Do you know that female guppy fish are relatively less colorful than their male counterparts? Various minor details differentiate the female guppies from males. If you need advice on how to tell them apart, or if you want to know whether your female guppy is pregnant or if it’s actually a male with diseases, this post will solve every mystery. Check out my 5 tips on how to tell the gender of a guppy.
5 Ways To Distinguish Female Guppy Fish From Males
After many investigations, I can assure you that there is no better way to tell if a guppy is female or male than by looking at their physical aspects. The behavior can be misleading sometimes. But judging by the caudal fin or the colors always helps.
Body Shape And Size
Like many aquarium fish species, female guppies are generally larger than males. An adult female guppy can grow up to 2.5 inches in length, while a male can only develop to as large as 1.5 inches. That’s is significantly smaller compared to the females’.
However, if you keep young fries in the same tank as the adult guppies, it can be complicated to distinguish the gender through the size. So I suggest you compare the length of the fish only when you keep the same generation of guppies in a single tank section.
Other than the size of the fish, you can compare the body shape of each member of the tank. Male guppies tend to have a slimmer body shape with no bulky underbelly. When they aren’t pregnant, female guppies still have slightly more visible bellies. And when they are carrying fries, they become incredibly bulky, and the bellies swell into a balloon shape.
Tail Patterns, Colors, And Shape
Compared to male guppies, females’ tails look much more “dressed down”. They usually don’t have unique patterns to them. Color-wise, they can still have vibrant shades like turquoise or orange. But most of the time, females’ tails are monotone and significantly less majestic than males’. It’s understandable since males have to attract females with their beautiful tails and body color.
The tail patterns of males are very diverse. You can easily catch one with mosaic, leopard, or lace tail. The females usually don’t have tail patterns.
As for the shape of the tails, males are much flashier with wide caudal fins. Halfmoon, delta, fan, or veil are common tail shapes for males. Females own simple flag tails or round tails, and they are significantly smaller as well.
Body Color And Specks
Male guppies are much more colorful than females. They come in different colors like yellow, turquoise, red, orange, or green. One single male guppy can have different abstract colors, for example, a mixture of turquoise and orange. It’s possible to encounter a mysterious black guppy as well, but the rarity of color can shoot the price of the fish up to the sky.
Furthermore, many male guppies have colorful metallic specks all over their bodies. If you encounter a turquoise guppy with silver and purple specks over its body, it’s definitely not a rare sight. Females, on the contrary, tend to come in silver color with silver metallic specs only. We can still encounter more colorful ones. But the beauty of the females lies mainly in the color of their tails.
Gravid Spot (Womb)
Only female guppies have gravid spots since it’s the womb where they carry baby guppies. The gravid spot is very noticeable during pregnancy. It’s located right in front of the anal fin, and it usually has a dark black color. However, in a normal condition, when a female guppy is expecting, the gravid spot won’t show up as vividly. Instead, you will still notice the spot just slightly darker than the body color of the fish.
Shape Of Anal Fin And Dorsal Fin
Firstly, about the anal fin, female guppy fish has a rounded anal fin shape while the males have a “rod-like” one. Male guppies’ anal fin is gonopodium, which works as a sex organ that helps males introduce sperms into the females. The anal fin of female guppies, on the other hand, works as a supporter for their swimming and movement.
Secondly, about the dorsal fin, the shape is opposite to what anal fins look like. In this case, females have rod-like and stiff dorsal fins while males have flowy ones, which adds to their flashy appearance.
Is My Female Guppy Pregnant?
If your aquarium includes both male and female guppies, they will constantly mate without even needing your involvement. A normal pregnancy for female guppies lasts a month, and each time they will give birth to around 20-50 guppies if they are young. More mature females can reproduce more.
How do we know if a female guppy is pregnant? Here are the signs:
- The gravid spot or the womb will become darker in color and more visible. Check the underbelly near the anal fin for this spot, and you will know for sure.
- Pregnant female guppies will eat less when they are pregnant
- They tend to swim around at the bottom of the tank and look for comfortable hiding places more. Pregnant guppies are more agitated, but they can’t defend themselves well with the weight of their babies. So it’s advisable to provide greens as hiding sports quickly after you find out about their pregnancy.
- The swimming patterns become much more relaxed and slow. Pregnant guppies avoid swimming rapidly around the tank with a clear direction. Instead, they will chill around in the same spot within a restricted area.
Video: 4 Differences Of Male And Female Guppy Fish Guide With Samples
Are female guppies colorful?
Some female guppies are colorful, but compared to male guppies, they are significantly more toned down. If you want to get colorful guppy fish, it’s best to opt for male ones. If you wish to breed guppies with elaborate colors, it depends totally on the males’ colors. So you don’t have to think much when picking a female guppy except for its health.
Can you tell male from female guppies by color?
More or less, it’s possible. Male guppies have extremely elaborate colors and patterns. The caudal fins are more extended and flowier as well. When you have a tank full of guppy, the flashier ones are the males, and the simple silver-brown ones are the females. There are still exceptional cases where females have vibrant colors, but it’s rare.
Are female guppy fish aggressive?
Female guppies can get aggressive during pregnancy. And, they feed on young fries after giving birth if owners don’t provide enough food either. Nevertheless, they are still much more chill than the males. Males will even fight to the death for the chance to mate with a female guppy.
Do female guppies eat their fries?
If there aren’t enough hiding spots, food, and space, a mother guppy can feed on her own children. That’s why it’s important to separate the fries from their mother and generally from adult guppies.
Where can I buy female guppy fish?
There are many online and offline stores that sell guppy fish. You can check out local PetSmart stores or PetCo. Live Aquaria ships live fishes if you are interested. If you are considering buying at PetSmart, make sure that you go to a local store and check the quality carefully instead of letting the workers pick randomly.
Annette M. Chaney is an experienced marine biologist with over 20 years of experience as an aquarist and fishkeeper. She started her first aquarium at a young age, filling it with frogs and goldfish obtained from the ten-cent pet store.
Annette grew up caring for and breeding African Cichlids, which led to a hobby in high school that doubled as a profitable means. Attending Reed College gave her time to solidify herself as an accomplished aquarium caretaker with an eye for sales. After that, from 2009 – 2013, she studied at Roger Williams University – one of the most prestigious universities for Aquaculture and Aquarium in USA. She is the founder of AquariumCircle since 2010.