Breeding guppies

  • #1
I bought two male guppies for my 5 gallon tank and moved my guppy girls into the community 10g, which has lost several tetras (one to dropsy, three due to having been dyed - duh me why was I dumb enough to buy dyed fish?). After they were quarantined, I moved them around for the moment so that I have one girl with each male. I plan to breed them, put the boys in a different 5g, allow the girls to give birth in the original 5gal, move the girls back to the community tank, grow the babies until they are old enough to split between the 5 gallon tanks, the 10 gallon tanks, and giving to either a fish store or a teacher who keeps guppies in his pond. So, on to my question: how long should I leave the girls with the boys? a day? a week? a month?
  • #2
You can leave them with the boys until they are noticably pregnant.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thank you for your reply... I'm not really sure I will be able to tell when they are pregnant but I'll give them a couple of weeks at least unless the females seem stressed.

I bought a big 30 gallon or so plastic storage tub today that I am thinking of using as a guppy fry grow-out tank (Instead of dividing them amongst a bunch of 5g's). I will put in a filter and water from cycled tanks and cycle them for a couple of weeks on top of that, and a couple of plastic plants, but I plan to leave the bottom mostly bare so that I can see the fry. Females will be separated from fry by netting. Will this work? Am I forgetting anything?
  • #4
It sounds great! My guppy fry growout tanks are only 10 gallon aquariums, I'm sure you're guppy frys will enjoy the space. Make sure to add a heater for faster and better growth.
  • #5
Actually you need two females with each male to keep the male from harrassing the female too much. If they are left together a week that would be long enough. They should start having fry in about 29-30 days, so you could leave them three weeks you can still remove them before fry are due. This will give you plenty of time to set up and cycle fry facilities. I have one of the 30 plastic rubbermaid tubs I use for grow out for my bristlenose and it works great. All it needs is a sponge filter, and a heater and to be bare bottom. The bare bottom allows for ease of cleaning and water changing.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Do you usually see a lot of courting behaviour from males when they are placed with females after seperation? Of the three males who are with females at the moment, only the smallest is frantically courting (I added him to the female's tank just today, they're both QT fish but came from the same place). The others are all just hanging out,and have been since introduction, anytime I look at them.

Is the two females to one male ratio true even when they are together for only a short period of about a week, under supervision, and the females appear unharassed? (The female with the male who is very enthusiastic about courting will be exposed for only a couple of days at most, and as previously mentioned, the others aren't so aggressive)
Most of the time, I keep my females in the community tank and my males in species only tanks.
  • #7
I don't know if I would use a plastic tub for fish because some plastics can leak out toxins that would kill fish. It happened to a friend when he brought his goldfish out of his pond for winter and put it into a kiddie pool thing. And goldfish are probably more tolerant of impurities than guppy fry. Just something to watch out for.
  • #8
Actually you need two females with each male to keep the male from harrassing the female too much. If they are left together a week that would be long enough.
That is if the male is sterile.
  • #9
Planning to breed guppies in a 10 gallon tank... what would be a good number of males vs females to start with?
  • #10
you'll want 1 male and at least 2 females, but I'd recommend at least 3 to keep the male from being too harassing when the females are full of fry. Plan on a tank larger than the adults' tank for the fry and plan on dividing it when they start getting old enough to determine gender so that you can move the males away from the females.
Austin {Aquarist}
  • #11
I agree with betta couple a good ratio of males to females is 1 to 3

Ussually if there are more than one male to one female the male(s) will harass the female trying to mate with her
  • #12
yep exactly right
  • #13
Thank you all.
  • #14
I agree with them about the 1:2-3, but from a breeding stand point if you have the breeding guppies in a 10 gallon and have a separate tank for the fry you could do 1:4 or 1:5 male to female ratio. The more females you have the more fry you are going to get.

Make sure to either pull the fry or have dense, heavy, floating, midlevel, and bottom plants. In my experience the fry tend to stay near the bottom of the tank after they are a couple of days old, but the first day or two they try to hide as near the surface as they can, but your guppies may be different.

Good luck.
  • #15
Well if you want her to get pregnant allot then put a couple guppies in the tank with her then she will get chased and pregnant. In about a month or so then she will give birth.
phil saint
  • #16
my wife is dying to get her guppies to breed, has anyone got any advice on what I can do to help the gups along ?
platy ben
  • #17
Just keep them happy and have 1 male to every 3 females is best, once the female is pregnant she will release live babie after about a month
  • #18
small water change with a drop or raise 1-2 degrees in temps...feed some extra proteins like frozen thawed blood worms...and wait 28-31 days...that's their gestation period although boys and girls in a tank, and patience does the trick for most livebearers
phil saint
  • #19
already feeding variety of flake and frozen food we will try raising the water temp to 26c thanks.
  • #20
my wife is dying to get her guppies to breed, has anyone got any advice on what I can do to help the gups along ?

