I know you are pretty excited to see your guppies giving birth to cute guppy fries 🙂
But it’s essential to note that guppies exhibit filial cannibalism, which means they often eat their own fry!
So it is crucial to prepare everything beforehand when your guppies are about to give birth and take proper care.
Estimating when your guppies give birth will allow you to prepare well for the event. Read on till the end for detailed insights on this topic!
Here’s When Guppies Give Birth:
As a general rule, guppies give birth near the end of their gestation period, which typically lasts from 21 to 31 days. Some of the pregnant guppy signs of delivery are a boxy, squared-off abdomen, very dark maroon or black gravid spot, change in eating habits, shivering, and rapid breathing.
Here are some key points to remember:
- Female guppies can be pregnant 5-10 days after mating with the male guppy.
- So, for example, if the male and female guppies are paired, then after 10 days, there is a high chance that your female guppy is already pregnant.
- And usually, you can expect the female guppies to give birth 25-35 days after mating with male guppies.
While we talk about when guppies give birth to babies, it is essential to understand the fundamentals of guppies giving birth.
See, guppies are livebearers, which means they retain the eggs inside their body and give birth to live, free-swimming young ones.
The gestation in guppies may last from 21 to 31 days. But on average, for most guppy pregnancies, the gestation period may last 22-26 days.
Also, remember that guppies are ovoviviparous. (Ovoviviparous animals produce eggs that develop within the maternal body and hatch within or immediately after being released from the parent)
Did you know? In mammals, gestation typically refers to the time between conception and birth, during which the embryo or fetus develops in the uterus. In the case of humans, the whole gestation period is usually 9 months.
In normal conditions, the whole process of giving birth can last between 2-6 hours. However, if the female guppy is having difficulties, it might take up to 12 hours to deliver all the fries.
In some instances, the female guppy may deliver a few fries, halt the delivery process only to resume in a few days.
How Do You Know When Guppies Will Give Birth?
Here are some possible signs that show your guppy is about to give birth:
- You will notice a very dark maroon or black-colored gravid spot.
- Your guppy will remain still in the tank, or it will look for a place to hide.
- Her abdomen will turn into a boxy, square-like shape.
- You will notice shivering or shuddering motions when the contraction happens.
- You can also see an increased breathing rate and a change in eating habits.
If you notice any of the above signs and the fact that the gestation period is almost over, it is a good time to separate the female guppies from the rest in a birthing tank.
Once your female guppy is pregnant, you will be able to notice a black gravid spot in their body.
The gravid spot is actually a dark-colored triangle-shaped spot that develops near the anus at the back of the abdomen under the tail.
As your female guppy becomes pregnant, this gravid spot will develop. This spot will darken and enlarge in the pregnant female guppies and continue to happen like that until the female gives birth.
Now I hope you have a good idea and clear expectations of when guppies give birth.
But do the female guppies give birth during the night? After all, as a guppy keeper, you won’t like to miss out on this beautiful opportunity to see your guppies giving birth while you are sleeping.
Also, if they are about to give birth at night and you are sleeping, who will supervise and take care of the whole event? You need to prepare for it beforehand, right? So let’s see!
Do Guppies Give Birth At Night?
Guppy is a live-bearing fish, and usually, most livebearers give birth during the night. However, some female guppies may also give birth in the daytime. So, it ultimately depends on the female guppies, and they can give birth any time of the day they feel they are ready.
Remember that if there is no protection, the fries will probably be eaten. And you will never realize if they were present in the tank. So, this actually becomes a vital thing to consider if you have a pregnant guppy who is about to deliver fries.
How Do You Prepare Yourself If Guppies Give Birth At Night?
You can have a large raft of bushy plants like hornwort in your tank. A large raft of fast-growing plants will allow the newly born fry a place to hide. You can add some of the following plants in the tank:
Now, if you have lots of live plants in your aquarium, then you can ensure the survival of some of the fries. But if you want to make the best fry survival rate possible, you will have to separate the female guppies from the rest.
