How Long Does It Take a Guppy to Give Birth? A Must-Read Guide
How Long Does It Take a Guppy to Give Birth? A Must-Read Guide

Baby guppies are entertaining additions to any fish tank. One of the best parts of having guppies as pets is that they can reproduce rapidly, providing you with plenty of baby guppies. 

Guppies, both male and female, are not shy toward one another. You can expect a new litter of guppies every month or so if you let them breed. As an aspiring fish breeder, you might be curious about the time it takes for guppies to give birth to their young and how long it takes the newborn guppy babies to mature into full adults. 

Let’s find out.

How Long Does It Take A Guppy To Give Birth?

When a guppy gives birth, the female will “drop” anything from two to two hundred baby guppies, known as fry, usually within four to six hours. If you’re wondering how long it takes a guppy to give birth, the birthing process might take up to 12 hours if the mother is under stress. 

Guppy fry is usually born singly, though sometimes they come in clusters separated by brief intervals.

How Long Does It Take a Guppy to Give Birth? A Must-Read Guide
How Long Does It Take a Guppy to Give Birth? A Must-Read Guide

Infant guppies are typically seen in a spherical form, similar to how they develop inside the mother. However, baby guppies will immediately uncurl and begin swimming, and healthy newborn guppies will often swim vertically upward.

How to Identify the Signs of Labor in a Guppy

Female guppies can reproduce when they are still very young. Mothers can have babies about once a month for years if they are not isolated from males.

Pregnancy in guppies can begin as early as a few weeks of age. It can be identified by a darkening of the gravid region near the anal fin under the tail. 

Guppies typically have a gestation period of 22–26 days (21–30 days is possible); however, this can vary according to factors such as tank temperature, water quality, and the health of the female. As the female’s due date approaches, she may start to show more signs of pregnancy.

Given that individual fish have unique personalities, not all pregnant guppy females will show the same signs. Following these indicators will help you know when it’s time to give birth.

  • The female abdomen seems square and boxy.
  • The color of a gravid spot is a deep crimson or black.
  • She either does nothing or hides in the tank.
  • Common symptoms include a loss of appetite or an increase in spitting out or refusing to eat.
  • Experiencing shivering or shaking during contractions is normal.
  • Rapidly quickening rate of respiration.

When a pregnant female guppy displays any of these indications, you may consider to move her to a separate tank or a birthing tank within the main tank. In this way, she can easily avoid the other fish in the tank without having to swim very far away from them. Fry is a delicacy to many fish, including the hungry mother; thus, many breeding tanks have barriers to keep the young in as they learn to swim.

What Happens After a Guppy Gives Birth?

The female mother guppy needs to rest in a calm aquarium for many hours after giving birth. She needs to be well-fed so that she can get her strength back before she can swim with the other fish. If the number of fry was very high, she might require up to two days to recuperate, but extended periods of isolation can also be distressing.

When breeding guppies, or if you have a pregnant guppy, keep in mind that it’s not unheard of for the mother to consume her offspring. Fish can be kept in separate tanks because males will also try to eat their young.

3 Ways You Can Help Guppy Moms and Babies

After giving birth, the female guppy should rest in a separate tank for a while and be fed well to help her regain her stamina and energy before rejoining the group. She may require a full day or two to recover properly if the batch of fry is especially large, but she shouldn’t be kept in isolation for longer than that, or she could become stressed. Here are a few ways you can help the guppy mother and ensure the safety of the newborn fry.

Safeguarding the Mother Guppies

Although newborn guppies are good swimmers, they are vulnerable in a tank with other fish since they are an easy meal for any fish, including their mother. Fry needs somewhere to hide from predators, so it’s a good idea to scatter real or fake floating plants around the fish and the birthing tank. For the sake of the fry’s security, it is preferable to have the plants clustered together.

Do remember that this technique cannot fully protect the fry from being eaten.

Maintaining a Hazard-Free Aquarium

The tank should be cleaned periodically to avoid waste accumulation and development that might make the fry sick, and it should be kept at a suitable temperature. Clean the tank and change the water weekly. The use of a sponge filter is recommended to prevent the fry from being trapped in the filter system. 

In order to prevent the fry from being pulled into the filter, an easy do-it-yourself solution is to secure a fish net over the aperture. Last but not least, ensure the fry is getting adequate light. We’d say that per day, 8 to 12 hours is enough for the fry.

Separating Guppy Fry to Keep Them Safe

I recommend keeping the babies in a separate tank or a separate or closed-off area in the tank. When the mother has completed giving birth to her young, she should be taken out of the breeding tank or area.

  1. Use plenty of plants, to create hiding spaces for the fry.
  2. Another option is to use a small piece of mesh to create a partition within the birthing tank. Young guppy fish can escape their mother by swimming through the mesh and into the other part of the tank.
  3. Hold off on reintroducing the fry to the main tank until they grow at least an inch long.

How Long Does It Take for a Guppy to Mature Enough to Have Babies?

If you want to know how long it takes a guppy to give birth, you need to get familiar with their reproductive period. A guppy’s reproductive period typically begins between the ages of two and three months. A guppy’s growth and development to adulthood are rapid. Since guppies are live-bearers, their fry is more fully grown at birth than those of other fish species. They appear to be small grownups right from the start of their lives. 

Female guppy reproductive maturity occurs between two and three months of age. She can have a batch of fry roughly every 30 days. There might be anything from two to two hundred small guppies in a batch of fry, so be prepared to expand your aquarium setup for the newcomers!

What Should I Do If My Pregnant Guppy Doesn’t Give Birth?

If a pregnant guppy is isolated for 24 hours and still hasn’t given birth, she should be returned to the main tank. Remember that isolating a pregnant fish for more than two days can stress the mother fish, and stunt the development of the fry.

Final Thoughts

The gestation period for a female guppy is roughly a month, so if you notice she’s pregnant, you usually have a few weeks to get ready. By learning the ins and outs of guppy reproduction, fish enthusiasts can ensure a steady supply of healthy fry and a pregnant female that produces healthy guppies year after year.