Guppies are entertaining fish that you would certainly love to keep. They give birth so easily and quickly but they never rear their young. Once the fry are released, they are abandoned by their parents to the extent that their parents could actually eat them.
Taking care of guppies, in general, is something anyone could easily do after following certain instructions. Additionally, taking care of baby guppies is not a different story. All you are required to do is to provide them with a healthy and clean environment to prevent any chance of infections or stress. Baby guppies need everything the adult guppies need in order to grow healthy and have a long lifespan.
In this article, you are going to learn how to care for baby guppies by following these easy steps! If you are planning to breed guppies, you have come to the right place..We will provide you with the answers you are searching for!
1. Guppy fry birth
First of all, it is logical to start off by explaining how the breeding process takes place. In other words, we need to know in advance how the guppies are born.
Guppies reach adulthood and maturity when they become 4 or 6 months and some actually hit adulthood on reaching 1 month old. Guppies are livebearers. This means that they do not lay eggs like most fish. They give birth to fry. The female guppy releases about 20-60 fry at a time.
The gestation period takes about 21-30 days. The female guppies could give birth twice a month by the way. Once it gives birth, it could become pregnant again on the same day. When the female guppy is about to give birth, her behavior starts to change a bit. The female guppy hides in order to give birth.
The labor could take hours or even days until all the fry are finally born. When the fry are released from the mother guppy, they will start swimming everywhere around the tank. But they would always look for a place to hide in the tank. The fry would still be inactive when it is first released to the water until it starts to function properly. Then, you will find the fry swimming perfectly and even looking for food.
2. Saving your guppy fry
Baby guppies are neglected by the parents guppies and totally ignored. Moreover, the parents guppies could eat their baby guppies. If you do not separate the adult guppies from the tank where the fry are, there is a very high chance that the baby guppies will be eaten by the adult guppies.
But do not give up! There are always some suggested solutions to help you save your guppy fry from their tragic fate. Since some people might not afford to get a separate breeding tank to separate the guppies from the fry, let us take a look at some methods that would help rescue the fry.
- You can separate the pregnant guppy in a glass container when it is on the verge of giving birth. To separate her from the adult guppies who could eat the fry once it is released.
- You can also buy a breeding box. A breeding box is an affordable plastic container that you can place into your tank. It would keep the fry separated and protected from the adult guppies. Plus, the breeding box facilitates matters for you…you do not need to worry about the quality of the water. This is because the breeding box allows the water in the tank to pass through it while keeping the baby guppies inside it safe and sound.
- If you cannot purchase a breeding box, you could try another method: provide lots of places that would help your baby guppies to hide. Baby guppies would be afraid of the adult fishes and they would always look for a place to hide till they feed and grow in size so that they can get along with the rest of the fishes. Therefore, getting plants and floating plants to your tank would not only make it look nice and fancy, but it would also provide the fry with some sense of security and comfort. For example, some of these recommended plants are guppy grass, java moss, hornworts, or roots of lettuce. This is the easiest method you could try and it usually works out!
3. Feeding guppy fry
When the fry have just been born, their sizes are about 6 mm and they have very tiny mouths. However, their appetite is rather big. They digest food in about 20 to 30 minutes. In other words, they are always hungry after every 30 minutes and they need to eat. But this does not mean that you should provide them with food whenever they beg for it.
But feeding them 5 to 10 times daily would help in accelerating their growth. This feeding schedule is recommended only for breeders who are keeping the fry for breeding purposes; however, if you just keep guppies for fun, once or twice a day would be enough to feed them.
You would not struggle to feed your baby guppies because they eat the same food which their adults eat and guppies are not picky eaters at all. Whatever you give them; they would eat it but make sure the food is in small pieces.
Provide your fry with a variety of nutrients and vegetables or proteins to make them grow healthier and faster. You can feed them fish flakes that are crushed into small pieces. Feeding the fry egg yolk would be an excellent idea because it is healthy for them and rich in proteins. It is always good to provide the guppies with a variety of nutrients and minerals.
4. Guppy fry tank maintenance
Do not bother yourself with worrying about the water conditions that would be suitable for the fry. If you have the fry placed in the same tank with the adult guppies, you do not have to readjust the water’s parameters and temperature.
They both can thrive well in the same water conditions. This is the case if you have the fry and the adults in the same tank. On the other hand, if you have the fry separated from the adult guppies and are kept in a breeding tank; you have to follow certain guidelines:
- Adjust the water temperature to be 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not very important or necessary but it will help in speeding up the fry’s metabolism which will help the fry eat more and grow quicker.
- You are supposed to do partial water changes regularly. Fresh water helps the fry grow faster.
- Keep a strong lighting for about 12 hours per day. It is also not essential but strong light will help in strengthening the fry’s spine and prevent any risk of deformities. Do not keep the light directed towards them for more than 12 hours because too much light would prevent the fry from sleeping and sleeping is necessary to store their energy and renew it. 6 or 8 hours of darkness would help give the fish enough time to sleep and rest.
Checking the water quality: Water quality is really important for keeping the fry healthy. When the water’s quality is good enough, the guppies will grow faster and healthier. You have to use a kit to test the level of ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite in the water. So that you can immediately change and clean the water if there are any high levels of chemicals that could intoxicate the fry.
The ammonia should be kept at 0 ppm and the nitrate at 0 ppm. Partial changes of the water on a regular basis would guarantee you have healthy guppies in the future. One more thing as far the water’s quality is concerned, keep the water’s temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Separating the fry: As we mentioned before, it is good to separate the adult guppies from the fry so as not to have your fry eaten by the bigger fish. If you can afford a breeding tank, this would be a very good step that is accomplished.
If you do not, a breeding box would be an option. Using the breeding box is so easy. Just place the pregnant guppy in it once you see that the gravid spot has grown darker and larger, this means that it is about to give birth to the live fry. The breeding box has some slots with a divider, once the labor is over, you are going to take the female away to the other side of the tank.
Caring for the fry: You need to feed your guppies regularly and give them a variety of minerals, proteins, and vitamins to accelerate their growth. You also have to check for any signs that might indicate an illness or bacterial or parasitic infections.
Whenever you detect a guppy with a changed behavior, you have to remove it from the tank and separate it to prevent the spreading of the disease. Do not add medicine to a tank filled with fry because it will be difficult for you to add the accurate dosage and any changes in the water would kill the guppies. So it is better safe than sorry.
Moreover, you have to keep an eye on the fry to monitor their growth and how normal, abnormal, fast or slow it is. Once they grow in size, you can place them back in a tank filled with adult guppies.
Are baby guppies supposed to sit at the bottom of the tank?If there are adult guppies in the tank, the fry would want to hide so if there are no enough plants to hide behind them, they will sit the bottom of the tank in order not to get eaten by the adult guppies.
How quickly can they get to their full size?The fry grows faster when you provide them with good food and good water conditions. In about 2 months they will start growing into their normal size.
How many days does it take for the guppy fry to grow?Their sizes should begin to change on reaching 1 week old.
Why are all my fry female? Theonly explanation is that the water is cold. Guppies give birth to male guppies in warmer water. Water decides the gender of the fry by the way.