Guppies breed a lot as they mature and begin reproducing from the age of three months. They mate all the time, and female guppies have a short gestation period. Moreover, a single mating cycle is enough for female guppies to have several batches of offspring, with each batch containing 30 to 50 fry.
Let’s now look at each of these factors in closer detail to get a better idea of the rapid pace at which guppies breed.
Reasons Why Guppies Breed So Quickly
If you want your aquarium to be full of fish, you can accomplish it by keeping guppies as pets.
Under the right conditions, a pair of guppies can produce enough fry to fill an entire tank in just a few months.
There are several contributing factors for their profuse breeding of guppies, including the ones listed below.
Guppies attain maturity early.
While most aquarium fish lay eggs that later hatch into fry, guppies are livebearers.
When guppies give birth, their young ones are already capable of swimming and searching for food.
They also grow faster than other types of fish.
Female guppies attain maturity in three months and begin mating and producing viable offspring.
Hence, guppies reproduce very early and are constantly pregnant. That’s why they produce a lot of offspring.
Guppies mate all the time.
Male guppies are obsessed with mating. They constantly chase females and attempt mating.
Female guppies are also receptive to their advances. They will mate with multiple males.
Female guppies also have the unique ability to store the sperm for later use within the folds in their body.
All these factors together contribute to profuse breeding and a large number of offspring.
Guppies don’t have to mate to produce offspring.
Did you know a female guppy can store excess sperm from a single mating session?
A single mating session will provide a guppy with enough sperm for multiple batches.
They use the stored sperm to become pregnant in the future if they cannot find suitable mates.
This unique ability of the guppies to use sperm from previous mating sessions is called super-foetation.
So, if you bring home a female guppy as an adult and she doesn’t have a mate, she may still give birth if she has mated in the past.
Guppies have a short gestation period.
Female guppies can give birth as frequently as every month. The gestation period of a guppy is typically 21 to 30 days.
So, if you see them mating, the female will most likely have her fry within a month.
Soon after the birth, the mother will mate again and become pregnant.
Now, if there are no male guppies around, she may still produce babies by using residual sperm from previous mating sessions for fertilization.
Hence, guppies will constantly produce offspring.
The fry will also attain maturity in a few months and begin producing babies of their own.
Guppies give birth to live fry.
Guppies are livebearers. This means that they give birth to young ones instead of laying eggs.
The guppy fry develop in the mother’s womb and come out as tiny free-swimming fish.
They are more developed than fish that hatch out of eggs.
With the right care and nutrition, guppy fry rapidly grow into adults.
By the time guppies are three months old, they attain maturity and are ready to reproduce.
Guppies produce a lot of babies each time.
Not only do guppies reproduce every thirty days, but they also have a lot of babies per batch.
Under optimal conditions, female guppies can have up to fifty offspring at a time.
Generally, large females have more offspring.
Adult guppies, including the mother, will eat tiny guppy fry that come too close.
When the number of offspring is more, there’s a good chance for at least a few of them to survive.
Guppy fry will be safe once they reach the size where they no longer fit the mouths of adult guppies.
These fish are adept at finding hiding places in a tank.
Keeping guppies in a planted tank will give the babies a better chance of survival.
You can also separate the female guppy just before birth to save the offspring from being eaten by the rest of the adults in the tank.
How Often Do Guppies Breed?
Guppies typically breed every thirty days. The breeding process is very quick.
The males and females constantly mate, thus improving the chances of reproduction.
Under the right circumstances, male guppies will approach females with the intention of mating.
The female usually gives chase, but not for too long. It’s not as tiring or disturbing as we see in certain fish like goldfish.
When the male guppy gets close enough, he extends his anal fin or gonopodium towards the vent near the female’s gravid spot.
He quickly inseminates her, and the two fish resume their normal activity.
Males and females will mate multiple times to improve the chances of pregnancy.
Once the female is pregnant, her body undergoes rapid changes.
Her gravid spot becomes dark, and the abdomen area takes on a boxy shape.
The female will grow bigger as the weeks progress. She may also show behavioral changes.
The gestation period of the guppy varies between 21 and 30 days.
However, the guppy may take longer to drop her fry if the living conditions are unfavorable.
She will delay giving birth when the water is too cold, or she feels bullied or harassed by the other tank inmates.
Do Guppies Stop Breeding?
Guppies breed profusely when the tank conditions are ideal for their survival, and members of both sexes are present.
However, if the water conditions are unfavorable or the female is under stress, guppies may stop breeding.
Guppies are less likely to breed when the water is cold. Even if they produce babies, the fry will be unable to survive in cold water.
Females may also hold off breeding if the tank has no hiding places for the fry, the water parameters are unsuitable, or it is overcrowded.
Sudden high ammonia spikes can cause infertility in guppies.
Hence, you should always keep the water conditions under control if you want your fish to breed.
Now, female guppies may also stop producing fry when they reach a certain age.
Once guppies attain maturity, females usually reproduce once every month.
They will usually continue with it for twenty or more cycles.
However, as guppies grow older, the gap between consecutive litters may increase.
The female may also skip a batch once she is past her reproductive prime.
Guppies in captivity usually live for around two years.
So, your guppy may stop producing new litters as she gets closer to this age. This condition is called guppy menopause.
The exact age at which this occurs will depend on the genetics and health condition of the fish.
Menopausal guppies usually grow bigger as their bodies are no longer invested in preparing for reproduction.
Male guppies also become infertile after a certain age.
As they grow older, their ability to produce healthy fry decreases. This condition is called andropause.