5 Reasons Why Guppies Are the Perfect Pet

Guppies come in an astounding array of colors, patterns and different tail shapes. (Photo: SOMMAI/Shutterstock).

Let's face it, some of us aren't cat people. Or dog people. Or bird people. Some of us aren't good with or don't have a lifestyle that suits having a pet, but it'd still be nice to have some quiet company at the end of a long work day. Plus, it's healthy to have a pet. Perhaps the best solution is a pet fish -- but not just any fish. There is one fish that has all the pros of the famously easy-to-keep goldfish but with a lot more flare, and that's the guppy.

guppy fish
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1. They're Gorgeous

You probably already noticed that guppies have flashy tails, but do you realize their incredible diversity? There are dozens of varieties with different coloration and tail shapes, covering the spectrum from vibrant solid reds to multi-colored tails with marbled patterns to iridescent blues to albinos. The males are smaller and flashier than the females, but the females still sport colorful tails.

guppy fish
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2. They're Small and Cheap

Guppies don’t take up a lot of space, so you don’t need a huge aquarium. The rule of thumb is one guppy per gallon of water. So if you want just a handful of beautiful fish, you can get a tank small enough to set on your desk or bookshelf. There’s little investment involved in having guppies as pets. The fish themselves cost as little as $0.10 each at pet stores (or as much as $25 for fancy guppies), the flaked food they require is inexpensive, and if you pick up a used tank and filter, you’ll have your aquarium set up for hardly any cost at all.

guppy fish
Nantawat Chotsuwan /Shutterstock

3. They're Low-Maintenance

Guppies are incredibly easy to keep alive. Just keep the tank clean and provide them with food (they’ll eat just about anything and are great for mosquito control), and they’re happy. There are a few diseases they can catch, such as fungus infections, but if you start with a healthy stock of fish, you can potentially avoid the problem. To get healthy fish at the start, it’s best to buy them from pet stores that source from local breeders, rather than imported fish, since they have been less stressed in transportation and have adjusted to life in an aquarium rather than a hatchery.

female guppy
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4. They're Easy to Breed

Guppies don't have terribly long lifespans, but that doesn't mean you have to keep running down to the pet store to keep restocking your tank. Breeding guppies is easy, and females can give birth to 30-40 fry every month. If you're interested in replenishing your stock of guppies yourself, it isn't too hard and you can even get involved in selecting and breeding for certain looks. The only thing to keep in mind is that if you want to see the babies grow to adults, you'll need to be there for the birth since adult guppies will eat their babies for lunch.

guppy fish
SOMMAI /Shutterstock

5. You'll Never Get Bored With Them

Because there is such variety and endless possible combinations of color, pattern and tail shape, it is virtually impossible to get tired of looking at guppies and how their fins flash in different light. This is especially true if you breed any guppies for yourself, since the offspring can offer up surprise combinations of colors. There's even an International Fancy Guppy Association if you find yourself becoming an enthusiast.

guppy fish
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guppy fish
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guppy fish
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guppy fish
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guppy fish
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guppy fish
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guppy fish
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guppy fish
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