Breeding Guppies - Our Homeschool Science Experiment

Monday, September 26, 2011

Breeding Guppies - Our Homeschool Science Experiment

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Ready to take your homeschool science to a really cool level? Why not try breeding guppies. It is an inexpensive experiment that will fascinate your kids. Here is how to breed guppies, what you can learn in your homeschool science from breeding guppies, and a free printable observation book to help your students write down observations.
Breeding Guppies - Our Homeschool Science Expierment #science #homeschooling

Why we decided to Breed Guppies

In typical Beth fashion, one day I just decided - hey let's breed guppies! My hubby knows by now that once I get an idea in my head it's best to just go with it. So we set up a 10 galloon tank (we had spare in the garage) in the kitchen (because we'd walk by more often). We went out and bought 3 female and 1 male guppy and we waited. I made a Guppy Observation Book & our Kindergarten Guppy Breeding Science Experiment began.

breeding guppies observations

Learning about Guppies in Homeschool Science

We read information about guppies online. We fed, cleaned, and cared for the guppies. We named and charted on the guppies. And we waited.

Breeding Guppies - Our Homeschool Science Journey

Apparently guppies aren't as hardy as they once were - the pet stores tell me it is from over breeding. Whatever it is we lost a couple females, bought a couple more, and bought a different male because ours seemed unable to perform his purpose.
  • Day 1+ We wrote in our note book about what we observed. We noted what they liked to eat, how they swam, how warm they liked the water, how much they poop (let me tell you it was a LOT), and came up with questions that we then looked up (such as how long do they live).
  • Day 31 days we had 2 babies. Not sure if the rest were eaten or what, but we had 2. (they kinda look like tadpoles)
  • Day 34 we only had 1 baby - the other one was eaten.
  • Day 42 we had 2 more babies. Again, not sure if the rest were eaten. We now had 3 babies
see the baby guppies
  • Day 47 - EUREKA! I noticed about 10 new babies in the tank. I quickly removed all the females (and put them in our 30 galloon community tank)except for the very large female who I put  in a small goldfish style bowl to make sure she didn't eat the babies. I took out the large fern (which really hadn’t served its purpose anyway) we had put in for the babies to hide in as there were no mommies in the tank to hide from & we could see them better. I went back to check on the Mommy & noticed there were babies in the bowl with her. The kids & I watched her give birth - so cool! After she had 20 she seemed to stop. The bowl was getting crowded so I emptied it back in the 10 galloon nursery tank. I pulled the Mommy back out so she didn't eat the babies. I went about making lunch & taking care of Tinkerbell & she had 20 more!! Again, I emptied the babies into the nursery & removed the mother. The Mommy guppy didn't have any more & I placed her in the community tank. After careful counting I discovered we had the original 3 babies plus 55 new babies!! taking a closeup through the glass is hard
  • Day 85 - the 54 babies are growing a lot. They no longer look like miniature tadpoles. They look like miniature fish, about 3/4" long. The fish are starting to show some color. The baby guppies eat a LOT - like all babies! They are finally eating normal food (no longer baby fry food) 4-5x a day. lots of babies
  • Day 114 – The babies are full grown! They are 1 1/4” long & have all the color they are going to get. I decided our observations should be done to get the fish to a better home.
sorting and counting 58 fish!
Not that we don’t enjoy watching them…. but 58 fish in a 10 galloon aquarium isn’t really the best home. It means I have to change the water every 5 days or so! Since it is really hard to count fish when they are one big mob in the small tank, we separated them into bowls – 5 to be exact. This was also a great chance to practice counting by 10s! There were 10 fish in each of the 5 bowls with 8 fish remaining in the aquarium.

Graphing Guppies

Then we counted how many fish of each color there were & graphed them 3 ways:

  1. Graphing Guppies in Color on Graph Paper
  2. Graphing Guppies with cuisenaire rods
  3. Visualizing Guppy Babies on a pie graph

    Guppy Fish Color GraphedBaby Fish graphed with Cuisenaire Rods
    baby guppy pie graph - conceptualizing a different wayCuisenaire Rods - conceptualizing numbers
    I thought it was neat to see his little brain process the information. He couldn't conceptualize what the numbers mean, but when we graphed the colors he looked at me with amazement and said – there are WAY more red than any other color! It was pretty cool to see him “get it”
    It was a really fun experiment and we learned a lot! I’d really like to try egg layers next…..


    1. What an undertaking and great math activities! How did you tag can you tell them apart?

    2. What a great activity. I almost want to get a tank and some just to do it too. Hahaha.

    3. How cool! I have to say-I couldn't quite figure out why you were going to bread guppies. Then I realized you were going to breed them-LOL!

    4. I love your guppie study and all the directions you took it in. I like the way your mind works! :-)

    5. That's awesome! You are one brave mama!!!

    6. You have showed why Science is so cool! Thank you for sharing!

    7. several things come to my mind.. 1. how the heck you get so many..( i should write you my guppy story..sad really sad) 2. breeder tank ? heard of them? 3.. again im floored as to why you got so many but I bed cause you had more than me hmm will reread... :)

    8. Beth this is AWESOME. I too have a tank in the garage and my husband is also used to me doing things like this, and guess what, we are ALSO getting chickens. Are you my sister? Anyways, do you happen to have the documents that you used for this? I did not see them in the post but it is very possible that I missed them. Thanks! your new fan - Laura

    9. Nothing fancy for the printable. But you are welcome to it =-) Here it is: