How To Care For Guppy Fry (Insane Survival Rate)

Guppies are a phenomenal fish to keep for any fish owner. They are quite easy to take care of for beginners, are great tank mates to many other types of fish, and look absolutely beautiful in the tank, with their bright colors and beautiful bodies, often times stealing the show. 

However, caring for baby guppies can be a different story. In fact, since guppy parents don’t really care for their babies themselves (and often end up eating their young), the responsibility falls on you. But how do you care for baby guppies? Saving them before they’re eaten, feeding them properly, protecting them, and giving them a safe environment are some great ways of caring for baby guppies. 

But there’s a lot more to it than that. Read on to find out everything you need to know about how to care for baby guppies!

How Are Baby Guppies Born?

Baby guppies, contrary to most fish, are not born in eggs. In fact, baby guppies are born in a live birth. Guppies reach sexual maturity at around 4 months. After this, they tend to give birth around once every 30 days for a couple of years. 

The guppies are born directly into the water after a multi-hour (sometimes multi-day) labor process. They will then immediately try to find a place in the aquarium to hide.

 For the first few hours of this process, the guppies will be a bit deformed and unable to move effectively until they get their bearings and figure out how to swim. It is at this point that they are most vulnerable to their hungry parents. 

The guppies will then immediately start searching for food and hiding until they grow large enough that the larger guppies won’t see them as a tasty lunch!

How Do You Keep Baby Guppies Alive?

Although it might seem hard, keeping baby guppies alive is actually a rather simple process. There are a number of effective strategies that you can employ in order to make sure that your guppies stay alive so you can have a healthy, thriving tank. Read on to find out how to keep those baby guppies swimming

If your Guppy is swimming upside down, however, It can be a sign of something else. Find out what it means here!!

How Long Does It Take Guppies To Grow From Fry To Adults? 

It will take around 6 months for a guppy to grow from fry to a mature adult, during this time they will where they will grow to between 4-6cm. During this time, they’ll go through four stages: fry, juvenile, young and adult.

What Are The Guppy Fry Growth Stages? 

There is a range of different stages when it comes to your Guppy’s growth, and knowing each stage is going to help you know how you should be looking after them.

Fry Stage: 

When Guppies are born, they are only about 0.6mm in length! They are able to swim on their own accord, and instinct will set in, so they’ll attempt to find the best hiding spot in the tank.

This is down to the natural instinct of hiding from predators. If you have a mix of adult Guppies and fries, it would be beneficial to separate them, which we will go on to explain later in this article! Overall, the Fry stage will last for about a month. 

(Do you want to know whether guppies eat their babies and how you can protect them.)

Juvenile Stage: 

After just one month, the Guppies enter what we call the juvenile stage. This stage is crucial for growth, so it is important to ensure you have the right information to help them. Female Guppies grow larger than male Guppies, with both averaging 1.2-2cm.

Another difference between males and females is that the female’s tails will be bigger than the males! It is also at the juvenile stage; you will see the Guppies’ colors starting to show! Make sure you provide the best food and care possible at this stage, as it is the most important for their growth. 

Young Stage: 

In the third stage or ‘Young stage’ at two months old, Guppies are now sexually matured. As previously stated, if you do not want to breed your Guppies, now would be the time to separate the males and females. 

It is also at this stage that you should stop feeding Guppies any fatty foods, as this would cause them ill health. With the right food choices for your Guppies, it will enhance their color! 

(Do you want to know how to selectively breed your guppies when they’re sexually matured? then this is how!)

Adult Stage: 

How long do Guppies take to grow? Well, the last and final stage of Guppy growth is achieved at 6 months old. They will grow to their full size of between 4-6cm, sometimes the male having longer fins and tails than the females.

They do not become infertile until they are between 1.5 to 2 years, so again, to clarify, they must be separated if you do not want them to breed! At this stage, they will need a good diet high in protein, which you should continue for the length that you own Guppies! 

What Can Stop A Guppy Growing Properly? 

