Guppy Fish: Breeding Secrets

when do guppy fish breed

Guppies are one of the world's most widely distributed tropical fish and are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish species. They are native to northeast South America but have been introduced to many environments and are now found all over the world. Guppies are live-bearing and breed rapidly, contributing to their popularity in aquariums.

Guppies rapidly reach maturity and can start reproducing at only 2 to 3 months of age. A female guppy under optimal conditions can give birth every 30 days, and each batch of fry can range from 20 to 50 baby guppies. This combination of maturing rapidly, birthing live young, and almost constant reproduction means guppies reproduce very quickly.

Guppies are easy to breed and will often breed without prompting from their owners. To breed guppies, you can follow these steps:

- Select a healthy male guppy and up to three healthy females. Breeding is less stressful for the females when the male's attention is divided.

- Set up a breeding tank with a gentle filter, low-floating plants for the fry, and caves for the guppies to breed. Set the water temperature to around 77-80 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 26.66 Celsius).

- Place the guppies in the breeding tank and wait for them to breed. The male will breed with one or several females multiple times to ensure fertilization.

- When you notice a dark mark on a female guppy's abdomen, it means she is pregnant. Check the females to see how many are pregnant, then remove the male and any non-pregnant females and return them to the main tank.

- Wait for a gestation period of 26 to 31 days. Feed the pregnant females three to five small, highly nutritious meals per day.

- Female guppies hide and shiver when they are about to give birth. Monitor the females during the birthing process and return them to the main tank afterward to prevent them from eating the fry.

- Feed the fry powdered fish flakes and brine shrimp, and change 40% of the tank's water every three days until the fry are old enough to join a regular tank, usually at least six weeks old.

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Guppy gestation period

Guppies are live-bearing fish, meaning that their young are born fully formed and ready to swim. The gestation period for a guppy varies, depending largely on the environment, with the average length of pregnancy falling between 22 and 28 days. However, if the water temperature is too cold, female guppies can remain pregnant for longer as this slows the development of their offspring.

Guppies breed rapidly and frequently, with female guppies becoming pregnant as soon as they reach maturity. A female guppy under optimal conditions can give birth every 30 days, and each batch of fry typically ranges from 20 to 50 baby guppies. Guppies are sexually mature within two to three months, and female guppies first produce offspring at 10 to 20 weeks of age, continuing to reproduce until 20 to 34 months of age.

Guppies are easy to breed, and in fact, they often breed without prompting from their owners. To breed guppies, it is recommended to select a healthy male guppy and up to three healthy females. A ratio of one male to three females is ideal as it makes the breeding process less stressful for the females. The male will breed with one or several of the females multiple times to ensure fertilisation.

The gestation period for guppies typically lasts between 26 and 31 days, and female guppies can become pregnant again immediately after giving birth. As such, it is possible to have a group of newborns every month, or more frequently if you are breeding multiple females.

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Guppy breeding tank setup

Guppies are prolific breeders, so you won't need anything too elaborate to get them to breed. However, there are some things to consider when setting up your guppy breeding tank.

Tank Size and Filtration

A separate 10-gallon tank should be sufficient for breeding guppies. However, if you plan on keeping the fry in the same tank as the parents, a 20-gallon tank is recommended. Guppies can breed in pretty much anything and don't require anything special like specific breeding kits.

Use a sponge filter or something similar, as an uncovered H.O.B. (Hang on Back) or canister filter can kill fry. Sponge filters still provide essential filtration and flow without sucking up the baby guppies.

Substrate and Decorations

The substrate is entirely up to you. Guppies are fine with gravel, sand, a bare bottom, or tile substrate. If you go for gravel, make sure it's not extremely fine, as guppies often pick at the substrate for pieces of uneaten food. Remove all tiny rocks that come with normal gravel.

Provide several large decorations and hiding places where female guppies can escape and hide from the males, who constantly pursue them. You will need at least three or four sight-break decorations or plants like java moss, subwassertang, and guppy grass, that will block the line of sight between two fish.

Lighting

A good breeding tank will also have lights installed. Lights will help guppy fry grow faster and be healthier. Keep the lights on for about 12 to 16 hours every single day. Don't forget that your guppies also need darkness, so make sure they get at least eight hours of darkness per day.

Water Parameters

Guppies need hard water with a lot of calcium to live. They prefer water temperatures of around 22.2–26.1 °C (72–79 °F) for reproduction and between 25.5 and 27.8 °C (78 and 82 °F) otherwise. They can withstand levels of salinity up to 150% that of normal seawater, so they can occasionally be included in marine tropical community tanks.

The pH should be on the higher end of 7 to the midrange of 8, though this usually isn't an issue if the gH (general hardness) and kH (carbonate hardness) are on the higher side. Guppies prefer water that has between 15-30 gH and 8 or more kH.

Maintenance

Just like your main fish tank, the breeding tank also needs proper maintenance. Regular water changes are a must. Make sure to change about 20 to 30% of the water each week and clean the tank and the water filter without disturbing your guppies.

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Guppy breeding behaviour

Guppies are live-bearing fish, meaning the females develop eggs inside their bodies and release them in time for hatching. They are highly adaptable and can thrive in different environmental and ecological conditions. They are also one of the most colourful tropical freshwater fish in the world.

Guppies are ovoviviparous, meaning that the females develop eggs inside their bodies and then release them in time for hatching. Guppies breed rapidly and frequently, with male guppies constantly trying to mate with females. A single mating can produce multiple batches of offspring, a characteristic called superfoetation. This means female guppies are almost constantly pregnant once they reach maturity.

Guppies are tropical fish and do best in temperatures between 23 and 29°C. Aim for a constant water temperature of 26°C to encourage breeding. Guppies like hard water, so maintain a pH level between 7.0 and 7.6.