A little wine and soft music can't hurt!
  • #21

There's a bit of a concern with your male to female ratio. If too many males per female, then the females can become too stressed to carry to term. The ratio stated earlier is great advice. Shawnie's tips should do the trick, otherwise!

Oh, um, and I suppose you could try some Barry White.
  • #22
It's not can you do to get them to breed, it's what you can't do, you can have just females and the will still have babies
  • #23
I think it's when the Guppies get comfortable in their new tank. Once breeding starts the female will give birth again in 4 weeks, then again in another 4 weeks, then again in another 4 weeks. Then it's trying to decide, who is Mom & who is Dad, which generation is which, keeping males & female tanks....Yes I have had a LOT of Guppies.

Now the new fry are food for my Angelfish
  • #24
I just got some guppies (1M/3F) about a week ago and also can't wait for fry! I'm hoping all the females were already preggers when I bought them because sales person and I both saw the gravid spot on all of them. Good luck!
  • #25
Breeding Guppies and Swordtails
Hello Phil. The link above may help a bit if you haven't already seen it.
Best of luck for a spawn and healthy fry!
  • #26
Thanks Acquarist for the link

I started this hobby back in June of this year. Among other fish I started with 5 Guppies. Of the Guppies I have just 2 left, I female and 1 male. I am on my 3rd generation with this pair

Re the Breeder Box v the Breeder Net. I found the Net much better. The "idea" of the box is good but it doesn't work. I found the female panicked-the first time I put her in she actually jumped out (how I don't know) The second time she was panicked too and when she did give birth the fry were able to get through the slats in the box. Not good!

I gave up on the box and settled on the net. I keep an eye on her when she is due to give birth. Her behavior changes-she wants to be on her own. She obviously gets much bigger and "boxy' looking if you look at her straight on. Then obviously her gravid spot is much bigger too.

When the fry are born-I haven't actually seen this happen yet-they swim to the top. Some are fry are stronger than others and can get there quicker. Some it could take nearly 24 hours for them to get to the top.

I don't wait for this to happen though because the female has eaten the fry. I found the best and easier way to "fish" them out of the tank and into the net box is to use a tea strainer!! Strange I know but it works for me

The first two births she hadn't a big brood-about 5 each time. The last brood there must have been more than 30/40 of which I think I have about 30 left. All three generations are now in the same tank together (I need to divide them soon so again thanks for the link) the youngest are 4 weeks old.

I put the Mom & Dad into my main 180 L tank. It took them about 2 weeks to get used to it but are now very happy
  • #27
HI welcome to fish lore, and me too going to breed guppies too. And this is what I found in the web, and it is advised to have both the same color of male and female, in order to have the best result.

Below are the steps:

up a basic tropical fish tank, using a rectangle acrylic or glass fish tank that can hold at least 10 gallons of water. Assemble your heater and keep it between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Assemble an oxygen pump as well. Let your fish tank cycle for several weeks until you add your guppies. Enrich your water and make it healthier by adding manufactured bacteria from your local fish store.

Step 2
Purchase and add to your tank two or three female adult guppies and one male guppy. The number of females should always outnumber the number of males because the males are going to chase after them and could wear them out if there are not enough for the males to alternate between. Choose wisely-these fish are going to mate and mate often, and you want their babies to be attractive. You may opt to purchase half of your fish stock from a different pet store to discourage inbreeding. Guppies who are inbred are more susceptible to genetic disorders and diseases.

Step 3
Feed your fish a pinch of veggie flakes or protein once or twice a day. Do not allow your water to become cloudy. Clean it regularly as you would any other fish tank. If one fish shows signs of disease, remove it from the aquarium and treat it in another "hospital" tank.

Step 4
Let nature take its course. The male guppy is going to chase the female guppies. The guppies are going to mate. The females are going to become pregnant. They will stay pregnant for about a month. Their stomachs will grow, obviously. Their gravid spot-the black spot near their abdomens -will grow. Around the time they are due to pop, you will see little pairs of baby guppy eyes through their spot, and their abdomens will appear boxy.

Step 5
Set up several plastic "grass" plants in your tank before the babies are born. They can be rooted into the gravel on the bottom of the tank or placed to float on the surface. Either way, they are going to serve as shelters for the babies. Guppies are livebearers. They give birth to fry rather than hatch eggs. They also have no maternal instincts-they eat their young.

