Pregnant Female? Guppy Breeder Box Guide

Topic: I want to breed guppies in one of my aquariums. How can I breed them most efficiently? How should I setup the tank so all the babies survive? I have a pregnant female right now so I need to hurry. Will a breeder net help? Thanks for the help.


*Awarded Answer
Posted by Ashley R:
The best way to breed guppies is to use a breeder box or also called a breeder net. It’s basically a small container that sits in your aquarium and quarantines off the pregnant female. You put the female inside the box when she is very close to giving birth. When she gives birth to the live babies they fall into a small chamber where the mother can’t even reach them either (the mother will eat her babies right after giving birth to them).

This is the best way to effectively breed guppies because all of the babies are saved. These breeder boxes are cheap too. I bought this one a couple weeks ago on Amazon. It had the best reviews and is a top seller.

Marina Hang-On Breeding Box, Large
List Price: $13.99
Price: $13.66
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@Reply: I agree with using a breeders net. The hardest part is to figure out when the best time is to transfer the pregnant female over into the box. But she could be in there for a while without it hurting her anyways. I’ve had lots of success with the same box mentioned above. There are 20 other brands just like it that do the same thing.

@Reply: Another way to breed livebearers is so heavily plant your aquarium so the babies can hide when they are born. I have lots of plants on the tank bottom and the babies constantly hide in them and survive. Lots of hiding spots ensure the survival of the babies some.

*Here is a great article I found:

It is official- your guppy fish is pregnant! Now what? Well there are a few things you need to do to make sure that your pregnant guppy and her soon-to-be babies are all healthy.

The first one is diet. You need to be sure that your pregnant guppy has a well- balanced diet. I always have several different types of food next to my tanks (see Guppy Diet) because feeding your pregnant guppy the same thing all the time will be a good way to give her a nutrient deficiency or make her abort or absorb her young. Some good types of food to use for variety are:

pregnant guppy* Flake food
* Tiny pellets
* Algae discs
* Tubifex worms
* Bloodworms
* Krill
* Brine shrimp
* Daphnia

The second thing you need to do (although doing this with all your guppies is a good thing) is make sure your pregnant guppy does not get all stressed out. Make sure there are no troublemakers in the tank, that she has at least one little place to hide if she wants to, and that she is not getting violently pestered by males. You should already by this point know what type of water conditions guppies need to live in, so make sure your ammonia, nitrite, phosphate, etc. levels are not stressing her out either. If she is getting stressed out by all the other fish, put her in a divided area of the tank, or give her her own little tank (Important! Make sure the tank is cycled and has a filter and a heater, you can’t just flop her in a bowl and call it good).

Third, make sure your tank environment is what it should be for guppy fish. Keep the heat between 75 and 82, make sure the water is clean (water changes!) and free of lots of bacteria and parasites, make sure there is no chlorine in your tank, make sure the fish are not overcrowded, and as I mentioned above, ensure that the water quality is good. A little bit of aquarium salt can help guppy stress too, but do not add too much, or the fish will die. Each pack has its own instructions, but the general dose is 1 tablespoon per every 5 gallons of water.


If you do these things you are set to become a guppy godparent without much trouble at all, because guppies are like the rabbits of the fish world, they breed like mad.

If you have taken good care of your pregnant guppy for about a month, you will soon realize that your fish is nearly due to have fry!

Caring for your Pregnant Guppies

So you figured out how to tell when your pregnant guppy is in labor, and now the big day has finally come! But now you have to know how to care for your guppy when she is having babies.

First off, get her away from other fish. As you now know, adult guppy fish eat baby guppy fish, so if your pregnant guppy drops her fry in a tank with other adult guppies, there is little hope unless you have a LOT of live plants and hiding spots.

This is my strategy for guppy births: I use a breeder box that has two main compartments; an upper compartment where the mamma guppy goes and a lower compartment where the guppy fry drop down into once born. The floor of the upper compartment is shaped like a “V” with a slit down the very bottom. The slit is too small for the mamma guppy to go through, but it is perfect for baby guppies. You see, when guppy fry are born their swim bladders are not filled with air yet, so unless they swim really hard they will just sink down to the bottom. That is why the “V” shape is great because the newly born baby guppy fish will slide down the slope to the opening and fall through to their own little area.

