5 Best Breeding Boxes for Guppy Fish
Raising guppies is easy at first glance but there has to be something most people don’t know, right? Indeed, and that would be stopping guppy adults from eating their fry. This problem has haunted us fish keepers for many years, and the only working solution was to separate the adults from the fry.
To promote higher survivability among fry, you need to isolate them in a breeding box attached to the main aquarium. Water can flow freely through the box, but the adult guppies can’t get inside. After the pregnant females give birth to the fry, you should take it out and leave only the fry there.
Why Makes Breeding Boxes Good?
Many fishkeepers wonder whether a breeding box is better than a separate tank. I’d argue that, for the short-term, a breeding box is better for the following reasons:
- Convenience – You don’t need to manage the water parameters of the breeding box
- Affordability – No need to buy an additional filter or heater, since the box is attached to the main aquarium
- Quickness – Simply attach the breeding box to the main tank, and move the pregnant females inside
However, there’s a big disadvantage to breeding boxes – they are temporary. You can’t hold guppies inside indefinitely because their growth will be stunted and their health will decay.
At most, keep them inside the breeding box for two weeks. After that, move them back in the main tank, or better yet, place them in a new tank. That way, they have some time to grow into adults.
Still, your first breeding box choice is important when trying to understand how to breed guppies. Here are my top picks for guppy breeding boxes:
1. Marina Hang-On Breeding Box
This particular breeding box doesn’t need another heater or filter because the main tank takes care of that. Just install it on the outside of your aquarium and the rest takes care of itself. Moreover, the Marina Hang-On Breeding Box can be used as an acclimation box or a separate tank, as well.
Due to its position on the side of the tank, the breeding box is easily accessible. You can clean it in a few minutes without bothering the fry too much. It also gives you a clear view of the fish without moving around too much.
With a capacity of 0.5 gallons of water, the Marina breeding box is big enough for a medium-sized population of fry. Water from the main aquarium will pass through the breeding box, and this means you don’t need to control the water parameters in the breeding box.
However, you’ll still need an air pump to offer proper maintenance to the box. You should find some great ones on the internet. The Tetra Whisper Air Pump comes to mind for its minimum price and great characteristics.
2. XMHF Nylon Mesh Fish Fry Hatchery & Breeder Box
You may be surprised that not all breeding boxes look the same, nor are they used the same. This one includes a plastic frame and a net, which you will attach to the top of the main tank. There are several suction cups in the kit, and this is how the breeder box stays attached to the aquarium.
But watch out that the top of the net is above the water level. Speaking of the net, it keeps the adult guppies and fry separated from each other. Moreover, water from the main aquarium will flow through the breeder box, so you won’t need to control the water parameters specifically for the box.
You can use the XMHS Nylon Mesh Breeder Box to isolate aggressive fish from your guppies, as well. Or you can keep sick fish quarantined from the rest of the healthy ones. In any case, this breeder box is an affordable and simple tool to keep your adult guppies from eating their fry.
3. PETS ISLAND Aquarium Fishes Breeding Box
This breeding box works like the previous one – you place it in the main tank and use the suction cups to lock it into place. Water will flow through the indents of the box while preventing the fry from getting out or adult guppies from getting in. The water parameters stay the same in both mediums!
The suction cups are high-quality, allowing you to fix the breeding box inside the main tank. Moreover, both the box and the suction cups are transparent, which allows you to check on the fry all the time. The transparent lid can secure the breeding box while not limiting your view, as well.
This box also allows for isolation of aggressive or sick fish, if you don’t have a separate tank on hand. Still, this is a temporary solution until the fry become big enough to survive on their own, among adult guppies. It may be small, but the PETS ISLAND Box is both affordable and simple to use!
4. Alfie Pet – Breeding & Hatchery Box
Alfie Pet Breeding Boxes are all very sturdy and hardy, allowing for prolonged use with many generations of guppy fry. The functionality remains the same, as you can install the box inside the aquarium. Water enters through, giving the same parameters to the breeding box as those in the main tank.
There’s a handy separator that helps isolate the adults from the fry. But it also works great if you want to separate aggressive fish from weaker ones. You don’t need an aquarium pump, heater, or filter because the main tank already has them.
Before using it, though, make sure you remove the plastic wrapper. As you place it inside the aquarium, the breeder box needs to be completely transparent, allowing you to see everything inside it. In my view, the Alfie Pet breeding box is better than most other alternatives, thanks to its sturdy design and appealing appearance.
