Guppy Diet: Food And Feeding Guide

what to feed a guppy

Guppies are omnivores, so they will eat almost anything you give them. In the wild, they eat algae and water insect larvae, but in a home aquarium, they can be fed a variety of foods.

For adult guppies, a good basic diet is high-quality flake food made for tropical fish. Feed them a pinch of flakes once or twice a day, preferably with a twelve-hour gap between meals. You can also replace one of these meals every few days with treats like brine shrimp, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, or vegetables such as lettuce, peas, and cucumber.

Guppies have small stomachs and can easily overeat, so it's important to monitor their meals and reduce portion sizes if they show signs of overfeeding, such as tubes of waste dangling behind them or a bulging chest.

Young guppies, or fry, need to be kept separate from the adults and fed a special diet of high-protein foods such as baby brine shrimp, microworms, beef heart, and egg yolk. They should be fed tiny amounts several times a day and gradually transitioned to an adult diet over four to five months.

Characteristics Values
Feeding frequency Adult guppies should be fed 1-3 times a day. Baby guppies should be fed 4-8 times a day.
Feeding amount Guppies should only be fed as much food as they can eat in about 30-60 seconds.
Food type Guppies are omnivores and will eat almost anything. Their diet should include a mix of real proteins and ingredients to enhance their colour.
Food examples Flake food, brine shrimp, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, shucked peas, lettuce, cucumber, beef heart, egg yolk, daphnia, algae, tropical micro pellets, and tropical flakes.

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Guppies' natural diet

Guppies are omnivores, meaning they will eat a variety of foods. In the wild, they eat algae and water insect larvae. In a home aquarium, they can be fed a variety of foods, including:

  • Flake food designed for tropical fish
  • Live or frozen plants and animals, such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, and earthworms
  • Vegetables such as lettuce, peas, and cucumbers

It is important to provide a balanced diet for guppies, including both protein and vegetable matter. Guppies have small stomachs, so it is easy to overfeed them, which can lead to blocked intestines and other health issues. It is recommended to feed adult guppies a pinch of food once or twice a day and to replace one meal every 2-7 days with a nutritious treat.

Young guppies, or "fry," require a special diet and should be fed separately from the adults. They have tiny mouths and high protein requirements, so their food should be crushed or finely chopped and include both protein sources and vegetable matter. Fry should be fed several times a day, with the amount of food gradually reduced as they grow older.

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Commercial food options

Guppies are omnivores and will eat almost anything you give them. There are hundreds of companies that produce fish food for both adult guppies and their young, known as "fry".

The most common food for guppies is flake food, which provides all the necessary vitamins and minerals. It is recommended to feed guppies a good quality flake food that is high in protein once a day. Quality flake foods will have the ingredients listed on the label.

Other commercial food options include:

  • Veggie pallets: These contain greens such as algae, plankton and spirulina. They are high in vitamins B, C, D and E, as well as containing iron and calcium. Spirulina tablets help guppies resist skin infections and have healthier fins and tails. This food will also emphasise your fish's colours, thanks to the natural carotenoid pigments.
  • Freeze-dried brine shrimp: Brine shrimp are a great source of protein and can be fed to both adults and fry.
  • Freeze-dried blood worms: Blood worms are a great source of fat, but should only be fed to adult guppies in small quantities. Feeding freeze-dried blood worms to fry can improve their growth rate.
  • Freeze-dried tubifex worms: Tubifex worms are an excellent conditioner for your fish. Do not feed live tubifex worms to your guppies, as they can carry bacteria that will kill your fish if they are not kept in the right conditions.
  • Spirulina: Spirulina is available in tablet form and helps guppies resist skin infections. It also has the added benefit of emphasising your fish's colours.
  • Tropical micro pellets: These multicoloured pellets are semi-floating and very easy for fish to see, above or below water. They have a softer texture that is easily digestible, eliminating any worries about constipation. The recipe uses a selection of marine and vegetable proteins that are specially chosen to feed the high-energy needs of small fish like guppies. Tropical micro pellets also contain krill and spirulina to enhance colour.
  • Super colour flakes: These flakes contain salmon skins, which have elevated levels of beta-carotenes so guppies get a deep, rich colour. There are no fish meals or pre-processed proteins included in this formula. Whole salmon, halibut, and fresh kelp provide guppies with real, natural fats. This food is high in protein, low in starch, and won't cloud the water.
  • Nutritionally balanced tropical flake food: Formulated for active fish, this food includes Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a carefully selected balance of proteins that help with growth and health, including shrimp proteins which also help to enhance colour. This formula is also formulated so it won't cloud the water. Plus, it's easier for fish to digest thanks to the included probiotics, which lead to less waste in the tank.
  • Fish food pellets: These pellets are high in protein to promote healthy growth and also help to keep the water cleaner and clearer. They include algae, shrimp, worms, and more.