You have three options for breeder boxes here. You can buy a breeder box with an open bottom and put the box (with the mamma in it) into a baby tank (this is what I usually do) so that the babies once born can fall through the slit and down into their very own little baby tank. This method does not need special ventilation or oxygenation because the water in the tank can circulate in the box.

You can also get an enclosed breeder box so that when the fancy guppy fry are born they fall down into a separate area below that is closed off from the rest of the tank. If you use this method you can put the breeder box in a tank with adults because the babies can not get out and the adult guppy fish can not get in. This type of box comes with an aeration hookup that also works as a pump so the fish inside get oxygenated water. Usually the air pump is sold separately so remember that.

Lastly, you can buy a breeder net. A breeder net is a little square or rectangular frame with netting around the outside. You can put your mamma guppy inside it, but there is no separate compartment for the guppy babies to drop down into, so you need to take the mom out within a few hours of her giving birth to all her fry or she might eat them (See Are Guppy Fish Cannibals?). You can put a breeder net in the same tank with adult guppy fish because the netting is too small for them to get in or out. You also do not need to aerate a breeder net because the tank water can flow through the netting.

When the mamma fish is in labor, make sure your temperature is warm; about 80 degrees is what I use for my mamma fish. This will help her muscles relax and her birth will be a bit easier.

Remember that a pregnant guppy fish is extremely susceptible to stress when she is in labor. Keep the tank environment as calm as possible, don’t move her about a lot, and try your best not to startle or scare her by making vibrations or approaching the tank quickly. An itty bitty pinch of aquarium salt can be helpful to calm her, just make sure you read the dosage on the aquarium salt container.

Now you know what to do and how to care for her when your pregnant guppy fish is in labor. By keeping your fish from becoming stressed and providing a quiet, safe place for her to drop her fry, you are doing everything right to ensure a healthy batch of guppy fry and a flourishing guppy mom.

Pregnant Guppy in Labor & How to Tell when Ready?

You have taken all the time and care to determine that your pregnant guppy is close to her due date, so you do not want to miss the actual birth itself. There are several signs to look for so you can know when your guppy fish is in labor.

In the wild, the first thing a female guppy in labor will do will be to go hide in some underwater plants. This is an instinctual action that helps to protect the mother guppy and her fry during a vulnerable time. If your guppy is not in a breeding tank she will be very antisocial, and seek out some tank plants or any other suitable place to hide.

guppy breeder box

You may notice another good cause for your pregnant guppy to hide: other fish may be chasing her. It is quite common for guppy tank mates to chase a female in labor around the tank. This behavior is caused by hormones that the mother guppy gives off when she goes into labor. Other guppies can sense these hormones. As I mentioned before, adult guppies eat baby guppies, so many adult guppies may have learned over time to associate those particular hormones with snack time. It is not uncommon for some of the meaner guppy fish (usually other females) to actually peck at the pregnant female- as if trying to force her into delivery. This is just another reason why it is important to let your mamma guppy have her very own private space when she is in labor. (Knowing about other fish like betta fish care really helps with other fish.)

You may also notice the female fish “pacing”, or going back and fourth from one area of the tank to another, again and again. This can be in any direction, not just left to right. Many guppy owners report their pregnant guppy swimming all the way up and then all the way back down the side of the glass in one particular area repeatedly. Your guppy fish may also act apprehensive or appear shocked. She may freeze in one spot, looking like a deer in the headlights, and then dart away frantically if anything comes near her. Whether she is pacing, acting shocked, apprehensive or all of the above, you will be able to note definitely that when she is in labor, your female guppy will not be behaving normally.

Many female guppies will demonstrate a complete loss of appetite when delivery draws near; see Are Guppy Fish Cannibals? to learn more about the reason for this behavior.

Once labor has really set in and begun, the vent area of the fish will drop down a bit (the vent is the opening right in front of the anal fin). The added internal pressure from contractions causes this to happen. The vent area is where you will see the baby guppies born from.

When a pregnant female guppy starts having contractions, you will usually be able to see her body twitch and/ or the muscles in her abdominal area spasm. In the early part of each contraction she will compress her top and bottom fins in to her body. As each contraction peaks, she will stick her fins straight out as she pushes to try and get the baby guppies out. All the pushing she is doing almost always causes her to swim backward. This is the number one way I can tell when a pregnant female guppy fish is in labor. I almost never see my fish swim backwards, so if you see a fat female swimming slowly backwards for a while, you can be pretty sure that she is delivering guppy fry. Author: Delilah from (link error).