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How To Identify Guppy Male And Female With Pictures

Guppies are freshwater fish and they are the most widespread tropical fish as well as one of the most widely known freshwater aquarium fish in the world. Million fish and Rainbow fish are other names for Guppies. There are many things that you need to know about them including guppy male and female identification. Therefore, we invite you all to read this article and get to know a lot of fascinating and wonderful things about male and female Guppies.

Male and female guppy

How to identify male and female guppy

Male and female Guppies do not look alike. They have some differences. But you can easily recognize them. In their appearance, male guppies have colorful bodies, with flowing tails. It is always enriching with beautiful colors. Female Guppies are usually silvery grey in color. They do not have beautiful fins like males. Their fins are not as attractive as males. Therefore, Male guppies are more colorful than female guppies. Further reading helps you to identify the differences of male and female guppies.

Guppy male and female difference

FeaturesMale Guppy Female Guppy
ColorsBright colorings and patternsDark or silvery gray in color
Body shapeSlender, long bodyMuch rounder and bigger body
TailLong, wide, and brightly colored with patternsShort tails
Anal finLong and pointedShort and triangular
Dorsal finLong, trailingShort, do not trail
SizeAround 1⅛ inch – Small than femaleAround 2⅛ inch- larger than male
Gravid spotAbsence of a gravid spotA dark colored spot.  Situated near the tail.
How to Identify Male and Female Guppies infographic

Behavioral differences between male and female guppy

Guppies show different behavioral patterns throughout their lifetime. Male Guppies in the absence of females tend to chase each other. They show this behavior only to show their dominance and power. But this is not as serious as fighting. This habit is more common within Guppy fish. When Guppies become matured and ready to breed, they show some specific behaviors. When the female guppy fish is fertile, the male will chase after the female and attempt to mate.

Thereby males show aggressive behaviors to catch the females. Male guppies will bend their back to the side and will start flashing, dancing, and jumping around female guppies. After mating, females also become more aggressive. They go after males. Finally, females become tired and get quieter. Females spend more time hiding until they release eggs. 

Can male guppies turn female?

Yes. Male guppies can change into females. An adult male can change into a female shape by losing his color and sex organs. Asian farmers use a special technique to do this. But such converted females are usually sterile. That means you cannot breed them and have babies. Guppy males can also be converted to Guppy females by giving hormones. You should give female hormones for male guppies to convert them into females. 

Why is the female guppy chasing after my male guppy in the tank?

Most of the time pregnant female guppies are the ones who attack male guppies in the fish tank. There are many reasons for that. At first male guppies are the ones who chase after pregnant females. This is more stressful to female guppies. Females must survive and protect their unborn babies. So, they try to do the same thing for male guppies. Even though the female guppies get tired and weak they must attack male guppies just to survive. 

How do you get to know that guppies are ready to mate?

When the Guppies are ready to mate, they show special kinds of behaviours. Male guppies will bend their back to the side and will start flashing, dancing, and jumping around female guppies. There is nothing wrong with such behaviour. Because this is the mating behaviour of guppies. Males will continue this habit all over the day. They will only take a rest when they are feeding.

Guppy Male And Female Ratio in the tank

The ratio of male to female guppies in a fish tank should be 1:3. There should be 3 female guppies for every single male guppy. 

Do female guppies use the same sperms several times?

Yes. They are. Female guppies deposited male sperms in a special cavity of the gonads. They store these sperms like a sperm packet. Thus, once they mate, the female can use these sperm several times to fertilize their eggs.  

Can female guppies lay fry without male guppies?

No. They cannot. But they can store male sperm once they mate. Female guppies store these sperms in a pocket of their gonads and can fertilize their eggs several times. Thus, most people think a female can produce sperm and fertilize their eggs by themselves. But that is not correct. The important factor is that they can store male sperms for a long period in live form.

How do you tell when a female guppy is pregnant?

Female Guppies’ Gravid Spot Changes

The gravid spot is a dark-coloured spot situated behind the anal fin of female Guppies. It grows larger and darker during pregnancy.

The Belly of Female Will Begin to Bulge

Within a short period, the belly will bulge in females. This can be taken as a sign of pregnancy. 

Female Guppy Become More Aggressive

The female guppy will become more aggressive during pregnancy. Females are more aggressive towards male guppies who try to mate with them. Female guppies chase after males and in severe cases, they may also begin fin nipping. 

Rapid breathing of female guppy

Breathing pattern of the female guppy starts to become faster when they are pregnant.  

The body will become more angular

The belly becomes more angular in shape. When this happens, she is very close to giving birth. This happens in the last stages of her pregnancy.

Reluctance to eat food

The female guppy will avoid food and have no interest in eating. Sometimes she will spit it out shortly after consuming food. This also happens during the last stages of pregnancy. 

Guppy behaviour

Tank setup for guppy breeding 

  • First, set up a breeding tank.
  • The size of the fish tank should be 10 gallons for a normal breeding process.
  • Do not get any larger fish tanks for the breeding process. You can easily breed them in a small tank. But if your tank is a bit larger it is not an issue. Because the guppy will breed in larger tanks too.
  •  Place hiding places in the tank. You can use unwind plastic bag coir or aquatic plants for this. So, baby guppies and female guppies can get rid of competitors.  This unwind coir stimulates the female for spawning.
  • The bottom of the tank should be bare or should have a substrate on the bottom. A bare bottom tank is more suitable for breeding guppies. The reason is it is much easier to clean.
  • Add aquarium lights to achieve a faster growth rate. Keep lights on for 12 to 16 hours throughout the day.
  • Use a sponge filter to stop the fry from getting sucked into the mechanized filter.

