If you’re thinking about adding guppies to your tank, or you’re just getting started and you don’t know what fish to choose, there are a lot of questions. One such question is “are guppies aggressive?”
In this article not only are you going to find out about guppy aggression, but you’ll also learn, how common it is, and if it does occur how to deal with it! So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!
Are Guppies Aggressive & Do They Fight?
Generally, guppies are fairly peaceful fish and you shouldn’t have any problems with them in your tank. When aggression and fighting do occur it’s normally with members of their own species. However, just like with all animals, guppies can be unpredictable too. So while they’re generally peaceful, there is a chance they’ll be aggressive to other fish in your tank.
What Are The Signs Of Guppy Aggression
You can’t watch your tank all the time. So it’s important to spot the signs of guppy aggression. That way you’ll be able to notice it even when you’re not around. Here are some of the most common signs of aggression.
Damaged And Frayed Fins
One of the most common signs that your guppies are acting aggressive towards each other are damaged and frayed fins. If you notice this, then it typically means that they’re getting nipped by other fish in the tank.
However, it’s important to remember that while it could be from guppies, it could be from other fish in your tank. Especially known fin nippers like barbs, or from more aggressive fish like bettas or gouramis.
Lastly, it could also be a sign of a disease called fin rot. So it’s important not to assume straight away that damaged fins are caused by aggression. Although it is a possibility.
Fish Are Hiding
Another sign that a guppy may be acting aggressively is if you notice certain fish are hiding. If it’s just guppies in your tank and you notice that you can never see all of them, then the chances are that bullying and aggression is occuring.
Once again, though, it’s important to remember that bullying can come from any species of fish and doesn’t necessarily mean that a guppy is the culprit.
Guppies Chasing Each Other
One of the most common signs of aggression is when one guppy is constantly chasing another. This is because they’re trying to assert their dominance by scaring them and attacking them. While it occurs more in males, it doesn’t mean females won’t do it either (you’ll find out more about this later).
However, a little bit of chasing is normal as the males are going to try and mate with the females. You should become concerned when the chasing also includes fin nipping, fighting, or when it’s relentless.
A Dead Fish
Another obvious sign that there is aggression occurring in your tank is if you notice a dead fish. However, make sure you only take this as a sign if you notice other signs of bullying as well.
And when you do notice a dead fish it’s also important to check the tank parameters, as well as the inhabitants to make sure that there’s nothing wrong.
(Find out all the reasons your guppy may have died.)
How To Stop Guppies From Being Aggressive
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to stop your guppies from being aggressive. Remember, if you don’t act when you notice aggression, then you could end up with a dead fish.
Keep More Females Than Males
One of the best things you can do is make sure that you’re keeping more females than males. Males are going to become a lot more aggressive to each other when there’s more competition for females. As well as this, the females are also going to be a lot more stressed as they’ll constantly be being harassed by the males.
As a rule of thumb, you should have a 3:1 ratio of females to males. However, more females are always better.
Add Hiding Places
You should also make sure that your tank has plenty of hiding places for your guppies. Giving them lots of hiding places will help reduce the chance of aggression occuring. Not only, can your guppies get away when there are more hiding spots, but they also break lines of sight a lot easier.
When lines of sights are broken, then it’s much more likely that a guppy will cease acting aggressively.
If you’re not sure what kind of hiding places you should add then plants are normally a great choice. Especially large leaf plants like anubias. As well as plants, caves driftwood and ornaments also make great hiding places.
(Find out the best ways to set up a guppy tank.)
Make Sure The Tank Isn’t Crowded Or Too Small
You should also make sure that your tank isn’t too crowded or too small. If your tank is too small then your guppies are going to fight for territory too often. And of course, the same thing is true if you’re keeping too many guppies together.
You can keep 3 guppies in a 10-gallon tank together, after that you’ll need an additional two gallons per guppy. This way ensures they have enough space from each other and will reduce the chances of aggression.
Remove The Culprit
One of the best things you can do is remove the culprit altogether and move them to another tank. Normally, it’s just one fish that’s going to cause a problem, and once you remove that fish, every other fish will have a much better life.
If you don’t have another fish tank handy, then you can always try returning your fish to the fish shop if they’ll have them. Of course this isn’t always practical however, so you may need to try the other methods.
And, you should also take this time to make sure it’s just your guppies being aggressive and not other fish in the tank as well.
Make Sure They’re Getting Enough Food
You also need to make sure that you’re feeding your guppies enough. If you don’t feed them enough, then obviously, they’re going to begin fighting for food.
You should be feeding your guppies for two minutes at a time. Giving them as much food as they can eat
What About An Aggressive Female Guppy?
You may notice that it’s not a male guppy that’s being aggressive, but one of the females. In fact, this is more common than you might think. And there are actually a few reasons that female guppies may end up being aggressive.
The main reason that female guppies can become aggressive is when they’re establishing a pecking order. The most dominant female will often bully the other females to make sure she’s getting the most food. In fact, this becomes even more common when the female is pregnant.
If you notice this you don’t have to worry too much, as most of the time it’s just chasing and nudging. However, if you notice nipping then you’ll need to take action.
Female Guppy Attacking Males?
You may also notice that sometimes a female guppy will attack a male. And there’s actually a couple of reasons they do this.
The first reason is that the male is sick or diseased. Unfortunately, just like in the wild, your guppies aren’t going to feel sympathetic to each other. And often when one becomes sick or diseased, they’ll just end up being killed by the other fish in your tank.
The other reason is to stop being pestered all the time. This becomes a lot more common if they’re not getting enough food, there’s not enough space in the tank, or they’re already pregnant.
What About Male Guppies Fighting?
Another common issue you’ll notice is male guppies fighting. If you do notice this then the best thing you can do is introduce more females into the tank. Asides from this just follow the advice above. Add hiding places, make sure they’re getting fed enough and that the tank is big enough.
In some cases, no matter how many females are in your tank, you’re still going to have an aggressive male. If this is the case then your best choice is to remove them from the tank, and put them in another one.
Can Guppies Kill Each Other?
It’s entirely possible that guppies male or female can kill other guppies in their tank. If you don’t remove a bully or aggressor, then the chances of another guppy in your tank dying are going to increase.
While it’s not as likely that they’ll outright kill each other by attacking. The chances of a disease or illness overcoming your guppies while they’re weak and injured are much more likely. This is why it’s so important to make sure bullying isn’t occurring in your tank.
After all, it’s not like in the wild where they can just swim away. In captivity they’re stuck with their attacker.
So are guppies aggressive and do they attack each other? The answer is yes they can be. So you need to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to reduce the chances of aggression.
Aggression is much more likely to occur when you have too many males and not enough females. However, female guppies can also be aggressive when they’re pregnant, or trying to establish dominance.
You can reduce the chance of aggression by adding lots of hiding spaces, making sure the tank is big enough, and making sure it’s not overcrowded.
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