Do Guppies Lay Eggs? (Explaining The Phenomenon)

Do guppies lay eggs? If you’re new to keeping guppies, then this is a question you’re probably going to ask yourself. Or perhaps, you’ve noticed something that looks like an egg coming from your guppy, and now you’re not sure what’s going on.

Well, in this article, you’re going to find out everything you need to know about guppies laying eggs and much more! So keep reading to find out.

Do Guppies Lay Eggs?

Female guppies give birth to live young and don’t lay eggs. However, just because they don’t lay eggs, it doesn’t mean that eggs aren’t present. The guppy fry actually grow in eggs inside the womb before they hatch during birth.

In fact, as you’re about to find out, this is why it appears that sometimes guppies “lay eggs.”

“My Guppy Laid Eggs”What Really Happened

Sometimes people may notice that their guppy appears to be laying eggs. You’re not crazy. There are times that your guppy may lay eggs; however, these eggs aren’t going to hatch.

Here are some of the most common reasons that your guppy may lay eggs.

They’re Fry That Never Formed Properly

Sometimes your guppy will give birth to fries that haven’t formed properly and are still in their eggs. This is very similar to a miscarriage in women.

Unfortunately, when this happens, the chances are the fries are never going to be strong enough to survive anyway. If you notice this happening, sometimes, if the eggs are big enough, you can actually see movement inside them.

They’re Eggs That Never Formed

Sometimes, these may also be eggs that never formed at all. Sometimes, when guppies are stressed, this can happen, but there are a few things you can do to reduce its chances.

First of all, make sure the water conditions are perfect for your guppies. This means good pH, temperature, and low ammonia levels. (Find out more about the ideal guppy pH levels.)

Secondly, make sure your tank is big enough for them and that there aren’t any aggressive tank mates in the tank with them. Nothing is going to make your guppies more stressed than constantly being harassed or not having anywhere to move.

They Weren’t Fertilized

Sometimes, when your guppy releases her fry, or before, you may notice eggs drop that just weren’t fertilized. If this happens, you should scoop them out of the tank and throw them away.

The Fry Are Curled Up

Some people also report that sometimes the fry will be laid while they’re still curled up, and then they’ll uncurl and swim around like normal fry.

While I personally haven’t seen this, it may be the case with your guppies!

(If you want to reduce the chances of this happening, you may want to learn about selectively breeding your guppies.)

As you can see below, here are some eggs that never formed properly:

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Livebearing

At this point, you may be wondering why guppies are livebearers. After all, lots of fish lay eggs instead of giving birth to live fry. So here are the advantages and disadvantages of livebearing.

Fry Can Fend For Themselves Easier

Fries that grow in their mothers ‘ wombs’ are going to be a lot bigger and more capable than fries that have freshly hatched from eggs. This means they are more likely to escape from predators, decreasing the mortality rate.

As well as this, they are also easier to care for as they can eat larger food rather than smaller fry.

They’re Protected While They’re Growing

Another big benefit of giving birth to live fry is that the mother can protect her fry while they’re growing inside of her. Instead of just letting them hatch and hoping for the best, guppies are able to protect their fry until their big enough to stand a good chance of surviving.

The Mother Can Be More Mobile

Because guppies carry their fry around with them, it doesn’t mean they’re stuck in one location. If there are predators in the area or something changes in their environment, then they’re able to swim to another location.

Unlike fish that lay eggs. Wherever they lay, eggs is where they’re stuck until they hatch.

Another benefit of this is that a female guppy can migrate to an area where no other guppies are. This means less competition for her fry and a greater chance that they will grow until adulthood.

This is one of the reasons the populations have grown in areas they’ve been introduced to.

(Curious about how long it takes guppies to grow.)

Disadvantages Of Livebearing

While there are many advantages of livebearing, there are definitely some disadvantages as well. Here are some of the disadvantages.

Not As Many Fry

Typically a livebearer won’t give birth to as many fries as a fish that can lay eggs. A female guppies body can only carry so many babies at a time, whereas when a fish lays eggs, it can produce a lot more.

Generally, though, it’s believed that giving birth to fry that is much more developed generally leads to a much lower mortality rate. So this kind of evens out.

The Mother Is At Risk

Being pregnant puts the mother at greater risk until she’s given birth. She’s going to be slower and less able to get away from predators. As well as this, during labor and birth, she’s going to be in an extremely vulnerable position.

Lastly, the stress of birth and pregnancy is high, and it will have a lasting effect on your guppy’s body. This is one of the reasons the females don’t typically live as long as the males.

They Can’t Look After Their Fry

Lastly, guppies don’t look after their fry. In fact, once their fry has hatched, they have no problem eating them if they get the chance, unlike egg layers. As you probably know, some egg layers do all sorts of things to look after their fry.

For example, some species of fish carry their fry in their mouth to make sure that they’re safe.

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How Long Will It Take For Your Guppy To Give Birth

It takes about a month from the time of conception for your guppy to give birth. The actual birthing process can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days (in rare cases).

However, the longer the guppy takes to give birth it’s generally an indicator of how stressed they are. This is one reason it’s a good idea to put them somewhere safe while they’re giving birth. (Find out more about the signs of a pregnant guppy.)

How Many Babies Will A Guppy Have?

Because they don’t lay eggs, guppies aren’t going to have as many fries in a batch as other fish. Typically a guppy will give birth to between 30-200 fry. If you’re worried about them overfilling your tank, in most cases, they’ll be eaten by the other inhabitants, including the mother.

How Long Are Guppies Pregnant?

You can expect your guppy to give birth about once every 3-4 weeks. This depends on the conditions of the tank and the male to female ratio however.

(Interesting fact, the temperature of the tank will determine whether a fry is more likely to be a male or female.)

Do Guppies Lay Eggs_ (Explaining The Phenomenon)


Now you know that generally, guppies don’t lay eggs, and if they do, they won’t hatch fry. Instead of being egg layers, guppies are livebearers, and there are a lot of benefits to this.