Guppies are a fun fish to keep and breed. They reproduce very easy, however they do not take care of their fry. Baby guppies are left by their parents, often they are even eaten by the adults.
You can take care of guppy fry very easy, if you know that to do. In this article I will guide you through the process of raising your guppy fry.
How Guppies Are Born?
Guppies become sexually mature at around 4-6 months. Guppies do not lay eggs. Guppies are livebearers, which means, they give birth to live fry. The female guppy gives birth to 20-60 fry at a time. They usually give birth once every 30 days, until they become 2-2.5 years old.
Usually, the female guppy will hide, when she is ready to drop the fry. The guppy mom can be in labor for couple of hours (sometimes couple of days), before fry are born.
The guppy fry starts swimming right away, and will try to find a hiding place in the aquarium. At the beginning the fry is inactive and deformed. Few hours after birth they are already lurking around and searching for food.
How to Save Your Guppy Fry?
Often, baby guppies are getting eaten by their parents and other aquarium fish. If you don’t have a separate breeding tank, where you put your pregnant female to drop the fry, chances is that your guppy fry will not survive.
Not everyone has separate aquariums for breeding fish. That is fine, because you can still save your fry. Here is couple of methods that you can use to save your guppy fry:
- If you don’t have a separate tank, you can use a bigger glass jar or plastic container to separate the pregnant female from the rest of the adults. Extract the female from your main tank, only when she started giving birth.
- If you don’t have the possibility to keep the female separated, you can purchase a breeding box. A breeding box is a small mesh or plastic container, which you can insert into your fish tank. The good thing about this method is that you don’t have to worry about the water quality of the container. The breeding box is designed in a fashion that the water will flow through, but the fry will stay in the box. After the female finished giving birth, you will extract her from the box and only fry will remain.
- You can also save your fry by providing them with hiding places. Live plants such as guppy grass, hornworts, java moss, or the roots of water lettuce can increase the survival rate of guppy babies a lot. The plants will give them cover for one-two weeks, until they will be big and strong enough to get away from the adults.
Feeding Guppy Fry
A newborn guppy fry is around 6 mm and its mouth is very tiny too. Although they are very small in size, their appetite is huge. Their digestion cycle is about 20-30 minutes. This means, they are ready to eat every 30 minutes. It does not mean that you have to feed them so often, but to encourage their growing speed you should feed them 5-10 times a day.
If you are running a guppy breeding operation and you are doing it for profit, you might want to keep this feeding schedule. However if you are keeping guppies for fun, feeding the fry once a day is enough.
Guppy fry will accept any food that their adult parents will eat. When you feed them, make sure you crush up the food, so it can fit in their mouth.
Feeding live food to your fish fry is the best: baby brine shrimp, micro worms, daphnia, or vinegar eels. However if you don’t have access to these type of food, you can use frozen or dry food as well.
You can feed them flake foods, but make sure you crush it up in tiny pieces. You can also feed them special powder food that is high in protein. I use First Bites to feed my guppy fry.
Egg yolk is another great source of protein for fry. Use the yolk of a hardboiled egg and make it into a paste. Add small amounts to your fry twice a day.
Feed your fish a variety of food to provide them with the necessary minerals and vitamins.
Guppy Fry Tank Maintenance
If you are keeping your fry together with the adults, in the community tank, you don’t need to worry about your water parameters. As long the adults are happy, the fry will also thrive.
However, if you are keeping the fry in a separate thank, there are few tricks you can apply to your aquarium to speed up the growing speed of the guppy fry:
- Keep the water temperature at 80 °F. It is not necessary, but warm water speeds up the metabolism of the fish. This encourages the fry to eat more and grow faster.
- Make partial water changes often. Fresh water will also benefit the growth of the fry. Depending on the number of fish and the size of the tank, you might want to do 50% water changes twice a week. There are guppy breeders, who change 50%-100% of the water every day.
- Keep the lights on for at least 12-16 hours a day. Strong and bright light is not necessary, but helps in avoiding deformities in their spine. You don’t want to keep the lights on all day long, because fish also need to rest. Make sure you give them 6-8 hours of darkness, so they can “sleep”.
The first few months of a guppy’s life plays significant role. Good water conditions and a high variety of quality food will help you raise healthy and beautiful guppies.
Breeding guppies and raising fry as a hobby is fun. Doing it for profit is a whole other story. I will write about this in another article.
Featured Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/legomaster/5558978588/