So, now we know the different stages of growth when researching ‘How long do Guppies take to grow?’. It’s important to understand the factors that may stop them from growing properly. Here are some things to take into consideration when owning Guppies. 

Tank Size

The size of the tank for Guppies is crucial in how long and how much they grow. Surprisingly, a big tank can cause just as many issues for the Guppies as a small tank can.  

Firstly, the problems with a small tank are self-explanatory, the Guppies don’t have enough room, and that depends on how many you have. If you only have a couple, then you don’t need a large tank; however, having more Guppies means you will need more space, no matter how small they look at first! 

(Find out how many guppies you can keep in a 5 gallon, 10 gallons, and 20-gallon tank.)

On the other hand, having a large tank poses the problem of the Guppies expelling more energy to try to find food. The energy they lose by trying to maneuver around a large tank should actually be used for growth within the first three stages of their lives.  

Breeders also may use breeding boxes to keep Guppies within the first month of life; however, this cramped space is also detrimental to their growth. It is recommended not to use breeder boxes! Especially if you want your Guppies to grow and live to their full potential. 

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Water Volume 

This issue goes hand in hand with the problems of a large tank. The large volume of water means the Fry has to swim for increased distances to try to find food that would be easier to find in a small tank. Again, too little water volume, and you have too many Fry in a small amount of space, think of it like having a load of newborns in a studio apartment; it’s not enough space for them to grow in! 

Adult Guppies

A cause for concern can also be the adult fish when you are bringing up Guppy fry! Along with many other fish, Guppies aren’t opposed to eating their young! This could be worse if you also have a tank with a range of different fish.

We know that when Guppies are born, they seek out hiding spots automatically due to their natural instinct. If you have a community tank that contains any pregnant fish, this would be especially concerning for the Guppy Fry as they are even more likely to be eaten! 

Conditions

As previously explained, the tank size can impact your Guppies and the way in which fries grow. However, another thing to take into consideration is the upkeep of the tank. Water needs to be changed frequently; otherwise, it attracts parasites.

Temperature and filtration systems are also important. Although Guppies are renowned for being a low-maintenance fish breed, it is important to think of the extra expenses that are involved. Not accounting for these will lead to issues for the Guppy Fry’s growth or even their lives as a whole.  

Feeding 

As with everything, the types of food you give your Fry are important. As with ourselves, if the Guppies are not fed a varied diet that will promote growth, you could face some issues later on. The amount of times a Guppy needs to be fed is also important.

Feed your Guppies too little, and they enter starvation mode and are malnourished, but also too much food can cause significant issues. This includes a build-up of rotten food in the tank, which leads to high ammonia levels, low pH levels, mold, and even blocking the filters, to list just a few problems. 

How Many Babies Do Guppies Have?

A female guppy can have up to 200 babies simultaneously, depending on the conditions. If they are in a stressful state, they may not be able to have as many fries. This process usually takes up to 6 hours, but if the female guppy is stressed, it can take up to 12 hours to finish.

Get a Breeding Tank

The first thing you can do to help keep your baby guppies alive is to get a breeding tank. A breeding tank is a fish tank, separate from the fish tank that your guppies are currently in, specifically for putting guppy fry (or other baby fish) into in order to keep them safe. 

Put the pregnant female guppy into the breeding tank and watch it carefully. Upon the birth of the fry, remove the female from the breeding tank and place it back into the normal tank with the rest of the guppies. 

This can be a bit difficult, as you need to make sure that the water is treated properly for fish in both tanks. However, a breeding tank is the best strategy for protecting your baby guppies, as it is a surefire way to make sure they are separated from the larger guppies so that they aren’t eaten. 

Separate the Mother From the Rest of the Tank Before Birth

It’s not always possible, however, to have an entirely separate tank just for breeding purposes. In these cases, there are still steps you can take to protect your guppy fry from the rest of the guppies in the tank. 

Try separating the pregnant female from the other guppies in the tank. Use a glass jar or some other container and place the pregnant female inside. Make sure the water is at the correct temperature, pH, and hardness for your fish. This isn’t ideal, as a jar or container won’t have the filters, temperature control, and other helpful aspects that a tank has. However, this is a less expensive alternative. 

