One of the most frequently asked questions about guppies is on their male to female ratio at birth. In this article, you will find information on how the male to female ratio in guppies is like at birth, what the male to female ratio should be in an aquarium and what to do with the extra guppy fry.
Normally, the guppy male to female birth ratio is 1:1. But guppies in habitats with male biased populations will normally give birth to more females and vice versa. The most ideal male to female guppy ratio in an aquarium is 1:3 – that is, one male to 3 females.
How Many Male And Female Baby Guppies Are Born At Once?
In normal circumstances, the number of male and female baby guppies born at once is almost equal. So this is to say that guppy male to female birth ratio is usually 1:1.
To put it differently, the secondary sex ratio in guppies is normally at 1:1.
But the guppies also seem to have the ability to detect the population dynamics in the habitats they find themselves in.
Guppies that find themselves in habitats with too many males will then tend to give birth to more females, to balance out the equation.
Conversely, guppies that find themselves in habitats with too many females will tend to give birth to more males, to balance out the equation.
But in a normal setup, the female guppy will give birth to an almost equal number of male and female fry.
So that answers the do guppies give birth to more males or females? They normally give birth to almost equal numbers of males and females.
But due to environmental factors, the ratio of female to male guppies at adulthood may skew in favor of the females.
So in habitats with resource scarcity and environmental stress, we typically end up with more females reaching maturity than males.
This may be because the more colorful male guppies are more prone to predation. Moreover, habitats that are resource-poor may favor female guppies over male guppies.
All in all, under normal circumstances, the guppy male to female birth ratio is 1:1.
But this is not necessarily to say that the natural male to female guppy fry ratio is the one that is best for aquariums. In other words, this is not necessarily to say that you should have a 1:1 ratio in a tank.
What Is The Difference Between Male And Female Guppies?
Before going any further with this discussion on guppy male to female birth ratio, it is a good idea for us to pause and understand the difference between male and female guppies.
Guppy male female identification is fairly easy.
Perhaps the most reliable way to differentiate female guppies from the males is by looking for the gravid spot. Only female guppies have gravid spots.
The gravid spot in question is to be found on the guppy tail’s underside. It is a dark and fairly conspicuous spot. If you find a guppy with it, then you know that it is a female.
Another way to tell male guppies from females is by looking at the respective guppies’ sizes. Are female guppies bigger than males? The answer is yes.
So, holding all other factors constant, the bigger guppies are likely to be the females.
Moreover, the female guppies tend to have bodies that are rounder in shape, and with more curves. The males, on the other hand, tend to have bodies that are slender and straight.
Another useful way to tell the male guppies from the females is by checking the colors. If the guppies are all of the same breed, the males will tend to be more colorful than the females.
And the males will also tend to have bigger fins: both with regard to dorsal and caudal/tail fins.
What is The Best Guppy Male to Female Ratio?
We have already established that, in normal circumstances, the guppy male to female birth ratio is usually 1:1.
That leads us to another question, on what is the best guppy to male to female ratio in an aquarium set up. And the answer is that the best male to female ratio guppies in an aquarium should have is 1:3.
Given that ratio, you may ask yourself, how many male guppies should I have for a given number of females? And the answer is that for every 3 females, you should have 1 male guppy.
So, for instance, if you have 3 females, get 1 male guppy. If you have 9 females, you can have 3 male guppies. If you have 10 males, ensure that there are 30 females and so on.
If you have many males competing over a few females, you are likely to have a lot of conflict in the aquarium. That is because the males will start fighting over the females.
You also have to remember that the male guppies have a tendency of relentlessly pursuing the females.
So if you have many males competing over few females, the females will end up getting too stressed up with the relentless chasing.
You also have to remember that when the females are overstressed by too many males, they tend to take out the stress on each other. That leads to even more conflict.
But if you use the 1:3 ratio, the males will always have many females to pursue. So none of the females is likely to end up being overstressed.
Moreover, if you use the 1:3 ratio, the males will have many females to distract them. That will reduce conflict in the aquarium. You will therefore have a generally happier aquarium.
Can I Breed A Guppy With A 1:1 Ratio Of Male To Female?
We earlier said that the guppy male to female birth ratio is 1:1.
Now that the guppy male to female birth ratio is 1:1, you may ask, can I breed guppies with the same ratio?
And the answer is that it is not ideal. An aquarium with a 1:1 guppy male to female ratio will still mean that there is a lot of competition among the males for the females.
And it means that the females will always be under relentless pursuit from males. That will lead to stress, which can in turn lead to immunity problems, diseases and ultimately death.
So whereas the guppy male to female birth ratio is 1:1, it is not one that you should ideally maintain in the long run with an aquarium.
What Is The Best Breeding Guppies Male To Female Ratio?
If you are keeping male and female guppies in an aquarium, they will almost certainly breed.
And if you want stress-free breeding, it is best to keep the guppies in a 1:3 ratio. But if you want them to multiply faster, you can use a 1:2 ratio – that is, one male for every 2 females.
What you should try to avoid is a situation where you have equal numbers of males and females. Or, worse still, more males than females.
What To Do With Extra Guppy Fry?
We have seen that the guppy male to female birth ratio is usually at 1:1. Yet the ideal ratio is that of 1:3 – that is, one male for every 3 females.
This leads to a question on what to do with the 2 extra male fry in every set of 3.
One thing you can do is give the fry to someone who wants to start rearing guppies.
Another approach you can use is that of donating them to companies that sell guppies.
You can also have other guppies eat them, or have other animals that eat guppies (such as turtles) feed on them.
Final Verdict – Guppy Male To Female Birth Ratio
Guppy male to female birth ratio is usually 1:1.
But if guppies detect that they are in a setup with too many males, they may give birth to more females. And if they realize that they are in set ups with too many females, they may give birth to more males.
Whereas guppy male to female birth ratio is usually 1:1, the ratio you should try to maintain in your aquarium is 1:3. That is, one male for every 3 females. The guppy gender ratio is really important to maintain.
A 1:3 guppy male to female ratio reduces conflict among the males, ensures less stress for the females and generally guarantees a happier and more peaceful aquarium.
Once you maintain your guppy gender ratio, everything should be good. They reproduce fast, so you may also want to think guppy population control measures by having some guppy eaters or predators in the tank. Make sure guppy tank mates are not too aggressive.