Last Updated: March 22, 2023 by Flora Gibbins
To take care of pets, you must first know and understand them. At least have bare minimum information, otherwise, you’ll be flying blind.
Guppies are hardy fish originating from Northeast South America. Rearing them on a trial and error basis will be a waste of time, resources, and emotional investment, their resilience notwithstanding.
If you’ve been meaning to parent a guppy fry, it’s only proper that you start off on the right note.
Here’s your head start into rearing the much sought-after guppy fry.
Breeding Guppy Fry
Before the guppy fry comes, breeding has to happen. It’s critical to know how to care for pregnant guppies.
Identifying a Pregnant Female Guppy
Part of the guppy breeding operation is to differentiate the males from the females. Male guppies are half the size of their female counterparts. The males also have longer and leaner anal fins. Female guppies, on the other hand, have triangular anal fins and a gravid spot just above the anal fin.
Identifying a pregnant guppy requires some practice. Spotting them is even more challenging if you’ve put them in a breeding box for baby guppies’ birth in the breeding tank.
One obvious sign of pregnant fish is the body bulking up beyond its usual size. Although the darkening of the gravid spot is a surer sign of pregnancy in breeding guppies, you’ll have to look more intently to notice.
If you want the fry guppies to be birthed out of the community tank, now your observation skills must match the eyes of a hawk. With time, the pregnant females’ bodies square off at the abdomen, looking like they could explode momentarily.
Baby fish don’t need their parents after birth. The mother fish can join other guppies in the community tank once the guppy babies come.
Moving forward, the guppy fry care will be on you. The breeding tank can now be used as a nursery for newborn fry.
When the newborn guppy fry comes out of their hiding spots, your meal inputs should be spot on because, by this time, they are ready to feed on other foods like baby brine shrimp. Plants such as java moss, without a doubt, are essential in a breeding aquarium.
Remove the baby guppies from the separate breeding tank when they get to 1 inch in length. Their fully grown tank mates can’t fit them in their mouths at this size.
The breeding box will be vacant, but not for long, as a guppy reproduces about 12 times annually.
Setting up a Tank for Your Baby Guppy
Adult guppies, unlike mammals, lack parental instincts, so they don’t take care of their young ones. The survival of the guppy fry befalls you entirely. Setting up the aquarium correctly is a good start.
First, let’s talk about the tank size. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all here. The aquarium size depends on the number of guppies you want to keep. A 10-gallon tank should be optimal. If you’re planning to have five or more baby guppies in there, you’ll need a bigger aquarium.
I recommend getting an aquarium kit instead of buying the equipment separately when setting up the tank.
The simple logic is that the kit has all the essential paraphernalia, so you’ll go straight into setting up.
The pieces of equipment needed are:
An aquarium filter is mandatory because it performs two vital roles. It helps eliminate waste and is also a good place for healthy bacteria colonies to grow.
The size and type of filter you’ll need depend on the number of guppy babies in the tank. The more they are, the more the waste production. I recommend a sponge filter since I’m assuming yours is a small tank. If it’s medium-sized, consider a hang-on-back one.
Proper lighting is yet another place you need to tackle intentionally. Remember, guppy fish are diurnal. They need adequate light during the day and darkness at night. Follow the day and night pattern.
LED aquarium lights are the standard. They come with several perks, including affordability and durability, and produce minimal to no heat. We don’t want anything interfering with the water temperature.
You’ll need a heater to stabilize the water at the recommended 75°- 80° F. During colder seasons, atmospheric temperatures can drop beyond freezing levels. Since such factors will, in turn, affect the temperature of the water, the heater will reset it back to optimal levels.
Feeding Baby Guppies
Nutrition is the ultimate key to caring for guppy fry. What you feed your pets in their infant stages largely determines the quality of the rest of their lives. Baby guppies need a high-energy and protein diet for optimum growth.
You could feed them baby brine shrimp, daphnias, or micro worms, like bloodworms and earthworms. Don’t worry if you cannot easily access these live foods, as vinegar eels, flake foods, and egg yolk will suffice. You can also feed baby guppies ground-up foods. The meals, as mentioned earlier, are to be given periodically, in little portions.
They must also be in tiny bits and rations not to choke or harm your sprouting baby guppies.
Large portions lead to more fecal matter in the water, associated with high ammonia levels in the fish tank.
Ammonia, in high concentrations, is intoxicating to all fish.
To show affection to your baby guppy, you can give them treats like bloodworms and brine shrimp every once in a while. Buying aquarium toys to keep their world colorful is also a love language.
How To Make Your Guppy Fry Grow Faster
As a parent, do you feel content when your children make milestones? Guppy parents and breeders love such moments too.
First, let’s find out why their growth sometimes stagnates.
- Excess or insufficient water volume
- Poor water quality
- Poor nutrition
- Limited variety of food
The reasons could be anything from genetics, tank conditions, or food.
What can you do to make the fry grow faster?
- Have different tanks for the fry and adult guppies
- Separate them based on size and gender
- Ensure they have enough space and the proper water volume
- Provide a regular and balanced diet with a variety of feeds
- Treat them as soon as you notice any sign of ailment
- Change the water weekly and conduct regular tank maintenance
- Clean and replace filters frequently
- Have them well-rested for about eight hours of darkness in the tank
Have you noticed that these remedies are geared towards making your guppy fry have a quality life and not necessarily grow faster?
I believe their health is more paramount than how fast they grow.
How to Best Keep the Water Clean for Guppy Fry
Good hygiene within the fish tank is a commendable step in caring for guppy fry.
