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Care Of The Young Guppy

By Randall Robins

Reprinted from Madison Aquarium Club, July, 1976

Initial care of the young guppy very much influences its final development. Few fish are groomed into show winners with special care only as mature adults. Excellent mature fish don't just happen. Instead, they are the result of much intense care starting the day they are born.

Tank care and feeding are two vital considerations in getting young fish started to develop into fine mature guppies. Tank care can be broken into temperature of the water, filtration, water changes and the number of fish per unit of water. Young guppies should be maintained at a water temperature of 76 to 80 degrees At these temperatures they consume more food, allowing them to grow and develop much faster compared to lower temperatures (72 to 74 degrees).

A tank without gravel is best for young guppies. A box filter with medium air is the adequate filtration. The filter should be kept clean with floss changed every two weeks. Before changing the filter, the sides and bottom of the tank should be wiped with a clean sponge and the water change should be made in conjunction with the filter change. Water changes should be made when the fish are two weeks of age and weekly thereafter. A 35 to 50% change weekly should be adequate with aged water at the same temperature. If unaged water is used, changes may be dropped to 20 to 35% weekly as fish may become uncomfortable if larger changes are made.

The entire litter (20 to 50) can be maintained in a five gallon tank the first two weeks, but then should be given more space. At one month of age, young males should be placed in a tank by themselves with no more than two fish per gallon of water. As the males develop, they should be given one gallon of water per fish.

Feeding of the young fish is as important as the tank in which the fish are kept. The size of the food is of vital importance. The best food in the world can be fed, but if it is too large for baby guppies to consume, it does little good. Young fish should be fed a variety of food with at least one live food daily. Good live foods are newly hatched brine shrimp and microworms. Other good foods are frozen baby brine, grindal worms (at two weeks), a variety of granular and flake foods, and frozen beef heart. Flake and granular foods should be ground between the fingers to make it small enough for consumption.

Frozen beef heart can be chopped in a blender before freezing and scraped very finely from the frozen mass for young fish. The secret to feeding young fish is to feed a small amount frequently. Young guppies should be fed at least five times daily (preferably, a different food at each feeding).

Of further importance is the maintenance of the feeding schedule. It cannot be done every other day, but must be carried through every single day, and the final results are amazing.

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