Are Guppies Easy to Breed?
Yes, guppies are extremely easy to breed. Guppies are actually so proficient at breeding that the female can give birth months in a row after only having access to males once.
That’s because guppy females can store the male’s sperm for up to 10 months or even more. They will use the sperm deposits in case of emergency when, due to environmental factors, males are no longer around.
This is why so many guppy keepers experience pregnant females in female-only tanks even months after removing the males.
But what else can you learn about the guppies’ breeding? Here are the essentials!
How Fast do Baby Guppies Grow?
Guppy fry will undergo 4 core growth phases:
The Fry Phase – At this point, the fry has just been born. It will measure approximately 0.2 inches and display an immediate hiding behavior. They do so to shield themselves from predators and even adult guppies that tend to eat fry in early stages of life. The fry will start to eat as soon as they’re born, and their diet should consist of primarily of protein and animal fat, with the occasional veggies.
- The Juvenile Phase – The fry are now between 0.4 to 0.8 inches in length and 1-month old. You will begin to differentiate between males and females since colors will start to show up. The females may also appear slightly larger. The fry’s diet should remain the same, rich in protein and animal fat from brine shrimp, beef heart, egg yolk, bloodworms, etc.
- The Young Phase – This phase begins when the fry is 2-months old. At this point, you need to separate the males from the females, since 2-month-old guppies can already reproduce. Their diet will need to change at this point, cutting down on the protein and fat intake. The fry’s metabolic rates will slow down, and a protein and fat-rich diet may hurt them.
- The Adult Phase – The Adult Phase begins when the fry is 6 months old. You can now clearly distinguish between males and females, as guppies won’t grow any more past this point. Their dietary needs have long stabilized, and each fish will begin to fill its gender-specific roles within the guppy community.
What Age Can Guppies Breed?
Although guppies reach adulthood at around 6 months old, they can breed way before that. The earliest guppies will breed is at 2 months of age, making them some of the most prolific aquarium fish in the world. This can also cause problems if you don’t want them to procreate.
Many guppy keepers have either male or female-specific tanks, although each option comes with its specific downsides. If you’re keen on keeping a gender-mixed tank, at least quarantine pregnant females when they approach labor.
You can tell when the time comes by analyzing the female’s behavior. Due to labour contractions, guppy females will start to refuse food, swim in place, and even show jittery movements. Moving the guppy female into a different habitat during labor will allow the fry to be born in a safe and comfortable environment.
If you don’t want to keep them, euthanasia is always an option. If you want to keep the most handsome ones, you can choose the ones you like and discard the others.
How Fast Do Guppies Breed?
Guppies will breed every month for most of their lives. They become fertile at around 2 months of age and will produce offspring monthly for 1.5-2 years. As I’ve already shown, this can happen with or without guppy males.
It’s enough for the female to contact guppy males before you purchase it. The female can then produce monthly offspring absent of any males for months to come, up to a year.
A single female guppy can produce thousands of fry over its lifespan. You should keep this in mind in case you’re looking to have a mixed tank.
How Many Babies do Guppies Have?
The number of fry a female will produce will generally depend on the female’s age. A 2-3-month-old female may only produce a few fry, typically between 2 and 20. The older the female gets, the more fry it can produce.
A prolific guppy female can deliver up to 200 fry at once. Now picture having 4-5 females and 3 males in a mixed tank and you can see how your guppy population may explode literally overnight.
The good aspect is that the gestation period in guppies is 20-30 days, depending on their diet and environmental conditions. This provides you plenty of time to identify the pregnant females and prepare for when the labor kicks in.
It’s not difficult to control the guppy population as long as you regularly pay attention to the tank dynamics. Maybe you don’t want to expand your guppy population or, on the contrary, you’re looking to breed them for profit.
This brings us to the next point.
Can You Breed Guppies for Profit?
Yes, you can. Guppies come in an infinite variety of shapes, colors, and patterns, with each specimen being unique in its own right. Combine this with guppies’ excellent breeding capabilities, and you can see why this species is one of the most prolific in this sense.
If you’re planning on breeding guppies for profit, here are the main pros and cons to consider:
- There’s always a market for selling a wide variety of guppy strains
- The breeding process allows for plenty of freedom when it comes to changing or improving a specific strain
- Some strains of guppies will allow you to make a profit fast
- Guppies are prolific breeders, so you’ll never be short of fish to sale
- You will eventually develop business relationships in the branch, leading to personalized discounts, pre-orders, etc.
- The market is flooded with guppies, so finding a niche won’t be easy
- Selective breeding requires work, commitment, and passion; otherwise, it will just become a drag
- Breeding guppies will take a lot of your time; you need to commit serious time to do it properly
- The profit may not appear overnight in most cases
Will Guppies Breed in a Community Tank?
Yes, guppies will breed pretty much anywhere where water conditions are favorable. The problem with community tanks is that they aren’t safe for guppy fry. Then again, a guppy-only tank isn’t safe for the fry either.
Another issue that we should discuss is guppy female comfort. Guppies tend to become more sensitive and aggressive during pregnancy and can be stressed quite easily. If you notice your guppy female showing signs of stress like low appetite, hiding, erratic swimming, aggression, move it into a different tank.
This will allow the female to calm down and live in peace until the fry arrive.
Guppies will produce a lot of fry consistently over their lifetime. If you’re looking to breed them for profit, you’ve chosen the ideal fish species.
I’ve written several articles on guppy breeding and selective breeding if you’re interested in more details on the subject.