Guppy Fish – Basic Care & Breeding

Fish were created on the 5th day of creation

20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

 Genesis 1:20-21

Female Guppy left Male Guppy right

About The Guppy

Found in the in the islands of the southern Caribbean Sea, and as far south as southern Brazil. Guppies are a common aquarium fish. They like to live in small groups. They can stand up to 90 degrees and as low as 60. The life span of the guppy is about 1-4 years. The male’s full grown size is about 1 ¼ inches, and the female’s size is approximately 2 inches. Guppies are very prolific. They are live breeders. This means that they do not lay eggs. A female can have up to 126 babies in one pregnancy, although a more likely number is 25-60. The female guppy gives birth to a new litter every 2-4 weeks. Also, as many as 5 litters can be produced by a single female having only mated once! So as you can see, guppies are very easy to breed. But getting them to adult size can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Temperature Gage and Female Guppy

Caring for your guppy

  • The tank should be kept at 75-80 degrees.
  • Guppies are community fish (not aggressive fish). They should not be housed with tetra fish (aggressive fish).
  • Guppies like to live in small groups with each other. Put them in groups of 3-5.
  • They should be fed twice a day. Give them as much as they can eat in 3-5 minutes.
  • A good food that I recommend is: Tetra Color Tropical Flakes natural color enhancer. I don’t really know how natural it is, but it really does enhance their colors. I switched my guppy’s diet to this food. Within a few days I was amazed that their color had brightened 25%-35%! You can find this food at Wal-Mart.
  • How many fish should be in my tank? The rule is: for every gallon of water in your tank, you can have 1 inch of fish.

For example: Let’s say you have some fish. The fish are 2 inches each, and you have a 10 gallon tank. Then you can only have 5 of those fish in your tank

Lots of Guppies

Breeding Guppies

Here are some things you need to know if you are going to breed guppies:

How to tell if you have a male or female? You might say the size. In a way you can be right, but what if the fish aren’t fully grown yet? That could mean they are the same size. So, is there a way to tell those tiny fish apart? Of course there is, and thankfully it’s easy. If you look at the fish, on its belly towards the back, look for a reddish or black spot. If the guppy has the spot, it is a female. But if no spot appears, then you have a male.  Somtimes you can tell by color too.  Males are usually more colorful but not always.

3 Female GuppiesTop fish is a male bottom fish is a femaleMale guppyFemale guppy

You can now tell if the fish is male or female. So, are you ready for the hard part?

Here’s the question: Is the female pregnant or not?

This can be difficult to tell; so difficult that I’m still working on it. If you do a search the internet you might find a site that says “You can tell by her spot. If it’s dark she’s pregnant.” This is some times true, but I have learned not to depend upon it. Sometimes, my fish have given birth, even though their spots weren’t dark, but were red. You might say, well what about if she’s fat? That seems pretty obvious, right? Yes, this can be true also, but I like to make sure that my guppies are well fed and not starving. When breeding, you want to feed them well. The guppy might just be well fed. So, do you give up? You need to compare females to females. I have about 7 female guppies, and that helps me greatly. It takes a lot of observation to pick a pregnant guppy. Things I do to help me decide: I look at how dark her spot is and how fat she is but, as I said above, that’s not dependable. I watch their actions. When a female guppy gets ready to give birth she will hide and separate herself from the school. She will also pant a lot when pregnant. I also keep track of each guppy’s litter, to help me determine when the next litter might be.

Now, what do you do with your pregnant guppy?

You need to put her in a breeder net or a plastic breeder trap. Often the moms will eat their young, so provide plants or something for the babies to hide in. It can take several hours for the mom to finish giving birth. As soon as she is done, remove her and place her back with the other guppies. If you have failed in your selection, (in picking out a pregnant female) don’t worry, she will have more babies. If you notice babies swimming free in the tank, you can try to catch them and place them in the breeder net.

Breeder net in a tankbreeder net and plastic breeder trap

How to feed the young

With egg laying fish you have to feed them microscopic food because the hatchlings are so small. Thankfully guppies are born and not hatched; thus the baby guppies are larger than hatchlings. Take some fish food and place it in a zip lock bag. With a hammer, smash the food, outside on a hard surface, until it is powder. Then offer a little to the young. They may not eat it for a few hours after birth. The babies will soon get the hang of eating. Then you will need to feed them twice a day. Once they grow four times their birth size, put them in a different tank and watch them grow. It will take several weeks for them to reach adult size, even a couple months, depending on the size of the tank.

