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.
I was able to grow guppy fry to sellable size in just 3 months, with my secret homemade fish food recipe, that you can find in the linked guide.
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/
Questions & Answers
Hi I’m zakariyya from zambia.
The question is that we do not find those insects that u have listed in our country.What can I use.
We find small thin as a thread worms
Can I use them.
Hi Zakariyya, if guppy fry can eat those and are not harmful for them, certainly you can use.
In my article I’ve mentioned insects that are easy to cultivate at home, but I’m sure there are tons of other insects out there that guppies will love to eat.
Probably in Zambia you could collect mosquito larvae, which is a great source of live food for guppies.
Can I keep my new born dry in a plastic container? And do they need a filter and heater at the moment ?
Yes, you can keep the fry in a plastic container. I used to keep newborn fry in a half a gallon plastic box for a week or so. I didn’t use any filtration or heating and they survived.
Hi I’m Maria and I just wanted to know why my fry don’t want to eat, my female adult guppy just gave birth today and I gave the fry food, but they don’t want to eat only my adult guppies eat the food.
It takes a few hours for baby guppies to start eating. They should start eating after 2-4 hours. Probably they are still weak or afraid of their parents. Just give them more time, and I’m sure they will start eating.
If we do just breed for fun, what should we do with all the fry we keep having? We only have a 10 gallon tank so we can’t keep to many
You can give them away for free to friends. If your friends do not keep fish, you can post on fish related Facebook groups; someone might need the fry.
If they grow a bit, you can ask your local fish store to take them and give you store credit.
How many baby guppies you have?
Hi I made my first tank 2 months ago and my guppies were just born today! Because it’s late at night I only saved two and I will try to save more from the other guppies and danios. When should I start feeding my guppies. Tomorrow? A week? A month?
You can start feeding guppy fry right after they are born. They are ready to eat right away. You can feed small amounts of powder flake food 2-3 times a day.
When can fry by introduced to the main tank, when being kept in a breeding box?
Hey Laura. At about 2-3 weeks old or when they are big enough to not get eaten fry can be released into the main tank. Make sure to feed your fish well before you add the fry.
My guppy has only one fry yesterday and is there’s is an article that said they should have at least 2 is that correct
Omg I have the same question because 1 fry was just about an hour ago
If its the first time the guppy is pregnant it is common for them to have one but they also have babies up to 24 hours after going into labour
It’s normal, especially if it’s its first pregnancy. Guppies can have 1-100 fry.
My guppies are three weeks old, I feed them mosquito larvae every day, should I use another food?
How often they have to be given food?
And how much larvae should I give?
Mosquito larvae are great for guppy fry, because helps them grow super fast. Though, you should feed them some vegetables or flake food, because they need additional minerals and vitamins to develop beautiful colors and stay healthy. You can prepare guppy food at home, or use commercial guppy food.
Hi, I bought 4 female guppies and it’s been a week later one female died, the next day I found a lil baby fry in the tank and later that day two more. Where did they come from I just got the females to mate with my 4 males. So one female died and then I find these bab
Hi! If the females came from a tank where they were kept together with males, then most likely they were already pregnant. The female probably died due to high stress during or after labor. It is not uncommon for female guppies to die after giving birth.
Hope you have removed the dead guppy from the tank, so it wont cause any ammonia problems.
Now, for a few days, pay closer attention to your guppies, to eliminate the possibility of any disease. I don’t think there would be any problem, but when a guppy dies, you should always be aware.
Guppy fry need filter or oxezen machine for live or something yesterday I have 3 born baby guppy fry…..
Can I save them aad how
I keep in other bwol but take same water which are they born so I need change watter for them
Baby guppies do not need a filter or air stone and using the aquarium water in a bowl is a great choice. You can do small water changes in the bowl every other day to keep the water clean.
Once they are big enough, you can put them back with their parents. I think that in 2-3 weeks you can place them back in the main aquarium.
I found my answer.
My female guppy gave birth today and I was wondering if I could keep the fry in a container? If so can fry survive without a filter and heater?
Many thanks, Josiah
You can keep the fry in a separate container. They can survive without a heater, however they will not grow very fast. A filter is necessary if you container is really small. If you keep them in a large container and you do weekly water changes, they might get along without any filter.
How long should I leave my guppy fry in my breeding tank for?
You can leave the gruppy fry in the breeding tank until they get large enough so their parents will not eat them. Guppy fry of about 2-3 weeks old are large and strong enough so they will be safe. They might be stressed for a few days by the adults, but once their parents will get used to them, they will not bother anymore.
Hi Guppy Expert! I need help as this is my child’s (and my) first tank. The 10 gallon tank (I purchased the Aqueon quietflow package) has been set up for about 5 months and the fish store has confirmed it has cycled and things were ready to go before I added my 1 male and two female guppies. After having problems with the pH of my tap water and then the water from the fish store well (both were about 6, which likely caused the small male to pass away), I have added buffer and monitor the pH at home. Temp is set at 79-80F, pH is now 7, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 0-5. Now come the (six) babies, which I read how your post says “Keep the lights on for at least 12-16 hours a day”. Does this mean the fluorescent light under the hood that came with the tank? Or could i get by with less hours of that and just use room light (so my fry’s spines don’t grow crooked), maybe take the hood off ? The reason why I ask, is that now after almost 3 weeks of having the fry in the mesh box in the same tank, the brown algae is exploding in my tank, and the variables that have changed is the extra light, and the extra food for the fry. I am using “first bites” as you suggested, and the ammonia is 0 and nitrites is 0 and nitrates is 0-5. I am doing a 20-25% water change with vacuuming (2-3 inches thick) gravel 1-2 times per week, but then unsure when I change my filter, because the fish store said to change the filter on the off week you don’t change the water.
If you could comment on (1) brown algae and lighting – can I get by with room light and not so much fluorescent to decrease brown algae, (2) whether or not feeding the babies is contributing to the brown algae, (3) when to change the filter if I am changing the water every 1-2 weeks, (4) how to get rid of the brown algae. It’s not harmful to the fish, is it?
Thanks so much for your time!
In normal conditions you would not want to keep the aquarium lights on for more than 6-8 hours a day to avoid algae growth. If you want to grow your guppy fry faster, then you should keep the lights on for 12-16 hours.
Probably you don’t want to breed guppies for profit 🙂
Brown algae is not harmful for the fish. In facts algae is beneficial in aquariums, because algae, just like plants remove excess nutrients from the tank. Algae might look ugly, but nothing to worry about. On the other hand blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) can be harmful for fish. But I guess you don’t have this in your tank.
In conclusion, you don’t need to do anything special to guppy fry, unless you run a guppy breeding facility.
Which is the best food for the fry
I had pretty good success with First Bites – the guppy fry grow really fast with this food.
I brought home a corycat the other day to add to my collection and when I looked I noticed I had one small fry in my bag along with it. What’s the chances of survival for this little fella and can it be easy to tend to?
The chance of survival is pretty low for one guppy fry in a community tank. If you have enough hiding spaces, live plants in your tank, you can increase the chance of survival, but this also depends on the type of fish you have. An angelfish or betta fish will hunt and eat the fry. You might be able to grow the fry to a decent size in a separate container and add it to the community tank once it is big enough.
I have 2 females
One gave birth to 27 fries 20 days back
And the other one gave birth to 52 fries 5 days back
So can i mix them up in the same fry tank?
And can i add adult males into it?
If you want to mix adult guppies with fry guppies, be aware, that the adult will eat the smaller fry.
I had 6 fry then one got swim bladder disease so I eliminated it. Was that the right thing to do?
My guppy be swimming upside down