Guppy Trios: Male, Female, Fry

what is a guppy trio

Guppies are a popular choice for fish enthusiasts due to their brilliant colours, lively personalities, and ease of breeding. A guppy trio consists of one male and two female guppies, which is the recommended ratio for breeding. This configuration allows for the establishment of two parallel lines, with the offspring of each female being separated as they are half-siblings. Guppies are typically sold in trios, with breeders and shops offering a variety of colours and tail types.

Characteristics Values
Number of guppies 3
Male-to-female ratio 1:2
Purpose Breeding
Compatibility Same color strain


Guppy trio composition

When setting up a guppy trio, it is recommended to start with young and healthy fish that are about 3-4 months old. At this age, they ship better and acclimate more easily than mature fish. Additionally, you will benefit from having them during their peak breeding period, which is typically between three to seven months of age.

The recommended tank size for a guppy trio is at least a 5-gallon aquarium, but a 10- or 20-gallon tank is more appropriate in the long run, considering their rapid reproduction rate. Guppies require a pH level of 7.0 or higher and prefer hard water with a good amount of calcium, magnesium, and other essential minerals.

Guppies are known for their brilliant colours, lively personalities, and ease of breeding, making them one of the most popular fish in the aquarium hobby. They can display almost every colour, pattern, and fin type imaginable, thanks to selective breeding.

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Guppy breeding techniques

Guppies are easy to breed, but it's more challenging to breed them selectively to pass down specific traits to the next generation. This process requires careful planning, monitoring, and investment in equipment and high-quality breeding stock.


Before attempting to breed guppies, it's important to understand the characteristics of the chosen strain, as each is unique. It's also crucial to set clear goals for the desired traits, such as colour, size, or tail shape.

Breeding Stock

High-quality guppy pairs with desirable traits can be sourced from experienced and reputable breeders. It is recommended to buy 3 females and 2 males, but harem breeding is not advised as it may not yield the best results.

Breeding Techniques

There are several breeding techniques that can be employed to preserve or enhance desirable traits:

  • Inbreeding: Mating close relatives such as brother-sister or parent-offspring pairs.
  • Line breeding: Breeding two separate lines from the original trio, with eventual backcrossing to distant relatives.
  • Out-crossing: Mating two unrelated guppies of different lineages to add desirable traits and maintain genetic health.
  • Back-crossing: Mating a guppy from a line back to its ancestors to re-establish or eradicate certain traits.


Keeping detailed records of breeding pairs, techniques, and outcomes is essential for assessing progress and tracing lineage. Information such as identity, sex, colour/strain, generation, cross type, parents, date of birth, and observations should be documented.


Guppies are omnivores, so it's important to offer a varied diet, including quality flake food, live food, and frozen food. Small amounts every few hours are preferable to one large feed, and live and frozen food can be fed in larger portions as they are easier to digest.

Water Conditions

Guppies require regular water changes to maintain optimal water conditions and prevent waste buildup. Ideal water parameters include a pH of 7.2, a temperature of 23.5-25.5°C for adults, and 12 hours of lighting per day using fluorescent lights.


Guppy breeding tank setup

Tank Size and Filtration

To breed guppies, you will need a separate tank from your main aquarium. The breeding tank should be at least 10 gallons in volume, but a 20-gallon tank is recommended. A 5-gallon tank can be used for a trio of guppies, but it is less forgiving and not recommended for beginners. Larger tanks are better for breeding, as they provide more space for the guppy fry and allow for less frequent water changes.

The breeding tank should be equipped with a gentle filter to avoid sucking up and killing the baby guppies, called fry. A sponge filter is recommended, as it provides essential filtration and flow without endangering the fry.

Substrate and Decorations

The bottom of the breeding tank can be left bare, as it is easier to clean and allows for easier monitoring of the fry. However, a substrate such as gravel, sand, or tile can also be used if desired. If using gravel, be careful to choose larger pieces and remove tiny rocks to prevent the guppies from accidentally ingesting them.

It is important to provide hiding places for the guppies, especially for female guppies to escape and hide from aggressive male guppies. This can be achieved by adding large decorations, such as fake rocks and caves, or by using aquatic plants such as Java moss, subwassertang, and guppy grass. Guppies often mate and reproduce in caves or under plants, so these hiding places can help facilitate the breeding process.

Lighting and Temperature

The breeding tank should also have lights installed, as lights can help guppy fry grow faster and be healthier. It is recommended to keep the lights on for about 12 to 16 hours every day, balanced with 8 hours of darkness for the guppies to rest.

The temperature of the breeding tank should be maintained between 75° to 82° Fahrenheit (23° to 27° Celsius). Some sources suggest that warmer temperatures, around 80° Fahrenheit (26° Celsius), may encourage faster breeding.

