Do Guppies Lay Eggs? (Finally Answered)

Do guppies lay eggs? No, guppies don’t lay eggs. Guppies are a live bearing species of fish, which means the female guppies give birth to live, free-swimming baby fish. Guppies can have up to 100 or more babies at a time.

Eating Daphnia
Eating Daphnia

I have been keeping and breeding guppies for over 30 years. My very first aquarium was a 10-gallon aquarium I was given with a small group of guppies. Since that day, I have been hooked on guppies. I don’t think a day has passed when I didn’t have at least one aquarium filled with guppies.

Guppies are some of the most colorful and widely kept fish in the freshwater aquarium hobby. If you have ever kept guppies you will no doubt have noticed babies appearing. Guppies seem to multiply with little or no effort from the fish keeper.



What Is A Live Bearing Fish?

Livebearers are fish that retain the fertile eggs inside their bodies whilst they develop into fish. After a period of about 30 days, female live-bearing fish give birth to live, free swimming baby fish.

Being a livebearer gives the fish an advantage over their egg-laying cousins. If the eggs are safely inside the mother fish developing, there is no chance the eggs can be eaten by other fish.

The evolutionary advantage of giving birth to live baby fish is that those fish will be bigger and develop faster once they have been born compared to eggs that hatch.


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How Many Babies Can A Guppy Give Birth To?

The number of babies a female guppy can give birth to in one go varies depending on her age and size. A large guppy can give birth to 100 or more babies in a single month. Smaller or younger guppies may only give birth to 10 or 20 babies.

In my experience, feeding your guppies a high-quality diet, rich in fats will also help female guppies produce lots of healthy babies.

How Often Do Guppies Have Babies?

Female guppies can give birth every 30 to 35 days (mainly dependent on water temperature). Guppies are unusual in that the females can store sperm from the males. Once a female guppy has mated with a male, she can continue to produce babies every month, even if the male has been removed.

What Age Do Guppies Start Having Babies?

Female guppies can start producing babies as young as just 3 months old. Very young females may only produce a couple of babies. As the females grow, the number of babies they give birth to each month increases.

If you hope to intentionally grow your guppy population, consider moving a few of your females to a separate tank, away from the males, so you can grow them up before they get pregnant.

A large female guppy that has never been pregnant will have built up fat reserves in her body which she will call on to produce a large number of babies.

Have you heard people say female guppies can have babies without a male? Check out this article which looks at the question Can female guppies have babies without a male guppy?

What Other Fish Are Livebearers?

There are a number of other species of fish in the hobby which are livebearing. Mollies, Swordtails, and Platies are all commonly kept. They are all easy-going species of fish that suit both beginners and more experienced keepers alike. Endlers Livebearer (sometimes referred to as Endlers Guppies) is a very similar species to guppies, sharing many of the same qualities.

If you are looking for a slightly more challenging livebearer to keep, Anableps (also known as the Four-Eyed fish) is a live-bearing species that require a little more experience, as are the Halfbeaks.

In Conclusion

Guppies do not lay eggs, they are a live-bearing species of fish. One of the joys of keeping guppies is how easy they are to breed. You can genuinely start with a trio of guppies, and 12 months later have hundreds of guppies swimming around your aquarium.


About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James
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