Ideally, breeding guppies should be a decision that you should take when you have everything set up for the fry that will be born and when you’ve researched the requirements of guppy fry.
But sometimes – due to various factors, including inexperience – you may end up with guppy fry even against your wishes.
You may go home one day and find your aquarium overrun with guppy fry. Should this happen, you may wonder what to do with guppy fry? Should you keep the fry with the adults? Should you raise them separately? What should you do with all your unwanted guppy fry?
If you don’t know what to do with guppy fry, in this article I’ll share some ideas on how to manage guppy fry, especially if you weren’t expecting your fish to breed.
5 Things You Can do With Guppy Fry
It’s a well-known fact that live-breeders like guppy fish will breed a lot to the point where their population can easily get out control.
It’s no accident then that they’re also called millionfish, precisely because of their ability to increase their population in a short amount of time.
Guppy females can release anywhere between 2 and 200 fry during a single spawning, so it’s way too easy to get more fish than what you’ve bargained for.
Therefore, if you don’t want to deal with any fry, you must avoid keeping a mixed-gender tank, or at the very least, keep only a single guppy for multiple female fish, but even so, expect to have some fry in your aquarium.
However, even if you keep only females, there is still a chance that some of the females you’ve bought may already be pregnant, or that the gender of some of your guppies may have been misidentified.
Either way, once you end up with some guppy fry, you must quickly make up your mind about what to do with them.
Here are some ideas on how to handle a situation when out of a sudden your tank is overrun with guppy fry:
1. Just Leave Them with Their Parents
If you’re caught by surprize and you have no intention of caring for guppy fry, you can just leave them with their parents.
Not that their parents will take care of them, mind you! Guppy fish don’t have any parental skills or caring instincts, which means they won’t raise their own fry.
What they’ll do instead is eat them, decimating their numbers. Some juveniles may be able to hide if you have a thickly planted aquarium, at least until they grow large enough not to be mistaken for food anymore.
Of course, it all depends on the number of fry released and the frequency at which your guppies reproduce.
If they produce a lot of fry frequently, then things can quickly get out of hand and you can soon end up with an overstocked aquarium.
If there are only a few juveniles, most will end up getting eaten by the adult fish, therefore, if you otherwise don’t want to keep the fry, this is a good option to handle their numbers.
Leaving the fry in with the parents may also be an option if the juveniles that result from an uncontrolled breeding may exhibit deformities (bent spine, strange fins, etc.) and won’t have a good quality of life if raised to adulthood.
If you don’t want to have any more fry, make sure you remove the female (in case of a male-only tank) or the male (in case of a female-only tank) to avoid future surprises.
If you can’t tell the genders apart, here’s a quick checklist on the differences between male and female guppies:
- Male guppies are both more colorful than females and have larger tail fins;
- Male guppies are smaller than females both in depth and length;
- Females have a more rounded abdomen;
- Male have an elongated anal fin.
You’ll probably going to have a male guppy fish aquarium as female guppies don’t display the bright range of colors male guppies do, so you’ll most probably need to remove the female guppy fish.
2. Separate Them from Their Parents
If on the other hand, you don’t mind taking care of the fry, you can separate them from the adults and grow them for a few weeks in a separate tank.
Once they’re large enough, you can put them back into the main tank. In a couple of weeks, they’re large enough to be put back into the tank with the adults.
As long as they no longer fit into the mouths of your adult guppies, you can make the transfer from the grow-out tank to the main aquarium.
When you transfer the fry into the grow-out tank, make sure the water parameters match that of the main aquarium.
If you want to increase the growth rate of the fry, be sure to set up a feeding schedule and feed them a protein-rich diet that is varied enough to meet the nutritional requirements of omnivorous fish.
I usually feed my guppy fry 5 times a day with a variation of baby brine shrimp, flake food suitable for small fry, freeze-dried micro worms, live daphnia, vinegar eels or micro worms, beef heart paste.
I try to include all types of guppy fry foods into their diet and I make a point of picking out high-quality flakes that contain vegetable matter too.
Remember that guppy fry will start eating as soon as 2-3 hours after being born and can’t survive without any food for much long (in an aged aquarium they are able to survive up to 3 days).
In a few weeks, your fry will have grown to a size that’s no longer confusing for adults and won’t be mistaken for a tasty snack.
3. Give Guppy Fry Away to Friends
If you have friends that are aquarists too, ask them if they’d be willing to take the fry off your hands and care for them themselves. You can also offer them up on the internet for free.
What’s more, you can even offer them up as a food source for friends or acquaintances that are raising betta fish, angelfish or other carnivore fish.
4. Grow Out Guppy Fry and Sell for Profit
If you’ve chosen to separate the fry from parents and grow them out, you can even sell guppies for profit.
You can sell them on ebay or other online marketplaces including aquarist community forums. You can ask anywhere from $20 to $50 per pair, or even more if you have a more unique or rare color and pattern.
Raising guppies is not difficult, especially that they’re known as a hardy species. Since they don’t grow into large fish, they can be kept in smaller aquariums (10 gallon minimum).
They’re compatible with many peaceful freshwater fish (just be careful to avoid fin-nippers!) and thrive on an omnivorous diet.
If you’re going to raise guppy fish professionally, invest in quality equipment such as a good filtration system, a good air pump, a good heater, etc.
Even though they’re hardier than most fish, guppy fish still require stable temperatures and good water conditions to thrive.
Good water parameters coupled with a balanced diet and a stress-free environment will ensure a healthy development, a strong immune system, and beautiful colors.
5. Conduct Selective Breeding
Piggybacking on the previous idea and if you have some breeding experience under your belt, you can even selectively breed guppies for certain physical traits.
When breeding guppies, you must make sure that you’re breeding healthy specimens, that the fish you’re breeding don’t have any deformities (e.g. bent spine, ragged fins, etc.) or diseases.
Many diseases can be passed to offspring including physical deformities like bent spine syndrome.
You should also avoid inbreeding, which can also come with its own set of issues including guppy bent spine syndrome.
If you manage to breed interesting specimens with interesting or unique colors or patterns, you can sell them off for profit online.
Guppy fish don’t require much preparation when breeding, but if you’re going to do it professionally, you should put your guppy pair on a healthy diet that will make sure healthy offspring are produced.
You should have at least two females and one male guppy and optimal water parameters (stable temperature in the 72–79°F range, water pH within a 6.8 – 7.8 range, water hardness in the dGH 8-12 range).
Remember that you must separate the fry from the adults to ensure their survivability. There are various methods to do that – you can set up a breeding trap, you can transfer the female into another tank, allow her to release the fry, then remove her and continue raising the fry.
Raising guppies, isn’t difficult, but there are certain requirements that you must familiarize yourself with to be able to raise strong and healthy specimens.
As you can see, there are many things to do with guppy fry. Depending on the equipment you have at the ready and your level of expertise in raising guppies or breeding guppies, you can even make a profit from unexpected “accidents” in your aquarium.