The Fish Keeping & Aquarium Guide.

Why Are My Guppies Not Breeding: Common Causes and Solutions

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Guppies are among the most popular freshwater aquarium fish due to their colorful appearance and ease of care. However, many guppy owners may become frustrated if their fish are not breeding.

Breeding is a natural process for guppies, and it is not uncommon for them to produce large numbers of offspring. However, if your guppies are not breeding, there may be several reasons.

One possible reason your guppies are not breeding is that they may not be sexually mature. Guppies typically reach sexual maturity at around 3 months, but this can vary depending on the individual fish.

If your guppies are still young, you may need to wait a little longer for them to reach breeding age. Another possible reason is that your guppies may not breed in the right conditions.

Guppies require specific water parameters, such as a temperature of 75-82°F, a pH of 7.0-8.5, and a hardness of 100-300 ppm. If these conditions are not met, your guppies may be unable to breed successfully.


Water Parameters



Guppies are tropical fish and require a consistent water temperature between 75-82°F (24-28°C) for breeding. Therefore, fluctuations in temperature can cause stress and reduce their breeding activity.

Using a reliable aquarium heater is recommended to maintain the ideal temperature.




The pH level of the water should be between 7.0 and 8.2 for guppy breeding. If the pH is too low or too high, it can affect the health and breeding activity of the fish.

It is essential to test the water regularly and make adjustments as necessary using pH buffers or other products designed for this purpose.


Ammonia and Nitrite Levels


Guppies are sensitive to ammonia and nitrite levels in the water, which can cause stress and inhibit breeding.

Keeping these levels at 0 ppm by performing regular water changes and using a reliable filtration system is essential.




Guppies prefer water with a moderate to high hardness, between 150-300 ppm. Soft water can affect their health and breeding activity.

Testing the water hardness regularly and using products designed to increase hardness if necessary is recommended.

In summary, maintaining consistent water parameters is crucial for guppy breeding success. Regular testing and adjustments should ensure the water temperature, pH, ammonia and nitrite levels, and hardness are within the recommended ranges.



Quality and Quantity of Food


Guppies require a balanced diet to breed successfully. Therefore, feeding them a varied diet of high-quality food is essential. Conversely, poor-quality food can lead to malnutrition and a weakened immune system, making it difficult for them to breed.

Providing a mix of live, frozen, and dry food is essential to ensure your guppies receive all the necessary nutrients. However, feeding them a diet too high in protein can also harm their health.

To ensure that your guppies are receiving a balanced diet, it is recommended that you feed them a combination of the following:

  • Live food: brine shrimp, daphnia, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms
  • Frozen food: brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms
  • Dry food: flakes, pellets, and spirulina

Feeding Schedule


In addition to providing high-quality food, it is essential to establish a consistent feeding schedule. Overfeeding or underfeeding can both be detrimental to the breeding process.

Adult guppies should be fed two to three times a day, with small amounts of food each time. Young guppies should be provided more frequently, up to four to six times daily.

Monitoring the amount of food your guppies consume is essential to avoid overfeeding. Overfeeding can lead to health problems and cause your guppies to become less interested in breeding.

Establishing a consistent feeding schedule will help ensure that your guppies receive the proper nutrition and are in good health, increasing their likelihood of successful breeding.


Tank Mates



When it comes to breeding guppies, it is essential to consider the compatibility of tank mates. While guppies are generally peaceful, some fish species may not coexist well with them.

Some species may even prey on guppy fry, making breeding difficult or impossible.

Compatible tank mates for guppies include other peaceful fish species such as neon tetras, corydoras catfish, and platies. These species are known to coexist well with guppies and are unlikely to cause any harm to the fry.

On the other hand, aggressive or predatory fish species such as angelfish, cichlids, and bettas should be avoided as tank mates for breeding guppies.

These species may attack adult guppies and eat their fry, hindering breeding.




Some individuals may behave aggressively towards guppies, even among peaceful fish species. Therefore, it is essential to observe the behavior of tank mates and remove any aggressive individuals to ensure the safety of the guppies.

In addition, male guppies may also exhibit aggression towards each other during breeding. This can lead to stress and injury and may even prevent successful breeding.

Keeping a ratio of one male to two or three females is recommended to reduce aggression and increase breeding success.

Choosing compatible and peaceful tank mates is crucial for successful guppy breeding.

By observing behavior and removing aggressive individuals, breeders can create a safe and stress-free environment for their guppies to thrive and breed.


Breeding Behavior


Breeding behavior is an essential aspect of guppy breeding. Understanding the courtship rituals, mating process, egg laying, and hatching is crucial to successful breeding.


Courtship Rituals


Guppies exhibit a wide range of courtship rituals. For example, male guppies often chase female guppies, showing off their vibrant colors and fins. Females will then choose the most attractive male to mate with.

This process is called sexual selection, and it ensures that the strongest and healthiest genes are passed down to the next generation.


Mating Process


Once a female has chosen a male, mating can begin. During mating, the male will transfer sperm to the female through a specialized fin called a gonopodium.

The female will then store the sperm until she is ready to fertilize her eggs.


Egg Laying


After mating, the female will begin to develop her eggs. When the eggs are ready to be laid, the female will look for a safe and secure place to lay them.

This can be in plants, rocks, or other aquarium decorations. Providing plenty of hiding places for the female to lay her eggs is essential.




Once the eggs have been laid, they will hatch within a few days. The fry will then need to be fed small amounts of food several times daily.

Keeping the water clean and monitoring the fry’s growth is essential to ensure they are healthy and thriving.

In conclusion, understanding the breeding behavior of guppies is crucial to ensure successful breeding. Breeders can increase their chances of producing healthy and vibrant guppy fry by providing a safe and secure environment, monitoring water quality, and understanding the courtship rituals, mating process, egg laying, and hatching.




Regarding breeding guppies, genetics can play a significant role in their success—several factors to consider regarding genetics, including inbreeding and genetic disorders.




Inbreeding is common among guppy breeders, but it can have negative consequences. For example, when guppies are inbred, they are more likely to have genetic defects, leading to health problems and a decreased ability to breed.

Inbreeding can also reduce genetic diversity, making a population more vulnerable to disease and other environmental factors.


Genetic Disorders


Genetic disorders can also play a role in the breeding success of guppies. Some genetic disorders can be passed down from generation to generation, making it difficult for guppies to breed successfully.

For example, some guppies may have a genetic disorder that affects their ability to produce viable sperm or eggs. Others may have a genetic disorder that affects their ability to carry a pregnancy to term.

In conclusion, genetics can be a significant factor in the breeding success of guppies. Inbreeding can lead to genetic defects and reduced genetic diversity, while genetic disorders can make it difficult for guppies to breed successfully.

Guppy breeders need to understand the genetic factors that can affect their breeding success and take steps to mitigate any negative effects.

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