Do Guppies Die After Giving Birth?

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Guppies are one of the most popular types of tropical fish in freshwater aquariums. This is because they are generally easy to care for and are also fairly affordable. However, for guppy owners who may have noticed that their fish has become pregnant, a common question may be popping up into their head: do guppies die after giving birth?

The short answer to the question is: yes. Typically, female guppies will die after giving birth. While this can be quite sad and disappointing, it is also an occurrence that makes evolutionary sense. Because guppies give birth to live fish rather than laying eggs, their babies are more like little adult fish, so they don’t require much maternal care.

Thus, it’s not really necessary for a guppy fish to stay alive after giving birth. However, that doesn’t mean that all pregnant guppies are fated to die after they give birth to their babies. There are ways you can try to prevent it. 

Why Do Guppies Die After Giving Birth?

Scientific studies have shown that the reproductive period in a guppy’s lifespan is the most important. This is because guppies generally don’t live for very long and therefore need to be able to reproduce rapidly and in large numbers in order to survive as a species. Thus, evolution has essentially put all of a guppy’s power into its reproductive ability.

That means that, when a guppy gives birth, it has basically fulfilled its evolutionary purpose. Newborn guppies don’t require postnatal care from their mother, since they are birthed live and are already fairly well-developed. Though it sounds harsh, there is really no point in a guppy surviving after giving birth. 

Are There Other Factors at Play?

Of course, evolution isn’t the only reason that guppies tend to die after giving birth. In fact, there are several factors that could make postpartum guppies more likely to die. For example: stress. Yes, even little fish can be stressed out. Giving birth is an extremely laborious process for guppies and it can make them quite weak.

The physical stress of birth alone is often enough to kill them, but it’s also common for male guppy fish to harass the females once they’ve given birth, making them even more stressed out and resulting in their eventual demise. 

Other factors like pregnancy complications and sickness can also lead to your female guppy fish dying after birth. Complications during the pregnancy are rare in guppies, but they also cannot be prevented. Furthermore, while ill guppies can be pregnant and give birth, their immune system will be weakened after the fact, making them more susceptible to death by that illness.

How Can I Prevent My Guppy from Dying After Giving Birth?

Unfortunately in a lot of cases, there is not much you can do to prevent your guppy fish from dying after giving birth. However, don’t lose faith! You do have a few options.

  • Firstly, you can use a breeder box to separate the pregnant guppy during and after labor to decrease the likelihood it will be stressed out by its tank mates. 
  • Another way to potentially prevent your guppy from dying after giving birth is by paying attention to the water conditions. As mentioned previously, a guppy’s immune system is often negatively affected by pregnancy and labor. Make sure that you are maintaining the tank’s cleanliness, temperature, and pH levels consistently throughout the pregnancy.
  • Also, make sure that you aren’t moving a female guppy to a brand new tank after it has given birth can be extremely detrimental. A new environmental can shock the fragile guppy and cause her a lot of stress, resulting in her potentially dying. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, while it is highly likely that your pregnant guppy fish will die after giving birth, it’s important to keep in mind that this is not a tragedy and is in fact fairly normal.

Still, there are some things you can do to prevent the death of your pregnant guppy fish, such as reducing factors that might cause it stress and ensuring that you maintain its tank properly. Review our suggestions and enjoy the wonders of owning an aquarium teeming with guppies!

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