Guppy Breeding 101: The Ultimate Guide On Breeding For Profit!

The ease of breeding guppies often draws the attention of many people who are new to the fish-keeping hobby that are looking to actively breed their fish.

Not only can breeding guppies be a rewarding pastime but when done correctly, you can often breed your guppies for a profit!

I frequently see people making the same old mistakes when breeding their guppies so I decided to publish this comprehensive guide on guppy breeding to try and help my readers get the best results possible.

Yes, this guide is long but I designed it to be as detailed as possible to try and cover everything you need to know about breeding your guppies.

Are Guppies Easy To Breed

Breeding guppies for a profit
Breeding guppies for a profit

Breeding guppies is very straightforward making it a beginner-friendly activity that is perfect for people new to the fish-keeping community.

Guppies breed prolifically and parents will often breed with their own offspring so you can quickly end up with a huge population of guppies.

When breeding guppies, especially for profit, your first step should be to establish a sales channel for your guppies.

This ensures that you have plenty of free space in your tank for the next brood of baby guppies while also helping to generate cash flow as quickly as possible.

Here are some pros and cons for breeding guppies.

Pros

  • Ease of Breeding
  • Color Varieties
  • Educational
  • High Potential Profit
  • Rewarding Experience

Cons

  • Overpopulation
  • Space Requirements
  • Maintenance
  • Health Issues
  • Cost

Pros Of Breeding Guppies

A Blue Fancy Guppy
A Blue Fancy Guppy

Ease of Breeding: Guppies are livebearers and breed relatively easily compared to most other fish species.

Color Varieties: With several popular color morphs and tail shapes available, breeding guppies can result in many beautiful and unique offspring.

Educational: The breeding process offers a hands-on learning experience about fish biology and genetics that can form a firm knowledge base for future fish breeding projects.

Potential Profit: If you’re able to breed unique or high-demand strains, there can be potential for selling the offspring and making a profit.

Rewarding Experience: Observing the life cycle from birth to adulthood can be a fulfilling experience for many hobbyists.

Cons Of Breeding Guppies

A Guppy Looking For Food
A Guppy Looking For Food

Overpopulation: Guppies can reproduce quickly, leading to overpopulation if not managed properly.

Space Requirements: As the population grows, you may need to get more tanks to provide adequate space for your guppies.

Maintenance: More fish mean more maintenance, including water changes, feeding, and health checks.

Health Issues: Breeding can sometimes lead to health issues or congenital defects, especially if there’s inbreeding.

Sales and Distribution: If breeding for profit, finding consistent buyers or distributors can be challenging.

Cost: Setting up appropriate breeding tanks, obtaining quality breeding stock, and providing proper food can be costly.

Do Guppies Eat Their Babies?

A Group Of Guppies In A Tank
A Group Of Guppies In A Tank

Guppies don’t have strong parental instincts, and they will consume large numbers of their own fry without hesitation.

Depending on the goals of your breeding operation, this can actually be a benefit rather than a drawback though as the parents can act as a form of population control for your tank.

Many hobbyists who breed guppies for fun rather than profit provide limited hiding places in their tanks, making it as easy as possible for the adult guppies to eat their fry.

If you are breeding for profit then you really should be removing the adult guppies from the tank as soon as the females release their brood or using a dedicated fry grow-out tank that is free from predators.

Best Practices For Breeding Guppies!

A Guppy In A Breeding Tank
A Guppy In A Breeding Tank

Here are the best practises for breeding guppies:

  1. Choose Healthy Parents
  2. Maintain A Suitable Male To Female Ratio
  3. Feed A High Protein Diet
  4. Keep Records Of Your Breeding Lines
  5. Use A Dedicated Breeding Tank
  6. Minimize Inbreeding
  7. Limit Stress
  8. Cull When Necessary
  9. Use A Fry Grow Out Tank
  10. Sell The Fry Quickly

Beginners can achieve excellent results with their guppy breeding operation by sticking to these best practices.

Here is a short breakdown of each of these points but anyone looking to breed their guppies for a profit really should read the full article as we go into far more detail on how you can increase yields to maximize your profit.

Healthy Parents: Always start with healthy parent fish when breeding your guppies and look for active guppies with bright colors, clear eyes, and no signs of disease or injury with larger guppies usually being a better option than smaller ones.

Male To Female Ratio: Keeping one male per two females is a good starting point for people new to breeding guppies but there are several popular ratios that have their own advantages and disadvantages that I will cover later in the article.

