How to Setup a Guppy Breeding Tank?

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If you own a number of guppies in your aquarium, today’s article is for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner fish keeper or a more experienced one, breeding periods will always appear. That is why today we will talk about the process of setting up a guppy breeding tank.

I will cover multiple things you need to do, like choosing the proper aquarium, setting it up with lights and hiding places and even other aspects as well. So, let’s start with the first step you need to do, in order to set up a breeding tank for guppies:

Choose Aquarium Size

First of all, to set up a breeding tank, you’ll need a separate aquarium from the one you’re already using. Choosing a new one might prove to be difficult, if you don’t know what size is best suited for a breeding tank.

For a normal breeding process, you won’t need anything bigger than 10 gallons in volume. To make a good choice, it’s best to just go with a normal fish tank, of 10 gallons in capacity. Anything larger than that will prove to be pointless.

To buy a new tank, you can take a quick look on Amazon, or just go to the nearest shop where you possibly bought the tank you already own.

If you think you need something special, like a specifically created breeding container, know that you don’t. Guppies will breed in pretty much anything, and they don’t require anything special, such as specific breeding kits. So, go for a normal aquarium, like you’d buy anyway.

The next step when you bought your new fish tank, is to set it up with some internal items.

Add Hiding Places

Most fish breeds, guppies too, like to mate and reproduce in caves or under plants that hide them from other competitors. Because of this, you’ll need to place special hiding places in the new tank, so your guppies will easily hide in them.

To do this, you have at least 2 choices:

1. Buy Specially Crafted Hiding Places

This method is best if you don’t want to spend too much time setting up your breeding tank. You can find ready-made hiding places (fake rocks and caves) on Amazon, or even in your nearby pet shop. Usually, these are little items that look like caves or rocks, which are perfect for female guppies to give birth and for the fry to hide.

Just place 2 or 3 of these items in the tank, and your guppies will be able to feel a bit safer. You can place these items in the corner of the aquarium.

2. Buy Aquatic Plants that Appear in their Natural Habitat

Another method to get hiding places for your guppies, is to buy aquatic plants that you can place in the tank in various spots. This is great, because guppies will feel much more at home due to the variety of plants, and the breeding will go down much more smoothly.

To maximize the results, you could buy both ready-made hiding places and aquatic plants as well. This is a great method to create a nice and friendly habitat for your guppies when giving birth. How should you set this up?

It’s best to place 1, 2 or 3 hiding caves in peaceful spots inside the aquarium. In front of all these caves, you can place aquatic plants, to hide the entry in the caves. This way, your guppy fry will feel safe and will block the line of sight of adult guppies.

This will help greatly the survival rate of your guppy fry.

Bare Bottom vs Substrate

When setting up a breeding tank, you have to also take into consideration the bottom of the aquarium. Usually, there are 2 methods to set that up:

  • Have a bare bottom
  • Put a substrate on the bottom

Which is best for breeding guppies? A bare bottom tank is much better for breeding guppies. Simply, because it is much easier to clean. You can easily clean the debris that is gathering at the bottom of the tank, when doing water changes.

A tank with gravel or sand substrate, however is better, if you don’t have the time to clean the tank very often. That said, choose which method works out best for you.

Adding Aquarium Lights

A good breeding tank will also have lights installed. Why would you need lights on the breeding tank? There’s a good reason why this is recommended:

Lights will help guppy fry grow faster and be healthier. If you want to achieve a faster growth rate for your guppy fry, you should keep the lights on for about 12 to 16 hours every single day. 

Please remember, that your guppies also need darkness. They need to sleep and rest for at least 8 hours. So, don’t think of leaving the lights on for 24 hours, because this will not help. Instead, the constant lighting will stress out the guppies and they will die.

So as with most of the things in life, you need to find a balance with aquarium lights too.

Use Sponge Filter

Like any other aquarium, a breeding tank will also need a water filter. This is especially important, since the fry will live in this tank for quite a while. Choosing a filter is quite easy, however there is something you should keep in mind when making a choice: the fry will easily get sucked into the filter if you don’t get a proper device.

For this to not happen, we recommend that you use a sponge filter. This is great for small fish, so fry as well. A sponge filter will prevent the fry from getting sucked into the filter and die.

Also, a sponge filter usually won’t create strong water flows. This is pretty important, since guppies live in slowly moving waters, and the fry will need such habitat to survive.

Maintain Breeding Tank Regularly

Just like your main fish tank, the breeding tank also needs proper maintenance. Basically, everything that you’d do with the main aquarium, you must also do here.

For instance, regular water changes are a must. This should be done carefully, though. Make sure that you change about 20 to 30% of the water each week. This will allow for a great cleaning process, while your guppies will continue mating.

Also, clean the tank and the water filter too. Of course, do all this without disturbing your guppies. Once the fry were born, maintenance is also required. Don’t stop doing these processes, because otherwise your fry could get sick and die in a dirty tank.


All in all, setting up a breeding tank for guppies is quite simple. All you need to do, is follow the steps described above.

This way, you’ll create a proper habitat for your guppies, where they can breed peacefully, and the fry will grow faster and more beautiful.

Updated: April 7, 2022
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