Guppy Fish: Strains And Varieties

what is a guppy strain

Guppies are a type of tropical freshwater fish that are popular in aquariums due to their bright colours, patterns, and tail shapes. They are also easy to care for and breed.

Guppies are part of the Poeciliidae family and their scientific name is Poecilia reticulata. They are native to Central and South America and can be found in freshwater rivers, lakes, and ponds.

There are over 300 species of guppies, and they can be categorised by their species, tail shape, body and eye colour, and other unique traits. The most common type is the Poecilia reticulata, also known as the common or fancy guppy. These guppies have been popular with hobbyists for over 100 years and are known for their extensive tail shapes and distinct, highly bred colour morphs.

Guppies are sexually dimorphic, meaning male and female guppies look different. Male guppies are usually smaller and more colourful, with ornamental caudal and dorsal fins, while female guppies are larger and lack the fancy tail shapes.


Guppy Strains by Tail Shape

Guppies are a type of freshwater tropical fish that are very easy to care for in aquariums. They are renowned for their diversity in patterns, colours, and tail shapes. There are 13 types of guppy fish that can be distinguished based on their tail shape alone.

Veiltail Guppies

Veiltail guppies have a tail that resembles an isosceles trapezoid. The tail can be coloured in a single colour or multiple, pattern-like colours. Dorsal and ventral fins are usually elongated and flowy.

Delta Tail Guppies

Also known as the triangle tail guppy, their tail shape resembles a triangle. The triangle tail guppy has an impressive tail size that's beautifully coloured or showcases interesting patterns. Dorsal fins are long and flowy, while ventral fins are usually smaller.

Fantail Guppies

Fantail guppies have elegant-looking tails that resemble an open fan. This tail type is typical of fancy guppies. Dorsal fins can be elongated, and ventral fins are usually smaller.

Scarftail Guppies

The scarftail guppy is also known as the flagtail guppy. This tail shape is much narrower on the edges compared to other tail types but remains impressive in terms of colours and patterns.

Double Swordtail Guppies

The double swordtail guppy has a unique tail shape that sets them apart from other guppy fish. It's very similar to the tail of the swordtail fish, but instead of one elongated tail, the double swordtail guppy has two elongated tails shaped like a sword on either side of the tail base.

Top Swordtail Guppies

When the tail is elongated only on the upper or lower side of the tail, it creates two different guppy varieties. Top swordtail guppies have an elongated tail extending from the top of the tail fin.

Bottom Swordtail Guppies

Bottom swordtail guppies are a mirrored version of the top swordtail guppy, with only the bottom edge of their tail elongated. The edge of the tail that is not elongated is narrow and shaped like the tail of flagtail guppies.

Lyretail Guppies

Lyretail guppies are a variation of the double swordtail guppy. The tails look like they're independent of each other, but upon closer inspection, you may notice that they're connected by a small transparent membrane.

Spear Tail Guppies

Spear tail guppies have an unusual appearance. Their tails have rounded edges but form a point at the end, very similar to the head of a spear. Their dorsal fins are also unusual, starting at nearly 90° to the body and sweeping back to about a third of the length of the tail fin.

Roundtail Guppies

Roundtail guppies have a circular tail fin with a diameter of about half the length of their body. Their dorsal fin is pretty long and has a rounded end. The roundtail guppy breed is available in a huge range of different colours and patterns.

Halfmoon Tail Guppies

The halfmoon tail is one of the more impressive-looking guppy tails, especially when it features an amalgam of colours and shapes. The tail starts out wide at the base and widens even further until it resembles a half-moon.


Guppy Strains by Body and Tail Patterns

Guppies are tropical freshwater fish that are known for their variety of colours, body patterns, and tail shapes. They are native to South America and are commonly found in small streams, slow-flowing rivers, lakes, and ponds. Guppies are popular as pets because they are easy to care for and have attractive colours. They are also not fussy eaters and get along well with other kinds of fish.

Guppies are usually grouped according to their types of fins, colours, and patterns. The body and tail patterns of guppies can be completely different from each other. Here is a list of some common guppy strains categorized by their body and tail patterns:

Tuxedo Guppies

Tuxedo guppies are distinguished by their two-toned bodies, similar to a tuxedo suit. The front half of the body is lighter in colour, while the back half is darker, usually blue, black, or another solid colour. The tail and dorsal fin of tuxedo guppies are also a different colour from the dark half of the body, without any spots or patterns.