High-Protein Diet: Try to feed your breeding guppies a high-quality food that is high in protein such as Bug Bites. Your guppies will graze on the algae in their tank if needed but they can struggle to consume enough protein when breeding unless you specifically give them a high protein food.

Bug Bites For Cherry Shrimp

Keep Records: Maintain detailed records of breeding pairs, birth dates, birth rates, and any other observations. This can help you track genetics, growth rates, and overall breeding success to help improve your yields in the future.

Breeding Tank: Set up a separate breeding tank for your guppies that is free from other fish that may eat the fry or stress your adult guppies.

Avoid Inbreeding: Breeding the same family line repeatedly can lead to weakened genetics and health issues so try to introduce new guppies to your breeding stock on a regular basis.

Limit Stress: Reduce sudden changes in temperature, water conditions, or tank setup to reduce stress in your guppies and maximize their willingness and ability to breed.

Cull When Necessary: Not all fry will grow to be healthy adults or display your desired color or pattern. Culling is the process of removing unsuitable guppies from the breeding line with many breeders having a separate cull tank where their guppies get to live out the rest of their lives outside of the breeding project.

Fry Grow-Out Tank: Transferring your guppy fry to a specialized grow-out tank or relocating the adult guppies to stop them from consuming the fry can significantly boost the survival rate of your guppy fry.

Sell Your Fry Quickly: Agreements with local pet stores in your area or your own online sales profiles are essential as it helps free up space in your tank and generate cash flow as quickly as possible.

Best Practices For Breeding Guppies
Best Practices For Breeding Guppies

Choosing A Tank To Breed Guppies

One Of My Guppies
One Of My Guppies

Choosing the perfect tank size for breeding your guppies is more difficult than most people realize as you need to take the following factors into account:

  • Stocking Levels
  • Available Space
  • Cost
  • Water Parameters

Stocking Levels: Smaller tanks limit the available stocking options for your breeding operation and can drastically reduce the number of guppy fry you can produce.

Available Space: Some homes may have to use a small tank due to having limited space to actually store the tank.

Cost: Larger tanks cost more for the initial purchase and usually cost more to heat to a suitable breeding tempeature.

Water Parameters: Most people find it easier to maintain water parameters in a larger tank.

Tank Sizes For Breeding Guppies

Some commercial guppy breeding operations have been known to use tiny tanks that I recommend against using in a domestic breeding operation.

The minimum volume of the aquarium for breeding guppy and obtaining larvae was 1.0 liter.

Universidad del Pacífico

One study from the Universidad del Pacífico in Peru found that they were able to breed guppies in 1 liter plastic containers.

I would highly discourage my readers from using tiny containers when breeding guppies.

Personally, I would recommend one of the following tank sizes for breeding guppies:

  • 5 Gallon
  • 10 Gallon
  • 15 Gallon

Each tank size comes with its own set of pros and cons that I will cover below.

In my opinion, a 10-gallon rectangular tank will be the perfect guppy breeding tank for most people, especially beginners.

5 Gallon

Guppy fishes can breed prolifically within a small space.

Research Gate – Ashraful Kabir

A 5 gallon tank is the absolute minimum size I would recommend for anyone looking to breed guppies, both cube and rectangle tanks can be suitable options at this size with rectangles usually being slightly better.

This Fluval cube tank and most generic 5 gallon rectangle tanks can work well but you really do have to set the tank up perfectly.

The main advantage of a 5 gallon tank is its size as they fit into most areas making them easy to place in your home.

Many people think that 5 gallon tanks are the cheapest option but this is not correct as this 10 gallon Aqueon tank is cheaper than the vast majority of 5 gallon tanks on the market.

Using a tank smaller than 5 gallons presents ethical questions regarding fish welfare and introduces challenges when maintaining stable and safe water conditions for your guppies.

10 Gallon

My 10 Gallon Guppy Tank
My 10 Gallon Guppy Tank

Ten gallon tanks are usually the best option for beginners who are looking to breed guppies.

They are also a popular size for commercial breeders too as they are cheap and offer some security against tanks failing.

For example, breeding your guppies in one 20-gallon tank exposes all of them to potential infections but using two 10-gallon tanks provides a backup, ensuring that if one tank encounters an infection, the other remains safe.

Aquarium Size 18″ x 12″ x 12″ (45x30x30cm)

seriously fish

I honestly think that the 10 gallon Aqueon tank is one of the best tanks available for breeding guppies as it is very cheap while also coming in at very similar dimentions to the Seriously Fish recomended base footprint for a guppy tank.

