Guppy Breeding: Mixing Varieties

can different types of guppies breed

Guppies are known for their diversity in patterns, colours, and tail shapes. There are 276 kinds of guppies, each with a wide range of subspecies and differences in colour and pattern. They can coexist and breed with each other, but breeding different types of guppies is generally not recommended. Interbreeding between related guppies (inbreeding) usually results in low success rates. Guppies are resilient breeders, mating throughout the year, and their reproductive systems are such that any type of guppy can breed with another guppy.


Guppies can breed with other types of fish

Guppies are resilient breeders with an amazing breeding capacity. They are livebearers, which means they give birth to live young, rather than laying eggs. Guppies have a strong urge to mate and reproduce, and they mate throughout the year.

However, there are several challenges to crossbreeding guppies and mollies. Firstly, only male guppies should breed with female mollies, as female guppies cannot safely hold the larger fry of a male molly. Secondly, there should be no female guppies around when crossbreeding, as fish will always give first preference to their own kind for reproduction. Thirdly, the ratio of male to female needs to be correct, with 2-3 female mollies for every male guppy.

Even if the crossbreeding is successful, the chances of the hybrid offspring surviving are minimal, and those that do survive will be sterile.

Guppies can also crossbreed with Endler's Livebearer, a type of fish that is becoming rarer in the wild.

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Guppies are livebearers

Guppies are ovoviviparous, which means they develop their fish fry in eggs within their bodies. The young receive nutrition from the egg's yolk and are born free-swimming. Livebearers are often peaceful, resilient, and easy-to-care-for fish. They are a great choice for beginners as they tend to be hardy and can breed without any special living conditions.

Guppies have an amazing breeding capacity and are resilient breeders. They mate throughout the year and can breed approximately once a month. The male guppy transfers spermatophores (sperm packages) into the female, which then separate into different pockets of sperm. The female stores these as separate, multiple broods, which gestate and are born one after the other, in a sort of reproductive factory line.

Guppies are dioecious, which means the sexes are separate, and sexually dimorphic, meaning it is easy to tell the difference between a male and a female guppy. The males are more colourful, while the females are larger and have a dark spot near the anal fin called a gravid spot, which gets darker when the female is pregnant.

Guppies can breed with other guppies, but breeding with other types of livebearers is not physiologically possible. Inbreeding between related guppies is generally unsuccessful and should be avoided.

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Guppy breeding requires a specific tank setup

Tank Size and Filtration

It is recommended to have a separate breeding tank with a capacity of at least 10 gallons, though 20 gallons is ideal. This provides ample space for the guppies to breed and allows for proper filtration and water flow.

For filtration, a sponge filter is ideal as it provides essential filtration without posing a danger to the small fry, who could be sucked into other types of filters.

Substrate and Decorations

The choice of substrate is flexible, as guppies can adapt to gravel, sand, bare bottoms, or tile substrates. However, if using gravel, ensure it is not extremely fine, as guppies may pick at the substrate for uneaten food and accidentally ingest small rocks.

It is important to provide hiding places and decorations in the tank. Guppies like to mate and reproduce in caves or under plants that offer privacy and protection from other fish. You can purchase ready-made hiding places, such as fake rocks and caves, or opt for aquatic plants that mimic their natural habitat. These hiding spots are crucial, as male guppies constantly pursue and harass females, so the females need places to escape and hide.


Lighting is an important aspect of the guppy breeding tank. Lights help guppy fry grow faster and healthier. It is recommended to keep the lights on for about 12 to 16 hours daily, ensuring they also get adequate rest and darkness for at least 8 hours. Finding a balance is crucial, as constant lighting can stress the guppies.

Water Parameters

Maintaining optimal water parameters is vital for successful guppy breeding. Guppies require hard water with a high amount of calcium. The water temperature should be between 77 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit, with a hardness of 8-12 dGH, and nitrates at or below 10 ppm.


Providing a high-nutrition feed is essential for promoting healthy breeding in guppies. A rich and varied diet will ensure the fish are in optimal condition for reproduction.


Guppies are polyandrous

Guppies are highly polyandrous, meaning female guppies have multiple male partners. Guppies are prolific breeders, giving birth to approximately 100 offspring every month through both consensual and forced mating.

Guppies mate throughout the year, and their reproductive systems and survival strategies are remarkably resilient. They are dioecious, meaning the sexes are separate, and sexually dimorphic, meaning it is easy to tell the difference between male and female guppies. Males are smaller, more colourful, and have more pronounced fins, including a modified anal fin called a gonopodium, which is used to transfer sperm to the female. Females are larger and have a dark spot near the anal fin called a gravid spot, which gets darker when the female is pregnant.

Guppies are livebearers, giving birth to live young, rather than laying eggs. The female stores sperm in her ovaries and gonoducts, which can continue to fertilise her eggs for up to eight months, allowing males to reproduce posthumously. Guppies are highly adaptable and can thrive in many different environmental and ecological conditions. They are native to northeast South America but have been introduced to many environments and are now found all over the world.

While different types of guppies can breed, inbreeding between related guppies is usually unsuccessful. Inbreeding depression has negative fitness consequences, and species have evolved mechanisms to avoid it. Guppies have a post-copulatory mechanism of inbreeding avoidance based on competition between the sperm of rival males.

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Guppies are susceptible to inbreeding

One of the main issues with inbreeding in guppies is the loss of genetic diversity, specifically heterozygosity. This reduction in genetic variation can have far-reaching impacts on various fitness-related traits, including survival and reproductive success. Inbred guppies may exhibit lower disease resistance, making them more susceptible to infections and increasing the risk of population extinction.

For example, a study by Willow Smallbone, Cock van Oosterhout, and Jo Cable published in "Experimental Parasitology" in 2016 examined the relationship between inbreeding and susceptibility to Gyrodactylus turnbulli infection in guppies. The results showed that inbred individuals had higher parasite intensity and were less able to clear the infection compared to outbred fish. This suggests that inbreeding can negatively impact the immune system, making guppies more vulnerable to diseases.

To avoid inbreeding, it is important to separate closely related guppies as the population in the tank increases. Alternatively, breeders can focus on breeding guppies of the same species but different strands to prevent interbreeding and maintain genetic diversity. By following these practices, hobbyists can improve the success rate of guppy breeding and promote healthier populations.

Additionally, guppies are known for their prolific breeding capacity, and their reproductive systems and survival strategies are quite remarkable. They mate throughout the year, and the female guppies can store multiple broods of sperm, giving birth about once a month. This continuous breeding cycle can further exacerbate the issue of inbreeding if not carefully managed.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, different types of guppies can breed with each other. However, it is not always recommended. Inbreeding between relatives (e.g. brothers, sisters, cousins) is usually unsuccessful and can lead to genetic changes that increase the offspring's susceptibility to illness.

There are 276 kinds of guppies, with a wide range of subspecies, colours and patterns. Some of the most common types of guppies are the Fancy Guppy and the Endler Guppy. Guppies can also be categorised by their tail shape, body pattern, tail pattern, body colour, eye colour, and pectoral fins.

Guppies are dioecious, meaning the sexes are separate, and sexually dimorphic, meaning it is easy to tell the difference between a male and female guppy. The male guppy quickly transfers sperm into the female, which she then stores as separate, multiple broods. The female gives birth about once a month until all the broods have been born.

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