How Do Guppies Mate?6 min read

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How often do guppy fish, mate

Breeding guppy fish is a task that works quite differently from other aquarium fish. Guppies grow quickly, and your tank can easily get filled with new guppies swimming around. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, this is the right guide. This article will answer the burning question, “how do guppies mate?” and take you through essential steps in the mating process. If you’re unaware of the early and late stages of guppy breeding, we’ll explain everything you need to know.

Tank Conditions For Guppy Fish Breeding

Tank conditions for guppy fish breeding
Guppies can multiply in population quickly because they can produce fresh litters every thirty days. It will not take long before guppies fill your aquarium.

Guppy fish require a breeding tank if you aim for a smooth and quick mating process. Ideal breeding conditions aren’t just needed for health reasons. They save a lot of stress for you and your guppies and provide the right conditions for future fry.

1. Create A Breeding Tank

Create a breeding tank for guppy fish
Creating an ideal environment is essential to increase the success of breeding guppies.

How guppies mate can be dependent on the tank size. Consider using a tank that sits at 10-20 gallons for an excellent breeding process. Remember that the breeding tank will also house the fry once they are born. However, you don’t want to use a tank too large for the entire guppy population, as this can lead to some fry getting lost.

One thing that might be concerning is the aggression from tank mates. If you’ve been an aquarium owner for a while, you’ve probably encountered a fair share of tank rivalries. Tank mates can make or break the success of mating season among fish, so it’s best to keep them out of the breeding tank.

2. Ideal Water Parameters For Guppy Fish Breeding

Ideal water parameters for guppy fish breeding
Correct and stable water parameters are needed when breeding guppies. This fish prefers a warmer temperature ranging from 77-79 degrees Fahrenheit during the mating period.

Considering the steps taken to figure out how guppies mate, you’ll be in the best position for success if you’re willing to create suitable water parameters. It is easy to influence the guppy fish’s mood with a little tank TLC. In addition, your guppies will thrive if you’ve got tank décor, plants, and ideal water quality.

They tend to enjoy the water at 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll need to keep that figure at around 77-79 degrees when it’s time for breeding. Biologically, this fish species can thrive in warmer temperatures. So even if the water is slightly warmer, it will still be satisfactory breeding conditions.

With an aquarium heater installed, you can gradually increase the water temperature of your tank. Remember, changing the temperature too fast can be dangerous for your guppies. Fish don’t take to sudden changes easily, as it can stress them. It’s best to increase the water temperature gradually over a week. This helps acclimate the fish and avoid any sense of shock among them.

3. Use Tank Plants And Hiding Spots To Encourage Breeding

Use tank plants and hiding spots to encourage breeding for guppy fish
Guppy fish tend to feel safe and relaxed with plenty of hidden areas. Pregnant female guppies like to hide because they are more stressed during this period.

When fish are approaching their mating periods, a vital step to fully getting ready is having some privacy. With real or fake plants installed, your guppy fish will feel safe with plenty of hidden spots, adding to the tank’s aesthetics. An empty tank just won’t cut it for guppies due to their need for places to rest.

Try adding low-floating plants to your tank and some taller ones, as it will create a diverse range of coverage. This kind of environment provides a sense of security for guppy fish breeding. Female guppies prefer to hide more during pregnancy as they are more stressed during this period and likely display erratic behaviors. To avoid her having elevated stress levels, an excellent hiding spot under some rocks or pipes can also work wonders.

How To Mate Guppy Fish

How to mate guppy fish
Male guppies tend to exhibit unusual and weird behavior during the mating process. They will dance, flare their gills, and chase the female guppies for many hours.

Getting your guppy fish to mate does take some work. With the breeding tank established, you’ll have better conditions for mating to take place. Female guppies tend to show interest in the most brightly colored males. According to studies, this is due to the female believing that such males will provide stronger offspring. However, this only really happens when she has a lot of options. As polyandrous fish, female guppies are capable of mating with many males.

An interesting fact about guppy fish is that they are livebearers, which have large broods of baby fish regularly, and there is no caring for any eggs that need to take place. So instead, you’ll be responsible for guppy fish fry right from the start.

Guppy Fish Mating Behavior

Guppy fish mating behavior
Female guppies like bright-colored males as it indicates that the male is in good condition and healthy.

