Guppy Fry Care – How to Care for Baby Guppies?


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Guppies are vibrant, easily-bred fish, but their fry often faces neglect and danger from their adult counterparts. Ensuring the safety and growth of baby guppies requires knowledge and care. Dive into this article to navigate the essentials of guppy fry care and successfully raise your little swimmers.

How Guppies Are Born?

Guppies typically reach sexual maturity between 4 and 6 months of age. Unlike many fish, guppies do not lay eggs. Instead, they are livebearers, meaning they give birth to live fry. A female guppy can deliver 20-60 fry in a single birthing event. This birthing cycle usually occurs roughly every 30 days, continuing until the guppy is about 2 to 2.5 years old.

When a female guppy is close to giving birth, she often seeks a secluded spot in the aquarium. This birthing process can last a few hours, but in some cases, it can extend over a couple of days.

Upon birth, guppy fry are immediately mobile, seeking shelter within the aquarium. Initially, the fry may appear somewhat inactive and oddly shaped. However, within a few hours, they become more active, venturing out in search of food.

How to Save Your Guppy Fry?

Baby guppies often face the danger of being consumed by their parents or other fish in the aquarium. If you don’t maintain a separate breeding tank for your pregnant female guppy to give birth, there’s a high likelihood the fry might not survive.

It’s understandable that not everyone has the luxury of separate breeding aquariums. But don’t worry, there are still ways to protect your fry. Here are a few methods to consider:

  1. Use a Temporary Container: Even if you lack a separate tank, a larger glass jar or plastic container can serve as a temporary haven. Transfer the pregnant female to this container only when she begins the birthing process.
  2. Invest in a Breeding Box: If you cannot separate the pregnant female, consider buying a breeding box. This small container, made of mesh or plastic, can be placed directly into your main tank. Its design allows water to circulate, maintaining water quality while keeping the fry safely inside. Once the female is done birthing, simply remove her, leaving the fry secure within the box.
  3. Create Hiding Spots: Enhancing your tank with live plants can significantly boost the survival chances of guppy fry. Plants like guppy grass, hornwort, java moss, and the roots of water lettuce provide essential hiding spots. These shelters can protect the fry for a couple of weeks, giving them time to grow stronger and more agile, reducing the risk from adult fish.

What is the Best Practice for Feeding Guppy Fry?

Guppy fry, despite their diminutive size of around 6 mm, have a voracious appetite. With a digestion cycle as quick as 20-30 minutes, they’re often ready to eat every half hour. This doesn’t mean you should feed them continuously, but for optimal growth, consider feeding them 5-10 times daily.

If you’re engaged in guppy breeding for profit, adhering to this feeding schedule is beneficial. However, for hobbyists simply enjoying their guppies, a daily feeding suffices.

Guppy fry will gladly consume anything their adult counterparts do. Just ensure the food is crushed small enough for their tiny mouths. Live foods, such as baby brine shrimp, microworms, daphnia, or vinegar eels, are optimal for fry. But if these aren’t available, frozen or dry foods are suitable alternatives.

Crushed flake foods or specialized high-protein powder foods are also great choices. I personally recommend “First Bites” for my guppy fry. An additional protein boost can be derived from egg yolk. Just transform the yolk of a hard-boiled egg into a paste and introduce small amounts to the fry twice daily.

Offering a diverse diet ensures your fish receive all the essential minerals and vitamins. With my unique homemade fish food recipe, I’ve successfully grown guppy fry to a sellable size in just three months.

What is the Best Practice to Maintain a Guppy Fry Tank?

When housing fry with adults in a community tank, there’s generally little need to alter water parameters. If the adults are thriving, the fry will likely flourish too.

