Why Do Guppies Breed So Much? (4 Reasons)

My friend started his first guppy aquarium only a couple of months ago with only a few guppies. And today I got his call asking if I would like to have some guppies for my tank cause he has a lot of them in his tank.

This got me thinking why do guppies breed so much. So I did some research and found the answer. 

Male guppies constantly try to mate with female guppies. Female guppies can give birth after every 30 days. And they can give birth to up to 30 to 50 offsprings at a time. Besides, as guppies are livebearers, the offsprings are already more developed and they reach maturity rapidly. A female guppy can give birth at the age of three months!

Guppies have some surprising features that help them to breed over and over again. Also, I‘m going to cover how you can control the guppy population in your fish tank in this article.

Keep reading…

Why do guppies breed so much?

There are a few reasons why guppies breed so much in your aquarium. Guppies have some surprising features that help them to breed over and over again.

1. Male guppies constantly try to mate with female guppies

One of the reasons guppies breed so much is that male guppies constantly try to mate with female guppies. And female guppies can give birth to offsprings after every thirty days.

2. Female guppies don’t need to mate with male every time to give birth 

Female guppies have a special feature. They don’t need to mate with a male guppy every time they want to give birth to offsprings. 

The female guppies have folds in their genital area where they can store sperms. And they can use this sperm to get pregnant and give birth to offsprings.

3. Female guppies can give birth to 50 offerings at a time

Usually, female guppies can give birth to anywhere between 30 to 50 offsprings or even more. How many offsprings can a female guppy produce is dependent on her size.

Generally, the bigger the female the more offsprings she can give birth to.

Fun fact: A female guppy from the Chicago Shedd Aquarium has given birth to 244 offspring at a time. 

4. Guppies reach maturity very fast

Guppies are livebearers which means that the offsprings come out freely swimming. And the offsprings are already very developed.

In fact, guppy babies don’t need any parental help at all. They start feeding on their own.

One of the most important reasons guppies are very popular among breeders is that guppies reach maturity rapidly.

A female guppy can start to reproduce at the age of two to three months.

Overall, guppies reach maturity very rapidly and they can give birth to offsprings very frequently that’s why they breed a lot.

How do I stop my guppies from breeding?

guppy fish with stop sign and breeding text

The only way to stop your guppies from breeding is by separating the male and female guppies and keeping them in separate tanks.

To separate the male and female guppies you’ll need to know how to identify the male and female guppies in your fish tank.

How to identify male and female guppies?

Identifying male and female guppy is not difficult once you know what to look for in the guppy.

1. Body shape

You can easily identify male and female guppies by their body shape. 

Female guppies have a bigger body (up to 3 inches/ 6-7 cm) and a rounded tummy (even when they’re not pregnant). 

On the other hand, male guppies have a slender and shorter body (maximum about 1 inch or 3 cm).

2. Color and patters

One of the reasons why people like to keep male guppies over females is the bright color and vivid patterns that male guppies have on their bodies.

You’ll see bright colors and patterns (stripes and spots) on most of the bodies of male guppies. On the other hand, female guppies will have coloring only on their tail fin.

3. Gravid spot

You can easily identify female guppies by gravid spot. Female guppies have a gravid spot at the end of their belly under the body. It is a dark black spot.

On the other hand, males don’t have a gravid spot.

4. Anal fin

Male guppies have a long and pointed anal fin located under-middle part of their body. 

On the other hand, females have rounder and smaller anal fin under-middle part of their body.

5. Dorsal fin

Male guppies have a long dorsal fin located on the upper-middle part of their body. On the other hand, females have a relatively very short dorsal fin.

6. Tail fin

You can easily distinguish between male and female guppies by their tail fin. 

Male guppies feature long and wide tail fin covered with bright and vivid colored patterns.

On the other hand, female guppies have short fins and they don’t have as bright and colored patterns as male guppies.

Once you’ve identified male and female guppies then you can set up a new fish tank. Cycle it instantly using any of these methods and put either male or female guppies in the new tank.

Keeping a male-only guppy tank is not easy

When you keep only male guppies in a tank you’ll notice territorial behavior among them. 

The males will bully each other. This stresses the fish. So make sure to keep a lot of hiding places in the male-only guppy tank so the fish can hide and rest.

You can add some live aquarium plants to create hiding places in your tank.

Don’t be surprised if you noticed guppy fry in the female-only guppy tank

Even after separating male and female guppies and keeping them in separate tanks, you may still notice guppy fry populating in your female-only guppy tank.

There could be one of the two or both reasons behind this.

1. Already pregnant female guppies

When you separate the male and female guppies, there is a possibility that some of the female guppies are already pregnant. So they gave birth to the fry.

2. Female guppies can store sperm

You read it right! Female guppies can store sperm in the genital area inside their body. And they can use this sperm to get pregnant and give birth to offsprings multiple times!

What to do about the guppy fry you don’t want?

Guppy image with text guppy fry with confused man illustration

There are a few ways to get rid of guppy fry you don’t want.

1. Give guppy fry away for free

You can give away the guppy fry to your friends or family members who would be interested in starting a guppy tank or want to add some guppies in their existing tank.

2. Sell the guppy fry for profit

You can sell the guppy fry and earn some extra money. You can sell the guppy fry to your local fish store. 

If you are a member of your local fish club then you can sell the guppy fry to other club members.

Also, you can sell the guppy fry online on fishkeeping-related forums.

How to control the guppy population in your tank going forward?

Now you know why guppies breed so much. And I’ve also told you some ways you can get rid of the guppy fry you don’t want to keep in your tank.

Still, there’s a possibility that you’ll end up with some guppy fry in your tank. 

Thankfully, there’s a way to keep the guppy population in control.

Add omnivorous fish in the tank

You can say that guppies are not good parents because they eat their babies! 

This does help to keep the guppy population in control.

But in addition, you can also keep some omnivorous fish in your fish tank to keep the guppy population in control in your tank.

The omnivorous fish will eat the guppy fry as they come out.

Here are a few omnivorous fish you can keep in your guppy tank:

  • Platy fish
  • Tetra fish
  • Betta fish
  • Cory catfish
  • Molly fish 
  • Bristlenose pleco
  • Gourami fish
  • Rasbora fish
  • Swordtail fish 
  • Danio fish 
  • Clown loaches
  • Shrimp
  • Danio fish 
  • Clown loaches

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Conclusion

Overall, as I mentioned in the article, there are several reasons why guppies breed so much. But, mostly their rapid rate of maturity and the fact that they can produce a lot of offsprings at a time are the main reasons you end up with a lot of guppies in your aquarium.

The ways I’ve mentioned in the article will help you control the guppy population in your fish tank.

I hope you found this article helpful.

If you do, please share it.

Happy fishkeeping!

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