Female Guppy Behavior Before Giving Birth

If you are keeping guppies in a community tank, probably you want to separate the female guppy from the rest just before giving birth.

You can put the female guppy into a breeding box or a separate tank.

But which is the best time to separate a pregnant female guppy from the main tank? How do you know if a guppy fish is about to give birth? What is female guppy behavior before giving birth?

In this article I will give you some tips, which will help you know when your guppy fish are ready to give birth to young fry.

How to Determine if Guppy Fish is Pregnant?

First of all, you want to know whether your female guppy is pregnant or not. The good thing is that it very easy to know if a guppy is pregnant.

If you are keeping female and male guppies together, most likely female guppies are pregnant, unless they are infertile.

During pregnancy, female guppies will develop a big rounded belly. Their gravid spot, which is above their anal fin, will become darker and bigger.


Over the next few weeks, their belly will grow, until they release the fry.

Is Female Guppy Fish About to Give Birth?

Female guppies usually give birth 25-35 days after mating with male guppies. It is not easy to determine the exact date when they are going to give birth.

However there are tricks from which you can know that your guppy fish is about to give birth.

Specific Belly Form

Few days before giving birth, the female’s belly will get an angular shape. It is very hard to describe the form, but here is a great image to show you:


This shape is a great sign that your female guppy will give birth very soon.

At this stage you can separate the female from the rest.

Female Guppy Hiding

Hiding between plants or staying in a corner of the tank is another sign that your female guppy fish is in labor and ready to give birth. This is not a normal behavior of guppies. So it is easy to spot.

Just before giving birth, she will separate herself from the rest. If you see this, you can remove the female from the rest.

Female Guppy Giving Birth & Eats the Babies

How to Save & Care for Guppy Fry?

If you have lots of live plants in your aquarium, you can be sure, that some of the fry will survive.

However, if you want to save as many fry as possible, you need to remove the pregnant female guppy from the rest.

You can put your female guppy into a breeding box. I recommend using this breeding box from Amazon. This is a hang-on breeding box, which enables you to run aquarium water through it.

Most breeding boxes are designed to hold a certain amount of water, but do not let you cycle water through.

You should not keep your female guppy in a breeding box for too long.

Giving birth is already stressful, and being in a small space can increase stress. Some females might die during labor or after giving birth due to high stress.

If you have the possibility to put your pregnant guppy fish into a separate aquarium, you can avoid using a breeding box.

You should know that guppies will eat their fry.

Adding live plant to the breeding tank such as java moss, guppy grass or frogbit will increase the chance of fry to survive and not get eaten by their mother.

A female guppy fish can be in labor from 15 minutes to up to 1 day.

What to Do with Guppy Fry?

Ok, so the female guppy just gave birth to lots of fry. What should you do with them?

If you used a breeding box, you might want to keep them in it for 1-2 weeks. During this time, you should feed them powder food and change water in the breeding box often. If you used the hang-on breeding box from Amazon, which I mentioned earlier, you can skip water changes.

In two weeks, they will become strong and fast enough to be released in the tank with their parents.

Although the baby guppies are stronger, they can still get eaten by larger fish. So please keep this in mind.

Add lots of live plants in the tank, to give your guppy fry enough hiding places.

If you have multiple tanks, you can use a tank to grow baby guppies separately. Feed them twice a day with high quality food. Do weekly water changes and have good filtration on your outgrow tank.

Adding live plants are big plus when growing guppies.

If you want to learn more about how to care for baby guppies, please read my other article.


Hopefully this article has helped you to learn about the behavior of guppy fish before giving birth.

If you want to learn more about guppies, please read my other article.

Also, if you have any questions regarding guppies, please leave a comment below or feel free to contact me through the contact form.

11 Responses

  1. Avy says:

    Can i just keep the baby guppies in the tank with other fish ( i have five guppies including the mother, a glass fish and one tetris) when they are born or is that too risky??

    • avatar Fabian says:

      Hey Avy, you can keep the babies in the mains tank, but the chances are high to get eaten. If you don’t want to risk it, I recommend using a breeding box.

  2. Corrie says:

    Hi our female guppy is in active labor but it looks like her insides are coming out. Only 1 fish so far and she keeps flipping upside down is this normal?

    • avatar Fabian says:

      When guppies turn upside down, it is a sign of a problem. This is not normal at all.
      Sometimes female guppies have complications at giving birth (just like humans). In fact one female can die to high stress experienced during labor. This is sad, but it happens.

  3. Rit says:

    I have kept the female guppy in a separate bowl already because I cannot understand when she’s due. She’s quite round now. If I keep her there for a few days will it be stressful for her? The bowl is quite big.

    • avatar Fabian says:

      If the bowl is big enough, it will be ok. I usually do the same when don’t have enough aquariums for new fry. I put the females in 1 gallon containers for 2-3 days with an air stone.

  4. Jan Marie says:

    Thank you very much very informative and helpful. I love my guppies

  5. Yaya says:

    Help! My other guppies are following and seem to be attacking my female that had recently gave birth. They think she is a food dispenser. What can I do to help her other than keep her in a separate container?

    • avatar Fabian says:

      A breeding box could be a good solution for the female guppy while giving birth. This way you could save the fry and also keep her separated without setting up a new tank. I don’t think that the other guppies are attacking here, however the males probably are chasing her, because they want to breed. This can be really stressful for the female, and often can result in the death of the female guppy.

  6. Keira says:

    Hi I have my female guppy in breeding box and the female is changing up and down the bottom side to side kind off nose down. Is this sign off Labor

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