Guppies' Favorite Filter Hangouts

why do my guppies keep hanging out by the filter

Guppies are a common choice for fish enthusiasts because they can live in a wide range of water conditions and are relatively easy to care for. However, they sometimes exhibit hiding behaviour, which could indicate an issue in their tank. One of the primary reasons for this is a strong water current, which can make it difficult for guppies to swim and cause them stress. Other reasons for guppies to hide near the filter include poor water quality, aggressive tankmates, a lack of hiding spots, and pregnancy in female guppies. To prevent this behaviour, it is recommended to provide a mild water current, ensure good water quality, avoid aggressive tankmates, and provide a stress-free environment.

Characteristics Values
Strong water current Affects the immune system, makes guppies lethargic and stressed, and causes illness
Poor water quality Lack of oxygen, spikes in ammonia and nitrite
Inadequate water parameters Stress, prone to disease and parasites
Aggressive tankmates Chasing and nipping guppies
Lack of hiding spots Guppies need to hide when stressed or unwell
Overcrowding Lack of oxygen, aggressive tankmates, dirty tank
Pregnant female guppy Hides to protect herself and her babies


Guppies like to hide

Guppies are instinctively drawn to hiding because they feel protected and safe when concealed. In their natural habitat, they hide to avoid predators, moving into deeper waters where they are less likely to be seen. While they are not at risk of predation in a home aquarium, guppies still exhibit this behaviour when they feel stressed, sick, or uncomfortable with their tank conditions.

Guppies are known for their peaceful temperament, but they will hide to protect themselves from aggressive tank mates. They may also hide from other guppies, particularly during the breeding season when male guppies become aggressive in their pursuit of females. If there are fewer females than males in the tank, the males will harass the females, causing them to hide.

Female guppies also hide when they are pregnant or about to give birth, seeking a safe place to have their babies. This is necessary because other guppies will eat the fry.

Guppies may also hide due to unfavourable tank conditions, such as poor water quality, strong water flow, or a lack of hiding spots. They can become stressed by unstable water parameters, overcrowding, and unfavourable water temperatures.

To encourage guppies to stop hiding, it is important to address these potential issues. Ensure the water parameters are ideal, the tank is clean, and the water flow is mild. Provide plenty of room for the guppies to swim freely, and create hiding spots with plants, caves, and driftwood.

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Strong aquarium flow

Guppies are a playful and peaceful fish species that prefer calmer waters. If your guppies are hanging out by the filter, it may be because the aquarium flow is too strong. Guppies are small fish that can be overpowered by strong currents. A strong flow can cause them to have difficulty swimming, and they may be blown all over the tank.

If you notice your guppies struggling to swim, frequently hiding, or exhibiting signs of stress such as reduced eating, faded colours, or damaged fins, the flow in your aquarium might be too strong. Guppies like to play and explore their environment, so if they are spending a lot of time by the filter, it may be a sign that they are struggling to swim in the current.

To address this issue, you can try adjusting the settings on your filter to reduce the flow rate. Many filters have adjustable flow settings that allow you to control the current in your tank. You can also try using a sponge to reduce the flow, as this will slow down the rate of water being pulled into the filter while also providing protection for your guppies and adding another layer of biological filtration.

It is important to find the right balance, as too little flow can also be problematic. The water flow helps to distribute CO2 and nutrients to plants and promotes their photosynthesis. It also helps to keep the water temperature even throughout the aquarium and increases oxygen transfer into the water, which is essential for the health of your guppies.


Pregnant guppies

Firstly, the gravid spot, a darkened area of skin on the womb located behind the anal fin, becomes more prominent and darker as the pregnancy progresses. In the later stages of pregnancy, this spot may even appear black, and you may be able to see the eyes of the developing babies.

Secondly, the belly of a pregnant guppy will become larger and take on a boxy shape. This change occurs gradually over several weeks.

Behaviourally, pregnant guppies may become more aggressive, particularly towards male guppies that continue to pursue them for mating. As the pregnancy progresses, females may start chasing males away and even resort to fin nipping. Towards the end of the pregnancy, females may also lose their appetite and seek out hiding places to give birth.

The gestation period for guppies typically lasts between 21 and 31 days, and sometimes up to 35 days. During labour, which can last between two and six hours, the female guppy may exhibit signs of distress, such as rapid breathing and body contractions.

To ensure the health of pregnant guppies and their offspring, it is important to maintain good tank conditions and stable water parameters. Pregnant guppies can be moved to a separate breeding tank to reduce stress and give the babies a better chance of survival. It is also crucial to provide ample hiding spots, such as plants, caves, or breeder boxes, to protect the babies from being eaten by other fish, including their mother.

Overall, while guppies may exhibit certain behaviours and physical changes during pregnancy, regular observation and understanding of their biology can help identify these signs and ensure proper care.


Aggressive tankmates

Guppies are known for their docile and sociable temperament, and thrive in peaceful environments. However, they can be vulnerable to aggression from tank mates, especially if the male-to-female ratio is off. When this happens, it could indicate that your guppy is stressed and trying to hide from its aggressive tank mates.

To prevent this, it is important to select tank mates that mirror the guppy's gentle nature. Guppies are tiny, so avoid any large tank mates that might see them as prey. Guppies are also susceptible to fin nipping due to their long, flowing fins, so it is important to avoid long-finned fish or known fin-nibblers, such as barbs.

Some recommended tank mates that are generally peaceful and non-aggressive include:

  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Dwarf Loaches
  • Endler's Livebearer
  • Glass Fish
  • Mollies
  • Neon Tetra
  • Platyfish
  • Rasboras
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Bristlenose Plecos
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Red Cherry Shrimp
  • African Dwarf Frogs
  • Apple Snails
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Electric Blue Crayfish
  • Rabbit Snails
  • Nerite Snails
  • Ramshorn Snails
  • Bamboo Shrimp
  • Zebra Danios
  • Leopard Danios
  • Japanese Ricefish
  • White Cloud Minnows
  • Otocinclus Catfish
  • Dwarf Chain Loaches
  • Kuhli Loaches
  • Hoplo Catfish
  • Swordtail Fish
  • Pearl Gourami
  • Galaxy Rasboras
  • Amano Shrimp


Poor water quality

Guppies are sensitive to poor water quality, and this could be why they are hanging out by the filter. Guppies require clean water to survive, and poor water quality can be very harmful to them. Excess ammonia, for example, can poison guppies, and high levels of ammonia or nitrite can cause stress. Therefore, it is important to regularly clean the tank and perform water changes to ensure the water is crystal clear.

Maintaining water stability is essential for the survival of guppies. Filters help manage ammonia levels by housing good bacteria that break it down. Regular water changes and vacuuming of the substrate are also necessary to keep the water in optimal condition.

In addition to ammonia and nitrite levels, other water parameters such as water temperature and pH can affect guppies' health. Ensuring the proper water temperature and pH level helps keep guppies happy and reduces their stress levels.

It is also important to test the water for nitrate levels. Although nitrates are not as harmful as ammonia and nitrite, it is important to keep them under 40 ppm through regular water changes. Overfeeding and a heavily stocked tank can lead to increased nitrate levels, so it is important to monitor this and adjust feeding and water change schedules accordingly.

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