When a guppy starts to give birth to fry, the whole process can take anywhere between 6 to 12 hours depending on how many babies it’s giving birth to and how stressed the female guppy is during the birthing process.
If you want to know how many babies a guppy can have, keep reading!
How Many Babies Can a Guppy Have?
A guppy can give birth to 2 to 200 live fry at a time.
However, that does not mean that all live fry will survive their birth.
Since guppies can have cannibalistic tendencies, they often start to devour their own babies shortly after they’re done giving birth to all fry.
It’s also pertinent to note that guppies typically give birth once a month, and a few of them can halt the process and resume after a few days, if not after 12 hours.
Do Guppies Lay Eggs or Give Live Birth?
Unlike other fish that lay eggs and wait for them to hatch, guppies give birth to live fry.
During the birthing process, you will see live fry coming out in rapid succession. However, it’s pertinent to mention that these live fry are born one at a time.
Since they give birth to live fry during delivery, they also need relatively more breeding time than most other fish.
Additionally, if it’s your guppy’s first time giving birth, it may only give birth to 100 live fry, which is lower than the typical 200-count.
How to Prevent Guppies from Eating Guppy Fry?
Filial cannibalism is common amongst guppies. If you’re a first-time breeder, it’s best to put the adult guppy and live fry in separate tanks.
Since they exhibit no signs of parental concern or care toward their babies, it’s okay for breeders to keep the guppy fry in a separate tank.
As for why the adult guppies devour their own babies, scientists have not found a definite answer to this question yet.
Some suggest that female guppies develop survival instincts due to stress caused during labor and birth, which is why they eat their own babies.
Another theory suggests that guppies only eat the weakest guppy fry that are less likely to survive after birth, while some scientists argue that the female guppy revives her fat reserve after giving birth by consuming her own fry.
However, all of these claims are largely disputed as it’s not only the female guppies that consumer guppy fry but also the males.
How Can You Tell If Your Guppy Is Pregnant?
Although it’s challenging to find out whether a guppy is pregnant or not, since a big belly could be caused by bloating, there are several ways to conclude if your guppy is pregnant.
It will stop eating regularly, often rub itself against the tank/decorations, shiver/shake, or choose a spot to stay in for a few days.
The following are some other signs you can look for to spot a pregnant guppy:
- Its abdomen is almost a square-like shape
- The guppy is getting bulkier every day
- It seems like your guppy is rapidly breathing
- It’s losing its color
- The guppy’s gravid spot is enlarged and darker
- You can spot fry eyes on its translucent skin
How Long Does Guppy Take to Give Birth after Conceiving?
Guppies take anywhere from 21 to 30 days to give birth to live fry after conceiving.
The time duration of their pregnancy can differ significantly based on several factors. At just 4 to 6 weeks old, female guppies become mature, and they’re ready to conceive.
The 3 to 4-week duration of their pregnancy is greatly dependent on the cleanliness of the tank, their diet, water temperature, and their overall health.
For example, if you want your guppy to give birth in 3 weeks, you will have to ensure it’s being kept in warm water.
Other factors, such as the guppy’s stress or agitation levels, can also lengthen or shorten the pregnancy duration.
Oftentimes, if a guppy is pregnant and fears that its life is in danger, the guppy miscarries.
How to Tell If Your Guppy Is in Labor?
Signs that your guppy is in labor are not as clear, and you might need to conduct a thorough investigation.
A guppy can stay in labor for a few hours or even a couple of days without the pet owner noticing.
If your guppy has been showing signs of pregnancy and has now chosen a specific spot to stay in the tank, it’s possible that it’s waiting for the birth.
How to Tell If Your Guppy Is Done Giving Birth?
As mentioned, guppies can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days to give birth to all the live fry.
It’s difficult to tell whether the guppy will resume giving birth later or if it’s done giving birth to all the live fry.
However, finding this out is not entirely impossible. You can look for the following signs to know if your guppy is done giving birth:
It Will Start to Swim Normally
Once the female guppy is done giving birth, you will notice it taking a short breather, and shortly after, it will start to swim normally.
In contrast, if it’s still in the same spot after giving birth or isolating itself from other fish in the tank, it will most likely resume giving birth in a few hours or a couple of days.
Also read: Why is Guppy Swimming Vertically?
Signs of Contractions Slowly Settle Down
When a guppy is in labor, it will seem as though it’s swimming in one place or moving its tail up and down.
It may even seem like it’s shivering. However, these are signs that your guppy is experiencing labor contractions.
Once the guppy is done giving birth to all the live fry, the contraction will slowly settle down, and the guppy will start swimming normally.
Its Belly and Gravid Spot Will Look Normal
Once your guppy is done giving birth, you might notice that its belly is reverting to its original shape and size.
You may only see this change after a while, but once the guppy is done, it will go back to its slim and sleek size.
Similarly, its gravid spot will also revert to its original triangular shape, which is relatively smaller and lighter than when the guppy is pregnant.
If these two signs don’t appear, it means there is still some live fry left in her belly.
How to Care for a Pregnant Guppy?
As mentioned earlier, a pregnant guppy’s diet will significantly differ from an average female guppy.
This is because they don’t have much space left in their belly for food. You should only feed them small portions of flakes or pellets once or twice a day.
If you have space for another tank, you can also keep the pregnant guppy separate from other fish as it will give them more space and also eliminate all possibilities of other adult fish consuming the guppy fry.
You can also increase the tank’s temperature to make the guppy feel comfortable and remove it from the tank as soon it’s done giving birth to ensure it doesn’t consume its babies.
Now that you know that a guppy can birth anywhere between 2 and 200 live fry at a time and other vital details about guppy pregnancy, labor, and post-pregnancy care, you can go ahead and start breeding guppy fish at home.
In case you notice something out of the ordinary, it’s best to talk to a vet and explain your guppy’s condition to them.
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