Breeding Fancy Guppies

One of the most popular posts here at is on techniques and tips for Swordtail Breeding. I recently received some great information from another fish breeder who raises Fancy Guppies, and thought I'd share the pictures and procedure Jon uses for raising these awesome fish.

Here's his table of  aquariums to the left.

The technique used in Breeding Fancy Guppies is similar to that of breeding swordtails and Platies, but Jon uses a little different method to reduce the amount of fry eaten by the adult.

He's got four tanks:

  • a 2.5g raising tank, heavily planted and some java moss at one end.(gives then organic matter to nip at and also hiding places).
  • the 10g plant ONLY tank, that has a lottt of cover and driftwood.
  • a 5g tank that doubles as a Quarantine tank.
  • and a 20g Display tank.

To the right-below,  is a shot of his 2.5 gallon tank with about 40 guppy fry in it.

For breeding Fancy Guppies he does the following:

"The 20g is a mixed community tank, once the “loving” is done and the female/s are gravid (pregnant). I will pull the female once i can view the eyes of the fry and the gravid patch starts to get dark and place them in the 10g PLANT ONLY tank if there is only one female at that time.

If there are 2 i will put them in the 10g in a divided breeding trap with a open grid bottom. In this case the fry will fall through into the tank and away from the mother. I will also do this if I will be away for more then 24 hours and can’t check every 3-4 hours. I check the tank about 3-4 times a day (or every 4 hours). My daughter helps with this part lol. 🙂 This way you sometimes catch her in the act of giving birth (it’s a good lesson for the kids and also for Adults). The fry are free swimming as soon as they are born."

Below is a top-down view of the 2.5 gallon aquarium. Jon wrote, "This was originally a Betta divided tank. I started using 1/3 divided section for prego fish while keeping growing fry in the remaining 2/3. But the gap at the divider was too big and fry were passing it and getting eaten."

"The mother will not start to eat her fry till she is done giving birth (usually 2-3 hours) which falls right in with your “check-ins.”

"Once she has given birth, i take her out and place her in the 5g tank to relax b4 returning her to the 20g Display tank. I then net or syphone the fry from the 10g and place them in the 2.5g where they grow out….. i usually have a batch of fry every 2-3 weeks . I let the fry grow out to about 2 months in the 2.5g, and keep about 2-3 from each batch that have the best color and health and those lucky ones goes into my 20g Display tank and into my breed stock. The rest are given away to friends or sold cheap to local pet stores."

Thanks Jon...for the pictures and information on Breeding Fancy Guppies.

Swordtail Breeding

I've never tried Swordtail breeding, so I asked someone that has, to share their experience. Ian, also know as Statico, has allowed me to use a few pictures, and answered some questions on breeding the Swordtail fish.

FunFishTank: How long have you been breeding the swordtail?

"We've had the sword tails for two months. There are two
males and two females. This is my second group of swordtail fry. The first were
born right after we got the parents and we didn't have a
chance to isolate the mother. Most were eaten by other
fish, and we've had no luck with a breeder *net* -- all of
our guppy fry and our remaining sword fry died in the net,
so we decided to get the breeder box as a replacement."

You can see the fry in the plastic breeder box.


FunFishTank: How could you tell when the female was pregnant? How many fry did she have?

"We could tell the mother was pregnant by the dark triangle
in her abdomen. The swordtails are translucent fish and you
can see eggs and then eyes as the fry form. The swordtails had 9 fry this time."

The "dark triangle" Ian refers to is the gravid spot.

FunFishTank: What did you feed the fry?

"We feed them Hikari "First Bites" fry food. It sinks slowly
and the fry love it."

Check out this one day old swordtail fry! It's 7mm (.28 inches).


FunFishTank: What type of aquarium setup did you use to breed the Swordtail? Were their any other fish in the tank?

"Our tank is a 50-gallon freshwater tank. There are 4
swordtails, 4 white cloud mountain tetras, 1 cardinal tetra,
2 zebra danios, 2 leopard danios. There was one black molly
until very recently, and we plan on adding more mollies

FunFishTank: I've heard that the female swordfish can sometimes die after having the fry. Was your female ok?

"The female looked pretty stressed when we put her in the
plastic breeder isolation box. The box was underwater
(about 1 inch), so I had to feed the mom using a tube from
a ball-point pen. I put the tube into the hole at the top
of the box and dumped some flakes into the tube. The flakes
would sink slowly and she was much happier when fed. She was
fine after having the fry."

FunFishTank: That's good to hear! You've taken some great pictures. Could you tell us how you did it?

"I took the pictures using a Nikon D50 digital SLR camera
and a 50mm Nikkor macro lens. I set the ISO to 800 (I
think) and used a wireless, off-camera flash on its
lowest-power setting. I placed the flash off to the side
with a diffuser so it would light up the box but not blind
or scare the fish."

Thanks for sharing your experience of Swordtail breeding Ian! The two tips about using a plastic breeder box, and feeding the female are good to know.