My article going over 10 gallon guppy tank stocking options goes into this in far more detail but I would recommend one of the following stocking ratios for beginners looking to breed guppies in a 10 gallon tank for profit.

Male GuppiesFemale Guppies
12
14
24

15 Gallon

While 15-gallon tanks are popular with commercial guppy breeders, a 10-gallon tank is usually a better option for beginners.

The smaller size of the 10 gallon tank makes it easier to fit into most homes without having aquarium racks.

You can find decent 10 gallon tanks for less than half the price of a decent 15 gallon tank too helping to keep your costs low and get your guppy breeding project profitable as soon as possible.

Setting Up A Dedicated Guppy Breeding Tank

My Guppy Tank
My Guppy Tank

Guppy breeding tanks really arn’t as difficult to setup as some people think and guppies can technically breed in a bare bottom tank that has suitable water parameters.

My article on setting up a 10 gallon guppy tank can easily be adapted to help you setup a 10 gallon breeding tank.

If you are on a budget and looking to maximise profit then going with a simple tank setup with fake plants is probably going to be the best option but you can easily take things up a notch.

Live Plants

Personally, I like to add live plants to all of my tanks as they providing hiding spots for your guppy fry and help to manage the nitrogen cycle in your tank.

The table below goes over some of my favourite plants to include in a guppy tank.

NameCareGrowthLightCO2
Limnophila SessilifloraBeginnerHighLowOptional
Java MossBeginnerMediumLowOptional
Red Root FloatersBeginnerMediumLowOptional
Cryptocoryne PetchiiBeginnerMediumLowOptional
Cryptocoryne WalkeriIntermediateLowModerateOptional
Bacopa ‘Compact’BeginnerHighLowOptional
BucephalandraBeginnerSlowLowOptional
Java FernBeginnerSlowLowOptional
Bolbitis HeduelotiiIntermediateSlowModerateModerate
AnubiasBeginnerSlowLowOptional
Cryptocoryne LuteaBeginnerMediumLowOptional
Cryptocoryne ParvaIntermediateSlowModerateOptional
Amazon FrogbitBeginnerMediumLowOptional
Live Plants For A Guppy Tank

Java moss is easily one of the best live plants to add to a guppy breeding tank as it makes the perfect hiding spot for guppy fry.

Tank Accessories

Cheap tank accessories usually work well in guppy breeding tanks helping to keep your costs as low as possible.

Most of the plants listed in the table above will grow perfectly fine with a cheap light so theres no need to go out and purchase a high end light for your tank.

As I mentioned in my article going over using a filter in a guppy tank, I consider filters to be an essential accessory in a guppy tank but some people do prefer to use the Walstad method in their breeding tanks.

A cheap sponge filter with a cheap USB air pump can easily be enough to filter the water of a 10 gallon guppy breeding tank, especially if you add live plants to the tank.

I have a dedicated article going over using heaters in guppy tanks but I consider them to be essential accessories with the Fluval T50 being my prefered heater of choice but I know some people who use a cheap tank heater without issue.

Water Parameters For Breeding Guppies

Guppies In My Tank
Guppies In My Tank

Here are my recommended water parameters for a guppy breeding tank.

Water Temperature74-82°F (24–28°С)
Water FlowStill-Low
pH7-8.5
GH8-12 dGH
KH4-8 dKH
Ammonia0
Nitrite0
Nitrate<10ppm
Guppy Water Parameters

The majority of these water parameters are pretty standard for a tropical freshwater tank but there are two slight changes to what most people may expect.

pH Levels

Many people breed their guppies in soft water but in my experience, guppies really do thrive when kept in water with a hard pH.

pH: 7.0 – 8.5

seriously fish

Seriously fish, as well as several other reliable sources recommend a pH range of 7.0-8.5 for guppies and I have always maintained a pH of around 7.5 in my own tanks and my guppies are thriving.

I know that many people live in areas with naturally soft tap water but you can use a product like API Proper pH to increase the pH range of your tank.

Water Temperature

I usually recommend a water temperature range of 63-82°F (17 – 28 °C) for guppies but there is research that suggests an adjusting temperature of 74-82°F (24–28°С) can improve the reproductive success rates of guppies.

A study by the Journal of Ichthyology researched one group of guppies in a tank with a temperature gradient field of 24–28°С and another group of guppies in a tank with a consistent temperature of 79°F (26°С).