Water Parameters

Guppies require hard water with a large amount of calcium. The general hardness (gH) should be between 15-30, and the carbonate hardness (kH) should be 8 or higher. The pH should be on the higher end of 7 to the midrange of 8. Regular water changes of about 20-30% per week are necessary to maintain water quality.


Guppy fry can be fed brine shrimp, microworms, crushed fish flakes, or powdered flakes. They should be fed twice a day, and it is important not to overfeed to avoid water contamination.

Breeding Process

When selecting guppies for breeding, it is recommended to have one male and two to three females to reduce aggression and stress on the females. The male and female guppies can be placed together in the breeding tank, and they will breed rapidly without any special intervention. The gestation period is typically 26 to 31 days, and the female guppy will give birth to live babies, not eggs. Once the female is pregnant, it is important to monitor her closely and remove her from the tank immediately after giving birth, as guppy parents can become cannibalistic.


Guppy feeding

Guppies are omnivores, so they will eat both animal and plant matter. They are also very easy to feed.

Guppy Diet

Guppies can eat a wide variety of foods, including:

  • Flakes
  • Pellets
  • Freeze-dried foods (e.g. brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia)
  • Live food (e.g. daphnia, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp)
  • Fruit and vegetables (e.g. lettuce, peas, cucumber, grapes, watermelon)

How Much to Feed Guppies

Guppies have very small stomachs, so it is important not to overfeed them. Feed adult guppies once or twice a day, and only in very small amounts. Baby guppies, or "fry", should be fed 3-4 times per day until they are one month old, then 2-3 times per day until they are three months old. After this, you can reduce their feed to once every other day or every third day.

How to Feed Guppies

To feed your guppies, sprinkle the recommended amount of food (according to the directions on the packet) in the tank and watch your guppies. If they eat it all within two minutes without looking bloated, then this is probably the right amount. If they eat it all in one minute, you may need to give them a little more. If they don't finish the food, then reduce the amount you give them next time. If they eat all the food and appear bloated, then you have given them too much.

  • Live food (5-10 daphnia)
  • Vegetable (tiny piece of pea)
  • Live food (5-10 micro worms)
  • Vegetable (tiny piece of cucumber)
Ideal Temperature Range for a Guppy Tank

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Guppy health and lifespan

Guppies are generally peaceful and hardy fish, making them a great choice for beginners. However, they are also very prolific breeders, so it's important to be responsible and have a plan for the fry. Guppies are livebearers, which means the babies are free swimming at birth and the female can have anywhere between 4 and 60 or more babies at a time.

Guppy Lifespan

The lifespan of guppies varies depending on their environment and care. In the wild, guppies typically live for around 2 years, but in captivity, they can live for 3 to 5 years. The temperature of the water directly impacts their lifespan and rate of reproduction. Guppies kept at a water temperature of 76 to 78°F will have an average lifespan of two to three years. Increasing the temperature to 82°F will cause the guppies to grow faster and produce more offspring, but their lifespan will decrease to around 18 months. On the other hand, lowering the temperature to 72°F can increase their lifespan to 3.5 years or more, but they will take longer to reach adulthood and reproduce less frequently.

Guppy Health

Guppies are susceptible to various diseases, which can be caused by bacterial, parasitic, or fungal infections. It is important to maintain a clean tank, provide a balanced diet, and regularly monitor the guppies to prevent and treat these diseases. Some common health issues in guppies include:

  • Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (Ich): A protozoan parasite that infects guppies, causing white cysts on the skin, gills, and fins, known as "white spot disease".
  • Fin rot: Caused primarily by bacterial infections, fin rot results in the progressive decay or fraying of the fins, often with discoloration. Poor water quality, overcrowding, and stress contribute to this condition.
  • Columnaris: A bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Flavobacterium columnare, which thrives in warm, freshwater environments. It requires prompt treatment to prevent severe mortality.
  • Velvet: A disease caused by dinoflagellate parasites, resulting in a gold or rust-colored dust on the fish's body, clamped fins, decreased feeding, and lethargy.
  • Swim bladder disease: This condition impairs the guppy's ability to maintain buoyancy, causing difficulty in swimming and a bloated appearance. It can be caused by overfeeding, bacterial or viral infections, physical injury, or congenital deformities.

To maintain the health of your guppies, it is important to provide a suitable environment with clean water, proper filtration, and appropriate tank mates. A balanced and varied diet is also crucial for their well-being. Guppies are susceptible to fin nipping, so avoid keeping them with aggressive fish. Regular monitoring and prompt treatment of any health issues will help ensure the longevity and well-being of your guppy trio.

Frequently asked questions

A guppy trio consists of one male and two female guppies. This configuration is used for breeding.

A mystery guppy trio is a randomly chosen group of three guppies – one male and two females of the same colour strain.

The smallest tank size recommended for a trio of guppies is a 5-gallon aquarium. However, given how quickly they reproduce, a 10- or 20-gallon aquarium would be more appropriate in the long run.

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