Guppy fish are live-bearing fish that breed easily and often, all the while producing a lot of fry. Unlike fish that lay eggs and hatch them, live-bearers spawn fully formed offspring that swim and take on food almost immediately.
Juveniles that hatch from eggs, usually go through a larval stage during which they feed on their yolk sack and will only take on food after they will have consumed their yolk sack.
But what about guppy fry? When do guppy fry start eating? What do guppy juveniles eat? And how often should they be fed?
If this is your first time breeding guppies, you’ll be happy to know that guppy fry will start eating 2-3 hours after they’re born.
In this article, I’m going to talk about the nutritional requirements of guppy fry and how you can increase their growth rate.
What to Feed Guppy Fry?
Since they’re still in development, guppy fry require vitamin- and nutrient-rich diets that will aid in their growing process, help their immune system develop, and ward off diseases or illnesses caused by nutritional deficiencies.
The good news is that feeding guppy fry isn’t difficult since they eat all the foods adults do, just in smaller bites.
Therefore, the best way to make sure that the nutritional requirements of guppy fry is met is to work some variety into the feeding schedule of your fry.
In fact, the first thing you should do is set up a feeding schedule. If you’re unsure about how to set up a feeding schedule, I will share my fry feeding schedule with you in the next section of this article, so you’ll have a feeding framework that you can adjust as necessary.
But first, I’m going to give you an overview of the foods that are suitable for guppy fry, highlighting the reasons why these foods are important in the diet of guppy fry.
There are three major food categories that I like to work into the diet of my guppy fry, and these are:
Flake foods are the easiest thing you can feed to your guppies. You can buy flake foods designed especially for small fry or you can crush adult flake foods into a powder (I highly recommend the New Life Spectrum flakes from Amazon). Both are good options.
With flakes, it’s best if you choose a high-protein flake food that includes vegetable matter as well (e.g. spirulina) to make sure your guppies get all the minerals and vitamins they need.
Add a pinch of flake for into the tank once or twice a day for your guppy fry, making sure you’re not overfeeding them.
Guppy fry thrive on live foods like baby brine shrimp, but if live food options aren’t available, freeze-dried foods are a good alternative.
You can feed guppy fry with freeze-dried brine shrimp, blood worms, and tubifex. These freeze-dried food options are great when being fed to fry because they provide fat, protein and other nutrient that will increase the growth rate of fry.
Careful with feeding these foods to adults, however. It’s best if adults are offered high-fat and high-protein foods only in moderation, as an occasional snack (once or twice a week).
Apart from the commercial food options for guppy fry, you can make fry food at home. Here’s what you can prepare at home:
You can create live cultured foods at home to feed guppy fry. The top of my choice when it comes to live foods to feed my guppy fry is baby brine shrimp.
With a 60% protein content and 25% fat and carbohydrate content, baby brine shrimp will help your fry grow faster and bigger.
To make your own live culture of brine shrimp, you need to set up a hatchery, which you can buy from Amazon.
Other cultured food options are vinegar eel and daphnia. Vinegar eels are easy to culture — a bit more difficult to harvest, but with a little practice, you can pull it off — and so are daphnia.
If you’re going to run a few of these cultures at home, it’s best if you familiarize yourself with their requirements, so you’ll create safe live foods that are the most nutritious to your fry.
Egg Yolk Paste
Another type of food you can prepare at home is egg yolk paste, which is another protein-rich food that will promote the growth of your fry.
Before I get into the details of how it’s prepared, I must mention that while nutritious, egg yolk can foul the water quite easily, so careful with how much and how often you feed your fry with it.
Although it’s a complex food choice for guppy fry — it contains proteins, calcium, magnesium, Vitamins, potassium, etc. — egg yolk paste is easy to prepare.
Take a hard-boiled egg, separate the yolk and crush it into a paste, which you can feed in small amounts to your fry.
Because it’s such a protein and fat bomb, I don’t really recommend it for adult guppies.
How Often to Feed Guppy Fry?
As I mentioned, it’s best to devise a feeding schedule when caring for guppy fry, especially if you want to promote their growth rate.
Because they’re developing and because they have a fast metabolism, guppy fry can take on food multiple times a day.
I choose to feed them 5 times a day with small amounts to prevent overfeeding and problems associated with offering them too much food (water fouling, constipation, etc.).
I like to start the day by feeding them some baby brine shrimp as their first meal of the day. In an hour or so, I also add a bit of flake food or freeze-dried blood worm.
After 4 hours or so, just before noon, I feed them some beef heart paste. I add two more feedings until I turn off the lights in the aquarium for the night, usually at 14 pm and 17 pm.
I feed them either live daphnia, vinegar eel or micro worms, and then at the next feeding I offer them some flake food as the last meal for the day.
Because I’m an early riser, I will turn on the lights at 5 am, and offer them their first feeding at 6 am and their last feeding at 17 pm.
But if you’re a late riser, you can create a different feeding schedule that works best for you. The key is to feed them often with small amounts.
Food Recipe to Increase Fry Growth Rate
I mentioned that I feed my guppy fry beef heart paste usually at their third feeding for the day. The reason I like beef heart paste is because it’s easy to prepare and you can store it in the freezer, and it’s high in all the nutrients that your fry requires at this point.
As with many of the food options I discuss in this article, beef heart paste is high in fat, so it’s best to be fed to guppy fry and not adults.
The recipe is very simple. You’ll need:
- Beef heart (clean off the fat;
- Vegetables you have at home;
- Shrimp or gelatin powder.
Take a food processor to blend the beef heart with vegetables (you can add some spirulina powder) and add shrimp or prepare the gelatin powder as per the instructions on the product to create a thicker, paste-like mixture that you can freeze. Break off small chunks to feed your fry.
You can also create your own homemade flake foods, which are just as easy to prepare by creating a paste of various highly nutritious ingredients and drying out the paste in the oven.
Add ingredients like bone meal, vegetables (carrots, yellow sweet potato), spirulina, dried kelp, daphnia, fish meal, fish liver oil, soybean powder, wheat, yeast, vitamins (A, B, B 1, B2, & D3), plankton.
Run them through a food processor, thin out the paste on pan coated with parchment paper and dry it out on a low heat setting in the oven.
A great thing about preparing your own guppy fry food is that you’ll know exactly what goes into it and you can adjust the ingredients and proportions as needed for your fish.
Preparing homemade flake foods yourself will also give you the opportunity to add a lot of variety and a lot of nutritious food sources to the diet of your fish, which for omnivores like guppy fish is crucial for a healthy development.
Guppy fry are active since the moment they’re born, and they can be fed as soon as 2-3 hours after spawning.
Remember that although adult guppy foods are ok for them, adult size foods cannot be consumed by them because of their small mouth opening, so if you’re going to feed them regular flakes, for example, make sure to crush them into smaller sizes.
The key to raising guppy fry correctly is to set up a feeding schedule you can follow and feed them frequently with small amounts, so they’ll always have a little food in their bellies.