Breeding guppy fish is easy, what’s more difficult is making sure adult guppies don’t eat their fry. If you’ve been researching guppy fish breeding, you probably know by now that separating adult guppies from their fry is the only way to ensure their survivability.
One method of separating fry from adults is setting up a breeding box on the main aquarium, which is a container designed to allow water to freely flow through.
The breeding box will prevent adult fish from getting in and it will initially hold the pregnant female guppy until she releases the fry, after which she is extracted, and the fry are kept safely in the breeding box.
If you’re looking for the best breeding box for guppy fish, below you can read a short review of my top choices for guppy breeding box along with some other tips on how to save guppy fry.
Top Breeding Boxes for Guppy Fish
Compared to setting up a separate aquarium for guppy fry, a breeding box has several advantages:
- It’s cheaper because you don’t need to invest in additional equipment like a heater or a filter;
- It’s convenient because you don’t need to worry about matching the water parameters of the main aquarium;
- It’s quicker because you don’t need to wait for a new aquarium to cycle.
The disadvantage of breeding boxes is that they’re a temporary solution. Guppy fry cannot be kept in them for too long because it will slow down their growth.
After two weeks, guppy fry should be transferred into a separate tank or, If you have enough space in your main aquarium, you can release the fry into the tank.
With these in mind, here are my picks for the best breeding box for guppy fish:
1. Marina Hang-On Breeding Box
As I mentioned, one of the great advantages of a breeding box is that you don’t need to invest in a separate heater or a filter.
The Marina Hang-On Breeding Box is installed on the outside of the aquarium and it has multi-purpose use — it can be used as a breeding box, and acclimation box, or as a tank for isolating fish or even shrimp.
Because of the way it’s installed, it’s very easy to have access to it and to perform maintenance on it, plus it allows undisturbed monitoring of the fry.
The container holds 0.5 gallons of water, although other size options are also available. Water from the main aquarium is continuously circulated through the breeding box, but you do need to buy the air pump separately. I recommend the Tetra Whisper Air Pump (I got this air pump for a stupidly low price from Amazon), which will only set you back with $10.
The breeding box also includes 3 partition plates, which you can use to set up separate compartments in the box.
2. XMHF Nylon Mesh Fish Fry Hatchery & Breeder Box
Breeder boxes are not all the same. A cheaper alternative to the previously described hang-on breeding box is the XMHF Nylon Mesh.
It features a plastic frame and a net and attaches to the top of your aquarium with the suction cups included with the kit. Just make sure that the top of the net is kept above the water level.
The net separates baby guppies from adult fish, all the while allowing water to freely flow in an out, so you don’t need to worry about water parameters or any additional equipment.
It can also be used to isolate aggressive fish or temporarily isolate injured fish in the aquarium. I recommend it for those who need a quick and cheap temporary solution to isolate fry or other fish.
It’s a convenient way to solve the problem of preventing adult fish from eating their fry without having to invest in additional equipment.
3. PETS ISLAND Aquarium Fishes Breeding Box
This breeding box is somewhat like the XMHF separation net in that it’s placed into the aquarium and it’s held into place by the suction cups provided with the product.
The slits on the box allow water to flow in and circulate, but it will prevent fry from getting out. It has a separator that allows you to create two compartments in the box.
The two suction cups allow you to secure the box on the inside of the aquarium. Because of the transparent design, it offers great visibility of the fry and other isolated fish. It also comes with a transparent lid that secures into place.
Just like the nylon net and the hang-on breeder box, the Pets Island box can also function as an isolation box for aggressive fish that must be separated from other fish or for fish that have been injured.
Because it’s on the smaller side, this box should only be used as a temporary solution, but it comes at an affordable price and it has multiple uses.
4. Alfie Pet – Breeding & Hatchery Box
This hang-on breeding box has a great, sturdy design and it installs on the inside of the aquarium.
It allows water inside and out of the box and comes with a separator, allowing you to safely keep two adult fish inside.
It can be used as a nursery for guppy fry, but also as a separation tank for aggressive adults or weaker fish that need protecting.
It requires no heater, no filter and no aquarium pump. The yellow protection film that covers the box must be removed before use. When placed into the aquarium, the box should be fully transparent.
What I like about the Alfie Pet hang-on box is that it’s built very well and has a great design, which make it my top choice for a hang-on breeder box that’s instilled inside the aquarium.
5. Finnex External Refugium & Breeder Box with Water Pump
Hang-on breeder boxes that are installable on the inside are really only great for larger aquariums, which can easily accommodate a breeder box without it looking like it’s taking up too much space.
