Guppy Pregnancy: Signs Of Birth

how do I tell when my guppy will give birth

Guppies are live-bearing fish, giving birth to live young rather than laying eggs. Female guppies typically give birth to between 2 and 200 babies, known as 'fry', in a process that can take up to 6 hours, though it may be longer if the mother is stressed.

There are several physical and behavioural signs that indicate when a female guppy is close to giving birth. One of the most recognisable is the appearance of a 'gravid spot' – a darkened area near the guppy's anal vent. As the birth approaches, this spot may become more pronounced and larger, and the colour of the guppy's belly may darken. The female guppy's belly will also become rounder and larger as the eggs develop inside her.

Behaviourally, pregnant guppies tend to isolate themselves from the rest of the group, seeking out calm and secluded spaces. They may also exhibit restlessness and erratic swimming patterns due to discomfort caused by the growing embryos. As the birth nears, the guppy's breathing rate may increase, and physical contractions may be visible.

Characteristics Values
Belly size Larger, boxy appearance
Gravid spot colour Darker, maroon or black
Behaviour Still, hides, less active, erratic swimming, isolation
Eating habits Loss of appetite, refusal to eat
Breathing rate Increased
Tail movement Constantly lifted
Contractions Visible


The guppy's gravid spot will darken and become more pronounced

The gravid spot is a darkened area near the guppy's anal vent, which is indicative of pregnancy. It is a unique physical trait only observable in pregnant female guppies. The spot is the developing embryos within the guppy's body, visible due to the female's semi-transparent skin.

As the pregnancy progresses, the spot will become more noticeable and darker in colour. It will be more obvious when the guppy is close to giving birth. The spot may even turn black, and you may be able to see the eyes of the babies inside.

The gravid spot is the most apparent difference between a sick and pregnant guppy, so it is important to monitor this area to determine the health of your fish.


The guppy's belly will expand and become rounder

A guppy's belly will expand and become rounder when it is pregnant. This is one of the most noticeable physical changes that occur during pregnancy. The belly will continue to get bigger over time, and the guppy will become very large with a boxy appearance when it is close to delivery time. The gestation period for guppies is usually around 20-32 days, and they can give birth to 2-200 babies at a time.

In addition to the expansion of the belly, there are other physical and behavioural signs that indicate an impending birth. The gravid spot, a darkened area near the guppy's anal vent, will become more pronounced and darker in colour. The overall shape and colour of the pregnant guppy may also begin to fade, as female guppies have a natural camouflage instinct to blend their appearance with their surroundings.

Behavioural changes include a decrease in activity, with pregnant guppies often settling at the bottom of the aquarium or hiding behind plants or decorations. They may also exhibit restlessness, swimming erratically or darting excessively around the tank due to discomfort caused by the growing embryos. Dietary habits may change as well, with some pregnant guppies showing indifference to food or even refusing to eat altogether.

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The guppy will exhibit behavioural changes, such as restlessness and isolation

Guppies are social creatures that usually enjoy the company of their peers. However, as a female guppy approaches her birthing period, she will likely exhibit behavioural changes, such as restlessness and isolation. This shift in behaviour is a defence mechanism to protect herself and her offspring from potential threats during the vulnerable delivery period.

During this time, you may observe a noticeable shift in the natural social tendencies of the female guppy. She may isolate herself from the rest of the community, including displaying aggressive behaviours like fin nipping. This isolation is driven by an instinctual need to find a quiet, secure location to give birth and safeguard her fry.

The pregnant guppy's swimming patterns may also change significantly. You might notice erratic swimming actions or excessive darting around the tank due to discomfort caused by the growing embryos. The presence of larger embryos can further contribute to this restless behaviour, as they restrict the internal space the guppy is accustomed to having.

Additionally, pregnant guppies tend to exhibit a preference for calm, secluded spaces. They may seek out densely planted corners of the tank or hide behind plants and decorations. This behaviour is driven by their natural survival instincts, as they seek to avoid predators and stressful stimuli while preparing to give birth.

It is important to note that these behavioural changes are not consistent across all female guppies. Different fish may exhibit varying levels of behavioural alterations, but keeping an eye on their social interactions, movements, and dietary habits can provide valuable clues about an upcoming delivery.

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The guppy's breathing rate will increase

An increase in a guppy's breathing rate is a clear indication that it is nearing the time of birth. Typically, a healthy guppy breathes around 60 times per minute, so if you observe an elevated breathing rate, it is a sign that birth is imminent. This is one of the physical signs that indicate a guppy is close to giving birth, along with body contractions, which appear as muscle tightening and relaxation.

As the birth approaches, you may also notice behavioural changes in the guppy. For example, it may start swimming in place, remaining in the same spot in the tank. It might also try to hide from view or exhibit aggressive behaviours like fin nipping.

Additionally, the guppy's appearance will change as it gets closer to delivery. Its belly will expand and become rounder, and the colour may darken, especially in the area near the anal vent, known as the gravid spot. This spot becomes more pronounced as the guppy nears delivery due to the development of embryos inside the guppy's body.


The guppy will experience body contractions

Body contractions in a guppy will be visible as a tightening of the muscles on the surface of the fish's body, followed by a relaxation phase. This process may repeat several times during labour. It is important to monitor the guppy's body contractions as they can be a sign of distress. If the guppy has been in a breeding box for 24 hours and has not given birth, it is recommended to return her to the main tank.

In addition to body contractions, other physical signs that labour is imminent include a bulging belly, a darkening of the gravid spot near the anal vent, and an increase in breathing rate. The gravid spot may become so dark that the eyes of the fry within the mother's transparent tummy can be seen.

Behavioural changes also occur as the guppy approaches the birthing phase. The pregnant guppy may exhibit restlessness, isolation from the group, and a preference for calm, secluded spaces. These behaviours are driven by an instinctual need to protect their offspring and find a safe spot to give birth.

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Frequently asked questions

A pregnant guppy will have a larger belly, which will become more rounded and boxy as she gets closer to giving birth. You may also notice a dark spot near the guppy's anal vent, known as a gravid spot, which becomes more pronounced during pregnancy.

Guppy pregnancy usually lasts between 20 and 32 days, with an average of 22 to 26 days. The gestation period depends on factors such as tank temperature, cleanliness, and the female's health.

Pregnant guppies may exhibit restlessness and spend more time hiding in secluded spots. They may also show a decreased appetite, refuse to eat, or spit out food. Additionally, you may notice erratic swimming patterns and increased breathing rates.

Guppies typically give birth to 2-200 babies, also known as fry. However, the number of viable fry can vary, and not all of them may survive.

It is important to minimise stress for a pregnant guppy. Provide a well-balanced diet with a variety of food options. If needed, use a breeding box or net breeder to separate the pregnant guppy from other fish, but only for a short time to avoid causing unnecessary stress.

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