Guppies And Plants: Perfect Together?

how many guppies in planted aquarium

Guppies are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish species, known for their brilliant colours, lively personalities, and ease of breeding. They are native to northeast South America but have been introduced to many environments and are now found all over the world.

Guppies are highly adaptable and thrive in many different environmental and ecological conditions. They are calm, laid-back fish with no aggressive or territorial tendencies and are therefore a good choice for beginner aquarists. They are also inexpensive, with individual guppies costing between $4 and $25, depending on their rarity.

Guppies are small fish and do not need much space to live normally. However, they still need a reasonable amount of space. Experienced experts recommend that guppies should always be held as trios if there are both male and female guppies in the tank. Starting from three, they should be provided with 4 gallons of water and for any additional guppies, you should stick to the 1:1 ratio rule, which is at least one gallon of water per guppy.

Characteristics Values
Minimum tank size 5 gallons
Average length of a guppy 2 inches
Ideal water temperature 75-80°F
Ideal pH level 6.8-7.8
Ideal water hardness dGH 8-12
Minimum number of guppies 3
Ideal male to female ratio 1:2


Guppy tank size

Guppies are a popular choice for aquariums due to their brilliant colours, lively personalities, and ease of breeding. They are also highly adaptable and can survive in both freshwater and brackish environments.

Tank Size Recommendations for Guppies:

  • The general rule of thumb is to provide one gallon of water per inch of fish.
  • Guppies grow to an average of 2 inches in length, with females reaching up to 2.4 inches and males averaging 1.4 inches.
  • For a trio of guppies, the smallest recommended tank size is 5 gallons.
  • A 10- or 20-gallon aquarium is more appropriate if you plan to breed them or want to avoid frequent tank maintenance.
  • A 20-gallon tank is suitable for breeding, but a larger tank will be needed as the population increases.
  • A 30-gallon tank can accommodate 15 guppies or less and is large enough for breeding.
  • A 40-gallon tank can hold 20 guppies or less and is ideal for a spacious and comfortable environment.
  • A 55-gallon tank can hold 27 guppies and is excellent for breeding and adding multiple plants.
  • A 65-gallon tank can accommodate 32 guppies without decorations or less if heavily decorated.
  • A 75-gallon tank can hold up to 34 guppies and requires fixed structural support due to its size.

Other Considerations:

  • Guppies are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least three.
  • The ratio of females to males should ideally be 2:1.
  • Overcrowding can lead to breathing issues, the quick spread of diseases, and competition for food.
  • Guppies prefer a warm freshwater environment with a temperature range of 72°F to 84°F (22°C to 28°C).
  • Use an external power filter, an air pump, and a heater to maintain water quality and oxygen levels.
  • Live plants, such as Java moss, provide hiding places for guppies and help keep the water clean.
  • Regular maintenance, including water changes and vacuuming, is essential to prevent waste accumulation and maintain a healthy environment.
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Guppy tank mates

Guppies are peaceful, sociable fish that are a great addition to a community tank. They are compatible with a wide range of tank mates, but it's important to avoid aggressive species that may nip their fins or eat them, such as tiger barbs or bala sharks.

Cory Catfish

Cory catfish are peaceful bottom dwellers that are highly recommended for most home aquariums. They are slow swimmers that mind their own business and get along well with guppies. They can be kept singly, but they are best kept in a group of four to six. Make sure to provide plenty of hiding places, as they are shy and like to hide during the day.

Neon Tetras

Neon tetras are small, vibrantly coloured fish that are peaceful and schooling. They grow to around 1.5 inches in adulthood and have similar water parameter requirements to guppies, preferring a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5 and temperatures between 70°F to 81°F. They are omnivores and occupy the middle swimming zone of the tank, making them a good companion for guppies, who prefer the middle to upper zones.

Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin rasboras are small, hardy fish with a striking copper red colour. They are peaceful and schooling, and get along well with guppies and other community fish. They prefer a pH of 6.0 to 7.5 and temperatures between 74°F to 80°F. They are omnivores and occupy the top to mid-level of the tank, so they won't compete for space with guppies.


