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How to Breed and Raise Fancy Guppies

Updated on May 18, 2014

Gorgeous Male Guppy

Breeding Guppy Techniques

I have been breeding guppies for 10 years now specializing in the genetics of breeding different strains together. If your looking for a easy beginner fish to breed or to fill a tank with guppies are the perfect choice for any hobbyist from beginner to expert. Guppies will practically breed themselves but there are some steps you need to take to ensure a successful batch. Here's how to breed your guppies

Supplies Needed:

  • 10 gallon setup or larger tank.
  • spawning mop or large aquarium plants plastic or real(Real works better)
  • 2 male guppies and 5 female guppies.
  • Frozen brine shrimp.

First you set up the tank with the heater set at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the 7 guppies, the reason for so many is so that the males won't beat up all the females. You can do more females to males than what I have. The brine shrimp is fed 2x daily for great conditioning for better quality guppy fry.I do 25% water changes every 3 days to ensure clean water for proper development. After two weeks of introducing the 7 guppies add a spawning mop or plants.Why Real Plants are better for Breeding Guppies: Real plants provide a live food called infornusia which is little micro organisms that the babies eat after just hatching. Also at this time rubber band a piece of panty hose around the input on the filter to prevent fry causalities. Guppies give birth every 28-31 days and can produce 3 batches from just one contact with a male(Glad humans aren't like that.)

Two different ways you can do this: 1. Survival of the Fittest or 2. Controlled breeding as I call it.

1. Survival of the fittest is leaving the 7 guppies together and stocking the tank with plants in hopes that their are some fry that survive about only 20% do usually using that method. This method I don't prefer because you could be losing some of your best specimens and not knowing it.

2. You set up another tank with either marbles or a bare bottom and put the female in their after 21 days to ensure she doesn't stress out and have an early birth. I prefer using marbles because the babies have more places to hide. But if your a beginner I don't recommend the marbles because it makes it difficult to clean uneaten food. When setting up the tank make sure 30% or more of the water is from the old tank so that way it's already cycled and safe for you to use with your guppies. After setting up this tank you can put a breeding net in to keep better track of the babies and the female. After the female gives birth I release the babies into the tank and let the female take a rest in the net breeder for about a week away from males.

Remember guppies are live bearers that means they give birth to live babies and do not lay eggs so separation of the parents from the fry is important because the babies are eaten quickly by other fish.

Sexing Guppies

Male Guppies have a Gonopodium which is the anal fin that formed into a rod shaped fin to fertilize the female.

Female Guppies have a gravid spot behind the anal fin and also the anal fin is spread out and not pointed.

Sexing Guppies

Different Ways To Breed Guppies

Inbreeding: This is methosd is used to keep a pure strain. The fish are kept closely related usually brother and sister, father and daughter are routinely bred but never mother and son. A breeder will do this sometimes to fix a trait, such as a particular fin shape or length or color or color pattern. Mostly, you take the best male and female from the brood and breed them. Doing this can provide nice specimens for years, as long as the fish that you start out with are quality and you are lucky enough to choose not only the most attractive fish, but to pick fish as breeders that do not have a flaw or weakness-for these will show up in future broods of fry, you want to take out bad genetics not add them, When choosing guppies to use, use strong body specimens and don't go to long on the fins because it tends to bring down your guppy.  Instead focus on pattern and color stability.

Out Crossing: This is the exact opposite of inbreeding, you take two completely stranger fish and breed them together.  This makes what is called a hybrid guppy.  Hybrid Guppies when breeding guppies usually have the best color, shape and patterns. You usually add these ito inbreeding programs to get better traits or focus on something else more pure. An outcross with a fish that itself is only a few generations ahead of an outcross may produce beautiful fish for a few generations, but the loose color patterns, which will resort the fry eventually turning back to their wild counterparts in a few generations. Then all your time will feel as if it was wasted. Although this is, of course, how new strains are produced, it takes much time and knowledge of genetics to create a pure strain.I don't recommend beginners try to figure out genetics it takes years and years just to understand it.  But do have some fun and try.

