Guppies are one of the most popular fish in the fish-keeping world. The average guppies, also known as mutt guppies, are inexpensive. But “fancy” guppies—which are selectively bred—can be more expensive, depending on the rarity and appearance of the strain. The most expensive guppies are typically competition guppies, also known as “show guppies.”
In fact, some breeders take years to create a single strain of guppies. This painstaking task requires, in most cases, a minimum of 10 aquariums and a lot of time and perseverance. When a new strain is created, it may not be readily available for most buyers since only the breeder has access to a breeding pair. This allows the breeder to sell these unique strains at a premium.
A well-known guppy breeder from Thailand is called Magic. He is known for his beautiful strains of guppies. A breeding pair of Moscows typically sell between 100 to 400 US dollars, not including the cost of importation which costs between 100 to 150 US dollars extra. You can find his page here.
Mutt guppies are the cheapest and readily available in any local fish store. Typically, you’ll find them selling for 2 to 5 US dollars.
But why are they so cheap?
Since mutt guppies have not been selectively bred, their inherited characteristics are typically unknown and less refined. The color, size, and general appearance of mutt guppies are random and not so defined, for example, the Moscow guppy, whose color is uniform and deep in color.
As a beginner or advanced fishkeeper, you may become interested in selectively-bred guppies. The most expensive guppies are typically the most beautiful and rarest strains, so you get what you pay for.
What makes a guppy rare?
Rare guppies come in a variety of vibrant colors. They also have larger fins with unique patterns. For example, the Dumbo guppy, named after Dumbo, the elephant, has big fins that resemble the ears of an elephant.
Additionally, their tails are beautifully fluid compared to the tail of an average guppy. These enhanced longer tails fan out and flow through the water as the rare guppy swims. Because of these characteristics, they will cost much more. This is because these guppies have been bred for generations to bring about the rarities they exhibit.
The cost of breeder guppies can vary greatly, depending on the rarity and location of purchase. You can usually get a breeding pair (one male, one female) for about 30 US dollars. Some rarer strains of guppies will come at a higher price. A good example is the purple Moscow guppy is a beauty that costs, on average, 40-60 US dollars per adult fish.
Red Albino Guppy
Platinum Pastel Tuxedo Guppy
Blue Tail Albino Guppy
Since competition guppies must represent the best of the breed, they can start somewhere around 100 to 150 US dollars. Each fish results from selective breeding for generations; records of pedigrees are kept so that the “show guppy” have the brightest, most beautiful colors.
Only the absolute best of guppies make it to the competition. Show guppies must comply with the standards required to enter competitions. Once entered, they are categorized into classes like purple, albino, or Snakeskin Varigated. The guppies are then analyzed meticulously by a panel of judges. Typically, the winners of the competition earn trophies and/or a certificate.
Following a win, breeders will begin to sell the winning strain of guppy to other fish-keepers. A winning strain will obviously be more expensive and may not be widely available since only the breeder can access the strain. Generally, the strain of the most recent winners will be the most expensive.
If you are considering becoming involved in the world of competition guppies as a beginner. It’s best to start with low-cost mutt guppies to breed. When you feel you are ready for rarer fish, be sure to choose a reputable breeder to buy your fancy fry. Be aware these fish are harder to raise to adulthood. They succumb faster than other fish to water issues or changing temperatures. By learning first, you avoid losing your investment in these higher-cost guppies.