Do Guppies Sleep? (Everything To Know!)

Last Updated on 2023-11-03

Do guppies sleep? If you look in your tank it may look like they never go to sleep. This article helps to shed some light on the question as well as other important questions. So keep reading to find out whether guppies sleep as well as the following:

  • How much sleep they need.
  • What affects their sleep.
  • If they’re sleeping or dead.
  • What it means when they’re sleeping at the bottom of the tank.
  • And what sort of sleep guppy fry need.

Key Takeaways:

  • Guppies do sleep, typically during dark hours in their tank, as they don’t have visible eyelids and their sleeping patterns are relatively unknown.
  • The ideal sleep duration for guppies is estimated to be around 6-8 hours, aligning with the natural light cycle of day and night, mimicking their habitat’s lighting conditions.
  • Maintaining a natural light cycle in the tank is essential for their health, avoiding constant illumination to prevent health issues and excessive algae growth.
  • Ensuring proper sleep conditions for guppies involves managing tank lighting, avoiding excessively bright external lights, providing hiding spots, and ensuring compatibility with tank mates to prevent disturbances during sleep.
  • Identifying sleeping guppies involves observing their relatively motionless state, slower breathing, and stationary behavior during dark hours.

Do Guppies Sleep?

Obviously, like all animals, guppies sleep as well. However, it can be hard to notice when they’re sleeping as they don’t close their eyes. As well as this they normally sleep when it’s dark in their tank, so you might not see it.

But the truth is, not too much is known about guppies sleeping patterns, and what the real purpose of sleep is for them. Although it’s commonly believed that they sleep to conserve energy. But, they don’t have a REM stage as we do.

How Much Sleep Do Guppies Need?

The next most important question you should be asking, is how much sleep do guppies need? Once again while we don’t know the exact amount, people believe it’s the same as humans. Around 6-8 hours.

This is because, just like us, guppies go to sleep when the sun goes down, and wake up again when the sun rises. Or in the case of the fish tank, when you turn the light on and when you turn the light off.

However, just because they need 6-8 hours of sleep a day, it doesn’t mean that you should just keep their light on for the remainder of the time. Not only will this be bad for their health, but it will also cause algae to overtake the tank.

As a rule of thumb, you want the lighting in your tank to be as natural as possible. So when it’s dark outside, make sure the tank is dark, when it’s light outside make sure the tank is light.

This way you’re never going to have to worry about how long you should keep the lights on for, because you’re just following the natural rhythm of the day.


How To Help Your Guppies Sleep Better

Sleep is extremely important to guppies. In fact, it’s probably just as important as food and perfect water conditions. So you’ll need to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make sure they’re getting the right amount of sleep.

Here are some of the best things you can do to improve your guppies’ sleep quality.

Make Sure You’re Not Leaving The Light On For Too Long

As previously mentioned, one of the best things you can do is make sure that you’re not leaving the tank lights on for too long. As long as they’re getting 8-10 hours of light a day, they’re going to be fine.

If you can match the tank lighting with what’s going on in the day that’s great, however, don’t feel like you need to.

If you find yourself constantly forgetting about your tank lights then it might be a good idea to purchase an automatic timer for them.

Aggressive Tank Mates

Just because your guppies are sleeping, it doesn’t mean their tank mates are. If there are aggressive fish in your tank, then they may be keeping your guppies up, by nipping at them or bullying them throughout the night.

So make sure before you purchase fish, you check that they’re going to be compatible with your guppies.

(Some great tank mates include cherry shrimp, ghost shrimp, neon tetras, and even goldfish!)

The Lights Outside The Tank Aren’t Bright

Also make sure that when you turn the tanks lights off, the lights outside aren’t too bright either. If they are they’ll shine into the tank which could affect your guppies’ sleep. You can combat this by turning the tank lights off when you go to sleep, or by placing a sheet over the tank if you can’t stop light getting in.

Nowhere To Hide

And lastly, your guppies may not sleep as well if they have nowhere to hide. Even if there are no threats in the tank, your fish don’t know that. By placing lots of ornaments in the tank you’re going to make them feel safe. This safety will ensure they get enough sleep every night.

