If you are keeping guppies for the first time, you might notice that male guppy some-time act very strange.
Male guppies will bend their spine to the side and will start flaring, dancing, and jiggling around female guppies. I can ensure you, that there is nothing wrong with your fish. This is the mating behavior of guppies.
Males will do this mating ritual all day long. They will only take a short break, when they are feeding.
Here is a slow motion video which has captured the mating and the breeding of guppy fish:
How do Guppies Breed?
Male guppies have a gonopodium. This looks like a stick and can be found at the anus of the male guppy fish. This is used to hand on a package of sperm to female guppies.
After the mating ritual, the male guppy will turn to the side, will point its gonopodium forward and will tap the female for 1-2 seconds. This time is enough to pass the sperm and fertilize the female.
Female guppies can store sperm for months. So even only after one encounter, female guppies will be able to give birth month after month for a long time.
Male guppies can mate multiple times a day with multiple females.
Mating can be very stressful for both males and females. So keeping a good ratio of male to females is a must.
I recommend keeping a ratio of one male guppy to 3 female guppies. This will give enough time for each female to rest.
How Long it Takes to Have Baby Guppies?
So you guppies are mating and breeding, doing their business. How long it actually takes to have guppy fry?
Well, female guppies give birth to multiple guppy fry once a month. Each fertile female guppy will usually drop 20 to 60 fry every 25-35 days. So, in just few months, you can end up with a ton of guppies.
However not all guppy fry will survive. Most of them will get eaten by adult guppies.
Some of the fry will be able to escape and hide. If you want to give them cover, you can use live plants in your aquarium.
If you want to save most of the fry, you should use a breeding box or put the pregnant female guppy into a separate tank just before giving birth.
If you don’t have a separate tank for baby guppies, you should use this breeding box from Amazon. This is very good, because it allows you to run aquarium water through it with an air pump. It is basically a small extension of your aquarium, which protects the baby guppies.
How to Care for Guppy Fry?
Ok, so you have saved a lot of guppy fry. What should you do next? How to care for baby guppies?
They actually do not need very special care. However, there are few things to consider.
Newborn baby guppies are about 0.25 inch (0.6 mm) in size and have no colors. They can’t eat just any food because their mouth is very small. You should offer them powder food. Feed them at least once a day to ensure good development.
Doing regular water changes is also a necessity if you want to raise healthy guppies. Changing 30% of the water weekly is a must to eliminate the accumulated waste which is produced by the fry.
You should not keep your guppy fry in a breeding box for longer than two weeks, because this will decrease their grow rate significantly.
After the guppy fry get to a decent size, you might want to release them into the main tank or put them in a separate aquarium. In a separate aquarium you will be able to grow them quicker, because they will not compete for food with adult guppies. Also they will not be stressed out by bigger fish.
If you want to learn more about how to care for baby guppies, please read my detailed article on this topic.
At around one month old, baby guppies become juveniles. They start to gain some coloration and can distinguish male and female guppies.
At around 2 months old, juvenile guppies start maturing sexually. The male guppies start gaining more and more colors and start their mating behavior.
So, next time, when you see your male guppies act strange and dance around females, you will know that this is their mating ritual.
It is very interesting to watch how these beautiful fish mate and give birth to fry month after month.
Hope this article gave you answer to your questions regarding the mating behavior of guppy fish and gave you some extra info too.