The History of the Guppy

The History of the Guppy

If you are going to remain as a standard guppy enthusiast and just enjoy this breed of fish that you have in your tank, then your interest of course is going to be focused on those that are before you. However, if you are going to get into guppy breeding and take it to the level where you are going to be selling breeding fish, then you want to portray yourself as one that is knowledgeable in the species. In order to do that you really should know the history of the guppy.

It is commonly believed that in 1866 a gentleman by the name of John Guppy sent the first guppy to London. It is said that it was collected from the streams in Trinidad. In honor of Mr. Guppy the small fish was named after him and this is how this species first got its name. The consensus is however, that even though that Mr. Guppy has been given the credit for discovering this fish known as the wild guppy that this was not actually true.

It is believed that a man called De Filippi who was a Spaniard discovered the wild guppy on the Barbados Island in 1862 and at the time of his discovery, he named it the Lebistes Poeciliodes. Then going back even before this it is believed that there was a discovery made by a German individual by the name of Julius Gollmer concerning the wild guppy, and because of a filing error he did not get the credit for this. This was believed to have taken place in 1857 to 1858.

While he may have been impressed with this new found species which he sent to the Imperial Persian Academy of Science in Berlin, it did not create any excitement there. The fish remained in specimen jars at this location until 1859 where at that time a scientific description was written about them.

Then in 1866 the males that Gomer had sent to Berlin were once again found and labelled as the Gitandinus Guppy. Over time the guppy ended up receiving more than 11 different scientific names as they were sent to various museums. What was later discovered is that these were not new species of the guppy but different strains.

The hobby guppy

Looking back in history it shows that the first live Guppies ended up in Germany in December 1908. These were imported to Hamburg by Carl Siggelkow. When they arrived at the docks they were sprayed with various chemicals to ensure that there was not going to be any spread of disease. While doing this many of the guppies were killed off but some did survive and were able to breed.

Guppies are well known for their reproductive qualities and breeding rates and they were dubbed with the nickname of Million fish. You may also hear the guppy referred to as the Missionary fish and the reason behind this is because it had the ability to encourage many people to become guppy enthusiasts creating the hobby.

The first common strain amongst the guppy hobbyist was the sword tail. The sword tail can be found in the wild but the double sword tail is not and it is believed that this strain was developed around 1928. The first veil tail guppy was the first show guppy to be shown in Germany in 1954. It received a great deal of attention. From here the hobby of show guppies continued to grow.


  1. It makes sense to educate oneself when you are investing money into like show guppies

  2. I found this really interesting and fun to read, it is stirring up my interest in wanting to get into some breeding of this fish

  3. It just goes to show that credit is often not given where credit is due. I am going to make sure that I get credit for the amazing show guppies that I am going to breed by documenting it well.

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