Guppies are one of the easiest species to care for and breed, as they are pretty durable fish and not very fussy. They can adapt to a wide range of water parameters and tank mates, as long as they do not become overly aggressive or territorial. They are also very beautiful and come in a wide variety of colors and fin shapes. Breeding Guppies come in several varieties including: Wild (gray or olive coloring), Blue (a vibrant blue shade), Blonde (lighter colors with patches of black pigment), or Albino (white or light colors with red eyes). Combining these basic patterns results in amazing coloring and unique fish.
In a healthy environment, guppies will mate shortly after being introduced. The female carries the young in her belly, which can easily be noticed in a short while due to a dark mark on her abdomen called a gravid spot. The gestation usually takes between 26 and 31 days, depending on how many fry she carries. Approaching full term, the female’s belly will become square rather than round. You can easily spot a female about to give birth, as she will begin to be less active, search for hiding places and change her eating behavior by abstaining from eating or spitting her food out.
The female gives birth to live fry, which are able to live on their own just moments after being born, as long as adult fish do not mingle with them; it is best to keep them separate until they are large enough. Feeding them the best quality food available will boost healthy growth.
The water has to be mildly filtered, as fry are very sensitive. You can always keep your old filter if you cannot afford to change it, but you can cover it with sheer tights if you think it is too strong and can suck up the young guppies. The water temperature should be kept between 77-82 degrees Fahrenheit and cleaned frequently, as well as replaced partially.
Breeding guppies can be done either in the community tank or a separate breeding tank, though each has its ups and downs. Here are both methods, so that you can choose what works best for you:
Breeding Guppies in the Community Tank
The community tank can be a difficult place for breeding fish, as adults often like to feast on newly hatched fry. This is why the babies need lots of places to hide until they grow large enough to avoid being eaten. Even the parents can turn cannibalistic, so it is better to keep the young separated from the adults during this time.
Another disadvantage would be not being able to select certain fish for breeding, as well as not being able to control the number of births a female has, which can lead to her becoming weakened.
Instead, the community tank is an already established and cycled tank, which makes the breeding pairs feel more comfortable. Also, breeding in a large community tank offers the surprise of never knowing the coloration of the young until growing up.
Breeding Guppies in a Breeding Tank
The breeding tank offers the huge advantage of allowing you to select the fish you want to reproduce. However, never place a single pair in the tank, as the male will harass the female and even grow aggressive towards her, which is not the behavior desired. The best option is to place a male together with two, or even three, females. This way, the male’s attention will be divided between the females, allowing them to be more relaxed.
Also, the breeding tank is an easier place to control and allows you to set up the best environment for the breeding fish. It is best to place a lot of plants and mosses to allow the fry to hide, especially if you plan on keeping the female with them, although it is best to remove her from the tank immediately after giving birth to avoid the fry from being eaten.
Do not use any substrate in the breeding tank, as it makes it harder to spot uneaten food or other residue to clean thoroughly; the water has to be very clean in order to promote healthy growth.
The disadvantage of having a separate breeding tank is the higher maintenance cost, especially with filters, heaters, and extra space taken, but most breeders agree it is worth the effort.
If you cannot afford to keep a breeding tank or there is not enough space, you can place the pregnant females into breeding traps attached to the inside of the main tank, just days before giving birth. Always remove them immediately after the fry are born, and pay special attention to the young before releasing them, too.
If you are a beginner aquarist, you can always start with guppies, breed them to grow your community, or even sell them to your local pet store to earn a small profit.