Temperature fluctuations experienced by fish when exposed to a temperature gradient field had a stimulating effect on the intensity of male courtship and the reproductive success of guppies.

Springer Link – Journal of Ichthyology

They found that the guppies in the tank with the 74-82°F (24–28°С) temperature range displayed a higher intensity of male courtship and had an increase in the reproductive success rates too.

The intensity of courtship of males for females in the temperature gradient field was 1.6 times higher than at 26°С

Springer Link – Journal of Ichthyology

The same study also found that the courtship displays from the male guppies in the 74-82°F (24–28°С) tank were 1.6 times more frequent than the courtship displays of the male guppies in the 79°F (26°С) tank.

The individual female fecundity was 19.0% higher in the temperature gradient field than in the constant temperature regime.

Springer Link – Journal of Ichthyology

Another interesting observation is that the female guppies in the 74-82°F (24–28°С) tank were 19% more likley to produce an abundance of offspring when compaired to the female guppies in the 79°F (26°С) tank.

The easiest way to set a guppy breeding tank up with this type of temperature gradient would be to place a Fluval T50 at one side of your aquarium and set it to 82°F (28°С).

Your tanks water temperature near the filter will be around 82°F (28°С) and then have a gradual drop off to around 79°F (26°С) at the other side of the tank partially mimicking the conditions in the test.

The high water temperature treatments caused the death of gravid females.

wiley – Ondokuz Mayιs Üniversitesi

Another study from the Ondokuz Mayιs Üniversitesi in Turkey found that water temperatures of 95°F (35°C) were enough to consistently cause the death of pregnant guppies.

If you do live in a warmer area where your tanks water temperature can increase above the recommended 74-82°F (24–28°С) range and get up towards 95°F (35°C) then a cheap aquarium chiller fan may be required.

Choosing Breeding Pairs

Guppies Feeding In My Tank
Guppies Feeding In My Tank

Choosing your breeding pairs can be one of the most important factors when breeding guppies for profit as some guppy strains can be worth considerably more than others.

Various factors like age, size, and the ratio of males to females can greatly increase the number of fry your guppy produce.

If you’re only breeding guppies for fun, these factors may not be significant as fry production isn’t a high priority but if your goal is to breed guppies for profit, optimizing your output to achieve the highest fry yield is crucial.

Choosing Your Guppy Strain

Anyone breeding guppies for fun can stick with cheap mutt guppies as the specific colors and patterns of their offspring aren’t a priority but people looking to breed for a profit really should specialise in a high end guppy strain.

There are a huge number of guppy strains available these days with their prices fluctuating based on their popularity but their popularity seems to ebb and flow unpredictably.

This is why I recommend against going for the current popular guppy strain as their prices will be inflated and by the time you get your breeding tank setup and your first batch of fry are ready to ship, their prices may have fallen.

It is far better to choose a strain of guppies that are consistently popular and have a more stable price tag.

Here are some guppy strains that are more consistent in their pricing:

If I had to choose a single strain of guppies to breed for a profit then it would definitely be Cobra Guppies.

They are available in blue, yellow, red, and greed with their unique look and bright colors maintaining their popularity within the fish keeping community ensuring there are plenty of buyers out there for your fry.

Age Of Your Breeding Guppies

While there’s a discussion about the best age for breeding guppies, most people agree that female guppies between 4-18 months tend to produce the most fry.

Thats not to say female guppies over the age of 18 months should be excluded from your breeding operation but the number of fry produced will start to decrease as they get older.

Male guppies generally take a little more time to reach sexual maturity with most males over 6 months of age being suitable for a breeding setup.

That said, I have seen reports of people being able to breed male guppies that are as young as 7 weeks old and be able to get excellent fry yields from the pairing.

Size Of Your Guppies

An often overlooked factor in guppy breeding is the size of the fish with both male and female guppies typically show a preference for larger mates from the opposite sex.

The female guppy fish preferred large males for mating over the smaller ones

Research Gate – Sunita Ohlyan

One study found that female guppies consistently preferred larger males when breeding with females being far more receptive to courtship advances from large male guppies.


There is an advantage for males to court the largest females since they will produce the most fry


McGill University

Another study from McGill University found that larger female guppies consistently produced the most fry when compared to smaller female guppies.

I know its not always possible, especially when trying to produce fry with a specific color, pattern, or tail shape but using larger males can make your female guppies more responsive to breeding and using larger females can result in more fry being produced.

