Are Guppies Tropical Fish? Yes, But Why?

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Knowing which area of the world your fish come from is key when looking to breed them domestically. The fish’s native region will inform you about its living conditions, including water temperature, available food, and even behavior.

The guppy is not only a tropical fish but the most widespread tropical fish in the world. Its high adaptability, resilience, and breeding prowess have allowed it to spread everywhere where the conditions allowed it.

But what makes a tropical fish, and what does that tell about the breed? Let’s have a look!

What is a Tropical Fish?

The notion of tropical fish describes fish species that live primarily in tropical areas. These are regions with both saltwater and freshwater and a multitude of fish species that are generally adapted to warmer temperatures.

Most aquarium owners will prefer tropical species since they offer a variety of breeds, lineages, and color patterns. They are also exceptional breeders, capable of producing a lot of fry during the mating season.

Other breeds, like guppies, will produce offspring monthly for over a year.

Marine fish, for instance, are more difficult to breed in captivity, which is why most aquarists avoid them, despite their superior color patterns.

Why Are Guppies Tropical Fish?

Guppies are found pretty much all over the globe, except Antarctica and very cold regions, with the water temperature dropping below 64 degrees F. Your guppies prefer warmer temperatures that remain stable throughout the seasons.

The most popular living conditions for guppies can be found in Barbados, Venezuela, Guyana, Antigua, etc. These are areas with very little temperature fluctuations throughout the year, providing guppies with a stable and thriving environment.

As a future guppy owner, your goal is to replicate these conditions when setting up the tank. Your guppies will require:

  • Stable water temperatures – You’re thinking 72 to 78 degrees F as the ideal temperature range. This temperature provides guppies with a stable living habitat, allowing them to remain active and healthy in the long run.
  • Proper oxygenation – Guppies are freshwater fish, generally living in slow-to-moderate streams. Some species will also enjoy rapid streams. Such habitats provide guppies with fresh, oxygenated water, keeping guppies in shape, healthy, and energetic throughout the day.
  • Clean water – Guppies prefer freshwater streams thanks to the cleaner and fresher environment. Stale waters come with lower oxygenation and higher levels of TDS, affecting the guppies’ immune system. This is why you should have a proper filtering system in place to keep the water clean and oxygenated.

Can Guppies Live In Cold Water?

The answer very much depends on how cold the water is. Guppies thrive in water temperatures between 72 °F, and 82 °F. Slight variations are okay, but everything that goes well beyond the safe thresholds will cause significant problems.

In extreme cases, guppies can even withstand temperatures as low as 60 °F. Anything lower than that will affect their immune system and behavior, eventually leading to sickness and death.

Guppies have evolved and adapted to warmer waters that are more prevalent in tropical regions. Studies have shown that guppies don’t have the genetic makeup to adapt to cold waters, which is why providing them with a warm and stable environment is key to their survival.

I suggest monitoring the water temperature throughout the day, especially if you live in a colder region where temperatures fluctuate drastically throughout the year. I also recommend a plus of care if you keep guppies in an outdoor pond.

Mediterranean climates can sometimes vary drastically between night and day, let alone warm vs. cold seasons. If your area displays drastically lower temperatures during nighttime, you should either get a reliable heating system or move the guppies indoors.

Do Guppies Need a Heater?

It generally depends on the atmospheric temperature in your home. If it’s decently warm with little-to-no temperature fluctuations, you probably don’t need a heater. The problem comes when the temperature fluctuates a lot, dropping for several degrees throughout the day or night.

Guppies can’t cope with too many temperature fluctuations, which is why a heater may be necessary. Just set it to the desired temperature, and your guppies will thank you for it.

As a side precaution, you should also check the water temperature from time to time to make sure everything stays as it should. Who knows, maybe the heater malfunctions, and you don’t realize it in time.

Can Guppies Live in an Outdoor Pond?

Yes, they can. A lot of guppy owners keep their guppies in an outdoor pond for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • The higher water volume – Ponds are generally larger and deeper than your regular indoors tank. Shallow ponds are dangerous since they tend to heat up fast in the sunlight. A 2-feet deep pond will provide guppies with a lot of water and you with the opportunity to cosmeticize it as you please.
  • Aesthetic advantages – The larger the pond is, the more you can do with it aesthetically speaking. You can add a variety of plants and decorations to provide your guppies with amazingly diverse habitat.
  • The opportunity for mixed ponds – Mixing multiple aquatic species in an indoor tank isn’t as exhilarating as it sounds. The reason is the available space. There’s not much you can do with a 10-20-gallon tank when every guppy should have at least 2 gallons of water at its disposal. An outdoor pond, on the other hand, hits different. Its massive size and depth allow you to introduce a variety of aquatic species, including other fish, snails, shrimp, frogs, etc.

Just make sure that, when you set the pond, the outside temperature remains pretty much within the safe range for guppies. If it tends to fluctuate too much, get a reliable heating system in place. In fact, you should get one anyway to cut out any potential risks.

What is the Lowest Temperature For Guppies?

The absolute lowest temperature for guppies is around 60 degrees F. However, this is nowhere near the guppies’ comfort zone. It’s merely the temperature at which guppies can still survive, despite not in the greatest terms.

Your guppies will thrive at temperatures between 72 and 82 F, which mimics their natural environmental temperature. Anything below 60 and above 84 will begin to take a toll on your guppies’ health.

You should notice behavioral changes as your guppies become more lethargic, swim erratically, and begin to refuse food. They will experience stress and a weakened immune system, leaving them prone to infections, parasites, and various illnesses.


Guppies are tropical fish species that thrive in stable, clean, and warm environments. You should set up their aquarium to mimic their natural habitats, keeping your guppies safe and happy in the long run.

A clean, warm, and stable environment will substantially boost your guppies’ reproductive rate and expand their lifespan.

If you want to learn how to set up a guppy tank, check out my other articles on the topic or comment below, and I’ll answer asap.

Updated: December 10, 2021

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