However, if you’re raising the fry in a separate tank, consider implementing these strategies to foster quicker growth:

  1. Maintain Warmer Water: Aim for a water temperature of 80 °F. While not mandatory, warmer water boosts fish metabolism, prompting fry to eat more and subsequently grow at an accelerated rate.
  2. Prioritize Regular Water Changes: Fresh water can stimulate fry growth. Depending on the tank’s size and fish count, consider performing 50% water changes twice a week. Some guppy breeders even advocate for daily water changes, ranging from 50%-100% of the tank’s volume.
  3. Optimize Lighting Duration: Keep the tank illuminated for 12-16 hours daily. While intense brightness isn’t necessary, consistent lighting can help prevent spinal deformities in the fry. However, remember fish need rest too. Ensure 6-8 hours of darkness daily to simulate a natural resting period for them.

What are the Stages of Guppy Fry Development?

Upon birth, guppy fry are approximately 6mm, often seeking immediate shelter. In their first week, their translucent bodies begin to show slight pigmentation. Over the following weeks, their growth accelerates and color patterns become more pronounced. By the end of the first month, their distinctive guppy tails start to take shape. By three months, most guppy fry resemble miniature adults, ready to reproduce by 4-6 months.

What are the Benefits of Aquatic Plants for Guppy Fry?

Aquatic plants offer numerous benefits for guppy fry such as vital hiding spots, and protecting the young from potential predators, including adult guppies. These plants also support a balanced ecosystem by absorbing excess nutrients, enhancing water quality. Furthermore, they harbor beneficial microorganisms, offering guppy fry a natural food source. Aquatic plants create a nurturing environment, promoting growth and increasing the survival rate of guppy fry.

What are the Common Health Problems Affecting Guppy Fry?

Guppy fry, while resilient, can face several health challenges. Common issues include swim bladder disease, causing buoyancy problems, and fungal infections manifesting as white patches. External parasites might cause erratic swimming, while internal parasites can lead to bloating. Additionally, malnutrition and deformities can arise from poor breeding or inadequate care.

When is the Best Time to Transfer Guppy Fry to the Community Tank?

Once the fry reach a size where they are no longer easy prey for larger fish, they’re ready for the transition. This usually occurs around the 4-week mark, when they’ve developed distinct color patterns and have grown significantly. Prior to this, they’re at risk from predators, so ensuring they’ve matured adequately is essential for their safety.

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Updated: October 4, 2023
Questions & Answers
  1. Zakariyya

    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.

    1. avatar

      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.

      1. Josiah Williams

        Can I keep my new born dry in a plastic container? And do they need a filter and heater at the moment ?

        1. avatar

          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.

      2. 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.

        1. avatar

          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.

  2. Jennifer Ramsey

    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

    1. avatar

      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?

  3. Max Movius

    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?

    1. avatar

      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.

  4. When can fry by introduced to the main tank, when being kept in a breeding box?

    1. avatar

      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.

  5. The terrarian

    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

    1. Guppy lover

      Omg I have the same question because 1 fry was just about an hour ago

    2. Anonymous

      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

    3. Pet Expert

      It’s normal, especially if it’s its first pregnancy. Guppies can have 1-100 fry.

  6. Devio

    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?

    1. avatar

      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.

  7. Ralph Padilla

    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

    1. avatar

      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.

  8. 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

    1. avatar

      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.

  9. 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

    1. avatar

      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.

    1. avatar

      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.

  10. Jennifer

    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!

    1. avatar

      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.

  11. Just curious
    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?

    1. avatar

      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.

  12. 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?

    1. avatar

      If you want to mix adult guppies with fry guppies, be aware, that the adult will eat the smaller fry.

  13. I had 6 fry then one got swim bladder disease so I eliminated it. Was that the right thing to do?

  14. Hey Fabian one of my baby guppy fry in much whiter or paler compared to the rest of the fry what should I do?

  15. HairBowandArrow

    I have six baby Guppys and left them in with their mom and dad, but the dad died the next day. This is my 2nd batch of baby Guppys. A few days later I got two African dwarf frogs and the baby’s are four weeks old.

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