For smaller aquariums I recommend hang-on boxes that are installed externally like the Finnex External Refugium box.
When space is limited, the space-saving design of the external breeding box can be a lifesaver. It also provides a better observation area for whatever you’re using the box for.
It can double as an isolation box for aggressive or injured fish, or as a nursery for guppy fry. It can also be used as a refugium filtration system and it’s ideal both for freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
The Finnex refugium breeder comes with a water pump that helps circulate the water and thanks to the adjustable water flow, helps you recreate the type of water flow required for your fish.
The system is compatible to be used with clip-on lights for a perfect environment for your fish or fry.
The Finnex breeder box comes with a water pump included and requires no additional equipment like a heater or filter because the water pump circulates the water from the main aquarium.
Which Breeding Box to Get?
These breeder boxes are all good choices when it comes to separating fry from adults and setting up a temporary nursery for them until they can get rehomed or released into the main tank.
Breeder boxes that are placed inside the aquarium are mostly suitable for larger aquariums, where space is really not an issue.
I recommend external hang-on box for anyone with a smaller aquarium, which cannot comfortably accommodate a traditional breeder box.
Since an external hang-on box is installed outside of the tank it’s much easier to maintain and have access to it without disturbing the other fish in the main aquarium.
But do remember that some external hang-on boxes do not come with a water pumps and you must purchase one separately, otherwise there will be no water circulated through the breeder box.
Other Ways to Save Guppy Fry
A breeding box is a quick solution and an affordable one to save guppy fry. But there are other ways too:
1. Live Plants
This is something you probably already have in your aquarium seeing how guppy fish enjoy a planted aquarium, and they even graze on soft algae that grows on them.
Having a well planted tank with a variety of plants such as guppy grass, moss, frogbit (which is floating plant with long roots) can provide cover to guppy fry.
Even if live plants don’t save all the fry, they can help some baby guppies grow to a size which no longer leaves them exposed to the danger of getting eaten.
2. Separate Tank
Setting up a separate tank is more expensive than a breeding box or having a thickly planted aquarium, but it’s also a step that’s more or less required, especially if you have a small home aquarium to begin with.
The separate tank should be set up just as the main tank with the same equipment (heater, filter, lights, plants, etc.) and the same water parameters.
You should place the guppy mother into the separate tank before she gives birth. Usually, an enlarged abdomen, a V-shaped abdomen and a reclusive behavior can be signs that the pregnant guppy is about give birth.
Careful when transferring the mother as it can be stressful for her. I always make it a point to have the separate tank set up exactly the same as the main aquarium and recreate the same conditions.
As soon as the female guppy gives birth to her fry, you can extract her and place her back into the main aquarium.
From this point forward, it’s your job to raise guppy fry. Make sure you’re aware of their dietary requirements (varied foods rich in protein like baby brine shrimp and quality flake food).
Do yourself a favor and set up a feeding schedule that you can follow and bear in mind that guppy fry should be fed multiple times throughout the day with small amounts of food.
3. DIY Breeding Box
Another thing you can do if you’re short on cash or you don’t have the time to wait for a breeding box order, is to create your own breeding box.
This if you have some materials at home like a plastic jar, rubber bands and net (a simple garlic bag will also do).
Take the plastic container, place the net or mesh over the opening of the container and secure it with rubber bands.
Cut the container in half and place the meshed half upside down into the other half so it’s facing down towards the bottom of the container.
This will result in a two-layered container that you should secure together with rubber bands, so the upper container sits inside the lower one upside down.
Place the container into the aquarium, let it fill with water almost to the top, then secure it into place on the side of the aquarium with some duct tape.
Next, place the pregnant female guppy into the breeding box and add some floating plants, so she doesn’t become stressed out.
When she will give birth, the fry will drop into the lower chamber of the box through the net, and you can easily extract the female from the upper chamber of the box.
If you don’t want to spend money on a fancy breeding box, a DIY one will also do, provided that you have all the materials needed at home.
If you’re planning on breeding guppy fish professionally, you should consider investing in a separate aquarium for guppy fry, which will allow you to offer them plenty of room to grow and a better overall environment.
In all other situations – accidentally discovering that your female guppy is pregnant or you’re breeding guppy fish as a hobby – having lots of hiding spaces, live plants or setting up a breeder box are all acceptable alternatives.
Breeding boxes are certainly more affordable and convenient than having to invest in a separate tank but remember that they’re a temporary solution.
If you’re looking for affordable and easy-to-install breeder boxes, the ones I mentioned in my articles are worth a look.