Both beginner and experienced aquarium owners can face the issue of needing to control guppy breeding, especially when they don’t want to deal with guppy fry.
Guppies producing fry may not seem an alarming problem at first, but eventually, when fry start to overrun the aquarium, many aquarists realize that the matter does indeed require special attention.
In the following article I am going to discuss the best methods on how to stop guppies from breeding, and what are the best tactics to stay in control of your guppy population. I would also like to show you the all the commonly practiced options to eliminate guppy fry.
Guppy Fish Breeding
The guppy fish is one of the world’s most widely distributed and well-known aquarium fish. They’re otherwise known as millionfish, which says a lot about their propensity to overbreed.
Without doubt, their name is well-deserved because the guppy fish is a live breeder. What does this mean? Live-breeder species tend to have a fast breeding activity, which is not easy at all to control.
Since this is very likely to happen to anyone owning a guppy aquarium, all the motivated aquarist should have some knowledge about controlling guppy population and guppy breeding.
This way you may have a good chance to avoid having an aquarium overrun with fish, otherwise you’re 100% guaranteed to run into overcrowding issues at some point.
Besides the fact that guppies breed a lot, overstocking is not the only problem you may need to face. The huge amount of unwanted fry can cause a lot of headache – Where to house them? Can you leave them in the tank? Should you feed them? etc.
Plus, there’s the issue of water parameters going haywire and all your other fish suffering the consequences of unsavory water conditions.
Knowing there’s a high chance of these things happening to you too, let’s see your best options to control or eventually stop guppy fish from breeding.
Luckily, there are a wide range of options to manage this issue. The instructions I lay down below are simple, they don’t require much effort, but they do require your attention to be efficient and long-lasting.
How to Stop Guppy Fish from Breeding?
No doubt, this question is the key. When setting up your guppy aquarium, no aquarist pictures their tank overstocked with fish or unwanted fry. Ideally, this won’t happen.
However, it is essential to realize that as soon as you put guppy fish in the tank, the risk of uncontrolled breeding multiplies instantly. Guppies tend to produce a lot of fry in a very short time.
Let’s see the best 3 options you can use to prevent a guppy invasion in your tank and how you can control guppy breeding:
Keep Females and Males in Separate Tanks
This option is the easiest and most efficient. Not taking any risks can ensure that your experience as a guppy aquarist hides no unpleasant surprises.
Keeping female guppies separated from male guppies in two different tanks is a great way to avoid fry production and to prevent overstocking.
In order to be sure that you won’t see any unnecessary fry in your aquarium, stick to this plan and avoid having a mixed-gender tank.
Logically, if the two genders don’t have a chance to live together, fry production will be impossible.
However, there is still a chance for you to notice some fry in your female-only guppy tank. There is a chance that some of the female fish you purchased were already pregnant before you took them home.
Another thing that can go wrong with this plan is the misidentification of the genders at the purchase or at separation. Telling the difference between male and female guppies can be difficult, especially if they’re still young and the traits that point to their sexual dimorphisms haven’t developed yet.
Keep Only Male Guppies
Two tanks may be too much for some aquarists to manage, so there is the easier option to have only one tank with one gender.
In this case you should remove the opposite gender from the tank, that is, the female guppies, and create a 100% male-only tank. Or simply don’t purchase any females to begin with.
This way you can be quite sure that you won’t have any unpleasant future surprises.
The only risk you could expect is the misidentification of the genders. This unfortunate mistake can lead to the production of some fry, but the situation won’t be as rough as in the case of a full-on mixed-gender tank. This means that you can expect some fry to appear, and you will need to remove the female guppy to avoid facing the same issue once again.
Many choose to have a male-only tank because male fish display a brighter range of colors than female guppies do. If you decide to follow this option, remove all the female guppy fish from the tank.
While this option is great, some aquarists report that having only male guppies can lead to bullying and territorial behaviors between guppies, so watch out for tank dynamics.
Keep Only Female Guppies
Keeping only female guppies in the tank is not the so-called trending option aquarists like to practice. There are two reasons why. The first is the one that I mentioned above, and it is a really simple one: guppy males look better.
Being more colorful than the females, male-only tanks are more popular and widely practiced but having a female-only tank is still an option.
If you decide to keep only females in your aquarium, start the process by removing all the male fish from your tank. When doing this, pay extra attention to the decorations in your aquarium, since they can offer a great hiding place for the fish and unwanted fry.
The risks of the female-only tank are the same: gender misidentification or a pregnancy in progress can still cause some unwanted fry.
How Can You Tell Guppy Genders Apart?
Now that we clarified the ways you can stop guppy fish from overbreeding, you can see that one key step of these methods is knowing difference between male and female guppies.
This raises the question: How can you tell female and male guppies apart?
No need to panic, it may seem difficult at the beginning, but it is not rocket science to define the gender of the guppies. Following this simple checklist, you will be perfectly able to tell the gender of your guppies without any other help:
- Females are bigger in depth and in length compared to males
- Males have an elongated anal fin
- Females have a significantly more rounded abdomen (not just the pregnant females)
- Males feature a more colorful body and tail
- Male guppies have larger tail fins compared to female guppies
What to Do with Unwanted Guppy Fry?
Let’s say the separation based on genders wasn’t an absolute success and you find yourself dealing with unwanted guppy fry. Timing is essential, the more you hesitate, the more difficult is to solve the situation.
Luckily, you have not 1, but 3 easy and fast options to solve this unpleasant fry situation. All these don’t require much effort, but you have the chance to choose depending on how much time you can make to deal with this issue. Whichever suits you best, don’t hesitate to take action and get back in control!
You may even profit of the unexpected accident that lead to the fry crisis. Let’s see the necessary steps you have to make to get over the whole situation:
- Keep the fry in the tank with the adults
This may sound a bit unreliable, but the simplest option is to let nature solve its own problem. Thanks to the fact that guppy fish have absolutely no parental skills or instincts, they won’t bother with raising their young.
Instead of taking care of them, they will eat them. Don’t expect all fry to disappear, but if you leave them in the tank with the parents, their numbers will be instantly reduced in a short time.
- Give them away for free
If you have no intention to keep guppy fry, give them away. Talk to your friends, co-workers and other acquaintances about your aquarium and guppy fry invasion, they might be willing to get them off your hands.
- Sell them for profit
Just as in many other cases, the internet can save the day. Online marketplaces including aquarist community forums are the best place to make great deals. You can sell your unwanted guppy fry for profit.
All you must do is to take care of the fry, take them out from your main tank and put them into another. In a short time, they will grow, and you will be able to sell them on the internet.
As you can see, whatever your situation may be, there are easy to follow instructions to solve your problem. Getting back in control and stopping guppy breeding is not impossible.
By knowing all these tips and tricks, it becomes fairly easy to deal with guppy breeding, controlling guppy population and managing unwanted fry.