Guppies are one of the most commonly kept species of fish in the world and their popularity is starting to climb again after a couple of years of being out of the limelight.
With the popularity of guppies growing again and guppies being very easy to breed, even for someone new to the fish keeping hobby, we have noticed more and more questions being asked about breeding guppies.
We have already published an article going over how you can help a pregnant guppy that is not giving birth but we have also noticed a number of people asking about having a pregnant guppy stressed in a breeder box.
The majority of the problems that we see causing stress with a guppy in a breeder box are usually very easy to avoid so we wanted to publish our own article to try and help as many of our readers as possible keep their guppies as calm and relaxed as possible.
How Long Can A Pregnant Guppy Stay In A Breeder Box?
The short answer to this question is that a pregnant guppy can stay in a breeder box for as long as she wants or needs to provide that the conditions are correct.
We have known guppies to give birth in breeder boxes that they have been living in for months and we have also seen guppies give birth in breeder boxes that they were only put into a couple of days before they gave birth.
So, as you can see, there is no real limit on how long a pregnant guppy can stay in a breeder box as long as she is happy and healthy.
Why Is My Guppy Stressed In Its Breeder Box?
The most common problem that we see cause a guppy to be stressed in a breeder box is due to issues with available cover such as plants or hides.
We know that it is difficult to add most modern fish hides to a breeder box due to their size but pregnant guppies can be anxious and stressed so adding a source of cover to the breeder box can work wonders.
Issues with water parameters in the tank can also cause the guppy in the breeder box to become stressed or anxious too.
How Can I Help a Stressed Guppy In A Breeder Box?
If you have a pregnant guppy in a breeder box that is showing signs of stress such as hiding a lot, not eating or just generally looking unhappy then there are a number of things that you can do to try and help.
Adding a source of cover to the breeder box is always our first port of call when we see a stressed guppy in a breeder box.
As we mentioned earlier, most modern fish hides are too large to fit into a breeder box but there are a number of different ways that you can add cover to the box.
One way is to use some Java moss or another type of moss and tie it onto the side of the box using some fishing line.
Another way is to take a small piece of driftwood and tie it onto the side of the box using some fishing line.
You could also use a plastic aquarium plant or two if you can find ones that will fit into the breeder box.
Once you have added a source of cover to the breeder box, you should then start to see the stressed guppy become a lot more relaxed and less anxious.
If you still have a stressed guppy in the breeder box after adding a source of cover then the next thing that we recommend doing is checking the water parameters in the tank.
As we mentioned earlier, issues with water quality can cause stress in fish so it is always worth checking the levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in the tank.
You can test the water parameters using a simple aquarium test kit which you should be able to pick up from your local fish store or online.
If you find that the levels of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate are high then you will need to do a water change and bring the levels back down to normal.
You should also check the pH level of the water as guppies prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH level.
If your guppy is still stressed and upset then we would actually recommend you remove her from the breeding box and let get give birth in the tank.
Keeping a stressed guppy in a breeder box can put the mother and fry at risk so once you are confident that the environment in the breeder box has no issues, monitor the guppy and if she is still stressed, place her back in the community tank.
Are Breeding Boxes Good For Guppies?
Breeding boxes can be good for guppies as they provide the pregnant guppy with a safe place to give birth and also protect the fry from being eaten by other fish in the tank.
However, it is important to remember that a breeder box needs to have the correct conditions in order for it to be suitable for a pregnant guppy.
The water parameters in the tank need to be correct, there needs to be a source of cover and the temperature of the water needs to be warm enough.
If you can provide all of these things then a breeder box can be a good place for your guppy to have her fry.
That said, we still usually recommend a totally separate breeding tank for any serious breeder rather than a breeding box.
Although the breeding box setup can work and is a quick, easy, and cheap way to increase the survival rate of your guppy fry, they can be troublesome so if you have the budget and space for a breeding tank, we would always recommend you take that path instead.