Max Size: 5cm

Melanzona Guppy (Poecilia parae)

Melanzona Guppies are small, active, and rare in the aquarium hobby but are highly sought after due to their unique appearance. However, these fish are quite pricey and somewhat delicate, so they are not recommended for beginner aquarists.

Melanzona Guppies are a loose shoaling fish in nature, and it would be best to keep two or three females to every male to prevent individual females from being harassed.

These Guppies would thrive in a slightly brackish aquarium on their own or alongside X-ray Tetras. However, they can be kept in a freshwater community aquarium with similarly-sized tankmates like Black Darter Tetras, Cardinal Tetras, Harlequin Rasboras, Emerald Eye Rasboras, Spotted Blue Eye Rainbowfish, African Banded Barbs and Golden Dwarf Barbs. You could also house these fish with Corydoras and smaller Plecos and Dwarf Shrimp.

Melanzona Guppies will need a spacious, mature aquarium due to their high activity levels. Although these fish are found in some freshwater habitats in the wild, the majority have been collected from brackish areas; therefore, they will fare much better and have more minor health issues when maintained under slightly brackish waters in captivity. In addition, these fish are more likely to breed in such conditions.

The tank should be heavily planted with hardy species that can cope well in a slightly brackish environment; this will give the fish somewhere to retreat to if they feel threatened and allow the females to escape the harassment of the over-eager males. It will also provide hiding places for babies. The aquarium will need to have good filtration, but the water movement should be relatively gentle.

There are several wild colour variants of the male fish, and the commonness and distribution depend on various aspects such as predation. The most popular colours are red, yellow, and blue variants, all of which possess translucent silvery iridescent bodies with two dark horizontal stripes along the flanks with dazzling colouration inside the stripes. The fourth and fifth types are the Parae and the Immaculata.

The Parae lacks the horizontal lines but instead has orange vertical lines on the front half of the body and black vertical stripes on the back. The Immaculata variant is quite drab by comparison, having similar colouration to the female fish.

It is estimated that the Melanzona morphs make up just 10 per cent of the male population, the Parae morph makes up 40 per cent, and the plain Immaculata morphs make up the remaining 50 per cent of the male population. Some morphs are always available in the wild, and others are scarce.

Quick Facts
Scientific NamePoecilia parae
Year Described1894
Other NamesYellow Melanzona Guppy, Blue Melanzona Guppy, Red Melanzona Guppy, Red Ferrari Guppy, Blue Ferrari Guppy
OriginsBrazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespan2 - 3 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater/Brackish
PH7.0 - 8.0
GH8 - 20
75 - 82℉
23.9 - 27.8℃

Photos of the Melanzona Guppy

Red Melanzona Guppy
Blue Melanzona Guppy
Yellow Melanzona Guppy

Natural Habitat

Melanzona Guppies are widespread throughout the Amazon Basin in South America, where you can find them in both brackish and freshwater habitats in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname. These fish inhabit shallow, slow-flowing waters in creeks and small swamps located inland with very fresh water. You can also find these fish in riparian vegetation with clear water and mixed sand and mud substrates.

What to feed the Melanzona Guppy

Melanzona Guppies will feed on algae, plant matter and small insects in the wild; therefore, it would be best if you followed this in the home aquarium. You can achieve this by feeding your Guppies good-quality dried foods such as small pellets, flakes and granules alongside live and frozen foods such as Daphnia, brine shrimp and Bloodworm. These fish will also appreciate vegetable supplements such as shelled peas or blanched spinach.

How to sex the Melanzona Guppy

It is simple to differentiate between the male and female Melanzona Guppies. Males are smaller, more vibrantly coloured, have slightly longer fins and possess a gonopodium. In contrast, the females are much duller, significantly larger, have a small dark shoulder spot and are much rounder, especially when gravid.

How to breed the Melanzona Guppy

It can be quite challenging to breed Melanzona Guppies. These fish will spawn in the main aquarium; however, the adults will predate the fry. Therefore if you wish to raise a high yield of young, it would be better to set up a separate breeding tank so you can easily separate the adults from the newborn babies. Females reach sexual maturity from 8 months old and males from six months old.

It would be best to have either a thin substrate layer or a bare bottom in the breeding tank, and plenty of plants as this will provide cover for the babies. In addition, the plants can be moved around when you need to catch out the parents and place them back in the main aquarium.

The females usually carry babies for around 24 days, after which they will give birth to between 5 and 15 live young, which will quickly seek shelter within the plants.

As soon as you notice any fry, you should remove the adults and place them back in their usual aquarium to avoid predation. You can feed the babies with powdered fry foods and microworms initially, moving on to baby brine shrimp and finely crushed flake food as they grow.

Other Guppies of interest

Fancy Guppies(Poecilia reticulata)
Ginga Rubra Guppy(Poecilia reticulata)
Picta Swamp Guppy(Micropoecilia picta)
Date Added: 27/04/2022 12:01:06 - Updated: 27/04/2022 15:21:06