Swordtails are live-bearing fish that are adaptable to a variety of water conditions. They are active swimmers and jumpers, so they require a tank with a cover. They are peaceful and get along well with guppies and other community fish. Swordtails prefer a pH range of 7.0 to 8.3 and temperatures of 70°F to 77°F. They are omnivores and occupy the middle to upper swimming zones, so they won't compete for space with guppies.


Platies are small, colourful fish that are peaceful and get along well with guppies and other community fish. They are live-bearing fish that breed efficiently and will produce a lot of baby fish. They prefer a pH of 7.0 to 8.3 and temperatures of 70°F to 77°F. They are omnivores and occupy the middle to upper swimming zones, so they won't compete for space with guppies.


Mollies are very similar to guppies in size and temperament, making them great tank buddies. They are live-bearing species and a hardy species that can fare well in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. They are peaceful and get along with guppies, platies, bristlenose plecos, and harlequin rasboras. Mollies prefer a pH on the low side of their range, which is 7.5 to 8.5, and temperatures from 72°F to 82°F. They are omnivores and occupy the middle to upper swimming zones, so they won't compete for space with guppies.


Guppy feeding

Guppies are omnivores, meaning they eat both animal and plant matter. In the wild, they eat a variety of foods, including algae, water insect larvae, and plant matter. In a home aquarium, it is recommended to feed them a combination of foods, including quality flake food designed for tropical fish, as well as freeze-dried, live, or frozen foods.

Feeding Schedule

Guppies are greedy fish, so it can be hard to tell when they are hungry. It is recommended to feed adult guppies once or twice a day, as much as they can eat in one to two minutes. For baby guppies, you can increase the feedings to three to five times a day, but make sure that each meal is much smaller to avoid fouling the water with excess food.

How Much to Feed

To determine how much to feed your guppies, start by reading the directions on your guppy food. Sprinkle that amount of food into the tank and watch your guppies. If they eat it all within two minutes without looking bloated, the amount is probably good. If they eat it all in around one minute, you may need to give them a little more food. If they do not finish the food, then reduce the amount for the next feeding. If they eat all the food and appear bloated, then you have given them too much.


Overfeeding can lead to constipation and other health issues. Signs of an overfed guppy include a bloated appearance, lethargy, loss of appetite, stringy faeces, and swim bladder disease. If your guppy is overfed, skip feeding for a couple of days and add more fibre to their diet with peas or daphnia.

Best Foods for Guppies

While flake foods are a popular and convenient option, it is important to feed guppies a varied diet that includes live or frozen foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp. Daphnia is also highly recommended as it is high in protein and fibre. Mosquito larvae are another good option, but make sure they get eaten before they turn into mosquitoes.


Guppies can also eat vegetables such as lettuce, peas, and cucumbers, but make sure to remove any uneaten veggies from the tank after about an hour to maintain water quality.


Guppies can eat fruit, but only feed them fresh fruit right before you plan to clean their tank, as the sugars can cause bacteria to grow. Suitable fruits include grapes and watermelon, but only in small amounts.

What Not to Feed

Avoid feeding guppies highly processed human foods, especially bread and anything that comes out of a box.

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Guppy breeding

Guppies are some of the most popular fish to keep in an aquarium, due to their brilliant colours, lively personalities, and ease of breeding. They are also inexpensive, peaceful, and hardy, making them a great choice for beginners.

Setting up a Guppy Tank

Before you start breeding your guppies, you'll need to set up a suitable tank. Guppies like to form schools, so you should get a tank that is at least ten gallons. The rule of thumb is to provide a gallon of water per inch of fish (about two litres per centimetre). Guppies grow to about two inches, so you’d want to provide ten gallons (about 40 litres) for five guppies.

You'll also need to install a filter, heater, and air pump, and fill the bottom of the tank with gravel. Decorate the tank with rocks, plants, and ornaments to provide hiding spots for your guppies, which will decrease their stress. Live aquarium plants are great for the habitat, as they filter toxins and add oxygen to the water.