Get a Breeding Box

If you don’t want to separate the mother and you don’t have a separate breeding tank, you can try solutions that only require one tank. One such solution is called a breeding box. A breeding box is essentially a mesh or plastic box that goes inside of your current fish tank.

This will protect the female and the fry from other guppies while allowing you to not have to control the water conditions in more than one tank.

Get the pregnant female into the breeding box. After she gives birth, immediately remove her from the box, and allow the fry to stay there for a little while to grow. Afterward, either move them into their own container or allow them to hide and feed into the tank. 

Provide Your Fry With Ample Hiding Spots

One of the most important things you can do for your guppy fry is to provide them with ample hiding places in the tank. These include little rocks, caves, vegetation, and decorative pieces that they can swim between and around, allowing them to hide from the larger guppies in the tank until they are large enough to avoid being eaten on their own. 

Guppy fry needs around two weeks to grow to this size. Planting things like guppy grass, water lettuce, or java moss will help them hide for a couple of weeks from larger guppies that don’t need to hide as often (especially if there are only guppies in your tank). 

Guppy fries

How Do You Care for Baby Guppies?

Baby guppies are fragile, so there is more to taking care of them than just protecting them from being eaten by adult fish. There are a number of techniques you can employ in order to make sure that your guppy fry grows into healthy, strong, beautiful guppies. 

Caring for baby guppies includes making sure they are well-fed, protected from adult guppies, and that their living conditions are proper to allow them to grow well. Read on to find out more about caring for baby guppies!

Water Temperature

One important aspect of caring for baby guppies is making sure their water conditions are good. A big part of this for fish is the temperature of the water they are swimming in. Many different kinds of fish prefer many different water temperatures, so it’s important to know what temperature your specific fish are best suited to. 

For guppy fry specifically, you should keep their water at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Guppies are freshwater fish, so make sure they aren’t swimming in saltwater either. The reason that they like to swim in such warm water is that it speeds up the metabolism of the guppy fry, allowing them to grow faster.

Guppies can handle a wide variety of temperatures, so this isn’t entirely a necessity, but it will help your guppies grow, which is the most important part of caring for them, as it keeps them safe. 

Light Conditions

Guppy fry also likes to be in the light for a significant portion of the day. Try to keep the lights on in and around your tank for at least 12-16 hours per day. There are lights on timers you can purchase, so you don’t have to manually track light hours and turn the lights on and off. 

The reason guppy fry like to be in the light for so long is so that they can grow properly. Guppies that don’t receive enough light as fry often grow in deformed ways, as their spines may not grow properly. Make sure not to give them too much light, as fish need their rest as well. They don’t necessarily sleep, but too much light will cause them to remain overactive. 

Again, 12-16 hours of light is enough. It doesn’t have to be very bright either. Mild light for most of the day is more than enough for your guppy fry to remain comfortable. 

Water Changes

Make sure that you are keeping your water as fresh and clean as you possibly can. This means doing partial water changes quite regularly in order to ensure that your guppy fry is growing in the cleanest environment they can.

50% water changes around twice a week is a good amount to start with. However, this number can change based on the size of your tank and the amount of guppy fry that is in it. 

The denser the population of guppy fry in the tank, the more often you should change your water. This means more often for more guppy fry or in a smaller tank, and less often for a larger tank or a tank with less guppy fry in it. This is because the more crowded your tank gets, the dirtier it will become from uneaten food particles, fish waste, and other debris. 

Protecting Your Baby Guppies

We’ve been over it already a bit, but it can’t be overstated how important it is to protect your guppy fry from the larger guppies in the tank. Larger guppies will eat guppy fry without a second thought, so if you’re breeding guppies, you obviously want to avoid this outcome. 

Keeping them in a separate tank is best, but giving them plenty of cover and places to hide within the tank can be fine, too, depending on how many guppy fries you’re willing to lose. Giving plants for guppies to hide in significantly increases the survival rate of their babies. 

