Are Guppies Aggressive Fish

If your fish recently started acting strange or you’re wondering whether guppies will be good tankmates, then you might be asking yourself:

  • Are Guppies Aggressive Fish
  • Are Guppies Aggressive to Other Fish
  • Why Is My Female Guppy Aggressive
  • How To Stop An Aggressive Guppy
are guppies aggressive fish intro picture

Are Guppies Aggressive Fish?

Within a group of guppies, aggression is relatively rare. 

If there is a culprit- it will most likely be a male. 

Male guppies may display occasional territorial behavior or engage in mild chasing or fin-nipping as they establish their dominance hierarchy. 

This behavior is typically short-lived and doesn’t result in serious harm.

But remember that when males attempt to mate they will pursue females pretty consistently. 

That is normal behavior- typically the females will try to avoid or run away from a male if she isn’t not ready.

This is the main reason you want to keep a 1:2-3 male-to-female ratio when planning your tank. 

Male-Male Aggression

In situations where multiple male guppies are kept together, there can be occasional aggression and competition for mates.

Just like we mentioned about 7 seconds ago, you want to keep a higher ratio of females to males to minimize any potential aggression. 

This helps distribute the males’ attention among the females and reduces the likelihood of intense competition.

When the guppies begin their breeding cycle a male will try to get attention by flashing his colors. 

He’ll perform elaborate dances to capture females’ attention.

And they, in return, will reject him. 

Just like that. 

And that could lead to aggression.

group of guppies

Are Guppies Aggressive Fish While Mating?

Side Note

Guppies are famous for their “if it swims then it’s a good mate” behavior.

In other words, male guppies will try to mate with other males as part of their breeding cycle. Don’t be alarmed. 

Female-To-Female Aggression

Female guppies generally exhibit minimal aggression towards each other.

With that said, they can become aggressive. 

If you found yourself asking why is my female guppy aggressive, then a few factors can be the answer:

  • The tank is overcrowded
  • The tank lacks sufficient hiding places
  • Your guppy is pregnant

Some females may show territorial behavior or occasional chasing. Others will become fin-nippers and will make an effort to invade another fish’s private space.

Are Guppies Aggressive To Other Fish?

Guppies are generally peaceful and can coexist with a wide range of compatible tank mates, including other peaceful community fish.

They are known to be compatible with species such as 

  • Tetras 
  • Mollies 
  • Platies
  • Other peaceful bottom-dwellers like Corydoras catfish.

I’ve also had great success pairing guppies with crustaceans like:

  • Snails
  • Shrimp
  • Carbs

You just need to remember 2 things when it comes to co-existing with others:

Overcrowding and guppy eating habits:

Guppies Get Aggressive When Overcrowded

We’ve touched on this issue before but it’s worth mentioning again-

Guppies do not do well in overcrowded environments.

While they prefer to live in a group because it gives them a sense of security, they are also very prone to stress which leads to aggressive behavior. 

If you’re planning on adding guppies as part of a bigger, more diverse aquarium setup then just remember that guppies do need space. 

They don’t need a whole bunch of it, but they still need it nonetheless.

About a gallon and a half per fish is good, or about a gallon per fish if you have other types of fish.

It is vital that you provide plenty of hiding spaces for the guppies.

Hiding spaces can come in the form of vegetation, plants, tank decoration, and so forth. 

As long as they have a place to hide, relax and decompress then you’ll be fine.

Guppy's eating habits

Remember this one thing when you plan your guppies’ tank mates:

Guppies are natural munchers.

In your tank you’ll find them munching on plants, their own baby fry, and even the substrate.

Yep, you read it right- if they can get their mouth around it-they will eat it. 

Even if it’s bad for them.

(And that’s why it’s important to choose the right substrate for guppies)

If you’re planning for guppies to be tankmates with shrimp, for example, then just know that your guppies may eat your shrimp.

This isn’t an aggression issue- this is just the way they are. 

They will eat everything that comes in their way whether it’s edible or not.

If you’re planning for shrimp, then plan for about four to five shrimp for every 4-5 guppies.

Essentially, you’re counting on your shrimp to reproduce before they’re eaten by your guppies. 

You may think this is a horrible thing, but this is just the way it works in nature.

But one way to prevent your shrimp from being eaten is by providing plenty of caves and hiding spaces for the shrimp to hide from the guppies.

How To Stop An Aggressive Guppy

Because we answered the question of whether guppies are aggressive fish before we have to look at the circumstances of the tank. 

Here are a few ways we can address how to stop an aggressive guppy. 

Those 3 factors will be:

Tank size

Male-to-female ratio

Hiding Spots

Guppy Aggression Prevention

Tank Size

Provide an adequately sized aquarium that allows for ample swimming space and reduces territorial disputes. 

We’ve mentioned the general rule of thumb to provide a minimum tank size of 10 gallons for 5-7 guppies. 

Plan for about a gallon of water for every inch of fish. 

Adult guppies grow to be about 1.5 – 2 inches long. 

That puts us at 6.66 guppies, which are 1.5 inches long in a 10-gallon tank. 

Male-to-Female Ratio

Keep one male for every two to three females. 

That will distribute the attention the females get and help them avoid feeling overwhelmed. 

That will also create enough diversity in the group and prevent males from competing with the same females- which causes aggression.


If You DON'T Plan on Breeding Guppies

If you don’t plan on breeding guppies then don’t worry.

Your guppies will still go through the typical breeding cycle where the female will become pregnant and eventually give birth. 

I would usually get a “new batch” of guppy fry every 30 days. 

But that fry (a.k.a baby guppies) will never grow old.

It’ll be because the guppies themselves will eat it as they are protein-filled snacks.

I know it sounds awful, and you may be thinking it is a little bit of cannibalism, but remember that fish don’t attach to their offspring the way that we do.

Also fish don’t really have the ability to get out of the water and eat anything else but fish.

So the whole “cannibalism” issue isn’t as serious as it would have been had they been human. 

Hiding Spaces

This is single-handedly the best overall solution for guppy aggression.

You can’t really control an aggressive guppy, but you can give the rest of the tank the tools to coop. 

If you don’t want a planted tank, you can opt for plastic plants instead. 

Otherwise, spend a few bucks on cave-like decorations or other types of tank ornaments that can serve as hiding spaces for your guppies. 

What To Do With An Aggressive Guppy

When everything else fails

When all else fails you’ll need to decide what your next course of action.

An aggressive guppy, whether male or female, can eventually kill the whole tank.

If you only have 1 fish that insists on being difficult you may need to think about parting ways with it. 

I assume that you’ve got your water parameters under control, provided plenty of hiding spots, and made sure the tank isn’t overcrowded.

Since guppies can’t really live alone, that fish may need to be euthanized. 

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