Have you been thinking about getting yourself a nice batch of guppy fish? These colorful freshwater tropical fish are the perfect choice for bringing your tank to life, since they bring out a vibrance, unlike any other fish.
But wait! We can’t go headfirst into buying the ornate amount of guppy fish. The one question that kept me from buying guppies for myself was, would I need to worry about guppy babies? Or rather a more important question would be:
How many babies do guppy fish even have?
There isn’t quite a straight answer to this question but there are plenty of precautions and practices where you can prepare for the absolute extreme. Guppies are livebearers so no matter the circumstance, as long as there is a mix of females and males within your tank, guppy babies will make their appearance.
How Many Babies Do Guppies Have?
Heading straight into the main question, guppy fish typically can deliver from 5 to 80 fish at once. The range between the least and the highest number of babies delivered at once is certainly high but the lack of proper water conditions and an abundance of stress can be attributed to a lower number of fry.
Many female guppies give birth multiple times during their lifetime so the number of baby guppies given birth within a guppy’s lifetime can range from 300 to 4500 guppies in total!
How Often Do Guppies Have Babies?
Guppies give birth quite frequently. Their gestation period can typically last up to 4 weeks but the nature of the tank, their stress values, and a couple of other factors play a role in how fast a guppy gives birth, thus affecting the total guppies they produce over their lifetime.
A common factor affecting the gestation period of a guppy is the temperature of the water they inhabit. If the water tends to be cold then the guppies will take time to give birth.
If your priority is to have your guppies give birth as quickly as possible and reduce their gestation period, gradually increasing the temperature by 1 or 2 degrees helps in reducing pregnancy periods. However, do not increase the temperature to the point it starts to harm your guppies instead of helping them.
The amount of protein you provide for your guppies also gives way to an effect on their gestation periods. Food with higher doses of protein has proven to reduce the pregnancy period to some extent.
So food like blood worms and brine shrimp are some of the prime choices to feed your guppies for the shortest gestation period.
Stress is a factor that shapes many areas of a guppy’s life. It can affect their behavior, their lifestyle, and their overall lifespan. The pattern continues with stress being a factor that plays a role in the gestation period of a guppy fish as well.
If guppies find themselves stressed out their gestation periods can extend to further days. While more calm and relaxed guppies were reported to give birth earlier on than more stressed guppies.
To make sure your guppies aren’t stressed, an abundance of hiding places to have guppies feel safe goes a long way in keeping their stress levels in check. More importantly, a female-to-male ratio of guppies must remain 2:1 since male guppies are quite known to harass and hassle female guppies – building up unwanted stress for the female party.
By using these three factors along with clean tank conditions, the gestation periods can reduce by as much as 6 days. If you want the opposite result and instead increase the gestation period, you can do the complete opposite. However, make sure you don’t stress out your precious guppies for this cost.
How Many Babies Do Guppies Have Throughout Their Life?
As mentioned before, the total number of fries a guppy can give birth to ranges from just a tiny amount of 300 to an enormous value of 4500 baby guppies. These two numbers give very different circumstances for you to adjust to so in order to prepare let’s ask the question? What affects the number of baby fish a guppy can have throughout its life?
Do Guppies Eat Their Babies? Cannibalism
Here’s a fact I bet most people don’t know. Guppy fish don’t feel any emotional connection to their babies; meaning any purpose a fry has to them is a source of food for them to eat.
So, whenever guppies do give birth, they end up eating their own fries. Even if a pretty hefty number of fries still survive, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the total fry count ends up reducing by a ginormous percentage.
Like any other fish, guppies require specific conditions to properly live and prosper in their fish lives. Different components of the water can affect the different shares of a guppy’s health but the wrong parameters can affect a guppy’s pregnancy significantly.
For one, a guppy’s gestation period can significantly increase. Meaning lesser baby guppies will be born in total since the total times that the guppy would get pregnant also decreased.
But the wrong parameter can also lead to other possibilities. Ammonia spikes can severely place your guppies in harm’s way and in often cases; mothers are encouraged to reabsorb their babies. In another scenario, if the mother is unable to absorb her babies, ammonia spikes can lead to an abortion.
So, in general, worse water conditions do lead to lesser fry produced but if your aim is to produce less fry. NEVER practice conditions where your guppies are suffering and uncomfortable in their own tank.
If you just bought your guppy from your local pet store, and don’t have an idea how old the guppy might be; the total amount of babies they could produce with their time with you could be significantly less than any amount we discussed today.
Because a matter of fact, guppies who have shaved a good chunk of their life already do not have much time left till they are no longer fertile.
The same factor that affects the total lifespan of a guppy also affects their ability to yield baby guppies as well. In the simplest way possible, bad guppy genetics will lead to fewer guppy babies being produced. Some may produce nothing at all while others may produce one or two every month.
If their genetics goes a long way and really shake things up, some guppies can face an unfortunate death while giving birth.
On the contrary, great genetics yield many healthy fries at once. These types of guppies are the ones that can withstand a slight change in water parameters and produce a great number of guppies throughout their life.
How Long Does it Take For Guppies to Give Birth?
If you have a fresh new batch of young guppies, you might be wondering just how long it will take until they start producing some fry of their own.
Female guppies become mature rather quickly. 4 to 6 weeks in, your female guppies will be ready to become pregnant and eventually give birth.
Since guppies have a high breeding rate and are very active in terms of reproduction, it won’t take long before you find your female guppies pregnant soon after they mature.
The gestation period, while adjustable as discussed in the article, ranges from 3 to 4 weeks. Reducing the gestation period can be done through safe methods like adjusting your temperature by increasing it by one or two degrees. However, do not ever put your guppies through discomfort in hope of extending the gestation period or even decreasing it.
How Do You Identify a Guppy?
Now we know how to handle pregnant guppies but how do we even recognize them?
The first step is to get familiar with the shapes of your guppies’ bodies. One of the biggest giveaways and the easiest way to identify a pregnant guppy is through their body shape.
Pregnant guppies make it easy to spot the difference between a skinnier non-pregnant guppy and the pregnant ones themselves. Once the fry begins to grow, black dots will start to appear on the skin of a mother making it a dead giveaway.
Not only can you identify through their body shape but pregnant mothers tend to become more inactive and less willing to swim once their breeding day comes nearer and nearer. On top of inactivity, pregnant guppies tend to hide under various decorations and plants you might have laid out through your tank.
Use these hints to spot the behaviors and qualities of different guppies in your tank and you should be spotting pregnant guppies in no time.
The Bottom Line On How Many Babies Do Guppies Have Exactly?
Guppies are tropical freshwater fish with a high breeding rate and are often known to produce a pretty hefty number of babies once and throughout their lifetime. While a single female guppy can have up to 60 guppies at once, that number adds up to a whopping 4500 fry produced if you take their entire life into account.
There are several ways to alter the count of baby guppies produced but it is important to understand that no matter the intention, you should not let your guppies suffer and live in an uncomfortable environment for the sake of producing more or fewer guppies.