Speaking of trying to produce fry with a specific pattern or tail shape…

Female guppies can distinguish attractive males, but they don’t recognise them as being more appealing or choose to mate with them.

University College London

A study from the University College London found that female guppies can distinguish attractive males but this does not seem to increase the appeal of these males for breeding.

You select the males with the best colors and patterns to try and increase those traits being produced in the fry, not to increase the chances of your female guppy breeding with him.

If you are breeding your guppies for fun rather than to make a profit, simply go with the largest males and females you can find.

Male To Female Ratio

The pros and cons of various male-to-female ratios in guppy breeding are a common point of discussion within the community but the reality is that most beginners will fare well with a ratio of one male to every two female guppies.

The 1:2 ratio will work well for people breeding guppies for fun and those trying to breed their guppies for a profit so we highly recommend it for anyone who is just starting out.

However, as you expand your guppy breeding operation, it can certainly be beneficial to understand the pros and cons of some of the other popular male-to-female ratios.

Professional farms do 50 females to each male. 

Cory aquarium co-op

Some commercial guppy farms have been known to keep one male guppy to every fifty females as this can quickly produce huge quantities of guppy fry.

I have one friend who breeds Snow White Guppies as a side hustle and during the boom of Snow White guppies a few years back, he used a ratio of one male to every twenty-five females and had great results.

The problem is, these larger breeding ratios usually require commercial breeding tanks such as 40 gallon breeders and the majority of my readers will be using a cheap 10 gallon tank ruling them out.

My table below goes over my recommended male to female ratios for a 10 gallon guppy breeding tank.

Male GuppiesFemale Guppies
12
14
24
Guppy Breeding Ratios For A 10 Gallon Tank

Each of these have their own advantages and disadvantages so here is a quick break down of each.

One Male To Two Females

The one male to two female guppy breeding ratio is the gold standard and I highly recommend it to beginners.

Using a single male guppy can help reduce aggression levels in your tank, while having two female guppies can distribute the male’s attention between them.

Having a single female guppy in your tank can quickly cause her to become stressed as male guppies can be relentless in their attention.


Males have been found to display to females from 7 to 13 times per 5 min on the average.

McGill University

The study from McGill University mentioned earlier found that male guppies can display to female guppies as many as 13 times in a 5-minute span!

All of the male to female ratios below are from a good friend of mine who has multiple 10 gallon guppy breeding tanks with his own personal risk rating for each.

MaleFemaleRating
11Risky
12OK
13Safe
14Very Safe
Male To Female Ratios For A 10 Gallon Tank

One Male To Four Females

The ratio of one male guppy to four females is ideal for those aiming to maximize fry production while minimizing aggression between males.

This breeding ratio can work well in a 10 gallon tank but you really do need a proven way to sell your guppy fry quickly before using this in your own tank.

If you’re limited to a 10-gallon tank and aim to breed guppies for profit, with arrangements in place with local pet stores to accept your fry, then this is the best male-to-female ratio for you.

Two Males To Four Females

The two males to four females ratio is risky in a 10 gallon tank and should only really be used in tanks that are 15 gallons or over.

That said, more and more commercial guppy breeders, especially those using 40 gallon breeders are switching over to a multiple male strategy.

Female guppies gain more from multiple copulations with different partners than from repeated copulations with the same partner.

National Academy Of Sciences

A study published in the National Academy Of Sciences found that female guppies who mated with multiple male guppies would consistently produce larger broods that also developed at a faster pace.

On average, these females released their broods almost nine days sooner than the control group female guppies who mated with a single male the exact same number of times.

I know that this may not sound like much for someone looking to breed guppies for fun but it can be a huge difference for people looking to breed guppies for a profit.

Using this multi-male strategy may be able to get your female guppies to release their broods 40% faster than they otherwise would.

Over the course of a year, this really adds up and can drastically increase your profit margins.

MaleFemaleRating
21Extremely Risky
22Very Risky
23Risky
24OK
Male To Female Ratio For Two Male Guppies

The tank above goes over the only real stocking options for this strategy in a 10 gallon tank and as you can see, there is still some risk of male aggression even with the two males to four females strategy.

I would recommend that you start your breeding operation with a 10 gallon tank and a one male to four female ratio and then scale up to a 15, 20, 30 or even 40 gallon tank with a multi-male strategy once you build up some experience.

