Is your guppy not giving birth? Are you confused about what is causing your guppy to behave like this? Do you want to help your guppy during this time? I remember clearly, how confused I was when my guppies were pregnant as one of them was pregnant for a very long time. Fortunately, as time passed, I understood my guppies more and more.
A little backstory about guppies is, that they originate from South America. They are easy to care for, easy to breed, and best of all they have beautiful colors. Within its lifespan, a female guppy can give birth to up to 2000 fries! Although guppies are natural breeders, many people, including me, might face some problems with their guppy not giving birth.
Having a lot of babies is the norm for guppies. But you might face the problem of your guppy not giving birth due to a few reasons some of which you can solve. So let us take a look at my female guppies who sometimes don’t give birth.
Why is my Pregnant Guppy not Giving Birth?
Usually, female guppies remain pregnant for 20-30 days. If this period extends to more than 35 days without any signs of delivery, it could be due to several reasons. Stress, water temperature, and diet could prevent a pregnant guppy from giving birth. These are the most common reasons why your guppy might not be giving birth. I am going to explain to you, why this might happen to your guppy fish.
There are bullies in your Tank
Did you separate your guppies from all the bigger fish? Did you keep them away from fish that might threaten your guppies’ safety? If not, you should immediately do so as female guppies will not give birth until they feel comfortable and safe.
However, guppies are not good parents. If the fry and parents are not separated after birth, the parent guppy will end up eating the fry. Yes, they will eat their fry, so to avoid this you have to keep guppies separate from not only other fish but their parent guppies.
I would recommend using a breeding box meant for fish. Transfer your pregnant guppy in there and, after giving birth immediately remove her. You don’t want the fish to spend unnecessary time in the breeding box as it might cause your female guppy to be stressed. I used a breeding box and, it worked well for my pregnant guppies.
Giving birth can be a stressful process for the fish. Extensive amounts of stress often lead to sickness. This sickness can result in the death of your guppy as well. So, if you notice your fish has been pregnant for a long time, your fish might be sick. If your guppy is ill or old, it will either extend the gestation period or it will abort the baby.
You may notice ripped fins, bleeding gills, dull coloring, wounds, open sores, and white dots if your guppy is sick. Sick guppies also tend to go toward the bottom of the tank. If you notice any of these signs, I would suggest you immediately take your guppy to the vet and get it checked. An expert can tell you the proper solution if your guppy is sick and, it might even save your guppies’ life.
The fry are Hiding
Did you thoroughly check the tank for any fry? Sometimes your guppy will give birth perfectly fine. The reason why you are not seeing any fry is that they might be hiding amongst the plants and ornaments in the tank. When the fry is hiding it is very difficult to find them.
So, this might make you assume that your guppy still has not given birth. Fry always hides to stay safe from larger predators and the female guppy that gave birth to them. The reason is as after 6 hours of giving birth the female guppy will begin to eat her fry. To avoid this I immediately transfer the female guppy into another tank so the fry feels safe and is not forced to hide.
Stress is inevitable for pregnant female guppies. Stress also causes them to become highly inactive and prone to diseases. Several factors such as bad diet, threatening tankmates, wrong parameters, etc can end up causing stress to your guppy. You might think stress will only delay a guppie’s pregnancy but I can assure you that is not the case.
In cases of stress, guppies are known to abort their fry. I would recommend separating the pregnant female guppies from the rest and getting water testing kits to know the level of chemicals in their water. In my experience, they are very accurate and you will know how to act if anything is wrong.
Guppies are tropical fish. So, the temperature of the water they live in should be of utmost importance. You must make sure the temperature of your tank is 82 degrees F. Guppies like temperate water temperatures and do not like cold water. Cold water will not only reduce your guppies’ growth rates but delay the pregnancy as well. I bought a heater for my tank so I would not face this problem. I recommend you do the same for your guppies.
Limited Food Supply/ Diet
Are you giving your guppies enough food? Some researches indicate that guppies will extend their gestation period to improve the chances of their fry surviving in places with scarce food. The type of foods your guppies eat during this period could go a long way to contribute to preventing them from delivering their babies.
If there are no predators present, guppies will give birth to larger fry but less in quantity. However, if there are a large number of guppies in your tank, they will fight over the food you give them. This forces the pregnant guppies to prolong their gestation period so their fry is mature when born. I fed my pregnant guppies 4-5 small meals every day and I will recommend it.
On the topic of diet, some foods are not good for guppies during pregnancy. If such foods are eaten, it may prolong the gestation period. Foods like blood worms could do this by causing constipation and so should be avoided when the fish is pregnant. You should seek the advice of a professional vet on this matter. Pea is good for pregnant guppies as peas are a natural laxative for them. It forces them to excrete everything out of their bodies, making them healthy again. Again you should seek the advice of a vet for proper direction.
It May not be Time for Your Guppy to Give Birth
Guppies remain pregnant on average for about 21-30 days. Most give birth at 21 days if all the conditions are met but most aquarists expect them to give birth at 30 days. If your guppy is not giving birth, you can recalculate if you counted the number of days correctly. Your calculations are probably off by one or two weeks. The following signs will be observable when your guppy is about to give birth,
- You will notice contractions across the guppy’s body.
- The guppy’s belly will appear boxy.
- Your guppy will hide and start breathing heavily.
- The fry eyes will be seen in the lower part of the abdomen.
- The guppy will have no interest in food.
- Your guppy will lash out at other fish.
- Your guppy’s gravid spot will darken.
Guppies can also delay giving birth. Guppies normally delay their gestation period if the environment is not suitable for them or they are sick. Guppies are unique in this way and are known to do this. This is why you should take extra care of your pregnant guppies. Guppies are fine fish and very entertaining and you should care for them as much as possible as they make very good pets.
The Bottom Line On How To Help a Pregnant Guppy Not Giving Birth?
If your guppy is not giving birth, firstly make sure it is pregnant. Then double-check if you’ve calculated the days correctly for the estimated birth of the fry. If your guppy is pregnant you will notice several signs for example a bloated stomach.
Guppies are pregnant for 21-30 days. During this period make sure they are not stressed. To avoid giving them stress you can put your pregnant guppies in separate tanks and make sure the water temperature is to their liking and they are comfortable. If your guppies don’t feel comfortable, they will not give birth and might abort the fry.
Make sure your guppy is not around any predators and after birth separate the fry from the parent guppies. I hope whatever I have told you was of some help to you and it will allow you to not face any problems in the future.