How to Setup a Guppy Breeding Tank?

Welcome fellow guppy enthusiasts! As an avid aquarist and guppy breeder, I’m excited to share my tips and experiences on how to set up a successful guppy breeding tank.

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A well-established breeding environment is crucial for raising healthy, vibrant guppies. So, let’s dive into the process of creating the perfect home for your guppy family to thrive!

Ideal Tank Size for Breeding Guppies

Selecting the right tank size is the first step toward creating a thriving guppy breeding environment. Guppies may be small, but they’re energetic swimmers that require ample space to move without stress. When breeding guppies, it’s essential to provide enough room for both the adults and the anticipated fry (baby guppies).

I recommend opting for a 10 to 20-gallon tank for a breeding set-up. A 10-gallon tank is sufficient for a small breeding trio (one male and two females), while a 20-gallon tank allows for additional room, making it easier to maintain water quality and manage the growing guppy population.

By choosing the right tank size from the start, you’ll set the stage for your guppies to breed and flourish.

Enrichment for Guppy Breeding Tank

Creating a nurturing environment in your guppy breeding tank requires more than just water and a filtering system. You’ll need various elements to mimic their natural habitat and support their well-being. Here’s what I recommend for enriching your breeding tank:

Live Plants

Guppies thrive in planted tanks, and live plants offer numerous benefits, such as improving water quality, providing shelter, and offering a natural breeding environment. My go-to plants for a guppy tank are Java Moss and Anacharis.

Java Moss, in particular, provides an excellent hiding place for fry to escape predation, while Anacharis serves as both shelter and a food source.

Hiding Spots

You’ll find that your female guppies need places to hide, rest, or escape the attention of persistent males. Placing clay pots, rock caves, or breeding boxes in the tank can provide valuable refuge and reduce stress. These hiding spots will also help ensure the fry’s survival by providing a safe haven from potential predators.


While guppies do not require substrate to thrive, adding it to your tank can enhance its appearance and provide a more natural environment. I prefer using either sand or fine gravel, which also helps anchor live plants and may promote the growth of essential, beneficial bacteria.

Incorporating these key elements into your guppy breeding tank will create a more stimulating and safe environment, promoting the health and growth of your guppies, both adult and fry alike.

Substrate or No Substrate – Pros and Cons

The debate over using substrate in a guppy breeding tank is ongoing, and ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference. To help you make an informed choice, let’s examine the pros and cons of having a substrate in your guppy breeding tank:


  • Aesthetics: Adding substrate can give your tank a more natural and visually appealing look.
  • Anchoring plants: Substrate, such as sand or fine gravel, helps secure live plants, keeping them stable and allowing them to grow more efficiently.
  • Beneficial bacteria: Substrate can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, which assist in breaking down waste and maintaining water quality.
  • Comfort: Some guppies may feel more at ease swimming in a tank with substrate, as it more closely mimics their natural environment.


  • Cleaning: Maintaining a substrate requires more frequent and thorough vacuuming, as debris or uneaten food can accumulate and degrade water quality.
  • Cost: Purchasing substrate can be an additional expense, especially for larger tanks.
  • Fry safety: Fry may potentially get trapped in or injured by the substrate, depending on the type and size of the material used.
  • Water clarity: Adding a substrate to your tank can sometimes cause the water to become cloudy or discolored over time, especially if not adequately maintained.

Ultimately, the decision to use substrate in your guppy breeding tank depends on your preference, budget, and how much time you’re willing to allocate to tank maintenance. Weigh the pros and cons to determine if using a substrate is the right choice for you and your guppies.

Filter for Guppy Breeding Tank

An effective filtration system is crucial in maintaining a healthy environment for your breeding guppies. A good filter will help remove debris, excess food, and harmful chemicals from the water, ensuring optimal conditions for both the adults and the fry. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a filter for your guppy breeding tank:

Type of Filter

There are various filter types to choose from, but two options stand out as the most suitable for a guppy breeding tank: the sponge filter and the hang-on-back (HOB) filter.

  • Sponge Filters: These filters are an excellent choice, especially for a breeding tank, as they provide gentle water flow and help prevent sucking up the fry. Sponge filters are generally affordable and simple to set up, making them my personal favorite for guppy breeding environments.
  • Hang-On-Back (HOB) Filters: HOB filters are another viable option, providing effective filtration and offering customizable filter media. However, it’s essential to ensure an HOB filter’s intake won’t accidentally suck up the fry, so you might need to add a sponge or mesh to the intake.

