Can Different Types of Guppies Breed?

Guppy breeding has been a fantastic hobby for aquarium and fish enthusiasts for generations now. One of the reasons it’s so popular is the fact that it’s relatively cheap and easy. Guppies are very well known for being some of the easiest types of fish to breed, and it only takes about six months for baby guppies to grow into full-grown fish, allowing you to breed extremely fast.

Breeding different types of guppies can create new varieties, though it’s best to only breed similar strains (guppies with similar body types or tail patterns) to keep them healthy. It also can take several different generations of breeding in order to create the specific guppy you want.

Understanding basic fish genetics and how to safely breed fish in order to survive is extremely important when it comes to being able to create new types of guppies. Otherwise, you may lose diversity altogether or cause fish to have defects. And it can also be difficult, sometimes impossible, to maintain the life of a guppy that is not bred for survival, but for looks.

how-to-tell-if-a-guppy-is-male-or-female

How to Successfully Breed Different Guppies

Females guppies are known to give birth about every thirty days, with each female birthing around twenty times throughout their lives. With a general litter consisting of 20-50, you can expect to get 400-1000 new guppies from a single, healthy female within two years. That’s a LOT of fish. So, it’s best to separate males and females.

When the guppies are ready to do their thing, the male will quickly transfer sperm packages to the female. Once inside the female, these packets will separate into different pockets that she will store to create different broods at different times.

This is why female guppies always seem to be pregnant or giving birth. It really is one of the most efficient ways of reproducing, meaning that, in no time, you’ll have plenty of guppies.

Something to note before breeding guppies is that they will often require a LOT of tank space. If you are looking to also sell guppy breeds, which is a fantastic way of making back the money you will spend on the whole project, you will need LOTS of tank space for all of the different guppies you’re going to be responsible for.

You will need one tank for the original parents, two more for the first generation males and females (as it’s important to keep males and females apart,) and then you’ll need two more tanks for second-generation males and females, and lastly two more tanks for the selected males and females to do the breeding that the entire set up is meant for.

This means that along with a backup tank for if something goes wrong (which, let’s be honest, it probably will) you will need eight tanks altogether.

How to Breed Different Types Of Guppies

It’s common knowledge among guppy enthusiasts that there are two common types of species: the fancy guppy, and the Endler guppy. Beyond that, you can classify guppies by their tail or caudal fin shape, their body pattern, and their body color.

Using the chart below you can create any number of combinations in your guppy.

Body ColorTail/Caudal Fin ShapeBody Pattern/Design
Albinos/MetalsFan TailTuxedo
Blacks/WhitesDelta TailCobra/Snakeskin
Single ColoredVeil TailDragon/Leopard
Bi-ColoredRound TailMosaic
Multi-ColoredSword TailLace

But remember: it’s easier to end up with small differences by breeding guppies that are similar. Breeding two guppies that are completely different isn’t going to produce the guppy you think it will.

In order to keep track of the specific guppies, you want to breed, be sure to keep detailed logs of their differences. This will help you to look back at your past breeds and to see how much progress you’ve made, or how much more breeding you’ll need to do.

In your notes, be sure to:

  1. Assign a number or letter to your guppies.
  2. Mark each tank with a corresponding number or letter.
  3. Keep track of the relation between the guppies such as whether they are daughter-father, siblings, or half-siblings.
  4. Keep track of the sex of your fish to identify male and female tanks, and write down distinctive traits like colors, patterns, tail size, or anything else notable, to help identify the strain you’ve made.
  5. It’s extremely helpful to keep track of the breeding techniques that you’ve used and the results you’ve obtained;
  6. It’s also very useful to keep track of breeding dates and delivery dates.

Next is deciding who to breed them with, depending on your situation. If you want a fish that is just black, breed only the most black guppies with the most black guppies.

The absolute best way to breed in a way that allows you to handpick traits, but also create healthy fish is referred to as Line-Breeding. Since in-breeding causes generations to lose genetic diversity over time, it’s best to pair it with cross-breeding. So, to say it simply, it’s best to mate guppies with a relative a few times and then every few generations add in a non-related fish with the traits that you want.

In order to create a family that you can breed with another fish, be sure to pick up a trio of guppies consisting of two females and one male. These will be your original guppies, and it’s very fun to see how their descendants will differ from them.

What Mistakes to Avoid

The best thing you can do is to only breed guppies that are similar in strand. If they are too different, you probably won’t get the mixture that you’ll want. This also applies to inbreeding, as not mixing in any outsiders can cause defects that are easily avoidable.

The second best thing to do if you’re looking for a specific color or feature from your guppy is to not use mutts. Mutt guppies are those guppies that lack distinctive traits and are more of a mixture of all types. They are usually what you will see at a pet store. While mutt guppies are great for beginner fish owners, they won’t get you far in the world of breeding.

This also includes not purchasing guppies with defects that are usually sold at pet stores.

They include guppies with flat heads, curved spines, or poor color. It’s best to get high-quality guppies that you know are going to survive the trip home and the stressful transition to your aquarium. This means purchasing from reputable breeders.

Purchasing these excellent fish really won’t set you back too much, either, with a set costing anywhere from $10-$60, depending on how opulent they are.

Another mistake to avoid is to never keep just one pair of breeders. Fish are subject to any number of life-threatening circumstances, such as disease or a change in water temperature. This means that they are high risk, so aim for two or three trios kept in separate tanks if you’re really serious about it.

And lastly, guppies are known for eating their own fry, so be sure to give the babies a fighting chance by making sure that there is plenty of plants in your aquarium. It really doesn’t matter if it’s fake or real, the fry just needs something to hide in. It also helps to make sure that all of your adult guppies are well fed so that eating their own fry isn’t something they would consider.

Desirable Guppies to Breed

Now that you are ready to go, you just need to pick which guppy style best suits you. And good news; there are a LOT of different guppy strains to choose from.

It all depends on what your personal style is. If you love the look of a rainbow in your tank, you can always breed different colored guppies with similar builds to start a rainbow, and then add in the missing colors to create other breeds.

A great way of doing this is by breeding two guppies in order to find out which colors are contained in their genes. One guppy might have a recessive color that only pops up in its offspring when paired with another guppy. And really, the only way to know what those genes are is to try.

Some of the rarer, and therefore more difficult to recreate, breeds are of the Moscow blue or purple guppies, metallic guppies, such as gold, platinum, or bronze. For these, you will need guppies with a specific gene pool.

A great way of finding out which types of guppies you want, and which ones to save for later cycles of breeding, is to look online. There are a plethora (many more than I could list here) of guppy types, each one more beautiful than the next. It also helps to talk to other fish enthusiasts as to what worked best for them, and how they were successful with a certain breed.

If you want to get straight to breeding guppies that are sure to wow your friends and family, start out with Dragon or Mosaic-style guppies. Breeding this type is sure to create a family of stunning guppies whose patterns will merge to create something wholly unique.

To find out more about the most famous (and the weirdest) guppy breeds, be sure to check out my other article here.

And for a visual guide of the required materials it takes to successfully breed guppies be sure to watch the video listed below:

If you like the article above, here are some other similar articles you should check out!

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Rick Kesler

I'm Rick and I've kept freshwater fish for over 5 years now. My main tank now is a 55-gallon tropical freshwater tank and my wife and I both just love watching all of our different fish while they swim around, some schooling and others not. I've also learned a lot about what to do and what not to do to keep our fish healthy and happy.

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