Step 6
Watch as your baby guppies appear out of the blue one day. Out of the dozens of guppy babies that each female is going to produce, only a handful will survive. It's Guppy Darwinism. Accept this.

Step 7
Feed your baby guppies a pinch of finely-crushed veggie flakes, bloodworms or shrimp at least twice a day. The pieces must be small enough to fit in their little mouths. They also enjoy crushed egg yolks, although this will make your water dirty.

Step 8
Enjoy watching your babies develop. They will show their colors and markings after about 1-2 months. They will be able to breed themselves after they are about four months old.

hope this helps and please do take some photos when the fry is out haha.
phil saint
  • #28
well its been 2 days since I asked the question and in that time one of my females bellys has swollen to twice the size and I'm sure I can see lots of little black dots in the tummy, I'm going to get a pic posted soon as I can, iv only got 1 male in the tank now as they were starting to get nippy, so its 1 male to 2 females.

thanks for the help.

phil saint
  • #29
so fat she looks spikey haha anyone have an idea of how long before I have fry ? and when should I put her in the breeder box ?


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  • #30
Isn't she pine-coning?
phil saint
  • #31
whats pine coning ? haha. her scales are spiking out if that's what you mean ?
platy ben
  • #32
Uh-Oh, there's a chance she isn't pregnant, she is pine-coning which is often a sign of dropsy I believe, although she may be pregnant she looks ill in my opinion
phil saint
  • #33
ah great news what can I do for her if she is ill and can my other fish catch it ?
  • #34
not wanting to be the bearer of bad news, but if it is dropsy, there really isn't much you can do.
platy ben
  • #35
To be honest I personally have never had dropsy in any of my tanks but I believe that pine coning is a sign of it. I think you can buy treatment and yes I think it is contagious
However I am not sure of this so hopefully a member with more experience on dropsy will come along .
  • #36
Yes, that is definitely pine-coning, and, especially to that severity, it is a sign of distress.

Have you seen them pooping? Guppies should be pooing a lot. If she's constipated, stop feeding them for 24 hrs. The for the next 48hrs feed only bits of thawed, shell-less peas.

Severe pine-coning is also a sign of dropsy, which is a symptom of other issues; so, dropsy is not necessarily communicable. But it does mean whatever is affecting her can be affecting the others. They may also be suffering nitrIte poisoning.

Scroll to "dropsy or malawI bloat:
"This is not really a disease, but a symptom of a bacterial infection and possibly malnutrition. There are medications available but try to increase the quality of the water by performing a 25% water change every other day and increase the quality of fish food given. If your fish's condition doesn't improve, try the medication. Your local pet store should have medication for this disease. Remove any carbon filtration before using medication because the carbon will remove the medication from the water."

Poor thing. I hope she's okay. If it's just constipation, then we can easily reverse it with some peas and then a switch in their diet. What do you feed them now? What's the feeding schedule like? Dropsy is more difficult to recover from. Her fins don't looked clamped, so I'm gonna really keep my fins crossed that she's just blocked up. :console:

Edit: Does her tail look a little ragged/fuzzy to anyone else? I'm wondering if that's fin rot. What test kit are you using? What are your current readings? :-\ I hope it's just a trick of the camera, but it looks problematic in that other photo too. I'm not sure.
phil saint
  • #37
ok so 1 heart attack later, iv done a water change earlyer today levels are fine and no other fish are effected (so far) its to late at night to get anything from the shop but I'll get the meds in the morning, I think I can manage a quick make-shift tank for her for the night.
  • #38
Hello Phil. I have moved your thread to the "live bearers/guppy" section of the forum.
phil saint
  • #39
thanks ken I should have thought to do that in the first place. so here is the guppy update....... I spoke to the shop where I got them from and I'm not the first person who has had this problem, it seems quite a few people that got gups from that batch have had the same thing, so they offered to take the gups back and give me credit in store and if the gups better I could have them back to I didnt want to give up on them but I figure they will have a better chance with the experts.

thank for the replys

  • #40
awwwwwwwwww no phil I'm so sorry .....I hope things look up for them both!!!!!!! and I agree..the rounded bellies happened too fast and the scales are definitely pineconing...usually caused from stress or sudden changes...which the LFS probably is the culprit or the shipping of these fish ...daily water changes and keeping the temps spot on with the new water, is about the only thing to be done without stressing them more...although a deadly condition, every fish has a chance IMO ....good luck !!!!!

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