Maximum size : 5 cm

Melanzona Guppy - Poecilia parae : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Melanzona Guppies (Poecilia parae), known for their captivating appearance, are small and lively fish that holds a rare status within the aquarium hobby. Their unique attributes make them highly sought after by enthusiasts. However, it is worth noting that these fish command a higher price due to their rarity and possess a level of delicacy, making them less recommended for novice aquarists.

In their natural habitat, Melanzona Guppies exhibit loose shoaling behaviour. Therefore, to ensure the well-being of the females and prevent individual females from experiencing undue harassment, it is advisable to maintain a ratio of two to three females for every male. Optimal conditions for Melanzona Guppies involve a slightly brackish aquarium setup, either as a solitary species or alongside compatible tankmates such as X-ray Tetras. Alternatively, they can coexist in a freshwater community aquarium with other species of similar size, including Black Darter Tetras, Cardinal Tetras, Harlequin Rasboras, Emerald Eye Rasboras, Spotted Blue Eye Rainbowfish, African Banded Barbs, Golden Dwarf Barbs, Corydoras, smaller Plecos, and Dwarf Shrimp.

Due to their high activity levels, Melanzona Guppies necessitate a spacious and well-established aquarium. While these fish are encountered in freshwater habitats in the wild, a significant proportion of individuals have been collected from brackish areas. Therefore, they tend to fare better and experience fewer health issues when maintained in slightly brackish water conditions in captivity. Furthermore, such conditions are conducive to their reproductive success.

Creating a heavily planted aquarium with resilient plant species capable of thriving in a slightly brackish environment provides essential cover for the fish, allowing them to retreat when feeling threatened and affording females an escape from the overzealous males. Additionally, the presence of ample hiding places supports the well-being of the fry. Maintaining efficient filtration in the aquarium is crucial while ensuring that water movement remains gentle.

The male Melanzona Guppies exhibit various wild colour variants, with prevalence and distribution influenced by factors such as predation pressure. Among the most popular colour variants are red, yellow, and blue, all of which feature translucent silvery iridescent bodies adorned with two distinct dark horizontal stripes along the flanks, exhibiting beautiful colouration within the stripes. Another variant, Parae, lacks the horizontal lines and instead showcases orange vertical lines on the front half of the body, accompanied by black vertical stripes on the back. In contrast, the Immaculata morph, by comparison, exhibits more subdued colouration resembling that of female fish. Rough estimates suggest that Melanzona morphs comprise approximately 10% of the male population, while the Parae morph constitutes about 40%, with the remaining 50% consisting of the plain Immaculata morph. Availability of these morphs can vary, with some being consistently found in the wild while others are more scarce.

Melanzona Guppy Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Melanzona Guppies is a straightforward task. Males exhibit a smaller size yet boast more vibrant and striking colouration. Additionally, their fins tend to be slightly longer, and they possess a distinctive gonopodium, a modified anal fin used for reproductive purposes. In contrast, females display a notably duller appearance, with a significantly larger body size. In addition, they feature a small dark spot on their shoulders and possess a rounder physique, particularly when gravid or carrying eggs.

Quick Facts

Scientific NamePoecilia parae
Year Described1894
Other NamesYellow Melanzona Guppy, Blue Melanzona Guppy, Red Melanzona Guppy, Red Ferrari Guppy, Blue Ferrari Guppy
OriginsBrazil , Guyana , Suriname , French Guiana
Max Size5 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 8+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 2 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater/Brackish
pH 7.0 - 8.0
GH 8 - 20
Ideal Temperature
75 - 82
23 - 27

Natural Habitat

Melanzona Guppies, recognized for their presence and distribution, are widely dispersed across the expansive Amazon Basin in South America. These captivating fish can be encountered in both brackish and freshwater environments within various countries, including Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname. In their natural habitat, Melanzona Guppies thrive in shallow, slow-flowing waters found in inland creeks and small swamps. They also inhabit areas characterized by riparian vegetation, clear water, and a mixed composition of sand and mud substrates.


Breeding Melanzona Guppies can pose considerable challenges. While these fish are capable of spawning within the main aquarium, the presence of adult fish often leads to predation of the fry. Therefore, to maximize the production of offspring, it is advisable to establish a dedicated breeding tank where the adults can be easily separated from the newborns. This segregation ensures the safety and survival of the young.

Females typically attain sexual maturity at around eight months of age, while males reach maturity at approximately six months. In the breeding tank, it is recommended to have either a thin substrate layer or a bare bottom coupled with an abundance of plants. This setup provides essential cover for the newborn fry. The strategic placement of plants also facilitates the removal of parents from the breeding tank when necessary, ensuring their swift return to the main aquarium. Female Melanzona Guppies generally carry their young for approximately 24 days before giving birth to a brood ranging from 5 to 15 live offspring. These newborns promptly seek refuge within the protective embrace of the plants.

Once the fry are observed, it is crucial to promptly remove the adult fish from the breeding tank to prevent predation. This precautionary step preserves the safety of the vulnerable young. Initially, the fry can be nourished with powdered fry foods and microworms, gradually transitioning to baby brine shrimp and finely crushed flake food as they grow and develop. This progressive feeding regimen ensures their nutritional needs are met at each growth stage.

Diet & feeding

In their natural habitat, Melanzona Guppies display a dietary preference for algae, plant matter, and small insects. Therefore, replicating this nutritional profile within the home aquarium is advisable. To meet their dietary needs, offering a combination of high-quality dried foods, including small pellets, flakes, and granules, is recommended. In addition, supplementing their diet with live and frozen foods such as Daphnia, brine shrimp, and Bloodworm further enhances their nutrition and overall well-being.

Melanzona Guppies also benefit from the inclusion of vegetable supplements in their diet. Options such as shelled peas or blanched spinach serve as valuable sources of plant matter. By providing a balanced and varied diet that aligns with their natural feeding habits, you can promote these fish's optimal health and vitality.

Other Guppies of interest