Colorful and enchanting, fantail guppies -- also known as fancy guppies -- are well-known, hardy aquarium fish enjoyed by aquarium connoisseurs and beginners both. While fancy guppies are easy to please, they do require an entertaining and spacious aquarium habitat with specific lighting, temperature and water conditions plus a varied diet. As schooling fish, fantail guppies will also thrive in a social aquarium filled with plenty of fantail friends and guppy-approved tank mates.
The perfect aquarium habitat for fantail guppies utilizes a natural gravel substrate combined with live plants. This type of diverse habitat will be interesting and entertaining for the guppies, and live freshwater aquarium plants provide added protection for baby guppies, known as fry, born in the tank. A few plants that do well in guppy tanks include Java fern, Java moss, Anubias nana and water sprite. A piece of aquarium approved driftwood can also add interest to the guppy habitat. Fantail guppies need 10 to 14 hours of light a day, too -- use a fluorescent aquarium light to ensure the guppies receive plenty of light.
Neutral water with a pH of 7.0 is ideal for fantail guppies, although a slight fluctuation in water pH levels of 6.0 to 8.0 is okay for the aquarium; an aquarium pH water kit will help you to keep the water pH around a neutral level. The water temperature for fantails needs to be at 70 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Dramatic fluctuations in water temperature can harm guppies -- an aquarium light or heater will maintain a steady water temperature. Clean water will reduce risks for common guppy diseases like ich and fin rot. The International Guppy Society recommends changing 30 percent to 40 percent of the tank water every week and using an air pump and filtration system to maintain a healthy tank with clear, clean water.
Diet and Feeding
Fantail guppies need a varied diet to remain in the best health. Feed guppies a mixture of live food and guppy approved fish flake food that contains a mixture of vegetables and proteins. Live foods that fantail guppies love include baby brine shrimp and microworms. Feed guppies twice a day, one hour after the aquarium light comes on in the morning and one hour before the aquarium light goes out in the evening. Any food that's not consumed within the hour needs removal; slowly decrease the amount you feed the guppies until none's wasted at each feeding.
Tank Size and Population
Fantail guppies are social fish who live best in a group environment. The size of your fantail guppy school will depend on tank size. A good rule of thumb is one gallon of water for each fantail guppy -- a 10-gallon tank should contain no more than 10 fantail guppies. Fantails love extra space though, so when it comes to tank size, bigger is always better. If you add fish, you may need to prepare a larger tank. Fish compatible with fantail guppies include neon tetra, glass fish and cory catfish.
Jane Peterson has been a professional freelance writer since 2006. She enjoys covering subjects such as personal health, diet, women's health, pets, alternative medicine and green living. Peterson graduated from the University of Florida in 2003, earning a bachelor's degree in science.