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What Can I Do With Unwanted Guppy Fry?

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Growing guppy fry can be pretty exciting, as they are beautiful and fascinating creatures. But that doesn’t suit everyone. Some aquarists wish to get rid of them, as they can overstock the tank. Over the years, I came across some practical methods that allow you to deal with unwanted guppy fry.

Here is what you can do with unwanted guppy fry:

  1. Allow their parents to eat them.
  2. Introduce predatory fish, such as Flowerhorn and Dwarf Pea Puffers.
  3. Give the fry away for free.
  4. Sell them to a local store.
  5. Flush them down the toilet (not recommended).
  6. Euthanize the fry.
  7. Move them to a large tank so they can’t reach the food.

As we move forward, I will elaborate on seven possible steps you can take with unwanted guppy fry. Some of them may even allow you to make a profit out of this uncomfortable situation.

Still curious? Feel free to check my complete guide on guppy fry. There, I discussed how to care for guppy fry, what they eat, how often to feed them, their growth stages, and much more.

What Can I Do With Unwanted Guppy Fry?

Guppy fry are only a blessing if you want them. But if your tank is already crowded with fish, the last thing you want is more guppies. But guppies won’t give you a choice in the matter.

If the females have sexually mature males in their aquatic environment, they will continue to breed until the aquarium bursts with guppy fry. Fortunately, you don’t have to tolerate those baby guppies if you don’t want them.

In fact, you have several options to choose from, including:

1. Filial Cannibalism

Baby guppies will only mature to adulthood if you make a deliberate effort to protect them. This involves separating the creatures from their parents for at least 6 to 8 weeks.

You should also add more plants and decorations if the fry have to share a tank with adult fish. If you allow the parents to rear their offspring, the adult guppies will eat their young.[1]

As I previously discussed here, some babies may survive, but the adults will eat the majority. They don’t recognize their offspring as anything other than food.

Therefore, if you don’t want your guppy fry to survive, stop protecting them. Let nature take its course. Some people may argue that allowing adult guppies to eat their young ones is cruel.

But filial cannibalism is just as expected in the wild as in home aquariums. The parents are simply doing what comes naturally to them. All you have to do is remove the hiding spots, and they will take care of the rest.

2. Using Natural Predators

Another option would be introducing fish with aggressive streaks that are more likely to eat guppy fry. Fortunately, there are many options you can go with.

Your options include Tiger Barbs (which bully passive fish), Flowerhorn cichlids (which are colorful, playful, and aggressive), Dwarf Pea Puffers (whose small size hides an incredibly aggressive personality), Black Wolf Fish (whose diet includes live fish), etc.[2]

Guppies may eat their babies if they stumble across the fry. But predatory creatures such as the species mentioned above are more likely to hunt down the guppy fry.

If your fry’s parents are not cutting it, you can add one or two predators. Prioritize fish whose size matches that of the guppies. This will prevent the predators from turning against the adult guppies. Better yet, remove the adult guppies and add the predators.

3. Giving Them Away

If the notion of feeding guppy fry to predators bothers you, you can simply give the babies away. Find a school that needs fish.

You can also advertise an ad on social media promising free fish to anyone who wants them. Better yet, why don’t you create a breeding business? Start your own fish guppy store.

If your guppies spawn consistently every month, you can earn a decent profit by selling the excess fry to people that desperately need them.[3] Amateur aquarists will flock to your door, especially if your prices are competitive.

4. Reaching A Local Store

You can either sell or donate the fish to your local fish store.[4] Some aquarists prefer to deal with local stores instead of individuals because they can trust local stores to care for the fry.

Local fish retailers have experience with fish. They are more likely to house your baby guppies in humane conditions. Local breeders are another option.

Unlike random aquarists on the internet, you can rely on local breeders to treat the babies with a modicum of compassion because they want the creatures to mature into healthy adults they can sell for a profit.

If the local breeders don’t pay for the fry, you can still donate the babies to these individuals for free. Ultimately, the goal is to eject the fish from your home without killing them.

