Many people often wonder if guppies are aggressive fish. Because of this, they might be a little hesitant to add them to their fish tank.
So, are guppies aggressive? The good news is guppies aren’t generally aggressive, although there are some instances where they might be. While guppies are somewhat docile creatures, males can become aggressive if they aren’t around females. Sometimes females can also be aggressive toward their young.
Below is more information about why guppies are occasionally aggressive and how you can prevent them from fighting each other.
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Types of Guppies
Guppies come in all shapes and sizes. They also have their own personalities which can determine whether or not they’ll be aggressive.
Cobra guppies are known for their stunning colors and grow to be about one-inch long. This fish tends to be very tolerant of various living conditions making them perfect for beginners.
Endler guppies don’t have as vibrant colors but feature much larger fins compared to other guppy types. This guppy can also reach an impressive length of two inches.
As one of the most popular guppy types, fancy guppies feature beautiful patterns on their skin. They also have a large tail.
Elephant Ear Guppies
Elephant ear guppies feature a massive tail that looks like an elephant’s ear. The tail tends to be the most colorful area on their body. This type of guppy is very calm and usually gets along with others in the fish tank.
As their name suggests, blue guppies have a striking blue body that seems to glow in the water. Because of this unique color, they are one of the top guppies for fish owners.
Guppies usually have very calm personalities and are playful fish. However, while they are generally happy fish, their environment can change this temperament. For instance, if they don’t get enough food it could cause them to become aggressive. In addition to this, some guppies can become tired of constantly trying to fight off the unwanted attention of others.
Signs Guppies are Being Aggressive
If you’re unsure if your guppy is being aggressive, there are a few signs you can look at. Below are three of the main ones.
Their Eyes are Black
A unique way to tell if the guppy is aggressive is to look at their eyes. When upset, a guppy’s eyes will turn black. The fish will do this within a matter of seconds when it’s angry. While it’s not known why they do this, some scientists believe that they do so to warn other guppies.
They are Picking on Larger Fish
It’s not just large fish that pick on smaller ones. Many smaller guppies will try nipping at larger fish due to their great size. Because of this, it can be very stressful for the larger fish to protect itself from a smaller and usually faster guppy. If you find a guppy biting at a larger fish they are probably being aggressive.
Other Fish Have Pieces of Their Tail or Fins Missing
Another sign that guppies are aggressive is that they bite off pieces of the tail and fins of other fish. This shows that they have been fighting. If you see one fish missing parts of their tail or fins, there’s probably an aggressive guppy in the tank. If you’re not sure which fish might be the aggressor, you’ll need to keep careful watch over the tank to find out who the culprit is.
Why are Males Aggressive Toward Others?
Female guppies tend to live peacefully with all fish in the tank. However, males can become very temperamental if they are around more males than females. This is because they feel they must show dominance toward others. In fact, sometimes males can become so aggressive that they end up killing each other.
Sickness in Guppies
Some guppies will turn to aggressive means if they are sick. They do this as a way to protect themselves and hide their illness. If you’re not sure if your guppy is aggressive because of a medical condition you can also look for these signs:
- They are disoriented when they swim
- Their gills aren’t as bright or have a strange color
- They are having trouble breathing
- Their eyes are bulging out of their head
Do Guppies Eat Each Other?
Guppies are cannibals and will sometimes feast on other guppies. Some mothers will even eat their own babies if they feel they aren’t getting enough food or the area is too crowded. If your guppies aren’t getting enough to eat, they might try to consume other fish to survive.
Do Guppies Attack Each Other? Why Are My Guppies Chasing Each Other?
Yes, guppies do attack and chase each other if they feel their territory is being threatened. Some guppies might also bite at each other’s fins as a warning to those they are angered by.
Guppies will also chase each other when they are trying to mate. You can usually tell the difference between this type of chasing and aggressive chasing based on the tail. If a larger tailed fish is chasing a smaller tailed fish it’s probably due to mating.
How to Prevent Guppies from Being Aggressive
There are a few ways you can prevent guppies from being aggressive toward each other. Below are some tips to keep in mind.
Watch the Male to Female Ratio in the Tank
It’s important that you carefully watch how many males and females are in the tank. As mentioned above, if you put too many males in the tank, catastrophe will strike. Because of this, it’s ideal to put at least one male guppy for every three female guppies in your tank.
You want to carefully make sure to not overload the tank with male fish. This is because males can sometimes stress the females due to their constant chasing of them. Eventually, this can tire out the female and cause her to feel sick.
Don’t Add Too Many Fish to the Tank
Fish owners might be tempted to add numerous guppies to their tank. It’s vital not to do this as too many guppies in the tank can make them aggressive. This is because they will feel as if they need to fight for food or swimming space. The ideal amount is about three fish per every ten gallons of water.
In addition to this, you’ll want to check the size of the guppies. If you add guppies of different sizes to it, the larger fish will be more aggressive toward the smaller ones. If you add guppies of the same size they are less likely to attack each other.
Separate the Fish
If you notice a few fish particularly attacking each other it might be best to separate them. This will help to reduce the aggressiveness and possible injuries from it. You can permanently separate the guppies or remove them for a while when you see they are being aggressive.
If you don’t have another tank to use, you could invest in a tank divider. This splits the tank in half but allows the fish to see the other side of the tank. However, it prevents them from hurting or touching others. Many tank dividers can also be cut so you can customize it to your needs.
Make Sure They Get Enough Food
Some guppies might become aggressive because they aren’t getting enough food. You’ll want to make sure to feed your fish at least two to three times per day. Otherwise, they will become hungry and irritated. Some of the best food to give them includes:
- Vegetable pellets
- Freeze-dried brine shrimp
- Freeze-dried blood worms
All of these options will not only fill your guppy up, but ensure they get plenty of vitamins and minerals. However, make sure to not overdo their meals. If they receive too much food they will become very sick, To prevent this, it’s ideal to give them a few sprinkles throughout the day.
Use a Large Tank
Guppies might also become aggressive because the tank is too small. If they don’t have enough room to swim around in, it can cause them to be very stressed. This eventually can lead to a major change in their personality. To help prevent this, it’s ideal to make sure you have a large tank for the guppies to live in.
Add Plenty of Hiding Spaces
Guppies enjoy hiding in rocks and logs as they feel these objects protect them. If there aren’t enough hiding spots, they might become aggressive. This is because they feel as if they need to guard the area for themselves. Hiding spaces also help less aggressive fish get away from temperamental ones. While you shouldn’t crowd the tank with objects, make sure there are enough spots for each of the fish to safely hide in.
Guppies are calm fish but can become aggressive in certain situations. This includes them not getting enough food or being overwhelmed by too many fish. Because of this, it’s important to ensure they have perfect living conditions to prevent aggressiveness.