Guppies: Safety In Numbers

why do guppies swim together

Guppies are happiest when kept in a group of at least six, as they are schooling fish that live in large groups in the wild. They are social creatures that thrive in a community and require social interaction to stay active and healthy. Guppies are also sensitive to changes in their environment, and common issues like changes in water chemistry, water quality, or compatibility issues can cause stress and prompt them to swim up and down.

Characteristics Values
Reason for swimming together Guppies are schooling fish and happiest when kept with their kind
Swimming behaviour Guppies are mostly top swimmers
Group size The ideal school size for guppies is six
Stress factors Unfavorable tank conditions, water chemistry problems, overfeeding or insufficient feeding, underlying diseases, bullied by bigger fish, lack of space, loneliness


Guppies are social fish and happiest in groups of six or more

Guppies are social fish that thrive in a community. They are happiest when kept in groups of six or more, as this is when they will display their natural schooling behaviour. In the wild, guppies live in large groups, so it is important to try and replicate this in captivity.

Guppies are very sensitive to their environment and can become stressed by changes in water chemistry, water quality, or compatibility issues with other fish. They need a clean, hygienic environment with friendly tank mates. If they are stressed, they may swim up and down the sides of the tank, which is not normal behaviour.

Guppies are also susceptible to various diseases, which can lead to unusual behaviour such as resting at the bottom of the tank. These include White Spot Disease, Guppy Disease, Fin Rot, and Swim Bladder Disease. Poor water conditions, aggressive tank mates, or nutritional deficiencies can cause these diseases.

It is important to provide guppies with plenty of space to swim and explore. Overcrowded tanks can make them unhappy, as can too many decorations that stifle their movement. Hiding spots are critical, however, as these provide a sense of security and can reduce stress levels.

Overall, guppies are social fish that require a well-maintained tank with plenty of space and compatible companions. When kept in groups of six or more, they will be at their happiest and healthiest.


They are sensitive to changes in their environment, like water chemistry and quality

Guppies are sensitive to changes in their environment, particularly water chemistry and quality. They are hardy fish that can adapt to a wide range of pH levels, but they are known to prefer neutral to basic water with a pH level between 6.8 and 8.0. Guppies are livebearers, and like their relatives, they tend to avoid soft, acidic water.

The pH level of water is measured using pH tester strips or a digital pH meter. Guppies thrive in water with a stable pH level, and drastic changes in water chemistry should be avoided. To maintain the ideal pH level for guppies, it is recommended to change 30-50% of the water every week and use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and heavy metals from tap water.

Water hardness, or the amount of dissolved minerals, is another important factor for guppies. They favour hard water with higher levels of calcium, magnesium, and other essential minerals. Guppies can also tolerate a small level of salinity, which can be beneficial for treating certain diseases.

Water temperature also plays a crucial role in the well-being of guppies. They are tropical fish and prefer water temperatures between 65-85 °F (18-30 °C). Maintaining a stable water temperature within this range helps to prevent stress in guppies.

In addition to water chemistry, guppies are sensitive to water quality. Poor water conditions, such as high ammonia levels, can cause guppies to exhibit abnormal behaviour and lead to health issues. Ammonia burns are a common problem in new aquariums, and it is recommended to cycle the aquarium for at least a week before introducing guppies. Regular water changes and the use of nitrifying bacteria can help maintain good water quality and prevent ammonia spikes.


Guppies are prone to stress, which can be caused by poor water quality, temperature, or diet

Guppies are prone to stress, which can be caused by several factors related to their environment, such as poor water quality, temperature, or diet.

Poor Water Quality

Guppies are sensitive to their surroundings and can experience stress due to poor water quality. This includes high levels of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, as well as low oxygen levels. Regular testing and maintenance of water parameters are crucial to ensure optimal water quality for guppies. The pH level should be maintained between 7.0 and 7.2, and the temperature should be stable within the ideal range of 72°F to 82°F (24-26°C).


Guppies are tropical fish that require warm water temperatures to thrive. They can survive in temperatures ranging from 65°F to 85°F (18-30°C), but for optimal health, a stable temperature between 75°F and 78°F (24-26°C) is recommended. Deviations from this temperature range can cause stress and increase the likelihood of guppies getting sick. Therefore, it is essential to use a heater to maintain a stable water temperature and prevent drastic fluctuations.