Make sure that you give your guppies enough time to grow up before allowing them into the rest of the tank with the other guppies if you’re keeping them separate. Again, around two weeks is a good amount of time. They should be around full size by then, or at least large enough to not be mistaken for food. 

Feeding Your Baby Guppies

Making sure your baby guppies are eating a proper diet is the last way you can care for them. Since they are much smaller than regular guppies, they are going to have a different diet due to what they are physically able to consume. 

Guppy fries eat very often, as they have a quick digestion cycle. This is only helped by warm water if you are keeping them in a properly heated tank, which would be at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. We will get more into feeding your guppy fry below. 

How to Feed Baby Guppies

Feeding your guppy fry might seem simple, but it’s very important to get it right. Allowing your guppy fry to grow into healthy, beautiful guppies is the goal after all, and feeding them, just like any other animal, is among the most important parts of making sure that they get the nutrients to grow properly. 

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How Often Should You Feed Baby Guppies?

Baby guppies love to eat and, as mentioned earlier, have an extremely quick digestion cycle. This means that they should be fed fairly often. The digestion cycle of the guppy fry is about 30 minutes, meaning that they are usually ready to eat again every half hour. 

You don’t have to feed them this often, as you would basically be spending your whole day constantly feeding fish. However, it does mean you should be feeding your guppy fry a lot. Try to feed them between 5 and 10 times a day. The more you feed them, the faster they will grow. 

If you are only keeping guppies for fun and not trying to breed and sell them, you don’t have to feed them as much. For fries that are being kept simply as pets, you can feed them once or twice a day, and they will be just fine. Do keep in mind, however, the more you feed them, the faster they’ll grow. 

What Should You Feed Baby Guppies?

Surprisingly enough, baby guppies can mostly eat whatever adult guppies can eat. The problem is the size of the food. Flake food for guppies from a pet store will suit just fine, but live food works as well. Live food includes things like baby brine shrimp, vinegar eels, daphnia, and micro worms. 

Frozen dry food or flakes suitable for guppies are also just fine. Although, similarly to the amount you’d feed them, you may want to change your guppy frys’ diet according to what you plan on doing with them. 

If you want to get some extra protein in your guppy frys’ diet, egg yolk is a great source that is easy for them to eat! It might be a bit unconventional, but it works perfectly well to help your guppy grow up healthy and strong. 

How Large Should Guppy Fry Food Be?

The mouth of the baby guppy is a mere 6mm wide. This means that they can’t eat food that is the same size as what the adults eat, even though they are eating the same foods. This means you’ll have to manually reduce the size of the food if it’s for guppy fry. 

Crushing up dry food into smaller pieces, turning live food into a paste, or breaking up anything else you feed your guppy fry into smaller pieces will allow them to eat and digest it more effectively. This is very important so you can make sure your guppy fry are eating, as if they can’t fit the food in their mouths, they will starve. 

Is Variety Important in a Baby Guppy’s Diet?

Variety is essential in the diet of your guppy fry. This is because no one food has all the proper nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that will help your fry grow into healthy, strong guppies. Try to mix up the foods you’re giving to your guppies so that they are getting a variety of nutrients!

Is Live Food or Flakes Better?

Live food is normally considered the better option for guppy fry. It will provide a larger variety of nutrients and provide protein in many cases, allowing your guppies to grow faster. This, in turn, will let them grow quickly so they can avoid being eaten or be sold as adults if that’s what you’re looking to do. 

If you’re just looking to keep them as pets, the frozen dry food or flakes will work just fine. Live food will help them grow faster, but the flakes or dry food will keep them alive just the same. 

When Should You Feed Baby Guppies?

Since you have to feed them so often, don’t pay too much attention to when you’re feeding them. Just try to feed them in evenly spaced out increments, around 5-10 times in their 12-16 hour active window. This will make sure they aren’t overfed while also feeding them often enough that they can grow quickly. 

FAQ

Q: What do Baby Guppies eat?

A: As stated above, baby guppies can eat frozen dry food, flakes, or live food like micro worms, daphnia, and baby brine shrimp. Just makes sure it’s small enough for them to eat!