Line Breeding/Line Crossing: This is also a form of inbreeding, however here you start by keeping the fry from a couple females  separate, so that they form two distinct lines. Since you cannot mix batches, this takes more tanks. It is best to choose breeders differently for each line; for instance, in one line, you may pursue a large flowing fins, and with the other, you may concentrate on body form. The purpose is to help maintain your established strain, since each line becomes distinct and more distantly related;  having the other specimen guppies you can alter and cross for fin, body, color, patterns to change something but beware you could lose all you've worked for.

Weird Fact:about breeding guppies

The best practice to use is when you can determine the gender of the babies separate them as soon as possible because with some strains the females can sometimes have fertility problems when around to many males.  Taking the females away can help you make sure who the father is for genetic purposes.

Some Common Questions

  • Is my guppy pregnant? How do I tell?

If your female has been around other males, then chances are she is pregnant. Almost all females from a pet store are pregnant. Females that have babies in them are usually swollen looking around the belly, and a gravid spot that can be dark to pink. The dark spot, on the bottom behind the anal fin, this is were you can look for babies usually around the 3th-4th week you can see little eyeballs.

  • When do guppies start to get their color or pattern?

    This depends on genetics. Some strains get color within a 2 week period others much longer. Some of my orange guppies didn't show color for 8 weeks were as my blues only took two weeks. The more water changes you do to ensure better water quality and the better food you feed them will also determine growth and development.  I feed baby brine shrimp for the first 6 weeks and do water changes of 25% every other day( the bare bottom tank makes this easier).

  • Can I house my Guppy in a Bowl?

The answer is NO because Guppies need a heater and filter because they are delicate fish.  The only thing that should go in a bowl is a betta not even goldfish should.

  • Good Heater and Filter for Guppy Breeding.

Look to the right I have my recommendations.


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    • profile image

      ks 6 years ago

      I know exactly what Ask means, as our obstinate little female guppy REFUSED to have babies. She just kept getting fat and dropping loads of eggs every so often, but not a single baby. :$ I had her in with two different males (each at different times) but she didn't like either of them. I had her for over a year and a half, and she never delivered a single stinkin' fry to me. just my luck to find THE one female guppy in the world who doesn't breed. :$

    • caninecrtitics profile image

      caninecrtitics 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      cassie i have seen 10 - 80 or sometimes more.

    • profile image

      Cassie 6 years ago

      What is the range of the number of fish that guppies will bear?

    • caninecrtitics profile image

      caninecrtitics 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Not sure what you mean Ask because guppies are live-bearers and do not lay eggs they give birth to living fish.

    • profile image

      Ask 7 years ago

      My guppy had eggs today what does that mean?

    • Silver Poet profile image

      Silver Poet 7 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      Guppies are beautiful. I used to have some. Your tips are very helpful if I ever decide to try them again. :)

    • caninecrtitics profile image

      caninecrtitics 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Yes that is very tricky the fix with one of my tanks if i add one in one of the older ones dies. It's weird it never fails it's always within a three day period so I hve to finally found the "just right tank" I'm glad your tank is doing well

    • profile image

      the fix 7 years ago

      Very interesting! I finally got my tank 10gallon because I realize I don't have space for bigger. After 1 week with just live plants I put in 2 clown loaches and a week after that I put in 2 guppies. I am happy with this amount of fish as I learn how to keep the cycle just right. (The petstore told me I have 2 males. We shall see if that is correct!)


    • caninecrtitics profile image

      caninecrtitics 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      yes vegetarian797 that would actually be a perfect set up. Just keep a eye on the temperature so that it doesn't fluctuate to much. Good idea!

    • profile image

      vegetarian797 7 years ago

      can i breed my guppies in a bucket full of plants

    • caninecrtitics profile image

      caninecrtitics 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Yes I agree but it's getting the quality of guppies that you want. It's fun trying new patterns and colors together.

    • psycheskinner profile image

      psycheskinner 7 years ago

      Good hub. In general I find it is harder to not breed guppies than to breed them ;)