A poor diet can also contribute to stress in guppies. A monotonous or nutritionally deficient diet can weaken their immune system and make them more susceptible to diseases. It is important to provide guppies with a varied and balanced diet, including high-quality flake food, frozen or live brine shrimp, and occasional vegetable supplements. This will ensure they receive the necessary vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy and reduce their stress levels.

Stress in guppies can have significant negative impacts on their health, behaviour, and lifespan. It is important for guppy owners to be vigilant in maintaining optimal environmental conditions and providing a proper diet to minimise stress and promote the well-being of their fish.


They are small and vulnerable to attacks from bigger, aggressive tank mates

Guppies are generally peaceful and non-violent, but they can also be vulnerable to attacks from bigger, more aggressive tank mates. Guppies are small, typically growing to about two inches long, and this makes them an easy target for larger, more aggressive fish. Certain species, such as cichlids, angelfish, and tiger bars, are known to be incompatible with guppies due to their aggressive nature and size advantage.

When faced with aggressive tank mates, guppies may exhibit stress behaviours such as hiding in corners, staying close to the bottom of the tank, or remaining fixed to a spot away from other guppies. The presence of aggressive tank mates can also lead to chasing and violent contact, resulting in frayed or impaired fins for the smaller guppies. In some cases, the stress and injuries sustained from attacks can make guppies more susceptible to infections or diseases, which can be fatal if left untreated.

To mitigate the risk of attacks from bigger, aggressive tank mates, it is essential to provide guppies with a suitable environment that includes ample hiding places. This can be achieved by adding live plants, toys, and smooth rocks to the aquarium. These objects provide guppies with places to escape and hide from potential aggressors. Additionally, ensuring that the tank is not overcrowded can help reduce stress levels and provide guppies with more space to move away from aggressive tank mates.

It is also crucial to maintain the proper ratio of male to female guppies, as an imbalance can lead to increased aggression among males competing for mates. A general guideline is to have at least three female guppies for every male guppy in the tank. This ratio helps to keep the males occupied and reduces the likelihood of them directing their aggression towards smaller or weaker tank mates.


Guppies are tropical fish and require a stable water temperature of 72-82°F

Guppies are tropical fish, which means they are accustomed to warm waters in their natural habitats. In the wild, they live in water with temperatures ranging from 65-85 °F (18-30 °C). However, the optimal water temperature for guppies in captivity is slightly narrower, ranging from 72-82°F (22-28°C).

Guppies can withstand a wide range of water temperatures, but providing them with a stable water temperature within the optimal range is crucial to keeping them healthy. They can tolerate temperatures as low as 65°F (18°C) for a short period of 1-2 days, but their chances of developing diseases increase significantly under these conditions.

To ensure the water temperature remains stable, it is recommended to use an aquarium heater. The heater's wattage should be sized appropriately for your tank to maintain the desired temperature effectively. Additionally, a thermometer should be kept in the aquarium at all times to monitor the temperature and make any necessary adjustments.

Deviations from the optimal temperature range, whether sudden or extended, can lead to serious health complications for guppies. Prolonged exposure to temperatures outside their ideal range may result in illness and, in severe cases, death. Guppies are susceptible to various diseases and parasites, and maintaining the right water temperature helps to prevent and treat these issues.

Guppies are laid-back fish that are easy to care for and get along well with other non-aggressive species. By providing them with the right water temperature, you can ensure they remain healthy and content in their environment.

Frequently asked questions

Guppies are social fish that thrive in a community. They are happiest when kept with their own kind and display vibrant social interactions.

Guppies will not be comfortable in overcrowded tanks. They resent the presence of too many tank mates and decorations that stifle their movement.

Healthy guppies display bright colours, lively behaviour and a good appetite. They are active swimmers and rarely stay still for long.

There are multiple reasons why a guppy might stay in the corner of the tank, including stress, transportation and new habitat, inadequate water temperature, sickness or disease.

Guppies are susceptible to various diseases, including Ich or White Spot Disease, Guppy Disease, Fin Rot, Swim Bladder Disease, and Columnaris (Mouth Fungus).

Written by
Reviewed by
Share this post
Did this article help you?

Leave a comment