Can Guppies and Mosquito Fish Breed?

At a first glance, mosquito fish and guppies might seem quite similar. They’re both small-sized fish and they’re also livebearers. They also belong to the same genus (Poecilia). Neither guppies nor mosquito fish lay eggs. Instead, they give birth to fully-formed fry. But, despite all this, these two fish can’t interbreed.

If you’re curious about why these two fish can’t breed, keep reading! I’ll explain everything in detail. We’ll also go over some of the similarities and differences between these fish. This should help you decide whether you want to keep these fish together or not. So, let’s get into it.

Can Guppies and Mosquito Fish Mate?

No, guppies and mosquito fish can’t breed and can’t have babies, because they are different species. Although guppy males might try to breed with female mosquito fish, they will not get pregnant and will not produce babies. You might find photos of guppy-mosquito fish hybrids online, but those are fake.

Why Can’t Guppies Breed with Mosquitofish?

There are multiple reasons why these fish don’t make a good breeding mates. The most important reason is biological incompatibility. While guppies and mosquito fish belong to the same genus, they’re still different species. Guppies bear the scientific name “Poecilia reticulata”, while mosquito fish are scientifically known as “Gambusia affinis”. Because they’re completely separate species, these two fish can’t produce any healthy offspring.

If by any chance the fish manage to breed, it’s almost guaranteed that the fry will be stillborn or not properly developed. The same happens when guppies breed with mollies. These species belong to the same genus, but the results are universally bad. You might notice guppy males chasing after mosquitofish females. But that doesn’t mean that the two are meant to be, sorry!

Breeding habits are another reason why interbreeding can’t happen. Guppies and mosquito fish never shared the same habitat in the wild. They thus developed very different breeding habits and strategies. For one, mosquito fish are more likely to be aggressive, especially males. An interaction between aggressive mosquito fish and peaceful guppies won’t go well in most cases. Furthermore, guppies and mosquito fish breed at different rates.

Guppies are prolific. The males will tirelessly pursue female partners and mate with multiple females, usually within a short period. Female guppies have a short gestation that lasts less than a month on average. Basically, guppies can and do breed year-round like it’s going out of style. Mosquito fish, on the other hand, seem less interested. They only breed during certain seasons, usually in summer. They also produce only 2 to 6 broods during the reproductive season.

Mosquitofish vs Guppy Fish – Differences & Similarities

We’ve already outlined some differences between the two— species and breeding. But let’s go more in-depth. We’ll cover some more differences, but also some similarities between these species.

Let’s go over the differences first:

– Behavior

Guppies are the popular kids. They’re cool with every other species as long as they don’t pose a threat. Guppies are perfectly content sharing a space with other fish and actually enjoy interacting with other species. They’re also very energetic and curious and will go out of their way to observe and befriend others.

Mosquito fish, on the other hand, prefer to keep to their own clique. They’re usually easygoing with each other. But they become easily irritated by other species. They aren’t anywhere near as sociable as guppies. Mosquito fish aren’t the best choice for a community tank.

– Appearance

Guppies come in a wide variety of bright colors and interesting patterns. There’s also a lot of variety with regards to tail shape. There’s no color or pattern you can’t find in guppy fish. From white to black, from yellow to red, and anything in between, the possibilities are endless.

Mosquito fish are a more homogenous species when it comes to appearance. They don’t have the same wide, frilly tails specific to guppies. They also come in muted colors. The most common ones include tan and pale olive. Some are yellow with a faint blue sheen.

– Lifespan

Guppies live approximately 2-3 years. With the right care, high-quality food, good water parameters, and a stress-free environment, a disease-free guppy can sometimes live for up to 5 years! That’s pretty cool.

However, it seems that the mosquitofish gets the short end of the stick once again. This species lives on average 1.5 years. Of course, proper care and environmental conditions can help lengthen the lifespan of any species, including mosquito fish.

Not all is bad for the mosquito fish though. There are some areas where both species are on equal fronts. So, let’s take a look at them. Some of the similarities between these fish include:

– Size

Guppies and mosquito fish are similar in size. Male guppy fish grow up to 1¼ inches long, while mosquito fish average 1½ inches. However, guppy males might appear bigger due to their wide and frilly tails.

Female guppies grow up to 2⅛ inches on average, while female mosquitofish reach 2⅞ inches. Not a huge difference. Also, these are just averages. Members of both species can also vary in size quite a bit.

– Diet

Both fish are omnivorous thrive on similar diets. It’s important to offer them a variety of plants and animal foods. You can provide them with a combination of fish flakes, algae pellets, vegetables, and live or dried animal foods. Both fish have voracious appetites. You should feed them on the same schedule. Once or twice a day works best for adults. The fry will have to eat more often, up to 5 times a day.

– Water parameters

Both guppies and mosquito fish are sturdy and adaptable to various water conditions. Mosquito fish can tolerate extreme water temperatures ranging from 33-104°F. But they thrive in temperatures around 80°F, give or take.

Guppies prefer temperatures ranging between 74-82°F. So, these guys can easily find a happy middle-ground. In addition to this, both species prefer a water pH between 6.5-8.0.

Even if breeding isn’t in the cards for these species, you can still keep them in the same aquarium. Since they’re similar in size, they won’t eat or hurt each other. It’s also easy to manage a guppy and mosquitofish tank because they have similar dietary and water requirements. Just make sure that the tank is big enough. Mosquito fish need plenty of space to curb their territorial tendencies.

What Fish Can Breed with Guppies?

Only fish that are part of the same family can breed with guppies. In theory, at least, fish that belong to the Poeciliidae family should be able to crossbreed. Some of the most common fish in the same family with common guppies include mollies and endler guppies.

These fish are also quite similar in appearance, behavior, and other traits. Some hybrids already exist. You can find pictures of very interesting-looking crossbreeds online. However, breeding different species of fish is not a good idea.

Such mixing usually leads to lower “fitness”. The fry born from two different fish species are usually prone to various genetic diseases and multiple health problems. These crossbred fish are also infertile in most cases.

While the new fish might look beautiful and unique, the resulting genetic mutations will make the strain more sensitive to various environmental factors. The same thing has happened to regular fancy guppies already. Through selective breeding across multiple generations, some guppy strains have become more sensitive to infections and water parameters.

Conclusion

Crossbreeding different fish species can create some interesting-looking fish. However, the results are almost always unfortunate. If the fry can survive into early adulthood at all, they’re most likely infertile and also prone to multiple health problems.

So, if you’re worried about guppies and mosquito fish breeding in a community tank, have no fear. The chances of that happening are almost close to 0. These two species are biologically incompatible. The same applies to even closer species such as mollies and endler guppies.

Guppies   Updated: September 16, 2022
avatar I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets.
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