Mosquito Fish vs Guppy Fish – What is the Difference?

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Many guppy keepers look to combine guppies with other fish breeds for a plus of diversity and visual variation. However, finding reliable and friendly tank mates for guppies can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Today, we will discuss the core differences between the mosquito fish and guppies, in what areas they are similar, and how to accommodate them in the same tank.

Are Mosquito Fish and Guppies The Same?

While there are plenty of similarities between guppies and mosquito fish, they are not the same breed. However, they belong to the same Poecilia genus, which contains other breeds, like the platyfish and the swordtail.

However, the two are different in a variety of areas, including overall aspects, biology, and environmental requirements and behavior. Understanding these differences will allow you to provide both breeds with optimal living conditions.

Male Mosquito Fish
Male Mosquito Fish

Mosquito Fish vs Guppy Fish

Here are the fundamental differences and similarities between the 2 breeds:

– Similarities

  • Size – Guppies and mosquito fish are similar in size, with the males reaching up to 1.5, while females stand at 2.5 inches. These values will vary slightly depending on each breed’s lineages, the diet, environmental conditions, selective breeding, etc. It’s also worthy of mentioning that guppy males may seem bigger than mosquito males thanks to their fluffy tails.
  • Temperament – Both guppies and mosquito fish are friendly, somewhat peaceful, and calm and will tolerate other fish species. They are the ideal tank mates since they are both small and compatible breeds. The mosquitofish, however, may become irritated by other fish species, especially when the tank is smaller.
  • Diet – Both species prefer a diverse, omnivorous diet, consisting of animal and plant-based foods. You should feed them on a similar schedule, once or twice per day, at most. I have several articles on guppy diet and various food options, providing your fish with the best nutrients.

– Differences

  • Appearance – Appearance-wise, guppies, and mosquitos are quite different in the sense that the former offer more color variation. The mosquitofish comes with colors like tan, yellow or pale olive, while, for guppies, the sky is the limit. Guppies are some of the most diverse aquarium fish species globally, with unlimited color and color patterns.
  • Lifespan – This is another area where mosquito fish and guppies differ rather drastically. The mosquitofish will only live up to 1.5 years, while guppies can reach 2, even 2.5 years. It all depends on each breed’s genetic makeup and overall lifestyle over the years. Providing the fish with a clean, healthy, and stable tank environment will prolong their lives considerably.
  • Breeding – Guppies will breed throughout the year, with females giving birth to a new batch of fry every 30 days, roughly. The gestation period varies between 21 and 35 days, depending on water conditions, diet, temperature, and tank dynamics. You should expect batches of up to 200 fry. The mosquitofish isn’t as prolific. This breed relies on reproductive seasons, generally during summer when temperatures are higher. The female may produce between 2 to 6 broods during one season, each consisting of up to 100 offspring.

Can You Keep Mosquito Fish With Guppies?

Yes, you can guppies and mosquito fish together, but there’s a twist. Although both species are small and cute, they are not quite the same in terms of temperament. The mosquitofish is slightly more temperamental and irritable and might snap easier when in the presence of other fish.

Obviously, the mosquitofish doesn’t represent a risk to your guppies, especially since they are slightly smaller. But it’s worth keeping this aspect in mind since bullying can happen, and even a smaller fish can stress out a larger, more peaceful one.

To prevent this problem, I recommend several useful strategies:

  • Consider getting a larger tank – Ideally, you should hold 1 guppy for every 2 gallons of water. A 20-gallon tank will, therefore, hold up to 10 guppies. Add another fish species into the mix, and the data will need some slight adjustments. Especially when considering a more irritable species like the mosquitofish. If you’re planning to mix these two species, I recommend getting a larger tank and providing each fish with more water volume than the standard.
  • Ensure a healthy guppy-mosquito ratio – Seeing as mosquito fish are more irritable, it would be a good idea to have fewer of them in the same tank with guppies. This will minimize the negative interactions between the two.
  • Ensure proper tank maintenance – Keeping the water quality in check and monitoring the tank parameters is key for ensuring a healthy living environment. Both guppies and mosquito fish require stable temperatures, oxygenation, and clean water to thrive. I suggest monitoring the levels of ammonia and nitrates and verifying the TDS levels regularly. This will keep your fish calm, happy, and energetic, minimizing negative interactions between the 2 species.
Male Guppy Fish
Male Guppy Fish

Can Mosquito Fish Breed With Guppies?

No, mosquito fish can’t breed with guppies becomes they belong to different species, although part of the same genus. Interesting fact, however, guppies can breed with mollies, for instance, although the results are rarely positive.

The resulting fry will display severe health issues and will rarely survive after birth, although there are rare cases when they do.

That being said, you could see guppy males attempting to mate with mosquito females, especially if they don’t have access to guppy females. That, however, is not an indicator of their sexual compatibility. Guppy males will attempt to mate with anything that swims or moves around them. Pretty much the same as human males.

So, I wouldn’t try crossbreeding the 2. Instead, make sure every breed has both males and females if you’re aiming to keep their fry, either for personal use or to sell them for profit.

Where To Buy Mosquito Fish?

You can buy mosquito fish from pretty much the same places that sell guppies. These include fish shops or the internet.

However, I would advise avoiding regular fish shops if you’re planning on building thriving and lasting tank life. Instead, you should look for expert breeders who have been in the breeding business for years.

Sure, it might cost you more, but the benefits are worth it. You know you will get high-end specimens coming from strong and healthy gene pools and with as few defects as possible. Unlike fish shops that could provide you with fish predisposed to illness with compromised immune systems.

Will Mosquito Eat Guppies?

Not and the reverse is also true. Guppies and mosquito fish won’t attack each other since they’re relatively peaceful and similar size. This means that they won’t view each other as prey.

However, both guppies and mosquito fish can eat each other’s fry. They will also eat their own fry if we’re at it. Guppies, especially, are more prolific than the mosquitofish, capable of producing hundreds of fry monthly.

If you want to save the most fry, I suggest moving them into a different tank for a month or so. This will allow them to grow and develop in a safe and comfortable environment, far from the general population.

Other than that, you shouldn’t worry too much about this aspect since guppies and mosquito fish will generally have positive interactions. Neutral at best.

Conclusion

If you already own a guppy tank, introducing new fish species into an already established environment is a tricky move. The new fish might not be familiarized with guppies or the other way around.

Instead, I suggest that, when creating a mixed aquarium, you should add the 2 breeds simultaneously. This will allow them to gradually become acquainted with one another and contribute to creating a stable and thriving tank environment.

Updated: November 16, 2021

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