I became a fish breeder quite by accident. I bought my daughter 5 guppy for a 1 gal tank in her bedroom. One of the 5 was an extra fat pregnant mama guppy. (always try to by fat pregnant guppy- they will provide you with all those babies for free) Anyhow- the mama guppy died during the night- but not before releasing 70 babies into the tank! There likely was a lot more- but the other 4 guppy were rapidly consuming them. 70 is how many were left after I moved all the big fish into a different tank.
Guppy hold 3 months worth of babies in their belly at once- releasing from 2 or 3 to around 20 of them at a time- IF they feel safe. All 3 batches can be from different fathers. The only time they release extra babies- including some that aren’t fully formed yet- is if they are about to die. The fact that she had 70 that were all alive indicates that she was holding them in for months. I never had this happen again. 32 was the record thereafter.
I was hoping they would turn out looking different than each other- but they all looked pretty much the same. This means she was in a tank that had all the same looking guppies in it.
Most breeders don’t mix their colors. They are striving for pure lines. For me- it was all about wondering how the babies would turn out- so every month or so- I’d add in a totally different looking male- Blue, red, what ever I found that looked different than what I had.
I soon noticed that every now and then- one would grow a much larger than average size tail. I became determined to make more of them- selectively breeding those with big tails with females that were extra short and were thick and wide right before their tail began. The reason for this is big tails are heavy- makes with thin tail supports soon would become deformed- their tails bending downward. Short wide tail support was necessary to hold tail up.
To have all the babies survive- move the mom when she starts having them or when the back where the dark area is looks square. The babies will come out of the pointed corner of the square. You can even see them go into labor – holding still and clenching their body every few minutes. Put them in a 1 /2 gal to gallon size jar with lota of tall fake plants and put an airstone in it as well. The mom will die if there’s no air bubbles. They often give birth early morning. Watch her closely to see that she doesnt start eating babies. As soon as she starts to look for food- or eats a baby- she’s done. remove her instantly. She will eat all the babies if left in there- within minutes.
Babies need very clean water and eat powdered flake food along with frozen skinned peas that have been grated into mush- makes them grow fast but ruins the water. They do best in a large 40 gallon tank with only a sponge type filter until they are almost an inch long. Only then can they handle the suction of a water pump filter. Keep catfish in the nursery tank to help keep bottom clean.
To control who fathers the babies- separate the girls from boys when they are still little- the girl guppy get a dark spot on their underbelly- by the tail. As soon as you notice this – move to a separate tank. In the girls tank-are also all the males with the best tails. They are allowed to breed at will- tho you wont see any babies for 3 more months. It takes like 6 months from birth to grown enough to sell.
Guppy females give birth to live babies. They keep groups of babies in different stages of development all together in the same cavity in them- and are able to control how many they have and when. Generally speaking- they give birth to 15 babies once a month- and carry 4 batches of babies at a time inside them- getting pregnant from different males for each batch. I figured out the four month holding time because thats how long it would take for the babies of a new colored dad to start to get born.
When selectively breeding anything- you need to know what to do with those that don’t make the cut. I’m not into killing animals and certainly not when you caused them to be born- so- what I did with all my extra fish was first- sell the good ones to the local pet stores. The rest I would take up to a park where tons of families gather to celebrate easter. Its been the tradition since I was little – for kids to try catch minnows and such in the shallow ponds they have up there. I took it upon myself to stock the ponds with over 500 colorful guppies the night before Easter. I did this for around 5 years in a row. I never asked permission- I’d sneek them in for the thrill of people not knowing how they got in there. I’d check the ponds about 3 days later- most would be gone. Some would be too fast and never get caught-
The main reason I did it was because in the pet store- guppies were $3.99 each! The kids that would catch fish in those ponds were from families who didn’t have money to waste on little fish. I made it possible for anyone to get to have pretty guppies for free. I wonder if anyone noticed that they didn’t show up last year? I moved away so – sorry kids….