Cobra Guppy: the completer beginners guide to taking care of guppy cobras


Cobra Guppies (Poecilia reticulata), with their striking appearance and ease of care, are a fantastic choice for novice fish keepers. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the captivating world of Cobra Guppies, exploring their origin, appearance, water parameters, tank size and setup, feeding habits, diseases and prevention, ideal tank mates, breeding, and the role of plants in their habitat.

Cobra Guppy Origin

Cobra Guppies originate from the slow-moving waters of the Amazon River basin in South America. These vibrant fish were selectively bred over generations, resulting in the mesmerizing patterns we see today. The “cobra” name derives from their resemblance to a cobra’s hood when viewed from above.

Cobra Guppy Appearance

Cobra Guppies are known for their eye-catching appearance. Their elongated bodies display a wide range of colors, and their tails often sport intricate, cobra-like patterns. These fish are available in various color combinations, making them a favorite among aquarists. Here are some common features:

  • Colors: Vibrant shades of red, blue, yellow, and black.
  • Patterns: Unique cobra-like patterns on their tails and bodies.
  • Size: Adult Cobra Guppies typically reach 1.5 to 2.5 inches in length.

Cobra Guppy Water Parameters

Maintaining proper water conditions is crucial for the health of your Cobra Guppies. Here are the key parameters to consider:

ParameterIdeal Range
Temperature75-82°F (24-28°C)
pH Level7.0-7.5
Water Hardness10-20 dGH (General Hardness)
Ammonia/NitritesNear zero
Nitrate LevelsBelow 40 ppm

Ensure that you regularly test these parameters using aquarium test kits and perform water changes as necessary to maintain water quality.

Cobra Guppy Tank Size and Setup

Setting up the ideal habitat for your Cobra Guppies is essential for their well-being. Here are some guidelines:

  • Tank Size: A 10-gallon aquarium is a suitable starting point for a small group of Cobra Guppies. However, a larger tank, such as a 20-gallon, provides more swimming space and stability for water parameters.
  • Filtration: Use a gentle filter to prevent strong currents, as these fish prefer calm waters. A sponge filter or a hang-on-back filter with an adjustable flow rate is a great choice.
  • Substrate: Fine gravel or sand is recommended for the substrate. It allows for easy cleaning and planting.
  • Decoration: Provide hiding spots and places for Cobra Guppies to explore. Live or artificial plants are appreciated for their aesthetic appeal and serve as shelter.
  • Lighting: Low to moderate lighting is ideal, as these fish do not require intense illumination.

Cobra Guppy Feeding

Cobra Guppies are omnivorous and have a hearty appetite. To keep them healthy and vibrant, offer a balanced diet. Here’s what to feed:

  • High-Quality Flake Food: A staple in their diet, high-quality flake food designed for tropical fish provides essential nutrients.
  • Live and Frozen Foods: Supplement their diet with live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms to mimic their natural diet and enhance their coloration.
  • Vegetable Matter: Occasionally offer blanched vegetables like zucchini and spinach to ensure they get their required fiber.

Note: Feed your Cobra Guppies in small portions a few times a day, only what they can consume within a few minutes. This helps prevent overfeeding and water quality issues.

Cobra Guppy Diseases, Treatment, and Prevention

Like any fish, Cobra Guppies can be susceptible to common aquarium diseases. Here are some common ailments and how to deal with them:

Ich (White Spot Disease)White cysts on the skin, fins clamped, rubbing against objects.Treat with an ich medicationMaintain stable water conditions and quarantine new fish.
Fin RotTorn, frayed, or decaying fins.Isolate the affected fish and use antibioticsEnsure good water quality and avoid overcrowding.
VelvetTiny gold or rust-colored spots, rapid gill movement, lethargy.Use a copper-based medicationQuarantine new arrivals and avoid cross-contamination.
ColumnarisWhite or gray lesions, frayed fins, rapid gill movement.Isolate infected fish and use antibioticsMaintain excellent water quality and avoid stress.

Preventing diseases in your Cobra Guppy tank includes regular water changes, maintaining stable water parameters, and quarantining new fish to prevent introducing illnesses to your main aquarium.

Cobra Guppy Tank Mates

Selecting compatible tank mates is crucial to maintain a peaceful community aquarium. Cobra Guppies are peaceful by nature and do well with other non-aggressive fish. Some ideal companions include:

  • Swordtails: These fish share similar water requirements and temperament, making them great tank mates for Cobra Guppies.
  • Platies: Another peaceful species that adds variety to your tank with their colors and patterns.
  • Mollies: Mollies are adaptable to a range of water conditions and come in various color variations.
  • Neon Tetras: Their vibrant colors and peaceful nature make them a great addition to a Cobra Guppy tank.

Avoid aggressive or fin-nipping species as they may harass your Cobra Guppies. Additionally, ensure proper tank size and provide hiding spots to reduce stress among tank mates.

Cobra Guppy Breeding

Cobra Guppies are prolific breeders, making them an excellent choice for beginners interested in witnessing the miracle of life in their aquarium. Follow these steps to breed them successfully:

  1. Separate the Sexes: Identify and separate male and female Guppies, as they can reproduce rapidly.
  2. Breeding Tank: Set up a separate breeding tank, ideally a smaller aquarium with gentle filtration.
  3. Provide Hiding Spots: Place plenty of live or artificial plants and mesh or breeding traps for the fry.
  4. Condition the Breeders: Feed your breeding pairs a varied and nutritious diet to prepare them for breeding.
  5. Introduce the Pair: Place the male and female in the breeding tank. The male will display his vibrant colors to court the female.
  6. Breeding Behavior: The male will fertilize the female, who will release live fry after a gestation period of around 4-6 weeks.
  7. Fry Care: Once the fry are born, move the female back to the main tank. Continue to feed the fry with powdered or finely crushed flake food.

Note: Frequent water changes and maintaining excellent water quality are essential during breeding and fry rearing.

Cobra Guppy Plants

Live plants not only enhance the aesthetics of your Cobra Guppy aquarium but also play a vital role in maintaining water quality. Some excellent plant choices include


  • Java Moss: Provides hiding spots for fry and adds natural beauty to the tank.
  • Anubias: Hardy and low-maintenance, Anubias adds an appealing touch.
  • Java Fern: Thrives in low to moderate light and offers shelter.
  • Hornwort: Helps oxygenate the water and serves as a natural filter.

Regular trimming and maintenance of aquatic plants are necessary to prevent overgrowth and maintain a healthy aquatic environment.

In conclusion, Cobra Guppies are an enchanting addition to any aquarium, especially for beginners. By understanding their origin, appearance, care requirements, feeding habits, and breeding, you can create a thriving and visually stunning aquatic community. With the right knowledge and care, your Cobra Guppies will flourish, providing endless joy to your underwater world.