If you are considering making your first foray into the interesting and very rewarding world of breeding guppies, it is entirely possible to simply stock your tank with male and female guppies and let them do what comes naturally!
Breeding guppies is not difficult, and they will generally reproduce without intervention under most circumstances, even when you would prefer that they didn’t!
However, if you want to raise bright, colorful guppies that are healthy, physically appealing and possess a range of desirable traits, it is wise to give the procedure a little more consideration.
If you’re thinking of breeding guppies professionally, or want to produce an appealing and desirable line, then having the right equipment and a structured plan of how to go about things is essential.
In this article we will introduce you to the basic equipment you will need to start selectively breeding guppies.
The main guppy tank
First of all, you will need a main base tank in which your adult guppies will reside. This tank should be relatively large, with plenty of room for the amount of fish you plan to house within it, and should not be overcrowded.
If you are selectively breeding guppies from scratch, you will usually begin each strain with three fish: Two female and one male. In order to keep a tally of which fish breed and what line the offspring come from, you will need a different tank for each set of three fish.
The breeding tanks
For each hatching of fry, you will need to provide a second tank to house them. This means that if you have two female guppies and plan to breed them both, you will need two breeding tanks.
These tanks can be relatively small, as they are only intended to house fry as they grow and before they become large enough to be housed with other adult fish.
A breeding trap
A breeding trap is a small plastic container that can be hung or fixed into the breeding tank. It has a removable slatted partition in the center.
When your female guppy is ready to birth the fry, place her in the breeding trap and insert the partition. When the female fish drops the fry, they can then swim through the slats in the partition into the safety of the other half of the trap, to keep the female guppy from eating them!
The female guppy can then be removed from the breeding tank, and placed back in the main tank.
A breeding trap is optional, and it is entirely possible to breed guppies without using one, although they do come in handy!
Normal aquarium lighting will be required for breeding guppies; this is just the same standard tropical fish lighting you would use for non-breeding tanks.
Heating all of the tanks properly is important, and as you will on occasion have cause to move fish from one tank to another, it is also necessary to match the temperature of the tanks.
Guppies aren’t as messy as goldfish, but they do produce a reasonable amount of waste and fry are particularly sensitive to this. It’s therefore important to consider adequate filtration within the tanks, particularly when breeding guppies.
Small, light fry can, however, be sucked up into the filter workings, so you must protect the end of the filter inlet with something that will prevent fry from being pulled in!
A piece of gauze, the end of a pair of pantyhose, or using a sponge filter is useful for this.
A selection of nets to move your fish will be useful; particularly keep a lookout for a net with very small, fine mesh that can be used to pick up fry once is has reached a reasonable size.
An air pump
Good aeration and movement of the water is vital in all fish tanks. You should ensure that even your smallest fry tanks include an air pump that creates a gentle flow in the water.
Plants provide an essential source of nutrition for fish, and give small fry a place to hide from the larger fish.