Guppies are one of the most popular freshwater fish in the world. They are hardy, brightly colored, and can adapt to almost any water conditions they are given. Guppies are also incredibly easy to breed, and this is one of the reasons I have been in love with guppies for over 30 years.
If you are new to guppy keeping, you may be wondering how often guppies have babies, how long they are pregnant, and how you should care for a pregnant female. In this article, I will address as many of those questions as I can.
Female guppies can have babies as often as every 30 days, although between every 30 and 45 days is more likely. Guppies are livebearing fish which means the female guppies give birth to live, free-swimming baby fish. The guppies take no parental responsibility for their offspring.
How Often Do Guppies Have Babies?
It is often said that guppies can have babies every 30 days. Technically this is true, although, in reality, they are actually pregnant for between 21 and 35 days, then there tends to be a grace period of a few days before they become pregnant for a second time. This grace period can last for up to 10 days.
When I give guppy keeping and breeding talks at fish keeping clubs around the country, the question of how often guppies have babies often crops up. I always give the same answer about every 30 to 45 days.
How Long Are Guppies Pregnant For?
The female guppy gestation period lasts for between 21 and 35 days. The exact length of gestation is largely down to water temperature. The warmer the water, the fewer days the female is pregnant. The speed of baby guppy development inside the female guppy is affected by temperature.
The ideal water temperature for female guppy baby development is around 76°F (24°C). Water cooler than this will slow down baby guppy’s development. Water warmer than this will accelerate guppy baby development.
How Long Is A Female Guppy In Labor For?
Female guppies are usually in labor for between 2 and 8 hours. Labor is normally an uncomplicated affair with the guppy giving birth to between 40 and 80 babies. Sometimes however things can take a little longer than they should and a female guppy can be giving birth for up to a couple of days.
The best thing to do is just to leave your female guppy to it. She won’t appreciate being picked up in a net and plunged into a breeder box if she is actually giving birth.
If you believe your female guppy is struggling, and the labor is taking a long time, check a couple of the water parameters to see if there are issues with the water. First, check the temperature.
How Many Babies Do Guppies Have?
The number of babies a female guppy can have varies massively between 10 and 100, or even more. The exact number will depend on the age of the female guppy, how many broods she has previously had, and the quality of the diet she is being fed.
Producing baby guppies take a lot out of the female guppies and a diet high in fat and protein is required for maximum baby development.
In my own fish room, the most babies I have ever had from a female guppy is 63. Those babies came from a large female who has spent the first 6 months of her life living only with female guppies, meaning she had a chance to build fat reserves in her body before producing her first brood of baby guppies.
What Age Do Guppies Start Having Babies?
Female guppies can become pregnant as young as 2 months old. Guppies who become pregnant at this early age often do not produce as many babies as those females that are separated out from the males at an early age. In an ideal world, female guppies will be raised away from the male guppies so the females do not become pregnant until they’re at least 2 to 3 months old.
If you are breeding for certain traits, including color, it is important to separate male and female guppies as soon as they are old enough to be sexed.
Any female guppy over 2 months old kept with at least one male will almost certainly be pregnant.
Although the exact frequency with which guppies have babies does vary depending on a number of external factors, female guppies usually have babies about once every 30 to 45 days.
Breeding guppies can be both fun and financially rewarding. I built most of my fish room on the back of breeding fish for profit, with guppies being one of my best-selling fish.