5. Finnex External Refugium & Breeder Box with Water Pump
Big aquariums need hang-on breeder boxes that you install inside the aquarium. They won’t take too much space, allowing you to separate fish without an inconvenience to the other fish. But if you have a small aquarium, hang-on breeder boxes become less appealing and functional.
When your aquarium space is limited and you have many fish, an external breeding box is what you need. The Finnex External Refugium is a great solution in this case, and it also comes with a great design that lets you see everything inside without much hassle. You can easily use it as a nursery for guppy fry or a hospital for injured fish.
It also has a refugium breeder function, thanks to its water pump that circulates the water inflow and outflow. You can adjust the water flow yourself until you get to a manageable level suitable to your fish. Finnex Breeder Boxes also work with clip-on lights, if you want to add extra luminosity to the tank.
Finally, this breeder box doesn’t require other equipment like a filter or heater. The water pump included in the kit is more than enough for an autonomous system!
What’s The Best Breeding Box for You?
It depends on your needs and what you already have. Is your aquarium large enough to support a hang-on breeding box inside the tank? Setting up a temporary nursery for guppy fry is an important step toward ensuring the survivability of your fish. Naturally, you’ll need to be properly documented and confident before making a choice.
If your aquarium is large enough, I recommend getting an internal breeding box because you don’t need to control the water parameters separately. But if you have a small aquarium, then a hang-on external breeding box is a better option. The latter is more comfortable to install and manage since you won’t disturb the fish in the main tank while doing so.
I do recommend that you double-check whether external breeding boxes come pre-installed with water pumps. If not, then you’ll need to purchase one yourself, and that’s another piece of research you need to do. It’s better to choose breeding comes that comes with a water pump included. That way, you only need to install it and it’ll work like a charm!
Other Methods to Save Guppy Fry from Being Eaten
Breeding boxes aren’t the only methods at your disposal if you want to save your fry from being eaten. Other ways exist, and you may find them more accessible or affordable, depending on your needs. You can try:
– A separate tank
This one is definitely more expensive than a breeding box but, in many ways, it offers more functionality and long-term benefits. Breeding boxes can only house fry for up to two weeks at most. After that, you’ll need to move them to a separate tank or the main aquarium.
The water parameters of the second tank should be the same as those in the main tank, including temperature, plants, lights, heater, filter, and more. Place the pregnant female inside the tank until she gives birth. Then, remove her to prevent any acts of cannibalism on her part.
You’ll spot pregnant females easily by checking for a V-shaped abdomen, a reclusive behavior, and an enlarged abdomen. To avoid stressing out the female when moving her, I recommend setting the separate tank with the same water parameters as the original one.
Once she gives birth, it’s up to you to care for the guppies. Watch their dietary needs and water parameters for best survivability chances. The feeding schedule should be the same until they grow to adults (multiple times per day).
– Live Plants
You should already know about this solution but plants are often underrated when it comes to saving fry from being eaten. Frogbit, moss, guppy grass, and other plants offer plenty of hiding spots for guppy fry, as well as soft algae that they can graze on. Food and survivability under one single package!
Though, live plants aren’t a foolproof solution since it largely depends on the actual guppy fry to run to the hiding spots. If they aren’t fast or versatile enough, they still won’t escape being eaten.
– DIY Breeding Box
If you can’t spare the money for a brand-new breeding box, you can make one yourself, at home. If you have a plastic jar, some rubber bands, and a net at home, you can create a great breeding box for your fry.
With the plastic container on hand, place the net over the opening, and then secure it using rubber bands. Now cut the container in half and place the meshed half in the other half, facing downwards toward the bottom.
Now you should secure both halves with rubber bands, and make sure the upper container is sitting inside the other one upside down. Put the contraption inside the aquarium, let the water fill it to the top, and then secure it to the side of the aquarium with some duct tape.
Put the pregnant female in the unmeshed half of the container so that, when she gives birth, the fry will pass through the net into the other half of the container. Place some floating plants in the breeding box so the female doesn’t become stressed!
Once she gives birth, you can safely remove her from the breeding box and let the fry develop in peace. Though, don’t keep them inside the breeding box for more than two weeks, as it can seriously impact their development.
Based on why you’re breeding guppies, I can recommend a separate tank, a professional breeding box, or a DIY one. If you want to sell guppies, then I’d invest in a separate tank for the extra functionality and safety. The investment is more than worthwhile, and your profits will soar.
But if you’re only doing it as a hobby, then a breeding box, professional or otherwise, is a fitting solution for your needs. After all, you don’t care if some fry die in the meantime. As long as some of them survive to multiply the guppy population, it’s alright. Breeding boxes are more affordable and accessible than a separate tank, as well.
Leave any questions down below and I’ll be happy to reply!