Breeding steps 

  • First Select the Guppy varieties that you need to breed.

Select the colour pattern, tail shape of the fish according to your interest. The fries will also have the same qualities as parents.

  • Make sure to select healthy and good-looking fish to select as breeders.
  • Select only one male fish with two or three female guppies for breeding purposes.

If you choose fish into a one-to-one ratio, the male will become aggressive. The male fish will go after the female around the tank. With a one to three ratio, the male’s attention is divided between three females. This makes breeding less stressful for the female guppies.  

  • Select a 10-to-20-gallon tank as a breeding tank. 
  • Place a heater and a sponge filter in a fish tank. 
  • Set up the tank with hiding places such as unwind plastic bag coir or aquatic plants.
  • The temperature inside the tank should be kept around 25 °C to 26.11 °C. this gives optimum temperature for breeding.
  • Before placing the guppies in the breeding tank, purchase food with a higher nutritional value. This will promote healthy breeding.
  • Then place selected guppies in the breeding tank and wait for fish to breed. 
  • Place the male back in the regular tank when you notice that the female(s) are pregnant. 
  • Generally, the gestation period of guppies will take 26 to 31 days. 
  • When the female guppy is ready to give birth, be mindful to monitor the pregnant female closely. 
  • After giving birth, remove the female immediately from the breeding tank and place her in a separate tank. Because guppy fish show cannibalism and they will eat their babies.

How to care for the fry of guppies?

Baby guppy

After breeding, Remove the mother fish from the breeding tank. This is because the mother guppies tend to eat their new-born fries. Therefore, as soon as fries come out, mother guppies should be removed from the breeding tank. Usually, Guppy takes about three months or more to grow up to maturity. They are not difficult to keep with normal conditions. 

But you need to provide good nutrition and care to grow them well. Live food is better for fry fish than formulated fish. The preferred live foods are Brine shrimp, Micro worms, or Daphnia. You can provide frozen or dry foods too. You can feed them with flake foods. But make sure to crush them into tiny pieces. Egg yolk is also a good source of protein for fry. Use the yolk of an egg and make it into a paste.

Add small amounts to the fry twice a day. Feed the fish with a variety of foods. It will provide essential minerals and vitamins to guppy fry.  They should be fed 2-3 times a day. Do not put excess food in the fish tank. The excess food may remain and pollute the water. This makes fries sick. Maintain the temperature of the tank at 80 °F. Warm water speeds up the body activities of fries. Conduct partial water changes (50%) twice a week.

Guppy tank

How to identify a female fantail guppy fish from a male?

The male fantail guppies are long and slender. Females are having bigger and heavy rounder bodies when compared to males. Male fantail Guppies are much more colourful than female fantail guppies. The male fantails have vivid colours and different patterns in their bodies and the tail. Female fantail’s body is usually pale grey or silver coloured.   

Can I keep just male guppies together?

Yes, male guppies can live together. But they can get aggressive and start fighting with each other in the absence of a female. In other aspects, guppies tend to breed a lot. If you want to control the guppy population in the tank it is good to keep only male guppies together. 

Can I keep two male guppies together?

Yes. Keeping two males only in a fish tank is possible. But there should not be any female fish in the tank. The two male guppies may try to mate with the female guppy. It causes stress on female guppies. Furthermore, sometimes they tend to fight just to dominate their territory. But these fights are not serious ones. 

Do guppies kill each other?

It is possible to kill male or female with each other. If there is an aggressive guppy fish in the tank you should remove it first. Otherwise, it will kill all other fish in the tank. But they are not always attacking or fighting with each other. 

 Why are all my guppy fry female?

Two factors are determining the gender of Guppies. They are the hardness and the pH of the water. If the tank water is softer or low in pH there is a tendency to yield more females or all females. If you want to get an equal number of males and females the tank water should be hard and higher in pH

Wild guppy male and female

Wild Guppy fish originated in South America and populated around the world. They are the former ancestors of domestic guppy varieties which are populated today. There are differences between wild Guppy and domestic Guppy varieties. Domestic guppy varieties have more distinct features than wild types. Males and females of domestic varieties have larger body sizes and colour patterns than wild types.

Wild type females are grey in body colour. Males have spots, strips, and splashes in their bodies. They have a wide range of colours on their bodies. Male guppies are 1.5- 3.5 cm and females’ guppies are 1.2- 2.4 cm long. 

What are the rare guppy varieties?

Following varieties are considered as rare guppy varieties.

  • A blue variegated cobra/ galaxy blue glass guppy
  • The dwarf blue panda. 
  • Guppies from the snakeskin class 
  • A solid blue tail snakeskin 


Guppies are a type of ornamental fish variety that has a high economic value. Guppies have many varieties in present days. They can be categorized according to body colour, body pattern, tail shape, tail pattern and eye colour. Most of the Guppy varieties are popular at the industrial level. But there are rare types too. Male Guppies are different from female guppies in appearance, shape, and the behaviour. The behaviour of males and females changes drastically when they are ready to breed and after breeding.

Guppies are not difficult to breed. But a special procedure should be practiced when arranging the tank, breeding steps, and caring for fries after breeding. Guppies are a fish variety that can change their sex. This can be done by naturally or inserting hormones. There are changes in wild Guppy species and domestic Guppy species. Domestic Guppy varieties have more distinct features than wild types and are larger than wild fish. 

Credit to : AquaPlanets

Read more : The Complete Guppy Care Guide 2021 Update:Tank Requirements, Fancy Varieties, Breeding

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.