Cobra Guppies

Cobra guppies come in a variety of colours, including silver, green, orange, black, and white. They have a combination of reticulated markings and vertical bars on their bodies and sometimes their tails. The rosettes and spotted patterns on their bodies and tails are the distinguishing features of cobra guppies.

Snakeskin Guppies

Snakeskin guppies have a vertical pattern that spreads throughout their entire body, resembling the pattern of a snake or tiger. The colours of these patterns can include gold, orange, and black.

Leopard Guppies

Leopard guppies have dark leopard-like spots or blotches of colour on their dorsal fins and tails, and sometimes on their caudal peduncle and body as well. The contrasting darker pattern stands out against their brighter base colours.

Lace Guppies

Lace guppies have intricate, delicate patterns on their fan-shaped tail fins. They are usually a species of snakeskin guppy and have unique colouring, often with red and orange tails and blue snakeskin body patterns.

Mosaic Guppies

Mosaic guppies have irregular dark markings and patches on their dorsal fins and tails. This morph is closely related to the leopard guppy and often resembles it. The tail coloration of mosaic guppies becomes darker and more intense from the start of the fin to the back.

Glass Guppies

Glass guppies, also known as glassbelly guppies, have a genetic mutation that prevents them from producing guanine, a silver dye that makes fish reflective. This mutation makes their scales opaque and less shimmery than normal fish. Glass guppies are often albino, or have a red or blond base colour.


Guppy Strains by Coloration

Guppies are renowned for their diversity in patterns, colors, and tail shapes. There are many different guppy color combinations, and it can be fun to experiment with different color combinations. Here is a guide to some of the most common color mutations:

Albino Guppies

These fish have no color at all, making them a great choice for beginners. They are rare but can be produced through regular breeding techniques.

Striped Guppies

These fish have alternating bands of light and dark colors running throughout their body.

Mottled Guppies

These fish have random spots of different colors across their body.

Ghost Guppies

These fish have faded colors or no colors at all in some areas of their body.

Faded Guppies

These fish have lost some of their original color and may look a bit faded.

Tailed Guppies

These fish have a long, thin tail that can be any color.

Mutated Guppies

These fish have acquired a new color mutation that is not found in the wild.

Transformed Guppies

These fish have undergone a dramatic change in color, often becoming brightly colored.

Neon Guppies

These fish have bright colors that appear to glow in the light.

Rainbow Guppies

These fish have a variety of different colors running through their body.

Solid Colored Guppies

These guppies can have blue, yellow, red and even black colors and they’re characterized by having one solid color both on the body and fins.

Bi-Colored Guppy

Bi-colored guppies have a clear base color, which can be red, green or blue, or any other color, which doesn’t meet the previous color categories. The secondary color must make up at least 25% of their tail color and must be distinct from the primary color.

Multi-Colored Guppy

Multi-colored guppies have at least three color options, where all colors should have an equal distribution in the tail and must be present in more than 15% in the tail.

Half-Black Guppies

Half-Black Guppies are fish with the Tuxedo trait, and are categorized by their secondary color. For example, Half-Black Green Guppies are a rare morph with a half to ¾ black body and green dorsal and caudal fins.

Solid Color Guppies

Solid color guppies can be white, red, blue, or turquoise green. Many of the most elegant species of these guppies have lavish tail shapes and long elongated or showy dorsal fins.

Moscow Guppies

Moscow guppies are a unique line bred in Russia in the 1960s that were smuggled into the US sometime in the '80s. They are rare and expensive morphs, and can’t be crossed with other strains unless you don’t mind diluting your line. They are bigger than other guppies and have longer dorsal and caudal fins, and are usually solid colored.

Platinum Guppies

Platinum is another name for guppies with a white or albino body color and pearlescent scales.

Dragon Head Guppy

Dragon head guppies have a mutation that allows them to exhibit the bright Japanese Blue trait on their heads instead of just their bodies or tail.

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Guppy Strains by Eye Color

Guppies are known to have silver eyes, but when they are angry or feeling aggressive, their eyes or irises turn black. This change in eye color is an "honest" signal of aggression, usually displayed by larger guppies to smaller ones. The black-eyed guppies are more likely to perform aggressive behaviors than to receive them.