Guppies thrive in water with a temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (about 24 to 27 degrees Celsius). An aquarium heater with an adjustable thermostat that attaches to the glass with suction cups is ideal.

Breeding Guppies

Guppies are livebearers, meaning they give birth to live young, and don't lay eggs. They breed very easily and rapidly, so you won't need to do anything special to get them to breed. Just make sure the conditions in the tank are suitable.

When selecting the guppies you want to breed, keep in mind the number of fish, their colouring, and the shape of their tails. If you choose two fish to breed who have the same colour patterns, the fry will also have that colour pattern. The same principle applies to fin shape.

Generally, you will want to select one male and two or three female guppies for breeding. When there is a ratio of one to one, the male often becomes aggressive, chasing the female around the tank. With a one to three ratio, the male’s attention is split between three females, making breeding a less stressful process for the females.

Guppies breed like rabbits, so in no time, you'll have fry. Female guppies can store sperm packets and can pretty much choose when she becomes pregnant.

Caring for Fry

You will need to provide the fry with hiding places after they are born, as guppy parents can turn cannibalistic. Guppy fry tend to sink, so use low-floating plants for their cover. Some high cover is also required as healthy fry will swim upwards.

Guppy fry can eat a variety of food, but the best options are baby brine shrimp, crushed flakes, and/or pellets. They will not normally eat the first day of their life, as they have the rest of their yolk sack to feast on. Feed them three to six times a day in small quantities.

When the fry are about 3-4 months old, they should be big enough to go into a community aquarium.

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Guppy water temperature

Guppies are tropical fish that are used to warmer climates, so it's important to keep their water temperature within the ideal range for their well-being. The ideal temperature range for a guppy's water is between 74°F and 82°F (23°C to 28°C). Guppies can tolerate lower temperatures, down to the lower 60s°F, but prolonged exposure can lead to stress and a weakened immune system.

Guppies need a heater to maintain the correct temperature, especially if you don't live in a tropical climate. The wattage of the heater will depend on the size of your tank. For example, a 25-watt heater is suitable for a 5-gallon tank, while a 200-watt heater is needed for a 40-gallon tank.

If the water temperature gets too high, it can cause problems for your guppies, including increased metabolism and activity, stress, weakened immune system, oxygen depletion, and issues with beneficial bacteria. To cool down the water, you can:

  • Reduce heat sources by turning off aquarium and room lights.
  • Remove the tank lid to allow heat to escape (be cautious of jumping fish or curious pets).
  • Use a fan to blow cool air over the tank.
  • Place floating ice packs on the water surface to gradually reduce the temperature.
  • Top up the tank with cold water.
  • Move the tank away from direct sunlight or heat sources, such as radiators.

It's important to change the water temperature slowly, by no more than 2°F every 8 to 10 hours, to avoid shocking the fish.

If the water temperature is too low, guppies may experience reduced activity and breeding issues, increased disease risk, and extreme discomfort. To increase the temperature, simply adjust your heater settings or replace it if it's not functioning properly.

Guppies can be kept in a pond if the water temperature doesn't drop below 68°F. In most climates, it's safe to keep them outside from late spring to summer.

The temperature of the water will also affect the sex ratio of guppies. An experiment found that a temperature of 30°C produced the highest number of male guppies.

In summary, maintaining the correct water temperature is crucial for the health and happiness of your guppies. By using a suitable heater and following the tips above, you can ensure that your guppies thrive within the ideal temperature range.

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Frequently asked questions

You can keep 4-6 guppies in a 10-gallon tank.

The ideal water temperature for guppies is anywhere between 10°-29° Celsius (50°F – 84°F).

The best foundation for your guppies' diet is guppy flakes. You can also feed them pellet fish food, live or freeze-dried food such as brine shrimp, daphnia, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms. Guppies also enjoy vegetables such as lettuce, peas, and cucumbers.

Feed your guppies only once or twice a day in small amounts.

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