Q: How to Make a Baby Guppy grow faster? 

A: Feed your baby guppies live food very often (closer to 10 times a day, or even more) if you want them to grow faster. Also, please keep them in warm water (80 degrees Fahrenheit) to boost their metabolism. 

How Many Babies Do Guppies Have?

A female guppy can have up to 200 babies simultaneously, depending on the conditions. If they are in a stressful state, they may not be able to have as many fries. This process usually takes up to 6 hours, but if the female guppy is stressed, it can take up to 12 hours to finish.

Do Guppies Have All Their Babies at Once?

A guppy only gives birth to one guppy at a time. Since guppies can have up to 200 guppies, it could take her two to six hours to give birth to all of her babies.

How Fast Do Baby Guppies Grow?

In about 6 months, guppies can grow 4 to 6 cm long. That means they can grow about 0.3 inches per month, which is pretty slow for a fish. But remember that it takes guppies about three months to start having babies, so even though they look small, they will start having babies in your tank.

Do Baby Guppies Need Plants?

If adult guppies need plants to mimic their natural habitat in the tank, make it more interesting and give them oxygen, then baby guppies need these plants too. Baby guppies do best with moss plants or plants with many leaves because this kind of plant gives the fry a place to hide and avoid being eaten by other fish until they are big enough to move around the tank on their own.

Do Guppies Breed Easily?

Guppies are easy to breed and do so quickly like there’s no tomorrow. Guppies can have up to 20 litters with more than 200 babies each. Because of this, the tank often gets overcrowded easily, which can often be a problem for a beginner aquarist.

Do Guppies Breed with Their Siblings?

Guppies can breed with their siblings. This is called inbreeding, and it’s not good if the problem becomes too big to handle. This unsupervised breeding can lead to deformities and genetic flaws that will cause the guppies to have unhealthy fry.

How Many Baby Guppies Survive?

The chances that guppy fry will live depend on their tank conditions. Baby guppies in an aquarium have a 10% to 20% chance of making it to adulthood. But because guppies can reproduce quickly, this is enough for their species to stay alive.

Do Guppies Need A Breeder Box?

Guppies must be put in a breeding box, especially if they are about to give birth. The breeding box keeps the pregnant female guppy until she gives birth, at which point she is removed, and the fry is held in the breeding box out of harm’s way. This keeps your baby guppies safe from being eaten by their own parents.

What Are The Best Breeding Boxes For Guppies?

There are many different shapes and sizes of breeding boxes, and some have even more features and functions than others. When choosing breeding boxes, select the ones other aquarists have used and tested. Here are some breeding boxes that other aquarium keepers have used and liked.

1. Fluval Multi-Chamber Holding and Breeding Box

This simple external breeding box is easy to get to and maintain, and you can watch the fry grow without bothering them. This breeding box is also easy to use as you don’t need a separate heater or filter to use it. Since it’s big, you can use it to get new fish used to the tank before putting them there. But this breeding box needs its own air pump, so you may need another one.

Pros:

  • Accessible
  • Easy to mount
  • Enough size to keep guppy from being stressed
  • Has a compartment to hold guppy fries
  • It can be used in multiple ways

Cons:

  • Needs a water pump or air pump
  • Fry could get sucked into the main tank
  • Continuous water spluttering noise

Recap

Baby guppies are in danger as soon as their born, so it’s important to keep them safe. Keep them separated from the adult guppies, or at least give them hiding spots in the tank to avoid being eaten. 

Feed them often, keep them in warm water, and give them live food to allow them to grow quickly. This will help keep them protected from being eaten by adults. 

Make sure their water and tank conditions are proper. Lots of light (although not too bright), lots of vegetation, and warm water are great conditions for guppy fry. Soon enough, those babies will become fully grown, healthy, and beautiful guppies!

About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio!

Betta fish keeper for over 6 years now! Since owning a betta I've also housed all kinds of tropical fish, and have seen all manner of problems and how to look after them!

If you need any advice you can always message me or better yet join the Facebook group where a community can answer your questions!