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How to Breed Fancy Guppies

By: Bruce Stutz

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The little fancy guppy, with its rainbow-colored flanks and delicate flared fins, inspires many fish keepers to become fish breeders. The species – one of the group of fish including mollies and platys – that holds its eggs inside its body until they hatch and release live swimming young, makes the usually difficult task of breeding tropical fish at home a breeze. It provides the young with an education in mating and giving birth. And the serious hobbyist can play amateur geneticist creating new varieties and color combinations.

All you need are one male and two or three females at least three months old in a 10-gallon tank outfitted with a small corner box filter and 75-degree Fahrenheit water. No gravel, no power filter, no airstone. Feed the fish three times a day. A daily meal of live brine shrimp to supplement the flake food will enhance their health and readiness to breed.

Remove Male When Females Get Pregnant

When the females are pregnant, remove the male. If you are eager to produce purer strains, separate the females into separate tanks so you can keep track of which color strain or variety is which. When the females begin to give birth, separate the young from the mother by either transferring her back to the your main fish tank or by using a breeding net that keeps her apart from the young. The young can swim when born, but the mother, or any other fish, will eat them quickly.

The young are big enough to eat young live brine shrimp, pulverized flake food or hardboiled egg strained through a cloth. If some of the young die, remove them from the tank. You will have plenty, up to 70 per female.

The same techniques can be used to breed the other livebearers. If you come up with some beautiful show-worthy fish, nearly every state has a guppy association that has regular breeding shows. Guppies are popular worldwide, and hobbyists are represented by a World Guppy Association as well as an International Fancy Guppy Association. If you want to compare your species with those raised by experts, these Web sites have plenty of photos of champion fish.

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