Baby GuppiesBaby Guppies

All comments will be reviewed before they appear on this page.  Usually comments take less than 72 hours to be approved. Once your comment has been approved, you will be able to leave new comments that will post instantly.

10 Responses to Guppy Fish – Basic Care & Breeding

  1. admin says:

    Hi Seb,
    It is nice to place plants in the tank for the fish to hind in. Also plants make the tank look nice too. We’ve only used the artificial plants. If you wanted to use live plants you could do that too but do some research on them and get the proper lighting for them. Don’t clutter the tank up too much with plants as the fish need some room to swim around too :)

  2. seb says:

    I am new and thinking I might breed guppies but I don’t know what to put in there 20 gallon tank. What plant should I put in there and should it be densely planted or not?

  3. admin says:

    Hi Athish,
    Breeding Guppies can be a lot of fun but sometimes things go wrong and fish die so you must be prepared for this. Before you breed make sure you have homes for the offspring or a pet store you can sell/give them to. One single pair of guppies can easily over take a fish tank making it crowded and unhealthy. Also before breeding make sure you have a safe place for the babies to live and grow in. Other fish and even the fry’s own mother will eat them. Be sure to read over this page for addition tips. Thanks for visiting our website and we hope you enjoy the Guppy!

  4. athish says:

    I’m new to breeding guppies and would like some pointers on the whole process of breeding guppies

  5. admin says:

    Hi Luisa,
    I am not sure what is happening to her but I have a few guesses.

    #1. It could be that she did not have all her babies because some got stuck and she is having compellations.
    #2. It may take longer for the spot to become normal color or it may just stay that color now that she has had babies. A few of my females would stay darker than my other females.
    #3. Something else could have gone wrong inside her tiny little body after having here babies.

    If she is not swimming around and eating you may lose her. Make sure the other fish are not bothering her. Check your water levels to make sure she is not being stressed out. I would not move her again but if the other fish are bothering her move them out. If she is eating and is active you should not have anything to be worried about.

  6. Luisa says:

    I recently bought 3 guppies, 2 male and 1 female. I didn’t know she was pregnant until I saw she kept getting bigger and I turned to the Internet for help. With all my research I turned myself into her OB doctor (lol) and she delivered 7 fry last Tuesday, after 24 hours I returned her to her community but her spot was still dark. Now it’s been a week and a day and her spot is still black and is now bigger than when she went into labor last time. She had distanced herself again and seems to be in labor again after only 8 days, is this normal????? Everything I read said it should take anywhere between 4-6 weeks for another batch and I’m not sure if I should be concerned or bring out my birthing supplies, lol. Please help me figure this one out :-)

  7. admin says:

    Hello Emmy,

    Size of tank: You need one gallon for every inch of fish/creature.

    Plecostomus or algae sucker: I would not recommend getting a plecostomus
    for a 10 gallon tank as they very often out grow these quickly. If you
    want some kind of bottom feeder that will take care of algae find
    something that will stay small.

    Shrimp, crabs, and bottom feeding fish: You must remember that you could
    have problems mixing small shrimp, crabs, and bottom feeding fish together
    especially if you have a small tank. All these creatures will be sharing
    the bottom of the tank and if someone feels territorial, hungry, or if
    there is a big size difference it likely that someone will turn up

    Goldfish: Gold fish are a hardy fish that produce a large amount of waste
    making it harder on some fish to live with them. I would not recommend
    mixing goldfish with other fish epically tropical fish like guppies.

  8. Emmy says:

    Hello, I’m hoping to get some fish, and I was hoping for a little bit of advice about them from you.

    I am hoping to get 2 of each color (three colors) of glow fish, then maybe 1 or 2 goldfish (feeder fish) an algae sucker, 1 or 2 shrimp (the small ones) then 1 male and 1 female of the strange big claw grabs. I have a 10 gallon aquarium. I was wondering, with that many creatures, would it be best to buy a 20 gallon with its own stand? (better deal than without stand) or is a 10 gallon fine?

  9. admin says:


    It all depends on what size tank you have and what the temperature is. The bigger the tank, the warmer the water (do not make the water too warm or you will kill them), the more you feed them (feed 2-4 times a day), the faster they grow.

    You can sell them as soon as they get their colors in. When they get to be ½-1 inch the colors starts to come in. It should take them about 2 1/2 months, more or lees, to be big enough to sell.

  10. Katie says:

    How old do baby guppies need to be before selling?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Why ask?