There are a few different guppy strains that have been identified by eye color, although it is important to note that guppies can exhibit many different colors and varying body sizes. Here are some of the most common guppy strains associated with eye color:

  • Red Eye Guppy: These guppies are quite rare and small, but their eyes have a bright red or red-orange color that is easily noticeable.
  • Red Eye Albino Guppy: Albino guppies lack melanin pigment in their eyes, resulting in a reddish hue. The Red Eye Albino Guppy will have paler eyes compared to the regular Red Eye Guppy.
  • Albino Guppy: Albino guppies have red or pink eyes and an absence of black melanin. They can appear in many different colors, including red, yellow, and white.
  • Metal Yellow Lace Guppy: This guppy variety has a black eye, in contrast to the typical silver eye of most guppies.

In addition to these strains, guppies also come in a wide range of colors, including blue, green, purple, yellow, and black. Each color strain has its own unique behaviors and needs. For example, guppies with yellow hues are more lively and active, making them better fighters, while green strains are peaceful and can be trained to feed from your hand.

When selecting a guppy strain based on eye color, it is important to consider factors such as the size of the fish, the water temperature, and the behavior of the strain. Guppies with different eye colors can exhibit varying levels of aggression, so it is crucial to provide them with a suitable environment and tank mates.

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Guppy Strains by Sex

Guppy strains can be differentiated by their tail shape, body pattern, colour, and eye colour.

Tail Shape

Guppies can be distinguished by their tail shape, with some of the most common types being:

  • Swordtail
  • Double Swordtail
  • Top Swordtail
  • Bottom Swordtail
  • Lyretail
  • Fantail
  • Veiltail
  • Delta or Triangle Tail
  • Roundtail
  • Spear Tail
  • Halfmoon Tail
  • Pin or Needle Tail
  • Cofer or Spade Tail
  • Flag or Scarf Tail

Body Pattern

Guppies also exhibit a variety of body patterns, including:

  • Tuxedo
  • Cobra
  • Snakeskin
  • Leopard
  • Mosaic
  • Lace


Guppies come in a wide range of colours, and some of the most common types are:

  • Albino
  • White
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Neon Blue
  • Japanese Blue
  • Purple
  • Bronze
  • Green
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Golden
  • Half-Black Green
  • Half-Black Blue
  • Half-Black Yellow
  • Half-Black Red
  • Half-Black Purple
  • Half-Black Pastel
  • Solid Coloured
  • Bi-Coloured
  • Multi-Coloured
  • Koi
  • Panda
  • Jarawee Lazuli
  • Moscow
  • Platinum
  • Dragon Head

Eye Colour

Guppies typically have black eyes, but some strains have red or pink eyes, including:

  • Real Red Eye
  • Real Red Eye Albino


Male guppies are generally smaller than females and exhibit ornamental caudal and dorsal fins. They have splashes, spots, or stripes in a wide variety of colours, whereas female guppies are grey in body colour and larger in size. Male guppies are typically more desirable, especially for those interested in showing fish. However, breeders are increasingly working to produce more colourful females.

Frequently asked questions

A guppy strain is a specific type of guppy, distinguished by its unique characteristics such as colour, pattern, tail shape, and body shape. Guppy strains are often bred by selective breeding, resulting in a wide variety of guppy types.

Some common guppy strains include the Common Guppy, Endler Guppy, and Swamp Guppy. The Common Guppy, also known as Poecilia reticulata, is the most common type found in pet stores and is known for its showy tail and vivid colours. The Endler Guppy, or Poecilia wingei, is rarer and features striking colours and contrasting patterns. The Swamp Guppy, or Micropoecilia picta, is a brackish water-loving guppy that is rarely found in aquariums.

Guppy strains can be categorised based on various physical traits such as species, tail shape, body and eye colour, and other unique traits. The International Fancy Guppy Association (IFGA) recognises different classes and categories for guppy strains, including colour classes like Red Albino, AOC (Any Other Colour), and Blue Green Bicolor.

There are estimated to be over 300 recognised species of guppies in the Poeciliidae family, and breeders are constantly developing new varieties through selective breeding. While there is no exact number, there are said to be 50+ different types of guppies.

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