How guppies mate is quite unique and interesting to watch. The males bend their spine and begin a dance in front of the female, swirling in a smooth motion and letting their fins flow with the water. As they do this, the female is expected to generate some interest in the performance. Suppose the female guppy is interested in the male’s proposal. In that case, she will move towards him, swirling around and sticking next to him.

This entire dancing process can take up to a few hours. The mating ritual among this fish species is undoubtedly a chore for both parties. But by the end of it all, you can be sure that they will mate. Male guppies have a sexual organ called the gonopodium used to inseminate the female. It works like a tube that delivers sperm into the female’s anal vent. It has a hook-like appearance that holds onto the end of the female.

How Do Guppies Mate?

How do guppies mate
Image from Flickr

The actual breeding takes place in a fast and almost unnoticeable way. The male guppy will first approach the female with the intention of insemination. However, the female can sometimes make this difficult by moving around. A chase will begin if she darts away, and the male must be quick enough to get close. Then, he uses his gonopodium to go toward the female’s anal vent.

If he’s successful, the sperm insertion can take under a second, working similarly to a sting. Once she is fertilized, the female is capable of retaining sperm. This ultimately allows her to produce new broods of guppy fish without needing any further insemination in the future.

Gestation Period For Guppy Fish

Gestation period for guppy fish
Bad environmental factors will cause stress in guppies and pregnancy may last longer. However, under favorable conditions, female guppies will drop fry in less than a month after egs are fertilized.

Now that you’ve answered the question of “how do guppies mate?” you’ll still need some awareness of the gestation period. Gestation for guppies can take up to 3 weeks or a little under a month. A healthy female should be able to produce some new fry in her tank after being fertilized.

However, if the tank conditions aren’t ideal and she is dealing with a lot of stress, the pregnancy can last much longer. In fact, she runs the risk of miscarriage if she’s uncomfortable. Having too many fish in a tank can also affect this, so moving your male guppies back to the main tank after the insemination is complete is best.

After figuring out how guppies mate, the best thing you can do for this fish species is to create some comfort for the female. During gestation, this also means improving nutrition. Now is the time to start introducing proteins in her diet along with high-quality meals. This food is beneficial for her strength and the development of the unborn guppies she’s carrying. Consider using foods like vinegar eels and brine shrimp for feeding.

Protecting Guppy Fish Fry

Protecting guppy fish fry
Guppies don’t look after their fry, and even eat them if they get a chance. For the best survival of guppy fry it’s better to separate them from the adults soon after birth. Image from Flickr

Guppies are not the best parents in the aquarium world. Even though these are their own spawn, they are highly capable of eating the fry. So if you want the guppy fry to grow healthy, do your best to separate them from adult guppies after birth. This is an essential step for the little one’s survival.

With guppies, the fry can usually survive independently, foraging for food and swimming well. The only problem they can encounter is the adult fish trying to eat them. If they have to be kept in a community tank, ensure that there are sufficient hiding spaces. However, it is not recommended that you place them in the main tank while they are still little. Once they are reasonably bigger, about one month, keeping them in a community tank should be fine.

Final Thoughts

How long do guppies take to mate
By reading this article, you find out the best tank conditions for breeding guppy fish and how to protect guppy fish after fertilization. Image from Flickr

How guppies mate is quite strange compared to most other aquarium fish. Their gestation and fertilization are also quite unconventional. Yet, if you’re a breeder, you’ll be happy with the rate at which these aquatic pets can produce fry. It’s a profitable and quick business if you’re willing to follow the contents of this guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can guppies breed with other fish?
Interestingly enough, guppies are actually capable of crossbreeding. However, this isn't something they naturally prefer. Still, if there are other fish from the Poeciliidae family, it becomes an option. One popular breeding partner for guppies is mollies. The fry will look unique, but they are usually incapable of reproduction.
How long do guppies take to mate?
Mating your guppies usually doesn't take a terribly long time. If you've got male and female guppies, you will notice them begin to breed at two months of age. This is usually possible if the guppies have been well-fed and kept healthy.
How often do guppy fish, mate?
This species is highly capable of fast reproduction. Therefore, keeping them in the same tank can get you new guppies monthly.
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Tal Halperin

Tal is an avid fish keeper and has been raising ornamental fish for decades. As a little boy, he drove his father crazy to buy him an aquarium with all the necessary equipment. Now, after a career in the field, he has set up Your Aquarium Place to offer the most comprehensive guide to ornamental fish keeping available and share his passion for the different species he has looked after.