How Long Do Guppies Live? (+10 Tips For Long Life)

Are you wondering “how long do guppies live?” This article doesn’t just explain how long guppies live for, but will also walk you through steps you can take to increase their lifespan. You’ll also learn what can shorter their lifespan, and how long guppies can live without food.

So keep reading to find out!

How Long Do Guppies Live?

Guppies can live anywhere between 1-3 years. However, it has been reported that some have even managed to make it to 5 years in the right conditions! However, this will depend largely on where they were bred and their genetics. It’s definitely the exception and not the rule.

However, if your guppy dies a few months after you get them, you may not need to blame yourself. In some cases, the guppy you bought could have already been old, and they’d just come to the end of their life.

Just be sure that when it does happen you check the tank parameters to make sure they’re all perfect. Otherwise, you could end up with more fish dying as well.

What Can Shorten A Guppies Lifespan?

There are many factors that will affect your guppies’ lifespan. And while many of them are in your control, some of them aren’t. Here are all the different things that can affect your guppies’ lifespan.


The number one decider of a guppies’ lifespan is genetics. If the parents have had a long life, then the chances are your guppies will have a longer life as well. The chances of this happening in commercial pet shops are a lot smaller. In most cases, they’re not as interested in the health of their fish, but rather in selling them.

(Find out more about how to selectively breed guppies.)


Another factor that will drastically reduce your guppies’ life is pregnancy. Especially when it happens multiple times. Pregnancy takes a massive toll on all animals, and unfortunately, guppies tend to get pregnant quite a lot.

If you’re keeping males and females together, then the chances are the females aren’t going to live nearly as long as the males.

Poor Tank Conditions

If you’re keeping your guppies in a tank that is overstocked, dirty, or not big enough, then it’s going to affect their lifespan. They’re hardy fish so they’ll be able to survive in these conditions. But make no mistake, they’re definitely not going to be happy, and their lifespan will definitely be reduced.


While poor tank conditions can cause stress, they’re not the only cause. As well as poor tank conditions having the wrong tank mates can also affect your guppies’ lifespan. If they’re in a tank with aggressive tank mates, they’re living in poor tank conditions, or sudden changes occur then they’ll become stressed. All of which will affect their lifespan.

In fact, if their body becomes too stressed too quickly, it can even become fatal.

(Here are the best tank mates that can live with guppies.)

How Can You Increase Your Guppies Lifespan?

Fortunately for all of us, there are many things you can do to improve your guppies’ lifespan. If you follow the advice below you’re giving your guppies the best chance of living not just a long, but also a happy life!

Make Sure They’re In A Shoal

Guppies are social fish and they shouldn’t be left on their own. When they’re left alone they’re going to become stressed, scared, bored, and even depressed. To stop this happening make sure you’re keeping them in a group that’s a minimum of 3 in size.

You should have 1 male guppy for every 2 female guppies. The only exception to this is if you decide to get 3 females. NEVER get 3 males as they will only end up fighting each other all the time.

(Find out how many guppies you can keep in a 5 gallon, 10 gallon, and 20 gallon tank.)

Use A Tank That’s Big Enough

Keeping your fish in a tank that’s big enough is essential for their health and happiness. Not just guppies but all fish. If you plan on keeping a shoal of guppies, then the minimum tank size you should use is 5 gallons. However, it’s always a good idea to go a little bit bigger to keep them happy.

If you’re thinking about upgrading to a larger tank, then I highly recommend the Fluval Flex 9 Gallon. You’ll be able to house 6-7 guppies in it easily.

Use A Filter And Heater

A lot of people just put their fish in a fish tank without adding a filter and heater. While they may be able to survive for a while without these, their lifespan will be greatly reduced without them.

All it’s going to take is one cold day, to drastically drop the temperature in your tank and kill your guppies. And without a filter, a build-up of ammonia is likely to happen, which will also be extremely fatal.

Not to mention that the number of water changes you’d need to perform when you don’t have a filter will stress your fish out as well.

(Find out why guppies need a heater and filter.)

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Feed Them High-Quality Food

You should also make sure that you’re feeding your guppies high-quality food. But it’s not just about feeding them high-quality food, you should also make sure they’re getting a varied diet as well.

Tetramin Tropical Flakes are a great choice, just make sure you’re also supplementing their diet with live food such as daphnia and mosquito larvae. You can also add blanched vegetables like cucumber and lettuce as a treat they’ll love as well!

The most important thing is to stay away from low-quality foods which often have nasty fillers that can make your guppies sick.

(Find out the best food to feed your guppies.)

Keep Them With Peaceful Fish

If you’re housing your guppies with aggressive fish then they’re obviously going to become stressed, which over time will lower their lifespan. So before choosing any new fish to add to your tank, make sure you research them thoroughly first.

Some great tank mates for guppies include corydoras catfish, shrimp (such as cherry shrimp and ghost shrimp), snails, and neon tetras. All of which are peaceful and will happily get on with your guppies.

Purchase From A Reputable Dealer

While you don’t have control over your guppies genetics, the right fishkeeper probably does. You should look for reputable dealers in your area that are selling fish. The chances are the fish are going to be much healthier coming from them over commercial stores, and you’re much more likely to get a healthy, long-living guppy.

Keep Only Females

If you only keep female guppies in your tank, then they aren’t going to be nearly as stressed as when males are in the tank. And they’re not going to stress each other out either. A mix of males and females will cause stress to the females who become pregnant. And having males in the tank will also increase aggression.

By keeping only females in the tank, you’re going to avoid all of this.

Make Sure They’re Entertained

Believe it or not, guppies can actually get stressed and depressed. If their tank isn’t stimulating, then it could have an effect on their health, ultimately shortening their lifespan.

So ensure that you’ve added plenty of ornaments and plants to keep them entertained. And of course, make sure you’re not keeping a guppy on its own.

Give Them Places To Hide

You should also make sure all your guppies have a place to hide. Making them feel safe is going to reduce the amount of stress they feel, increasing their life span. By adding ornaments you’re going to do this, but having lots of plants is going to make them feel even safer!

Test The Water Regularly

Lastly, you should be testing the water regularly as well. If you’re not testing the water at least once a week, then you’ll only know there’s something wrong with it when there’s something wrong with your guppies.

However, by testing it, you can help stop a problem before it becomes out of hand. If you don’t have a test kit then I highly recommend the API Master Test Kit.

Do Male Or Female Guppies Live Longer?

Generally speaking, it all depends on the individual fish, and both males and females will typically live for about 2 years. With that being said though if your females are constantly getting harassed or pregnant, then the chances are their lifespan will be shortened.

How Long Can Guppies Live Without Food?

Your guppy can live around 2 weeks without food before starving. However, you should NEVER allow them to go more than 3-4 days without food. Even though they can live for two weeks, they’ll be starving to death during this time, and allowing it to happen is extremely cruel.

3-4 days is a good amount of time to leave your guppies without feeding them. In fact, it’s actually good to fast them as it can clear their digestive tract reducing the chance of constipation.


Now you know that guppies typically live between 1-3 years. However, there are factors that will affect this, and primarily it all comes down to how stressed they are in your tank.

If you follow the tips above you’ll give your guppies the best chance of living a long and happy life.

And while guppies can live up to 14 days without food, it’s vital that you never leave it that long. Instead, you should only fast them for a maximum of 4 days.