Do Guppies Lay Eggs? How Often do Guppies get Pregnant?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update
When you have some guppies in your tank, you will start wanting more of them. The good news is that guppies reproduce so much that you wouldn’t need to buy more guppies to increase their number.So, how do guppies reproduce? Guppies are live-bearers who give birth to live baby guppies (fry). Female guppies would definitely get pregnant if they are placed in the same tank as the male guppies.

A Guppy Having Babies (Video)


Here’s more information about Guppies as live-bearers.

Breeding

To breed guppies, you do not need certain requirements that you have to keep in mind with other fish types. Guppies will start mating as long as there are males and females sharing the same tank.

There is no way you can stop guppies from mating unless you separate the males and the females in two different tanks.

It is so tricky and impossible to know who the father is of the little new born guppies if you have many adult female and male guppies in the same tank.All the males will be pursuing all of the females and therefore, females will instantly get pregnant and then release the baby guppies when the time comes.Female guppies start getting pregnant when they reach 3 months of age. In order to prevent pregnancy, of course, you need to separate the males and the females, but first of all you have to distinguish them.The female does not look as colourful as the male. It is dimmer and has a gray color. The male has sensational colors and longer fins. Males also develop a long stick-like anal fin known as the “gonopodium” which is used to deposit sperms in the female guppy.
Male GuppyFemale Guppy
More patternsLess patterns
Smaller in sizeBigger in size
More ColourfulLess colourful
Longer finsShorter fins
Presence of gonopodiumAbsence of gonopodium
Guppies are quite different from a lot of other fish species like neon tetras who can not mate in a crowded tank at all. For breeding such species, you would have to isolate the breeding pair and create specific conditions for them to mate. Guppies, on the other hand, are extremely hardy fish that live and reproduce in a variety of conditions even if the tank is already overpopulated.

Why do guppies get pregnant quickly?

=“Superfetation” is to blamed for this one. This process is defined as the ability of the female guppy to save unused sperms and use it to impregnate itself later on. They can store the sperm for 4 to 8 months. As soon as they give birth, they use the stored sperm to get pregnant again.However, if the female gets pursued by a male, she would forget about the stored sperm and get impregnated by the new male. So yes, guppies are live-bearers and yes it is impossible to tell who the father of the babies is.

This is why guppies are known as the millionfish; it gives birth to hundreds of babies which keep the tank filled at all times.

The number of guppies will always increase as long as there are males and females in the very same tank.

How long is a guppy pregnant?

A female guppy can become pregnant at the age of 3 months. Once it is in a tank with a male, it will get impregnated immediately. The pregnancy cycle takes around 4 weeks.The healthy female guppy could actually give birth more than once per month.

It is important to be aware of the fact that separating a female guppy from males for too long would be very dangerous because this could make her chances of pregnancy very low and rare in the future.

Guppy behavior before giving birth?

First of all, you have to detect a pregnant guppy. A pregnant guppy has a dark spot under its tail.  When the babies grow in the mother’s womb, this spot starts to become bigger and much darker.It will make the guppy look as if she is bloated. Some of the signs that you need to look for in a pregnant guppy are:
  • Fading color
  • Opened gills
  • Arched back
  • Either eats a lot or not at all
  • Freezes in one spot or near the heater
  • Might seem aggressive
  • Square-ish appearance of stomach

You will notice sometimes that your pregnant guppy would not eat well. Therefore, you must be feeding it in small portions 3 to 5 times daily.

Just a small amount of flakes would be enough for her. Frozen brine shrimps would be a perfect meal for a pregnant guppy; when you notice that the guppy is about to give birth; separate the guppy in an empty tank to give her space to give birth to the fry.

How long does it take for a guppy to give birth?

A guppy can take 4 or 6 hours while giving birth to the fry. The more stressed the guppy is, the more time it takes to give birth.

It is not abnormal to have a guppy give birth for 12 straight hours. This indicates that the guppy is overly stressed. This usually occurs because guppies give birth to quite a large number of fry.

So, normally the process takes time and energy. The baby guppies are released in small balls just like how they look curled up in the mother’s womb.On releasing into the water, they uncurl and start swimming. Healthy baby guppies swim upwards whereas unhealthy ones usually sink.  Immediately remove the mother from the tank as guppies do not have any maternal instinct and can eat their own babies.

How many babies do guppies have?

Guppies give birth to around 2 to 200 babies in 4 to 6 hours. Some of them are born sick, others healthy, and the others die as soon as they are released.

How do you take care of baby guppies?

First of all, you need to separate the mother guppy from her babies. You should place her in a quiet tank in a dark place to help her regain her energy and strength after some long exhausting hours of giving birth to a large number of fry.Of course, make sure you feed her very well to give her energy. Isolating the mother guppy from the rest of the adult fish depends on the number of fry it gave birth to.If she gave birth to a big number, it might need about 2 days in isolation to recover. But do not make it longer than that to prevent any chance of causing stress to the lonely guppy in a separate tank.The baby guppies are born with an innate ability to swim. But they are at risk if they are in a tank filled with adult fish as they could be eaten almost instantly.

You can add some plants in the tank to help the fry hide behind them. You must also remove any dead fry quickly because they can foul the water and it would be unhealthy for the remaining fish.

The fry has to be fed with a proper amount of small-sized food to grow faster, hardier, and healthier. Moreover, the water’s temperature needs to be suitable; 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit is good enough. Plus, cleaning the water regularly is indeed a must.

How to stop guppies from eating their babies?

The mother guppy could eat her baby guppies. But there some ways we can stop this from happening:
  • Plant your tank. Many plants help the fry hide in them and behind them. They can stay hidden until they become adults and then the mother would not be able to eat them.
  • Spawning box. This is something you could buy from a pet store. It is a clear box with some mesh portions with holes that help the fry escape through them.
  • Spawning tank. This method is good. You place the pregnant guppy in a spawning tank and after it gives birth, you take her back to her original tank and keep the babies in the spawning tank till they grow up.
  • You can start mixing the fish together when the babies grow in size and can no longer be consumed by their mother or adult fish.

Related questions

How long do baby guppies take to grow? They take about a week to grow bigger in size and mature into adults a few months after birth. It all depends on the water’s temperature in addition to their nutrition. If it is good enough, they would grow faster.Do guppies need an air pump? No, they do not need that. It is not necessary. But an air pump would definitely improve water quality and would help in increasing their population.Related Other sources

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