Maintaining a high water quality immensely improves the life of your baby guppies. Like other aquatic pets, guppy fry care begins with a well-maintained environment.
Clean the aquarium weekly or fortnightly, depending on the size of your tank. The bigger the tank, the longer it takes for changing filters and the water. The upside is that more giant tanks take longer to pollute due to more space. To further reduce waste keep the baby guppies in a separate tank.
Make an effort to dechlorinate when changing the water. Dechlorination keeps your fish’s respiratory health at its peak. Chlorine is harmful to guppy fry as it damages their sensitive gills. Chlorine is, in fact, detrimental to all fish in high concentrations.
How to Oxygenate Water for Baby Guppies
Guppy fry, like all other fish, needs oxygen to survive. A constant supply of well-oxygenated water is not an option for guppy fry owners. Water naturally has oxygen, though sometimes the levels present are insufficient to support life and must be kept at proficient levels.
To aerate the tank, use air stones and mild pumps. Live plants like guppy grass in the aquarium are an efficient way to keep the water oxygenated while also getting rid of harmful wastes in the tank, like ammonia and nitrate in the aquarium water.
At a quarter of an inch size at birth, a fry is best kept away from high-pressure filters. A sponge filter is the best way to oxygenate your guppy fry tank. High-pressure filters could damage fins, and in extreme cases, water flow or suction force is fatal.
Manual aeration could work for more experienced owners. It is not advisable to change water manually with the more fragile fish fry inside. Like strong air stones irritate the fish, pouring water into the tank can be dreaded by the baby guppies.
The Best Water Temperature for Baby Guppies
It is vital to keep the temperatures within a constant safe range. The best water temperatures for guppy fry are between 75 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you don’t have a water heater, then get one. Breeders and fish keepers should keep the temperature within the advised range. Use an easily regulated heater. I recommend one with an automatic switch. Ensure it has no exposed parts because a defective heater is the last thing you want in an aquarium.
Warm water will increase the rate of metabolism.
Higher temperatures make the baby guppies grow faster but reduce their lifespan to a fraction of what it should be. Guppies, on average, live for two years. Hot water is fatal to guppy fry.
Guppy fry can still survive in water at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. However, surviving is not thriving. Low temperatures stall metabolism by hindering digestion enzymes from breaking down food. Therefore, digestion takes a very long time. The guppy fry fatigues over time because it never gets enough energy.
Do Baby Guppies Need a Separate Tank
Yes and no. It varies as this depends on personal needs. Guppy fry can share a tank with the adults, but the adult guppies have to be stress-free. Ensure they are not showing aggression as such could only catalyze the need to feed on anything that fits in their mouth, and the guppy babies aren’t an exception.
Guppy fry is tender and easy to ingest for adult guppies. The adult fish will try to or successfully feed on the fry. You can keep them safe by adding more aquatic plants, artificial plants, smooth rocks, and toys. Just provide numerous hiding places.
A secondary tank saves more fry from predation. You can modify the breeding tank to better care for baby guppies. With more plants, softer filters, meals in adequate portions, and fewer predators, they will be good to go.
A breeding box ensures more space for the young and developing baby guppies. Like other fish, they need more room to move about in their formative stages of development.
There’s no such thing as too much space for these pets. They are moving balls of energy. Get them as much space as you can accommodate. The best fry to space ratio is three guppies for every gallon of water.
Conducive space translates to half a gallon for every under-a-month-old fry and 1 gallon for over 1-month-old baby guppies.
How Much Light Does Your Guppy Fry Need
Duration-wise, 8 hours of light in a day is enough. They require less light to live a quality life than you may think. I was equally surprised to learn that lighting the tank is generally used for viewing the fish rather than by the fish. Aren’t we all guilty of viewing aquariums as aesthetic fixtures rather than actual homes for fish! Now we know better.
Too much light may lead to agitation, especially when baby guppies and adults share the same tank. An increase in agitation will consequently increase the mortality rate among guppy fry.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I tell if the guppy fry tank is contaminated?
One sign you may have noticed but missed is guppy fry consistently swimming at the bottom of the tank. Like humans, fish try to distance themselves from pollution as much as possible. Another sign is multiple sick fries or even numerous deaths.
Please do not wait until there are worse signs of contamination, as it may be too late to reverse the effects.
Clean the tank weekly unless you use a larger tank or many small tanks for your fish. In that case, you can clean after every two weeks. You do not have to wait until the scheduled cleaning date if the water is poor quality or when you notice the baby guppies are always at the bottom.
How many baby guppies grow into adulthood?
There isn’t a clear-cut answer to this. On average, about 15% of guppy fry survive into adulthood. A balanced diet and controlled environmental conditions are the surest determinants for the longevity and quality of their lives.
Guppy’s childhood is short-lived as they can reproduce within their first eight weeks of living. So if their childhood ends upon being able to procreate, we can conclude that baby guppies take 6-8 weeks to become adults.
Where can I get guppy fry?
You can breed them yourself from two adult guppies. Depending on your location, a well-bred pair can set you back about $20 to $50.
You can also check out fish breeders’ communities online for more suitable deals and offers on other items like pumps, tanks, live plants, toys, and motivation.
Guppies are the most common tropical fish in aquariums. People love to have them swim in their tanks because they are low-maintenance pets. If you’re considering rearing some, that’s no coincidence, but a continuation of this popular trend and a result of the stellar reputation guppies have kept for a very long time.
Guppies have more prominence on the internet than other fish, and you will easily find assistance as you care for guppies, whether fry or adult. Always go for trusted sources and consult a vet or the pet store where you got them.