What To Do When Your Guppy Female Is Expecting Fry
It’s hard to know for sure when a female guppy will drop her fry. I’ve had pregnant females who are relatively small drop fry, while other much bigger females hold onto them for ages until they look like they’re just about to burst!
Preparing for the fry
If the mother is going to be kept separate from the community tank, she should be moved early on to avoid stressing her out too close to the birth. Sometimes the females choose not to drop all or any of their fry if they become stressed. They will then reabsorb them and turn them back into eggs to use the next time. You will know if this happens as she will begin to shrink in size back to her original ‘pre-pregnancy’ shape.
It’s very important that the water parameters of the new tank be the same as the community tank, or as close as is possible. Also, make sure there are plenty of floating plants (plastic or real - doesn’t matter), so the fry have somewhere to hide after they are born to avoid being eaten by their mum.
Fry in breeding box courtesy of maxxum
From there it’s really just playing the waiting game. A good sign that the female is heading towards dropping the fry is that she will spend lots of time near the filter or in the plants sitting quietly and will not be very interested in food. You may also see that she begins to ’shiver’, which is contractions beginning.
Guppies usually begin to give birth late at night or early to mid morning so make sure that she has a day/night cycle (12 hours of light, 12 hours of dark) which will help her feel at ease and hopefully bring on the babies, as well as keeping the chance of her aborting the fry down.
If you find that the mother is beginning to eat her fry or even showing interest in chasing them, you will need to either move the fry or separate the mother from them. Sometimes offering her some food is enough to stop her eating them but sometimes it isn’t so make sure you keep an eye on her to see if she keeps after them.
Personally, rather than risk losing any fry, I always have a small tank set up and cycled with the same water parameters and temperature as my birthing tank. As the fry are born, I move a few at a time to the new tank and away from possible danger. When removing the fry however, make sure to move slowly with the net and avoid distressing the mother by going too close to her.
courtesy of maxxum
After the birth
I usually wait 6-12 hours just to make sure the mother has completely finished dropping her fry before I return her to the community tank. Sometimes they can stop for a while, then drop the last couple later on.
I make sure I offer her some food every couple of hours so that she can regain some strength before having to go back to fighting her community mates for a feed.
Good luck and feel free to contact me if you need more information!!