Flow Rate

Guppies thrive in a low to moderate water flow environment. Too strong of a flow can stress the guppies and hinder their spawning activities. When choosing a filter, look for one that offers adjustable flow settings, so you can create the ideal water movement for your breeding tank.

Filter Media

It’s vital to select a filter that supports appropriate filter media for your guppy breeding tank. Mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration are essential to maintain optimal water quality. Sponge filters primarily provide mechanical and biological filtration, while HOB filters can accommodate all three types of media, ensuring a well-rounded filtration process.

By carefully considering these factors, you will be able to select an appropriate filter that caters to the specific needs of your guppy breeding tank, ensuring a clean and healthy environment for your growing guppy family.

Don’t Forget about Lighting

While guppies can survive in various lighting conditions, proper lighting plays a significant role in maintaining a thriving and active guppy breeding tank. In addition, live plants and fish benefit from consistent and appropriate lighting to support their growth and well-being.

Here are some essential considerations when choosing lighting for your guppy breeding tank:

Light Intensity

Guppies prefer moderate-to-bright lighting conditions, which can be achieved with a variety of light sources, such as LED lights or fluorescent tubes. LED lights are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and generate less heat compared to traditional bulbs, making them my preferred choice for guppy tanks.

The intensity of the lighting should be adjustable to accommodate the particular needs of your guppies and live plants.


Establishing a consistent photoperiod, or number of hours of light per day, is crucial for the overall health and breeding behavior of your guppies. They typically require about 10-12 hours of light followed by a darkness period for proper rest. Using a timer to automate the lighting schedule is a practical and efficient way to maintain a consistent cycle.

Live Plant Considerations

If you’ve included live plants in your breeding tank, be sure to choose proper lighting that supports their growth. Most aquatic plants require a specific color temperature of around 6500K, which is similar to natural daylight. An LED light that offers a full spectrum of light will benefit both guppies and live plants alike.

By taking these factors into account when choosing lighting for your guppy breeding tank, you’ll create a comfortable and supportive environment, stimulating breeding behavior and promoting the overall health of your fish and plants.

Maintain Stable Water Conditions

Ensuring optimal water conditions is vital for the successful breeding and well-being of your guppies. Stable water conditions reduce stress and promote good health, enabling your fish to thrive. Here’s a summary of the essential water parameters to maintain in your guppy breeding tank:


Guppies are tropical fish that require warm water temperatures to thrive. For breeding purposes, maintain a temperature range of 76-80°F (24-27°C) in the tank. Investing in a high-quality heater and thermometer is essential for consistently maintaining these temperatures. A digital thermometer is particularly efficient in providing accurate temperature readings.

pH and Hardness

Guppies are relatively adaptable, but they prefer slightly alkaline water conditions for breeding. Aim for a pH level between 7.0-7.8 and a water hardness range (GH) of 8-12 dGH. Using a reliable test kit, monitor these levels regularly to ensure consistency and make adjustments if required.

Water Changes

Performing regular water changes is necessary for maintaining water quality and ensuring stable conditions in your guppy breeding tank. I recommend conducting a 25-30% water change once a week, though you may need to adjust the frequency based on your tank size, bio-load, and water parameters.

When changing water, ensure that the new water is within the same temperature and pH range to minimize fluctuations and reduce stress on your guppies.

Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate

Regularly testing your tank water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels is crucial in maintaining a healthy environment for your guppies. Ideally, ammonia and nitrite levels should be as close to zero as possible, as even low levels can be toxic to your fish. Keep nitrate levels below 20 ppm to ensure a healthy and safe environment.

By diligently monitoring and maintaining these crucial water parameters, you’ll create ideal conditions for your guppies to breed and flourish, resulting in a healthy, lively, and successful guppy breeding tank.


Setting up a guppy breeding tank is a rewarding experience that requires careful planning and attention. By selecting an ideal tank size, incorporating enrichment, choosing the right filter and lighting, and maintaining stable water conditions, you’ll create a thriving environment that promotes successful breeding and healthy guppy growth.

With patience, dedication, and the knowledge gained from this article, you’ll soon be enjoying the mesmerizing display of your vibrant guppy family multiplying in their well-established breeding tank. Happy guppy breeding!

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