Mating Behavior

Feeding My Guppies
Feeding My Guppies

Male guppies can exhibit several different courtship behaviors when attempting to attract a potential mate.

Here are the most common courtship behaviors displayed by male guppies:

  1. Sigmoid Display
  2. Following and Positioning
  3. Gonopodium Flick
  4. Color Display

The Sigmoid Display is the most common, and for some male guppies, it may be the only courtship behavior they display.

Here is a quick breakdown of each of these courtship rituals.

Sigmoid Display: The most common behavior of the guppy courtship is the sigmoid display.

This is where the male curves his body into an ‘S’ shape and vibrates or quivers intensely for a few seconds.

This display highlights his brilliant hues, stature, and vitality to the female with some male guppies forming this “S” shape as frequently as 13 times in just 5 minutes when attempting to attract a partner.

Following and Positioning: The male will often follow or swim alongside the female, trying to position himself in front of her to catch her attention and show off his colors.

This is still a relativley common courtship ritual for guppies and most male guppies will try this if their sigmoid displays consistently fail.

Gonopodium Flick: The male might also rapidly flick or swing his gonopodium (a modified anal fin used for sperm transfer) in the direction of the female.

This behavior is sometimes observed just before an attempt to copulate but it is not as common as a sigmoid display or following an positioning.

Color Display: While males are naturally colorful, during courtship, they might orient themselves in such a way that sunlight or available light accentuates their color patterns, making them even more appealing to females.

This is the least common courtship ritual but it can be more common with younger males.

If the female wants to participate in this courtship ritual, she will respond to the approach and move toward the male.

National Science Foundation

If either of these rituals are successful then the female guppy will approach the male and the pair will mate.

Females can store sperm for several months.

National Library Of Medicine

After a sucessful copulation, a female guppy is able to store sperm for up to six months and use it to keep impregnating herself without a male being in her tank.

This allows the female to produce multiple batches of fry from a single pairing but many people new to breeding guppies are unaware of this and are often cought off-guard when their female guppies release a second batch of fry without a male being in her tank.

These tiny tropical fish often help their brothers in the mating process by darting in front of other males to block access to a female.

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY

One point of note for anyone using the multi-male strategy, a study from Florida State University observed male guppies blocking the access of other male guppies to females while their brothers were displaying their courtship rituals.

Depending on the tank setup and number of female guppies in the tank, this may eventually result in aggression between your guppies so keep this in mind when using a multi-male strategy.

Diet For Breeding Guppies

Bug Bites Bottom Feeder Formula

Consistent feeding is crucial when breeding guppies, as it can increase your fry yields and make female guppies more receptive to breeding.

When food is in such short supply that females cannot achieve
satiation, female reproductive success is likely to be well correlated with time allocated to feeding.

McGill University

The study from McGill University that I referenced earlier found that female guppies were more inclined to prioritize food over reproduction, leading to a reduced likelihood of breeding in tanks with minimal food.

A quick and easy way to overcome this potential problem is to provide your guppies with a consistent food supply.


That males allocate a lot of their potential feeding time to courtship is evident from both this and other studies.

McGill University

The same study found that male guppies would prioritize reproduction over food.

While a consistent food supply may not boost the likelihood of a male guppy breeding, it does increase the chances of the fish consuming enough food to maintain its helth.

I’ve spoken to several several experienced guppy breeders and they all recommend the use of high-protein foods when attempting to breed guppies.

They all specifically recommended daphnia with other suitable foods including bloodworms and brine shrimp.

As I mentioned earlier in the article, I usually feed my guppies Bug Bites and they seem to love them with this being another food source that is high in protein.

Increasing Brood Size

A Guppy Foraging
A Guppy Foraging

The average guppy brood consists of 12-60 fry but there are several things you can do to boost the number of fry produced from a pairing.

As I mentioned earlier in the article, older female guppies produce less fry so age will be the dominant factor for this stage of the article.

The number of fry per brood ranged from 12 to 60.

Research Gate – Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh Science

Female guppies between the ages of 4-18 months usually produce the most fry and will respond well to these tips and tricks and max out at around 200 fry per brood.

Add More Males

The easiest way to increase the brood size of your female guppies is to add multiple males to their tank.

Multiply mated females produced larger broods than their singly mated counterparts

National Academy Of Sciences

I touched on this earlier but a study in National Academy of Sciences found that female guppies that mated with multiple males would produce larger broods than the female guppies that bred with a single male.

This doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the frequency of breeding either as the study kept the number of mating sessions the same between the two tests.

As mentioned in the section about tank size, the main problem with this method is the stocking levels needed to use a multi-male breeding strategy for your guppies.

A 10 gallon tank is just on the border of being too small so a 15 gallon tank or larger will be a far better option with this being a popular strategy used in 40 gallon breeders.

Remove Stress

Females in high-risk situations are less receptive to male courtship

Oxford University

A study out of Oxford university found that female guppies in high-risk situations were less likely to breed due to the high stress levels in the fish.

One of the main causes of stress in the female guppies were larger fish in their aquarium so using a dedicated breeding tank may be enough to totally remove this potential problem from your own breeding setup.

Timing Matters

Guppy began fry birth in February and ended in November with a peak in July.

Research Gate – Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh Science

A different study in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh Science found that their female guppies would only produce fry between the months of February and November.

This suggests that a reduced number of fry being produced in the months of December and January is normal and not a cause for concern if you experience this with your own guppies.

The study also found that the number of fry produced when breeding their guppies peaked in the month of July.

If you are breeding your guppies for fun and only want to breed them once or twice per year, you may be able to use this information to increase or decrease the number of guppy fry produced.

Increase Brood Size When Breeding Guppies
Increase Brood Size When Breeding Guppies

Gestation And Birth

A Guppy
A Guppy

Healthy female guppies usually have a 25-35 day gestation period before they give birth to 1-200 live fry.

Unlike many other species of fish, guppies will give birth to live babies rather than spawn eggs.

There are a number of variables at play here and there are several things that you are able to take advantage of to reduce the gestation period of your female guppy while also increasing the number of fry she will produce without putting the fish at risk.

It was observed that the gestation period of guppy was 25-35 days with an average of 28 days

Research Gate – Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh Science

The average gestation period for a female guppy is 28 days but younger female guppies tend to release their young earlier than older female guppies.

As previously mentioned in the article, most experienced guppy breeders agree that breeding female guppies between 4 to 18 months of age is optimal as they tend to produce more fry and have a shorter gestation time.

Multiply mated females produced broods 8.76 days sooner than singly mated females

National Academy Of Sciences

One study also found that female guppies that were bred in a multi-male setup released their broods 8.76 days sooner than female guppies that repeatedly mated with the same male.

Depending on the other variables involved, using the multi-male breeding system may be able to reduce the gestation period of your guppies by as much as 40%!

If you are trying to commercially breed your guppies for profit then this can drastically increase the number of fry produced.

Maximizing Fry Survival Rates

A Guppy Swimming
A Guppy Swimming

Enhancing the survival rate of your fry is the most efficient method to boost profits when breeding guppies.

Anyone can breed their guppies but the real challange is maximising the survival rate of the fry.

Thankfully, there are some easy tips and tricks that you can use to your advantage to drastically increase the survival rate of your guppy fry.

Separate Tanks

Sometimes adults consume their progeny, therefore fry should be separated from the adults immediately after hatching.

Research Gate – Ashraful Kabir

The easiest way to maximise the survival rates of your guppy fry is to separate them from the adult guppies as soon as possible.

Adult guppies will consume their own fry so moving the adults to a different tank or transferring the fry to a dedicated grow-out tank can significantly improve survival rates.

If you are trying to maximise the output of your breeding operation it is usually better to move the guppy fry to their own tank rather than move the adults.

Female guppies can become stressed and take time to adjust in a new tank reducing the likleyhood of her breeding for 3-7 days.

Hiding Spots

I know that many of my readers will have to keep their adult guppies and guppy fry in the same tank so adding plenty of hiding spots to your tank can be another easy way to increase survival rates.

Java moss is the perfect plant for a guppy breeding tank due to its dense coverage and extended length offering plenty of hiding spots for guppy fry.

I have a dedicated article going over plants for guppy tanks but when specifically looking for something to increase fry survival rates, java moss is definitely king.

Suitable Foods

The higher cost involvement, poor growth, less survival and higher mortality rate of imported commercial feeds brought less success in guppy farming

research gate – Asian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

A study from the Asian Journal of Medical and Biological Research found that commercial fish food resulted in high costs, poor growth, and a higher mortality rate than other foods used during the study.

Guppy fry can and will eat a wide range of different food products but it definitely seems that natural, unprocess foods that are high in protein are the best option for guppy fry.