It is important to feed guppies a variety of high-quality food, but do not overfeed them.

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Live food

Guppies are omnivores and will eat almost anything you give them. Live food is a great option to feed your guppies two or three times a week.

  • Brine shrimp is the number one food for guppies. It has a 60% protein content and around 25% fat and carbohydrates. Adult guppies love consuming brine shrimp, and it is especially good for fry, helping them to grow bigger and faster.
  • Bloodworms are a great source of fat and should be fed to adult guppies in small quantities. Freeze-dried bloodworms can improve the growth rate of fry.
  • Daphnia are a great source of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. They also provide a great amount of vitamins A and D, which are vital to guppies and all fish.
  • Mosquito larvae are another food guppies go nuts for.
  • Micro-worms are easy to harvest and don't have a strong smell because they can be kept in a sealed container.
  • Scuds are a terrific live food. They live on the bottom, eating dead plant material and other detritus. They can survive for months and reproduce, so they're an excellent food for any fish that will take food from the bottom of the tank.
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Feeding adult guppies

Guppies are omnivores, meaning they will eat almost anything you give them. However, it's important not to overfeed them, as they have small stomachs and can easily eat large quantities of food. Overfeeding can cause distress and even lead to intestinal blockage.

Adult guppies should be fed a small amount of food one, two or three times a day. It's best to feed them no more than they can eat in about 30-60 seconds, or up to five minutes, so that uneaten food doesn't foul the water.

You can feed your adult guppies a good quality flake food designed for tropical fish. While guppies will eat any type of flake food, it's best to choose a high-quality brand that contains both protein and vegetable matter. Flake food intended for tropical fish often includes natural colour enhancers to make your guppies brighter and more colourful.

While guppies will survive on flake food alone, it's beneficial to supplement their diet with live or frozen plants and animals, which contain extra nutrients. You can replace one flake food meal every two to seven days with nutritious treats such as:

  • Baby brine shrimp (available in live, frozen, or flake form)
  • Bloodworms or mosquito larvae
  • Shucked peas, shredded lettuce, or finely chopped cucumber

Guppies also enjoy eating algae that grows naturally in the fish tank, though it often grows faster than they can eat it.

It's important to avoid tubifex worms and live daphnia, even if they are recommended to you. Tubifex worms sometimes contain lethal bacteria, and while live daphnia won't cause harm, they can be expensive and difficult to raise, and they remove oxygen from the tank.

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Feeding baby guppies

Baby guppies, or "fry", are born live and are able to swim independently immediately after birth. However, they are very small and vulnerable to being eaten by adult guppies and other fish, so it is important to separate them from adult fish. This can be done by placing the pregnant guppy in a breeder net or separate tank until she gives birth, or by providing hiding spots in the tank, such as live or artificial plants.

Baby guppies have a quick digestion cycle, so they need to be fed small amounts of food frequently – between 4 and 10 times a day. They can eat the same food as adult guppies, but it needs to be crushed into smaller pieces so they can fit it in their mouths. Suitable foods include:

  • Crushed flake food
  • High-protein powder food
  • Live food, such as baby brine shrimp, vinegar eels, daphnia, microworms, and bloodworms
  • Frozen or freeze-dried food
  • Vegetables, such as lettuce, peas, and cucumber

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