Guppies are freshwater tropical fish, originally found in South America and belong to the Poeciliidae Family.
They are among the most common types of fish kept by both experienced and beginner aquarists.
They add so much color in an aquarium, they are peaceful, active swimmers and very easy to take care off.
There are over 300 different species of guppy fish, each with a variety of colors, tail shapes and sizes.
Guppies are also known with other names such as million fish, because of their incredible breeding rate, and rainbow fish, because they come in a wide range of colors.
Guppies have a very high breeding rate. They are not shy to breed, and do not necessarily need any input from the owner.
While in the tank, you will often see a male guppy chasing a female guppy in an attempt to please them by wiggling their fins.
Guppies are livebearers, this is to mean, unlike many other types of fish that lay eggs and hatch them into young ones, female guppies get pregnant and give birth to a live fry.
Female guppies give birth once in a period of approximately 30 days. Guppies can have from 20 to 120 fry at a time.
If you have do not intend to have many guppies in your aquarium, it is important for you to separate female and male guppies.
Otherwise, when they are sexually mature, at the age of four to six months, they will start mating and multiplying very fast.
How to Differentiate a Male Guppy from a Female Guppy?
You can easily tell a male guppy from a female guppy from as early as the age of one week old. The difference is mostly the body shape, fins and the color. Below are the major difference you should look out for:
Female guppies have a rounder, curvier and are bigger in size compared to the male guppies. Male guppies on the other hand, have slender bodies that make them look longer than the females.
Guppies have a variety of vibrant colors. However, male guppies are more brightly colored than the female. They use their bright colors to attract the female guppies.
Male guppies have big dorsal fins while female guppies have relatively smaller and shorter dorsal fins.
Male guppies also have long, wide and colorful caudal fins, unlike the female that have a shorter and narrower caudal fin compared to the males.
Finally, male guppies have a long, narrow and pointed anal fin that is also known as gonopodium, while the female’s anal fin is triangular, smaller in size and located below the gravid spot.
The gravid spot is only present on female guppies. It is located near the tail and it looks like a dark spot. When a female guppy gets pregnant, the gravid spot gets bigger and darker in color.
How do Guppies Breed?
Guppies are active swimmers. Most of the time, the male fish will be seen chasing female fish in an attempt to mate with them.
Fertilization occurs when the male guppy passes spermatophores, a packet of sperms, into the female. The sperms are passed through the gonopodium.
The contact is brief and it looks like the male is piercing the female using the gonopodium, a pointed anal fin. Female guppies are capable of storing sperms in their body, causing multiple pregnancies from one fertilization.
Between four to five days after fertilization, the embryo is completely formed. The gestation period is approximately 21 to 30 days. During this period, the fry develops different body organs.
Identify Pregnant Female Guppy
After fertilization, it takes a few days to tell a female guppy is pregnant. Below are signs that can help you know when your guppy is pregnant.
- The gravid spot becomes very dark and large
- Changes in eating habit, the female guppy will lose appetite or feed hungrily
- The colour begins to fade
- Increased rapid breathing
- The female guppy becomes rounder, bulkier and develops into a square shape like especially on the abdomen
- Visible small fry eyes on the female’s translucent belly skin
- The female guppy remains still on one spot especially near a water heater
- The guppy may also become
When a female guppy is pregnant, they need special care to ensure they do not get stressed. Stress can lead to pregnancy termination or unplanned abortion for the guppy.
To ensure the guppy is comfortable, maintain water temperatures in the tank at around 75 to 85 °F, feed the guppy two to three times in a day with healthy balanced diet, and ensure the water is clean and there are no hostile tank mates.
How do Guppies Give Birth?
There are no definite indicators that a female guppy is ready to give birth. However, as the days get nearer, she will mostly remain at one spot in the tank.
On normal circumstances, it will take approximately 2 to 6 hours for the guppy to drop all the fry.
However, on special circumstances, the female guppy may deliver some fry then resume the process after 12 hours or a few days.
The baby guppies are born curled up as they were in their mothers’ belly. However, after a few hours, they uncurl and start swimming.
During birth, it is important to separate the female guppy from the rest of the fish. The fry are at a risk of being eaten by the mature fish in the tank.
Hungry female mothers can also feed on the fry once they are born. The fry should be fed often, especially within the first few weeks when they are undergoing major developments.
After four weeks, the fry will be mature already, and at the six week mark, most of them will become sexually mature, ready to reproduce.
Guppies are also called million fish because they are active breeders. Since guppies get to sexual maturity within a short period of time, a female guppy can give birth up to two thousand baby guppies in her entire lifetime.
Once a female guppy is fertilized, she can continue to get pregnant from the sperms stored up in her body.