Does it seem like you are always dealing with pregnant guppies and new batches of fry? If it seems like your females are always pregnant, you’re not wrong. Trying to control your guppy population can be challenging without letting nature run its course because female guppies can store unused sperm and get pregnant again as soon as they give birth.
You can assume your female guppies will get pregnant whenever you have males and females together. While some fish require the perfect conditions to be encouraged to breed, with guppies, it can be a challenge to stop breeding. The only way to keep your females from getting pregnant — and staying that way! — is separating the males from the females when they’re young, as soon as you can tell sex.
After separating guppy fry, use a magnifying glass to look for the gravid spot on the females after about five weeks. Guppies can get pregnant when they are 2-3 months old not long after this gravid spot appears. For males, watch the development of the gonopodium, or the fin set under the belly. When this fin set gets pointed and long, the male is capable of impregnating females.
Guppies and Superfetation
The reason your females always seem to be pregnant is due to superfetation, a process through which female guppies store sperm to use later. Guppies will mate with all available males in the tank and store the sperm, potentially getting pregnant six times or more from a single mating. The females can store this sperm for up to 8 months and use it to get pregnant almost immediately after giving birth. If the female is exposed to a new male, she may use the new male’s sperm instead of the stored sperm.
Female guppies are pregnant for about 4 weeks. After giving birth, females do not need much recovery time and may get pregnant anywhere from one to several hours later. It’s not uncommon for healthy females to give birth to a new batch of fry once a month.
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