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What Do Guppies Need to Breed?

Unlike other fish that come from eggs, guppies are livebearers. This means that they’re born live and free. If you have a community tank and want to breed guppies, there are some things you need to know first. These include the following:

Guppies are tropical fish and need the right water parameters to breed successfully. A consistent temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended as well as hard or alkaline water with a pH between 7.0 and 7.5. They also need fresh or frozen brine shrimp (in addition to their usual diet of flake food).

Now that you know the environmental conditions and diet requirements needed to encourage guppy breeding habits, let’s take a closer look at this topic further and in more detail below. We’ll discuss how you can tell if guppies are breeding, how many you need, and how long it takes. We’ll also explain how to breed guppies faster and whether (or not) they’re inclined to ear their offspring.

So, if you’re ready to learn more about breeding guppies quickly and easily, then let’s get started!

How Many Guppies Do You Need to Breed?

Ideally, you’ll want 1 male and 2 to 3 female guppies for breeding purposes. A 1:1 ratio is not recommended as the male can get aggressive if there’s only 1 female in the tank. A 1:3 ratio makes breeding easier and more successful. It keeps the male ‘satisfied’ while reducing stress for the females.

How Do You Know if Guppies are Breeding?

Since the act of mating itself occurs very quickly (in a second or less), you can tell it’s happening if the male looks like he’s ‘stinging’ the female near the vent where her gravid spot (the dark area just behind the abdomen) is located.

It’ll take many attempts to ensure the female has been fertilized so you should see this stinging behaviour by the male occurring frequently. As well, if you see the male frantically ‘chasing’ the female frantically all around the tank, chances are they’re trying to mate.

Why Do Male Guppies Chase Pregnant Female Guppies?

Male guppies will often chase expectant females as there is such a small window of opportunity for them to impregnate a fertile fish. As males can get aggressive and will often become relentless in their pursuit to mate, they should be removed from the tank when females are ready to drop.

Harassment of this nature causes severe stress on pregnant guppies and could cause the female to abort the fry. In rare cases, it could even lead to her death! Therefore, it’s important that you keep pregnant females in a safe, stress-free environment while breeding.

How Do Female Guppies Choose Their Mates?

It’s thought that female guppies are attracted to bright colours and will often ‘choose’ their mates based on their vibrant hues and swinging tails. Another theory suggests that females rely on their noses and will sniff out a possible mate if the water is murky and they can’t see his coloring or tail movements.

How Long Does It Take for Guppies to Breed?

On average, female guppies can begin to breed at around 2 to 3 months old. Given the appropriate environmental and feeding conditions, they can produce offspring every 30 days with a batch of fry numbering anywhere from 20 to 50!

How Do You Breed Guppies Fast?

To breed guppies quickly, you need to follow the 10 steps listed below:

Step 1: Choose Your Fish

Begin by deciding which color patterns and tail shapes you prefer and then pick one male and three females that appeal to your liking.

Step 2: Set-up the Tank

Get a 10- to 20-gallon tank ready by adding some floating plants (such as java fern or duck weed) for cover. Do not put substrate on the bottom as it is harder to clean and makes it difficult to keep track of the fry and how much they’re eating.

Step 3: Adjust the Tank Conditions

Make sure the water parameters are conducive to breeding – pH level between 7.0 and 7.5 and temperature around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Guppies need 12 hours of light per day so be sure to mount a 30- to 40-watt fluorescent bulb above the tank.

Step 4: Purchase Extra Food

In addition to their typical flake food, buy some frozen or fresh brine shrimp and feed it to fish daily. Since guppies are omnivores, the shrimp provides them with more nutrients to help promote healthy breeding habits.

Step 5: Place the Fish in the Breeding Tank

When ready, put the guppies in the breeding tank and once the female is expecting – you’ll know by the prominent dark mark or gravid spot on her abdomen – remove the male and put him back in the community tank.

Step 6: Monitor the Pregnant Female

Keep a close eye on the expectant mother for the next 26 to 31 days. When you notice her stomach is quite large and dark in colour, she is ready to give birth. The babies will be born live (not from eggs) so be prepared for anywhere from 20 to 50 offspring!

Step 7: Remove the Female

As soon as the female guppy gives birth, remove her immediately from the breeding tank and place her back in the community tank. If you don’t, she may end up eating her offspring! If you happen to be away when she gives birth, the plants should provide adequate cover for the babies in the meantime.

Step 8: Care for the Fry

Make sure the temperature of the breeding tank stays consistent at 80 degrees Fahrenheit and keep it as clean as possible. Use a siphon and do 40 percent water changes every 3 days. Cover the inlet tube of the filter with a sponge as well. Feed the fry brine shrimp and powdered vegetable flakes sparingly.

Step 9: Remove the Fry from the Breeding Tank

Once the fry are a good size (about month and half to 2 months old), decide which ones you like and want to keep, remove them from the breeding tank, and place them in the community tank with the other guppy fish.

Step 10: Sell or Give Away the Remaining Fish

Find a home for the rest of the guppies. You can either sell them to your local pet store or give them away as gifts to friend or family!

How Do You Line Breed Guppies?

Line breeding guppies combines inbreeding with the crossing of a related line every three generations. The trouble with continuous inbreeding is that each new generation of fish loses some genetic diversity. Line breeding helps manage this, thus maintaining healthy bloodlines for years to come.

Since guppies should be at least 4 months old before breeding, it would take at least 12 months before you could make your first cross. As well, the more lines you run, the more diverse and unique your gene pool will be.

Will Guppies Eat Their Babies?

It’s very common for guppy fish to eat their own offspring, especially in a captive environment like an aquarium. Therefore, it’s recommended that you don’t keep guppy fry in the same tank as the adults. As soon as the babies are born, you either catch them and place them in a fry net in the community tank or remove the female and put her in a separate aquarium prior to giving birth.


To conclude, guppies are a species of tropical fish and need the right diet and environmental conditions to breed successfully. An aquarium with hard or alkaline water (7.0 to 7.5 pH level) and a consistent temperature (around 80 degrees Fahrenheit) is recommended. They also need to eat fresh or frozen brine shrimp in addition to their usual flake feed.

Hopefully, this article has been of help to you. Thanks for reading and good luck!

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