Guppies are amazing fish, but over the years, they seem to have lost their charm. Except for some hardcore livebearer hobbyists, only budding hobbyists seem to keep this fish. Expert and mid-level hobbyists probably think of guppies as very easy fish that don’t require much of expertise to keep. My friends, you don’t know what you are missing.
Characteristics of Guppies that many people use to justify not keeping them can also be the reasons to keep them. Here’s a few of examples of what I personally used to believe:
1. “Guppies are for kids. I don’t see anything challenging in keeping them.”
Exactly. Guppies are an easy fish to keep that doesn’t require much effort. In a fishroom with multiple tanks and many challenging fish, if you have one tank filled with guppies, it might change the whole feel of your fishroom.
Let’s face it, it can be very difficult and boring when you are trying to get your rare, deep-water Tanganyikan fish to grow up and start breeding. When all the fish you have require very specific diets or only eat a special kind of live food, it’s good to have a tank that you know will eat anything that you’ll throw in. All the sample food packets that you receive at fish conventions end up in the trash if you don’t have guppies! The bottom residue in your BBS (baby brine shrimp) cup that you used to throw in the sink can now be used to feed these guppies.
Overall, Guppies make for a lively and prolific tank that requires less maintenance. It can be the only lively tank when fish in all other tanks are hidden under the rocks.
2. “They breed too fast and I run out of tanks.”
Isn’t that a good thing? Finally, you have a fish that breeds without you putting in any effort. Guppies have been a subject of genetic studies among researchers for a very long time. Since they are so prolific and take less time to mature and start breeding the next generation, it is very easy to experiment with them. Many hobbyists only dream of having their own lineage; Guppies can make it easy. “Selective breeding” or “line breeding” can be a very painstaking and lengthy process that can span over decades if done with less-prolific fishes. You can do the same with guppies to develop your own lineage in just a few years.
Since they are so prolific and you are working towards developing your lineage, it forces you to learn to cull. Culling is a process where you reduce the captive-bred population of a species by selective slaughtering. As brutal it might sound, it is the human version of nature’s “survival of the fittest” theory. It is a bitter truth that a serious hobbyist learns sooner or later. It is easy to learn to carry out and digest the process of culling while working with guppies rather than on those Glossolepis multisquamatus that you got from Gary Lange.
3. “They do not return the investment I make in them.”
I’d say you are wrong on this point. Once you have a nice lineage of guppies going, you can offer them to your local LFS. I don’t think there would be any LFS that would not like to buy your locally-bred and -raised guppies.
You can take them to your local club’s auction. There would be many young, budding hobbyists that would love to get started with guppies. Selling the guppies at auctions, online, or to the LFS should yield you enough to buy some fish food, etc. You will get what you spent on them, if not more.
4. “They don’t look good.”
I sure have heard this statement a few times. A simple answer would be: you need to develop your taste if you don’t consider guppies good-looking and beautiful. They are slow swimming fish that make great photo subjects. Whenever you feel like practicing your fish photography, guppies are great candidates. If fish could talk and ask you to photograph them, guppies would be the first ones in the queue. Many times when I am tired of waiting on my shy fishes to give me a desired pose, I turn towards the guppy tank, grab a few nice shots, and start feeling accomplished and motivated again.
Overall, guppies can be a great fish to keep the serious hobbyist inside you busy. Here is a list of reasons:
- they are easy to care for
- they make excellent dither fish when needed
- they do not nip fins of other fish (unless it’s sick or dead)
- they are easy to catch (females, not so much)
- they eat and breed prolifically
- they allow you to experiment and develop your own lineage easily and in a short period of time
So there you have it. Next time you are at an auction, look for a nice batch of guppies to bring home. Don’t forget to share your views with me.