5. Flushing Down The Toilet

Many people flush unwanted fish down the toilet. This sounds like a simple, straightforward solution. But it can have catastrophic consequences for the local ecosystem.

The fry could introduce all manner of diseases and parasites to your region. Simply abandoning them in a nearby body of water is just as problematic.

Some people do this with goldfish because they seem harmless. But goldfish can live for 25 years in the right conditions. They may do significant harm to the native fish and their water before breeding offspring that cannot survive in their new environment.

If the local environment doesn’t concern you, this option is cruel because the fry are living, breathing animals. No creature would appreciate being flushed down the toilet.[5]

6. Euthanizing The Fry

Kill the fry. This sounds like a barbaric solution. However, you have to keep one crucial factor in mind. If the babies remain in the tank, they will suffer even more because crowded conditions ruin the chemical balance of aquariums.

The more fish you have, the more waste they produce, the more ammonia you get. Additionally, large fish populations consume more oxygen.

This, in turn, creates oxygen deficiencies because the gaseous exchange at the top cannot replenish the oxygen in the tank at a satisfying rate. That is why I typically encourage aquarists to use an air pump with guppy fry.

Baby guppies that have to tolerate crowded conditions will eventually die. Euthanizing the creatures saves them from a slow, painful death, especially if you don’t have the financial resources to buy a bigger tank.

More importantly, you can make the deaths painless. One option is to place the fish container with the fry in a freezer. The freezing conditions will put the creatures to sleep.[6] 

Another option is to use clove oil (4mg per 1L in warm water). The substance is a sedative. The babies will lose consciousness long before they stop breathing. You couldn’t ask for a more peaceful death.[7]

But if this process makes you uncomfortable, regardless of how peaceful and painless it sounds, call a vet. Let them euthanize the fish.

If you’re courageous enough to euthanize your guppy fry, killing the babies is just the first step. Once they die, it is still unacceptable to flush them down the toilet.

If you have a yard, bury the babies. This prevents the young guppies from harming the environment. You can also use them to fertilize the soil.[8]

If you don’t have a yard, cremate the fry and throw the remains away with the rest of your waste. Better yet, find a local organization that disposes of hazardous waste. They will take all the dead fish off your hands.[9]

7. Move Them To A Large Tank

As I previously discussed, guppy fry should be fed four to eight times a day. After two months, you can lower that rate to twice a day and once a day after five months. They should also eat diverse foods with high nutritional values.

But guppy fry will only be able to eat if their tank is relatively small. As a rule of thumb, I typically recommend getting up to one gallon per guppy fry. The guppy fry won’t reach the food if the tank is bigger.

That sounds like a cruel option, but your guppy fry will die passively this way. The adult fish will likely take over the meals, leaving nothing to the younger ones. Ultimately, they will starve to death.

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Conclusions

It is pretty easy to get rid of unwanted guppy fry, as most won’t survive even if you try to raise them properly. But you can take steps to remove them away from your tank. Generally, they are divided into active and passive measures.

Passively, you can let the parents eat them. All you have to do is put them in the same tank and remove the hiding spots. You can also introduce a few predators to your tank; they will quickly consume them.

Actively, you can euthanize the fry by using clove oil or placing them in the freezer. But as I prefer keeping these creatures alive, I personally recommend selling them or giving them away. You’ll be surprised how many aquarists will be happy to take your guppy fry.

References

  1. https://guppyexpert.com/unwanted-guppy-fry/
  2. https://www.aquariumsource.com/aggressive-freshwater-fish/
  3. https://helpusfish.com/1/10/what-to-do-with-unwanted-guppy-fry.html
  4. https://www.guppy-fish.org/what-to-do-with-extra-guppies/
  5. https://www.thesprucepets.com/dont-flush-that-fish-1378478
  6. https://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/dsposfsh.htm
  7. https://www.wikihow.com/Dispose-of-Aquarium-Fish
  8. https://aquariumsphere.com/how-to-dispose-of-dead-fish/
  9. https://www.vumc.org/safety/sites/default/files/access_controlled_files/bio/animal/zebrafish-disposal.pdf