Guppy Fish Gestation Period – How Often do Guppies Have Babies?

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In this new post, I will cover an important subject regarding guppy breeding: the gestation period. Among other things, you’ll learn if you can speed up guppy gestation period and how many babies do guppies have at a time.

Let’s start with finding out how long the gestation period really is for guppies.

In most cases, the gestation period for guppies will last anywhere from 25 days up to 35 depending on the water parameters, the female’s health and the food supply. On average, 22 to 26 days will be normal for most guppy fish.

If the female is healthy, it shouldn’t take longer than 26 days, especially if you provide healthy food on a regular basis, and you keep the water parameters in check during the breeding process.

If the female senses danger or is stressed out multiple times during the process, the pregnancy will last longer. Excessive stress can result in spontaneous abortion too.

Now that you know how long it takes for guppies to breed, let’s see if you can speed up the gestation period:

Can You Speed Up Gestation in Guppies?

Shortly, the answer is yes, you can speed up the gestation period for guppies. How though? Here are two of the ideas you can try out:

  • Gradually increase the temperature in the tank
  • Feed them protein rich foods

Any of the methods mentioned above will speed up the gestation in guppies. Let’s see what do you need to do in more detail:

First of all, gradually increasing the water temperature is done multiple days in a row. Each day, you set the water heater on a higher temperature, but do it slowly. By this, I mean that you only increase the temperature each day by 1 or at most 2 degrees. Otherwise, the pregnancy could go away.

The second method consists in feeding your guppies with high protein foods. Such food items could be bloodworms and brine shrimp. To make the most out of these foods, it’s best if you use live shrimp and worms, but frozen ones will work too if that is all you have.

By applying these 2 methods, you can decrease the gestation period by even 6 or 7 days. This is not a rule though, so don’t expect a sure decrease of this amount.

How to Tell if a Guppy is Pregnant?

To apply the steps I mentioned above, you first need to know if your guppy is pregnant or not. How can you tell if that’s the case?

Firstly, you need to look for physical symptoms, like a big belly bulge. This does not always show pregnancy, because it could just be bloating. However, if the belly bulging’s getting bigger over time, your guppy is most likely pregnant.

Another way to tell your guppy is getting pregnant, is to watch its behavior. Usually, the male will chase down the female when mating to the point of exhaustion. Then the female will stop, and let the male start mating with her. If you notice this behavior, the female will most likely get pregnant soon.

Some other symptoms that could show pregnancy are these:

  • Shaking and constant shivering in the aquarium
  • If the female is rubbing herself to the tank, like the wall of it and inside decorations or plants
  • If the female refuses to eat regularly

These symptoms by themselves won’t necessarily show pregnancy, but if you notice them all together, plus a bulging belly, your guppy is definitely pregnant.

Another sign that could occur, however it’s not the most common, is for your guppy to swim in the same place regularly. Just like before, if this symptom shows itself together with others, your guppy might be pregnant.

How Many Babies do Guppies Have at a Time?

Usually, guppies will give birth to live fry. How many though? A guppy female can give birth to anywhere from 2 to 200 fry at a time. This process will take up to 6 hours to finish. However, if the female is stressed out, it can last for 12 hours at maximum.

Does this mean that all 200 fry will live? No, not necessarily. That is because guppies have cannibalistic tendencies. When the female gives birth to all the fry, she could start eating them, if you don’t remove her at once.

Why Pregnant Guppy Not Giving Birth?

Sometimes, a pregnant guppy won’t give birth. What could be the cause for this? There are multiple reasons for this to happen:

A first cause can be the water temperature. If the temperature is too low, your guppy won’t give birth in time. That is why many people will increase the water temperature gradually like I described above. Make sure to at least keep the temperature at the same level.

Another cause for late birth could be stress. If your guppy feels stressed out, it won’t give birth in time. The cause for stress could be other fish that live in the tank. If they don’t leave the female alone in the breeding period, she’ll get stressed out and even abort the pregnancy.

Conclusion

As you can see from above, guppy gestation period will last for almost a month if everything goes as planned. However, there are certain things you need to take care of, to ensure a proper gestation period.

For instance, the water temperature should be kept in check, and you also need to keep a quiet habitat for your female guppy, so she’ll give birth normally.

If you notice any of the signs I mentioned above, it’s quite possible your guppy is pregnant. If that’s the case, prepare a separate breeding tank, to ensure a higher survival rate for the fry. This way, the whole breeding period will go down in a proper manner.

Updated: January 23, 2020

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