Maximum survival rate (95%) was recorded in formulated diet 1

research gate – Asian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

The study found that 95% of their guppy fry survive when fed a custom food that was made up of the following foods:

  • 60% Fish Meal
  • 20% Corn Flour
  • 10% Prawn Meal
  • 5% Soybean Oil
  • 5% Starch

Among the formulated diets those which are prepared mainly by fish meal, prawn meal and meat and bone meal resulted better growth than the commercial pelleted feed.

research gate – Asian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

The study also found that the growth rate of their guppy fry was also consistently better when the fry were fed custom made foods that were high in fish meal, prawn meal meat meal, and bone meal.

One thing to note is that the study was conducted in 2016 and several excellent fry foods have been released onto the market since then so you may be able to get similar growth rates with a commercial food like Sera Micron Nature than making your own custom food.

Feeding was carried out thrice a day at 9:30am, 1:00pm and 5:00pm throughout the experimental period.

research gate – Asian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

The final point of note from the study is that the guppy fry were fed three times per day.

Depending on your daily schedule, you may have to adapt the feeding times but the higher survival and growth rates in the study do suggest that there is some advantage to feeding your guppy fry three times per day.

Water Temperature

Maintaining a consistent water temperature of 86°F (30°C) can help to maximise the growth rate of guppy fry.

Growth rate increased with increasing water temperature and reached its optimal at 30°C.

Research Gate – EFFECT OF TEMPERATURE ON GROWTH AND SURVIVAL OF GUPPY

A study into the effects of water temperature on guppies found that guppy fry consistently had an increased growth rate when kept in a water temperature of 86°F (30°C).

Compared to other test groups maintained at different water temperatures, this group showed enhanced growth in both length and mass.

Compared to other test groups, the fry experienced an 84% increase in healthy body mass and grew to be 18% longer over the testing duration.

Survival rates of heat-treated fry were generally decreased with increasing and decreasing temperature.

wiley – Ondokuz Mayιs Üniversitesi

Another study found that fluctuating water temperatures decreased the survival rates of the guppy fry in the test when compaired to guppy fry kept in water with a consistent temperature.

This suggests that maintaining a steady water temperature of 86°F (30°C) for your guppy fry can optimize both survival rates and growth.

5 Tips To Maximize Guppy  Fry Survival Rates
5 Tips To Maximize Guppy Fry Survival Rates

Genetics And Selective Breeding

guppy breeding
A Guppy In My Tank

Selective breeding is key when breeding guppies for profit as the best looking fish will always demand the highest price tag.

Even minor flaws in your guppies can significantly reduce their value so many people breeding their guppies for profit prune their breeding lines with various culling techniques to enhance coloration and pattern consistency in subsequent generations.

Culling can have different definitions depending on the specific breeding.

Some people maintain dedicated cull tanks (one male one female to prevent breeding) for their imperfect guppies to live out the rest of their days, others sell these guppies at reduced rates, and some people may opt to actually cull them.

The culling criteria can vary based on specific strains and colors so a slight flaw that’s acceptable in one guppy strain might not be in another.

Some distributors may have their own specific criteria for juvenile guppies too such as a minimum size.

This may lead to some guppies being labeled as flawed or unsellable to that specific distributor even if their pattern and colors are perfectly fine.

This is why its so important to select a specific guppy strain and research the expectations for that strain to be deemed authentic and command a higher price before implementing your own culling system.

Selling And Distributing Offspring

A High Grade Colorful Guppy
A High Grade Colorful Guppy

The most common options for selling your baby guppies are:

  • Online Stores
  • National Distributors
  • Local Fish Stores

The most common methods of selling your baby guppies are based around the internet with sites like eBay and Aqua Bid being very popular options.

One top tip for breeding your guppies for a profit is to try and build up an online presence via social media and YouTube so you can show people how much time, effort, and care goes into your breeding operation.

You can then use these channels as a way to promote your eBay or Aqua Bid pages and drive sales to help sell your guppy fry as quickly as possible.

Some people do still sell to large distributors but these are often not realistic options for people with smaller breeding operations.

I know some people who have sales agreements with the local fish stores in their area where they will take a certain number of guppy fry from them at a set price every few months.

Final Thoughts

The intricacies of guppy breeding extend far beyond mere pairings, encompassing optimal tank environments, mating strategies, fry survival techniques, and effective distribution methods.

By understanding and implementing these insights, breeders can ensure healthier broods and greater yields.

Moreover, strategic marketing, especially in the digital age, is crucial for maximizing profitability.