered when I first got my first guppy fish.
Just how long would it live?
The life of a guppy is short; many survive a stubby 1-2 years in the wild and few fight through their lives and reach past 3. However, when given adequate conditions for them to live in, you could be seeing your guppy fish live up to 5 years in total!
This article aims to elaborate on what affects the lifespan of a guppy fish and how you, yourself can be a factor in improving not just several aspects of their life but also their lifespan as well.
How To Increase The Lifespan Of A Guppy?
A multitude of factors come into play when it comes to determining a guppy’s life span. The following is a list of useful tips that can help you not only extend your guppy’s life but also ensure the stress-free, hedonistic life it deserves.
1. Water Parameters and Temperature
To start things off, we can start by discussing the ideal water parameters suitable for guppies. Guppies prefer living within certain conditions regarding the acidity, temperature, and hardness of the water they swim around in.
- The ideal pH and Water Hardness
The ideal pH for guppies should span around 7.0 m- 7.2 and the water’s hardness can range from around 8 to 12 Dgh. Restrain from using tap water, but if you do, always treat tap water using a water conditioner to minimize any signs of chlorine and other metals that could be harmful to not only guppies but any other fish you might have.
- Temperature of water
A guppy’s lifespan is also severely affected by the temperature of the water it inhabits; ideal temperatures range around 72° and 82° Fahrenheit, or 22° to 28° Celsius. A suitable heater from a trustworthy supplier will be enough to keep the temperatures within range.
The discussion begins to tract more variety when we question any use for a filter whatsoever.
Filtering water isn’t particularly a bad thing; they help remove ammonia and nitrites from water, and keep the water hygienic and clean for guppies to swim around in. However, an aquarium without a filter is possible to set up if you can ensure all other necessary parameters are guaranteed.
- Finding pH and dGH Values
If you do not know how to test or find these values for your guppies, aquarium test kits are easily accessible through online marketplaces and various pet stores. Use these test kits accordingly and ensure all the parameters are correct and safe for your guppies.
2. Feed them High-Quality Food
Guppies are willing to eat almost anything. This may seem like great news for those looking for the opportunity to spend on cheaper food for their fish, but it is important to remember your guppy’s lifespan depends on the type and the variety of food you provide it with.
- Commercial Food
If you’re looking for well-reputed commercial food, a great choice I recommend would be Tetramin Tropical Flakes. However, you need to make sure that they’re getting the varied diet they deserve; you can find a wide variety of food within pet stores or even online.
- Homemade Food
But if you’re willing to prepare their food at home, make sure you’re adding live food such as daphnia, vinegar eels, and mosquito larvae to their diet. However, sustaining and providing live food is a tricky task to tackle and I recommend going for commercial alternates.
Guppy fish love both fresh and cooked vegetables. I found myself repeatedly feeding tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and, several other vegetables to my own guppies; adding a great change in pace to their diet once in a while
- Amount of Food
One thing important to look out for is the amount of food you feed to your guppies. Guppy fish lean towards looking hungry all the time and can be overfed easily. Make sure you offer them a small amount of food – which they can finish in about 20-40 seconds – twice a day. When trying to feed them, do not throw all the food at once but instead divide them into multiple segments.
3. Keep them in a Shoal
Being social fish, the worst thing to happen to you as a guppy is to be left all alone. Guppy fish, when left alone, are likely to get bored, stressed, scared, or in the worst-case scenario: depressed.
The obvious solution to this is to not keep them wandering the tank by themselves. Having at least 3 guppies within the same tank should be enough for them to socialize and not face complex negative emotions.
However, there is one factor to keep in mind when keeping multiple guppies within the same tank. NEVER keep 3 or more male guppies within the same tank; you will only witness them fight all the time.
4. Eliminating Stress
Guppies can be easily stressed out and frustrated over a few aspects and can severely affect their overall lifespan. Fortunately, there is a horde of different ways you can ensure your guppies live in a stress-free environment.
5. Don’t Overcrowd your Fish Tank
While they may be social animals and enjoy the company of other fish, overcrowding your tank with too many can easily harm a guppy’s health. Each fish prefers having enough space to swim around in without needing to acknowledge any other fish. I recommend a gallon for each fish to swim in.
Another thing to look out for is aggressive fish. It can take just one wrong fish to bring every last bit of work you’ve put in crashing down. It also doesn’t help that guppies are coincidentally at the bottom of the food chain. Meaning there is plenty of fish to watch out for before you introduce them to your precious tiny rainbow fish.
Some common fish to be cautious of include:
- Clown knife fish
- Leopard bush fish
6. Purchase from Reputable Dealers
It’s very common to buy fish from irresponsible dealers looking forward to making a quick buck; not regarding any consideration for the health or quality of the fish they sell. If you want your guppy to be in the healthiest condition when you first receive it, make sure you buy them from commercial stores near you.
7. Give them Places to Hide
Being small and timid creatures, it’s a good idea to provide hiding places for your guppies. If you decide to have a male guppy within your tank, those hiding places become crucial to female guppies as male guppies are known to hassle and stress out female guppies. So it’s natural for them to seek out places to hide in.
Furthermore, the first thing fry guppies seek is a place to hide out until they grow large enough to avoid being eaten by anything in the tank.
Driftwood, aquarium rocks, and aquarium plants are all suitable choices to provide your guppies with a safe environment.
What Shortens The Lifespan?
Some guppies under the same conditions still tend to live longer than others. Why is that so?
There is a slew of factors of what shortens a guppy’s lifespan; some, fortunately, can be influenced by you while others can’t.
Female guppies tend to have shorter lifespans than male guppies. While a reason for the shorter lifespan can be attributed to stress caused by male guppies within the same tank, one stronger reason can be pointed towards the fact that female guppies are often found pregnant at several points in their life.
Pregnancy in itself is a very stressful period for female guppies. They typically last for about 30 days and one can give birth to up to 30 fries at once!
One of the biggest factors when deciding a guppy’s lifespan is its genetics. The foundation their very DNA is built upon. If a guppy’s parents lived long and healthy, chances are that the guppy will live a long life as well.
However, the chances of a guppy being born and sold exclusively from a healthy pair are slim, even in commercial pet shops. Many stores are less interested in the health conditions their fish are sold with but rather are more interested in selling the fish themselves.
As discussed before, stress mitigates a guppy’s life greatly. Many different elements produce stress for a guppy and if those elements stack one after another, a guppy’s condition can harshly decline.
As a matter of fact, too much stress at once can prove the guppy’s life to be fatal.
How Long Can Guppies Live Without Food?
Guppies are surprisingly robust in terms of nutritional needs, especially when you consider how fragile some of their other characteristics can be.
A guppy can go up to 2 weeks without food before ultimately starving to death. But don’t let this convince you to slack off and not feed your guppies for prolonged periods because you should NEVER let them go on without food for more than 3-4 days. Even if they can survive for 2 weeks, if a guppy lives without food for more than 4 days they will face nothing but torture for the next week as they will do nothing but slowly starve to death. So make sure you feed your guppies regularly
However as mentioned before – it’s very easy to overfeed your guppies as well so make sure you don’t overdo it.
The Bottom Line On Guppies Lifespan
Guppies typically live for 1-3 years but if you keep cautious, look for reputable partners, keep your tanks clean and stress-free, and provide protection from predators, guppies have a chance of seeing their lives live long and healthy for a lengthy 5 years in total.