Whenever your guppy becomes ready to give birth, you should separate it from the community tank or keep it isolated in a part of that tank.
You can use small containers or a net to separate the pregnant female guppy who is about to give birth in the same tank.
Alternatively, you can also use a breeding box. Here’s the breeding box (available on Amazon) that I recommend you check out.
The best thing about this breeding box is that you can put it outside the aquarium. As a result, viewing and maintenance tasks become easy.
It is important to note that most breeding tanks only hold a specific amount of water and don’t allow you to cycle the water through it.
You should avoid keeping the female guppies in a breeding box for a long period. The process of giving birth is already stressful for the guppy.
Keeping the female guppy in a small space can further increase her stress.
Some female guppies may also die during labor or after they give birth because of the high amount of stress. So, if there is any scope of keeping your pregnant guppy in a separate aquarium, you can avoid using a breeding box.
As highlighted, guppies can eat their fries. So, adding enough live plants in the tank can offer hiding places for the fry and thus increase the survival chance.
When preparing for the event of your guppies giving birth, you should have two separate tanks ready by your side.
In one tank, you can keep the guppy fries after they are born.
While in another tank, you can keep the female guppy that just gave birth to babies.
You can keep the female guppies for a couple of days in that tank so that she can recover well, and then you can add her to the community tank.
Having a separate tank dedicated only to the fries ensures that they are not eaten by any other fish. It also becomes easier to care for them, providing them with food and everything just dedicated to them, especially in the first few weeks of the development period.
What To Do If My Pregnant Guppy Is Not Giving Birth?
Let’s say that you felt that your female guppy is about to give birth. So you rushed and prepared everything and isolated her in a separate tank.
But suppose that the clock is ticking on, and you are staring at the tank, but nothing is happening. Then a valid question may come to your mind about what to do next.
If a pregnant guppy is placed in an isolation tank but is not giving birth within 24 hours, you should keep her again into the community tank. If you keep a pregnant fish isolated for more than two days, remember that it may inhibit the maturation of the fry.
Once you return the guppy fish to the tank, you slightly heat up the aquarium to assist in the maturation process of the fry. And then, you can closely observe the signs of delivery in the female guppy.
As soon as you notice any sign that the female guppy is about to give birth, you can gently shift her again into the isolation tank.
When Do Guppies Become Ready To Give Birth?
As a general rule, a guppy can start to reproduce at about 2-3 months of age. Guppies reach the maturity stage quite quickly. As guppies are livebearers, guppy fries are born more developed than other fish. They start their life almost like miniature adults.
As a female guppy becomes 2-3 months old, she becomes ready to start giving birth. Under optimal conditions, she can give birth for about every 30 days. Each batch of fry can range from 20 to 50 baby guppies.
Tip: I highly recommend you to check out my detailed guide on how many babies do guppies have. In that, I have answered questions like do guppies give birth all at once, how many babies they have for the first time, and many more. So I’m sure you will find it an interesting read 🙂
As a rule of thumb, when you observe that a female guppy is pregnant, you have about a month to prepare for the birth event. Various signs and hints can confirm whether a guppy is about to give birth, which I already shared in this article.
Once you notice such signs, you can separate the female guppy from the rest of the tank. And provide a proper environment for the birth of new guppy babies. So that’s it!
I hope you found this article helpful. Please share this article with others if you find any value.
By the way, I’m also on YouTube; you can check out my YouTube channel with the name “eFishkeeping.”
And wait, are you a Guppy fan? Then I have more guppy-related content for you:
Hi! I’m Praveen Ghoshal, the founder of eFishkeeping.com. Inspired by my Dad, I got interested in fishkeeping when I was a kid. Since then, I have been involved with this hobby. Currently, I have 3 fish tanks at our home, and I enjoy this hobby with my full family. Read more about me here.