How Can You Tell When Your Guppy Is Sleeping

If you can see into the tank when the lights are off, you may be able to notice that your guppies are sleeping. In fact, occasionally, they may even do this in the day as well.

The first way you can tell your guppy is sleeping is if they’re laying motionless on the substrate when the lights are off. This is one of the common spots they’ll end up, but it’s not the only one.

You should also check through your ornaments and plants to see if your guppies are sleeping in there as well. And lastly, you may even notice them just floating near the top of the tank.

As well as this, you’ll also notice that their breathing is slower and that their eyes aren’t moving at all.

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How Do You Know If Your Guppy Is Sleeping Or Dead?

From what you’ve just read, you may notice that it can be hard to distinguish between whether your guppy is sleeping, or whether they’ve died.

The biggest way to know that they’re not sleeping is to notice what happens when you turn the light on. When you turn the light on if after a few minutes they haven’t moved at all, then, unfortunately, they may have died.

Also, if you look closely at them, you’ll notice there’s absolutely no movement coming from their gills or mouth. This is a sign that they’re not breathing at all.

And lastly, the biggest sign is if you try to scoop them out with a net and they don’t move at all. At this point, you can be pretty confident that they’ve passed away.

The One Exception

The only exception to a guppy not moving is when it’s a pregnant female. In fact, pregnant females will lay perfectly still on the substrate or around the tank at times. Luckily though, if a female is pregnant you’ll be able to spot it very easily.

(Find out how to tell if your guppy is pregnant.)


Do Guppies Sleep Upside Down?

A healthy guppy will never sleep upside down
If your Guppy is swimming upside down, however, It can be a sign of something else. Find out what it means here!. If you notice that your guppy is upside down it means there’s something wrong.

There are a couple of reasons that your guppy may be upside down. The first one is that there’s a problem with the water. So make sure you test the ammonia, pH and check the temperature.

Once you’ve ruled out that it’s not a problem with the water parameters, then the chances are its swim bladder disease. At this stage, it may be harder for your guppy to come back from the ill.

The best thing you can do is speak to a vet or reliable fish store to find out what you should do.

(Find out more about a guppies pH requirements.)

Do Guppies Sleep At The Bottom Of The Tank?

Guppies do sleep at the bottom of the tank, as has been previously mentioned. However, there are times when your guppy may be at the bottom of the tank because there’s a problem.

Some of these problems include temperature shock, swim bladder disease, and other illnesses. If your guppy is constantly sleeping at the bottom of the tank, then you should begin checking for other symptoms that could show it’s sick.

Do Guppy Fry Sleep?

Guppy fry are going to need similar amounts of sleep to their parents. However, it’s even more important that you give them adequate amounts of both light and dark. Without the right amount of both, it’s much more likely that guppy fry will die.

Now, check out this video by Fish Keeping Tips on Guppies’ sleep!

How to Improve Your Guppies’ Sleep Quality

There are a few things you can do to enhance your guppies’ sleep quality. Firstly, it’s important to maintain a consistent light and dark cycle in their habitat. This means providing them with a regular photoperiod of 10-12 hours of light and 12-14 hours of darkness each day.

Secondly, try to keep their environment as peaceful and stress-free as possible. Avoid sudden loud noises or movements near their tank and make sure the water parameters are optimal. Guppies prefer slightly alkaline water with a pH between 7.0 and 7.8 and a temperature between 72-82°F.

Lastly, consider adding some hiding spots and plants to their tank to make them feel secure and comfortable. This will help them feel more relaxed and promote better sleep.


Now you know that guppies do sleep, and in fact, their sleeping pattern is pretty similar to our own. You can improve your guppies sleep by giving them plenty of places to hide, make sure there are no aggressive tank mates, and that they’re getting enough time with the lights off.

If your guppy isn’t moving and stays in the same place then the chances are they’ve died. However, it’s also important to be aware that sometimes pregnant guppies will freeze in place.

And lastly, remember, your guppies shouldn’t ever float upside down or spend all their time laying at the bottom of the tank. This could be a sign of a serious problem.


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