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When Do Guppies Develop Their Color?

colorful guppyGuppy fry are initially a beige or brown color, no matter what their ultimate color will be. While they may not look very fancy yet, their color and fin shape will soon be apparent. How long it takes guppies to develop their color depends on many factors, especially their genetics. Here’s what you can expect.

Guppy Color and Genetics
Guppy colors and patterns vary a great deal. Sometimes a guppy will favor the mother or father but sometimes recessive traits will show up. If you have fish with the same colors or patterns, or the guppies are closely related, you can expect your fry will show colors at around the same age as previous generations.

Some colors, particularly metals and snakeskins, can take three months or more to develop fully while other colors — especially solid colors — develop very early. You can expect to see some color begin to develop between 1 and 6 weeks.

Other Important Factors
The temperature of the tank as well as nutrition also play a role in how long it takes for guppies to develop their color. Diet is very important in how fast your guppy develops and gets color. Guppies that eat nothing but flaked food will develop more slowly and take longer to show colors than guppies that get live food. You can speed your guppy’s development with live food like freshly hatched or frozen brine shrimp or microworms.

Make sure you maintain good water quality in your tank as well as poor water quality will inhibit growth and make your guppies sick. Don’t let the tank get overcrowded, as this results in a build-up of nitrates. Too much nitrate signals to fish that there are too many fish in the water and their growth will be inhibited. At least once a week, do a partial water replacement. This will help your guppies mature faster.

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