Maximum size : 3 cm

Picta Swamp Guppy - Micropoecilia picta : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Picta Swamp Guppies (Micropoecilia picta) represent a captivating and relatively small species that remains sought after in the aquarium hobby. However, it is important to note their delicate nature, which renders them less suitable for novice aquarists. In their natural habitat, Picta Swamp Guppies exhibit loose shoaling behaviour, highlighting the significance of maintaining a ratio of two to three females for every male to prevent undue harassment among individual females. These guppies flourish when housed in a slightly brackish aquarium environment, either as a solitary species or alongside compatible tankmates such as X-ray Tetras. Alternatively, they can coexist harmoniously within a freshwater community aquarium, provided their companions are of similar size. Suitable tankmates may include Cardinal Tetras, Black Darter Tetras, Emerald Eye Rasboras, Harlequin Rasboras, Red Neon Blue Eye Rainbowfish, Golden Dwarf Barbs, and African Banded Barbs. Additionally, smaller Plecos, Corydoras Catfish, and Dwarf Shrimp can also be compatible tank mates.

To accommodate the dynamic nature of Picta Swamp Guppies, a spacious and well-established aquarium is recommended. While these fish can be found in some freshwater habitats in the wild, a significant portion of the population has been collected from brackish areas. Consequently, maintaining slightly brackish water conditions in captivity promotes better overall health and minimizes potential health issues. Additionally, these conditions stimulate a higher likelihood of successful breeding. A heavily planted aquarium featuring resilient plant species capable of thriving in slightly brackish conditions serves as an essential refuge for the fish, offering hiding spots when they feel threatened and providing females with retreat options to avoid the advances of eager males. These vegetation-rich environments also serve as hiding places for the fry. Adequate filtration is imperative in the aquarium, accompanied by a relatively gentle water flow.

Picta Swamp Guppies exhibit stunning body colourations, often featuring striking hues of red to orange adorned with vivid black markings. The males display a diverse range of primary body colours, varying from silver to green, with yellow, black, and blue spots or even a vibrant red with black or yellow spots. In contrast, the females possess silvery bodies, occasionally embellished with gold markings or orange hues around their abdomens. This remarkable combination of colours renders them an immensely desirable species within the hobby.

Picta Swamp Guppy Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Picta Swamp Guppies is a straightforward task. Males exhibit a smaller body size and boast more vibrant and striking colouration compared to females. Additionally, males possess a distinctive reproductive organ called a gonopodium. Conversely, females display a larger, fuller body structure and lack the vivid colouration of their male counterparts. Female guppies also possess a gravid spot, a visible darkening near the posterior region, which indicates their reproductive state. In contrast, males do not exhibit this characteristic feature. These observable distinctions serve as reliable indicators when discerning between male and female Picta Swamp Guppies.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameMicropoecilia picta
Year Described1926
Other NamesScarlet Livebearer, Swamp Guppies, Painted Guppy, Barrigudinho Guppy
OriginsBrazil , French Guiana , Guyana , Trinidad and Tobago
Max Size3 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 8+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 2 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater/Brackish
pH 7.5 - 8.5
GH 5 - 25
Ideal Temperature
79 - 82
26 - 27

Natural Habitat

Picta Swamp Guppies boast a wide distribution across Central and South America, spanning from Brazil to French Guiana, Guyana, Trinidad, and even the Amazon River delta. In their natural habitats, these guppies thrive in diverse aquatic environments, encompassing both fresh and brackish water ecosystems. Specifically, they can be found inhabiting tranquil drainage ditches and canals that border expansive swamplands. These distinct habitats are characterized by an abundant presence of dense aquatic vegetation, which provides essential shelter and sustenance for the Picta Swamp Guppies.


Breeding Picta Swamp Guppies, while presenting certain challenges, can be a rewarding endeavour. Females typically attain sexual maturity around the age of 8 months, while males reach this milestone at approximately six months of age. Spawning among these fish generally occurs within the main aquarium; however, the presence of adult guppies often leads to the predation of fry. Therefore, to increase the yield of offspring, it is advisable to establish a separate breeding tank that allows for easy segregation of adults from newborn fry.

In the breeding tank, providing either a thin substrate layer or a bare bottom is recommended, ensuring an abundance of plants to offer essential cover for the newborn fry. This setup facilitates the movement of plants when it becomes necessary to capture the parents and return them to the main aquarium. The female's gestation period ranges between 21 and 28 days, culminating in the birth of 11 to 25 live young, who promptly seek refuge among the sheltering plants.

Prompt removal of the adult fish from the breeding tank as soon as fry are observed is crucial to prevent predation. Returning the adults to their usual aquarium safeguards the safety and survival of the vulnerable fry. Initially, the newborn fry can be nourished with specially formulated powdered fry foods and microworms. As they grow, a gradual transition to finely crushed flakes and baby brine shrimp ensures their nutritional needs are met.

Diet & feeding

Picta Swamp Guppies, in their natural habitat, display a dietary preference for algae, plant-based nourishment, mosquito larvae, and small crustaceans. Emulating this feeding behaviour in the home aquarium is advisable. To meet their nutritional needs, a well-rounded approach can be adopted, incorporating high-quality dried foods like flakes, small pellets, and granules. Additionally, offering live, frozen, or freeze-dried fare such as mosquito larvae, daphnia, brine shrimp, and Bloodworms further enhances their diet. The inclusion of vegetable supplements like blanched spinach or shelled peas will be appreciated by these guppies, contributing to their overall health and well-being. By providing a diverse array of food options, you can ensure that your Picta Swamp Guppies receive a balanced and nutritionally-rich diet.

Other Guppies of interest