6 Easy Steps to Identify Male and Female Guppies

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

You will never know how necessary it is to know how to differentiate between male and female guppies until you see your tank overcrowded with their babies and you have no idea what to do.

It is very important to be clear about the difference between male and female guppies. This will help you in controlling your guppy population by separating the male and the female guppies to prevent any chance of pregnancy.

It is not difficult at all to tell a male guppy from a female one; it does not require a lot of experience as well. Let us take a look at 9 easy steps to identify male and female guppies.

How to tell if a GUPPY is a MALE or FEMALE (Video)


Quick reminder

Male and female guppies present in the same tank would equal to mating and reproduction! Now if you have one female only in a tank filled with 6 other male guppies, all of them will pursue the female and impregnate her one after the other.

If there is only one male in a tank filled with many other females, the male would impregnate each female and after successive sessions of birth, the tank will be overcrowded more than you can imagine.

The cycle will keep going on and on as long as the two opposite sexes are together. Not only that, but also the female’s innate ability to store unused sperms for later would always make her pregnant even after it has just given birth to a big number of baby guppies.

Fortunately, you can start distinguishing between the male and female guppies when they become one week old, which means they would still have not become adults. Guppies turn to be adults on reaching one month of age. Once they hit their adulthood, there is no going back, mating and pregnancy will take place.

You can tell the difference between the two opposite sexes by looking closely at the fish’s body shape, color and fins.

1. Body Shape

Males look longer and have slender bodies, whereas females look curvier, rounder or bigger in size than males. Yes, females could even be double the size of the males! Moreover, when the female guppy gets pregnant, her body would grow in size. It would look curvier, rounder, and her belly would look bigger than ever.

You will surely get a better look at your guppies while they are swimming around the tank. You need a magnifying glass to get accurate observations indeed.

If males are 3 cm in length, your female will be 6 cm. Females grow upto two inches while males grow upto one and a half inches. Therefore, a female guppy would appear longer as it grows more. After taking a look at the size and the length of the guppies,

2. Coloring of the guppies

Males are way more colourful than females. They have all of the vibrant and sensational colors. Their bodies are fully covered in bright colors. They might be covered in colors like: green, black, blue, violet, orange, white stripes or spots.

Did you know that males use their cheerful attractive colors to grab the female’s attention to start the mating process? Their vibrant colors do grab everyone’s attention, not just the female guppies.

Guppies in general provide a wonderful display at home, or anywhere their tank is placed. But let me just remind you that there are some female guppies who are actually as colourful as the male guppies, though that is very rare to be found.

But to prevent confusion, you need to do further research to determine the gender of the guppies you have because there are lots of them who have different features. You need to check the breed and look at the tail. Use different physical markers other than just the coloring to get accurate results. There is a spot under the guppies’ tail where you must look at because it will help you determine the fish’s sex.

More on this as we proceed.

3. The gravid spot

This spot is found near the tail and it looks quite dark. This area indicates that the fish is a female. Males never have a gravid spot. When the female guppy gets pregnant, you will recognize this gravid spot growing larger in size and darker in color.

The gravid spot is formed due to the eyes of the developing baby fish pressing against the belly of the pregnant mother. When finally the babies are released, the spot will start fading till it gets lighter. Then, it will get darker when it gets pregnant again.

4. Dorsal fin

The dorsal fin is found on the top of the fish near the fish’s head.  Males have big dorsal fins that flow in the water while they are swimming; however, females have smaller and very short dorsal fins in comparison to the males.

5. Caudal fin

Now it is time to look at the caudal fin which is known as “the guppy’s tail fin”. Males have colourful, long and wide caudal fins. On the other hand, females have the caudal fins shorter and not wide like the males.

6. Anal fin

The anal fin lies under the fish which is located just before the tail fin and appears a bit smaller, a male has a long anal fin (gonopodium) which looks narrow and pointed.

But the female has a triangular anal fin which is small in size and below the gravid spot. The anal fin is used by the male to impregnate the female guppy once it develops and protrudes.

How to get a clearer view of the gravid spot?

The best thing is to separate the female guppy in a clear glass and use some bright light to be able to see the gravid spot.

A magnifying glass would always help in giving you a better view and a more precise look. To obtain accurate results.                      

A lot of people get confused because some features on the guppies are just a bit hard to see by the naked eye.

Water can determine the fry sex

Some people have come up with their own experiments and the results were amazingly surprising. It is said that the water’s pH can determine the fry’s sex. In other words, you can make the fry a male or a female by just adjusting the water’s pH.

To get males, you need to raise the pH, and to get females, you need to lower the pH. The water plays a big role in determining the fry’s sex and it was quite surprising to people which left them in disbelief.

No one was convinced until they tried it and they were confronted with these fantastic results. How interesting! So, now you have a hint about how to stop getting a lot of female guppies into your tank.

Related Questions

Can a male guppy turn into a female guppy? Yes, livebearers can do that if it is required. However, it has been noticed that more female guppies can change into males and vice versa is too rare. Personally speaking, I have not come across it before. A female guppy already stores unused sperms for generations and impregnates itself whenever possible.

When do fry guppies get their bright colors? They will start getting their normal colors when they are 1 week old until they are 6 weeks old.

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