Guppies are easy to breed and will often breed without prompting from their owners. To breed guppies, select a healthy male guppy and up to three healthy females. Breeding is less stressful for the females when the male's attention is divided. Set up a 10-gallon breeding tank and install a gentle filter, low-floating plants for the fry, and caves for the guppies to breed. Set the water temperature to about 79ºF.

Place the guppies in the breeding tank and wait for them to breed. The male will breed with one or several of the females multiple times to ensure fertilisation. When you notice a dark mark on a female guppy's abdomen, it means she is pregnant. Check the females to see how many are pregnant, then remove the male and any non-pregnant females and return them to the home tank.

Wait for between 26 and 31 days for the gestation period. Feed the pregnant females three to five small, highly nutritious meals per day. Female guppies hide and shiver when they are about to give birth. Monitor the females during the birthing process and return them to the home tank afterward to prevent them from eating the fry.

Guppies are some of the easiest aquarium fish to breed, and many guppies breed without prompting from their owners. However, the biggest concern when breeding guppies is the parents, as adult guppies will eat baby guppies. In a densely planted aquarium, at least some of the babies will avoid predation. However, for serious breeding efforts, a pregnant female should be carefully removed to a separate aquarium and returned to the main tank after giving birth.

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Guppy birthing signs

Guppies are live-bearing fish, giving birth to live young rather than laying eggs. The gestation period for guppies is around 20-40 days, and female guppies can give birth to anywhere between 20 and 200 fry per spawn. As the birthing time approaches, there are several signs that can indicate a guppy is in labour.

One of the most obvious signs is a change in the female guppy's gravid spot, a spot near the anal fin. This spot will darken and enlarge as the pregnancy progresses, and it may also change shape. In the case of yellow or albino guppies, the spot may be orange or pink. As the birth becomes imminent, the spot may become less prominent or disappear.

Another sign of an impending birth is the behaviour of the female guppy. She may start to separate herself from the other fish in the tank, seeking out a safe and secluded area to give birth. She may spend more time hiding or swimming in a corner of the tank, or resting at the bottom of the tank. The guppy may also become nervous when you come near her and may display aggressive behaviour towards males.

Physical changes will also be apparent. The female guppy's belly will become bulkier and more square-like in shape, particularly noticeable before feeding time. The guppy may also experience body contractions, which will look like a tightening and then relaxation of the muscles on the surface of her body. In addition, the guppy's colour may start to fade slightly as she tries to blend in with her surroundings.

It is important to keep the pregnant guppy stress-free, as stress can cause the guppy to give birth prematurely or to miscarry. Keeping the aquarium at a slightly warmer temperature of around 22-26°C can help to reduce stress. Providing hiding spots with plants or other decorations can also help to make the guppy feel more secure.

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Guppy fry care

Guppies are livebearers, giving birth to live fry, and are prolific breeders. A female guppy can deliver between 20 and 60 fry in a single birthing event, and this can occur roughly every 30 days. Guppy fry are born fully developed and immediately mobile, seeking shelter within the aquarium.

Tank Setup

If you are breeding guppies, it is best to have a separate breeding tank. Guppy parents can be cannibalistic, so it is important to provide the fry with hiding places. Guppy fry tend to sink, so use low-floating plants for cover. Some high cover is also required as healthy fry will swim upwards. It is recommended to not use any substrate on the bottom of the tank, as this makes it easier to clean and to count the number of fry. Java moss or spawning moss is ideal for providing hiding spots. Keep the tank temperature at around 78 degrees F (25.5 degrees C).

Feeding

Guppy fry have a voracious appetite and a quick digestion cycle of 20-30 minutes, so they are often ready to eat every half hour. For optimal growth, feed them 5-10 times a day. Guppy fry will eat anything the adult guppies do, but ensure the food is crushed into small enough pieces. Live foods are optimal for fry, such as baby brine shrimp, microworms, daphnia, or vinegar eels. If these are not available, frozen or dried foods are suitable alternatives. Crushed flake foods or specialised high-protein powder foods are also good choices.

Water Maintenance

Regular water changes are important to keep the tank clean. Depending on the tank's size and fish count, consider performing 50% water changes twice a week. Some breeders even recommend daily water changes of 50-100% of the tank's volume.

Lighting

Keep the tank illuminated for 12-16 hours a day to help prevent spinal deformities in the fry. However, also ensure a natural resting period of 6-8 hours of darkness.

Health

Guppy fry are susceptible to several health issues, including swim bladder disease, causing buoyancy problems, and fungal infections that manifest as white patches. External parasites might cause erratic swimming, while internal parasites can lead to bloating. Malnutrition and deformities can also occur due to poor breeding or inadequate care.

Transitioning to the Community Tank

Once the fry have reached a size where they are no longer easy prey for larger fish, they can be transitioned to the community tank. This usually occurs around the four-week mark when they have developed distinct colour patterns and have grown significantly. Prior to this, they are at risk from predators.

Frequently asked questions

You can tell if a female guppy is pregnant by looking out for a dark mark on her abdomen, called a gravid spot. This spot will become noticeably darker when the eggs have been fertilised.

The gestation period for guppies is typically between 21 and 31 days.

Guppies breed rapidly and frequently. Female guppies can become pregnant again immediately after giving birth, so you can expect a new batch of fry every month, or more if you are breeding multiple females.

A female guppy can give birth to between 20 and 50 fry at a time.

Guppy fry are born fully prepared to survive on their own, but they are often eaten by adult guppies. To prevent this, you should remove the mother from the tank after she has given birth, or provide plenty of plants and hiding spots in the tank for the fry.

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