How To Keep Male And Female Guppies In The Same Tank

Just about any fishkeeper will be able to keep male and female guppies in the same tank. However, there are things you can do to maximize their happiness.

In this article, you’ll find out the things you can do to make your tank the best tank possible for a guppy tank!

So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

What Is The Perfect Ratio Of Male To Female Guppies?

Generally, people believe that you should keep 1 male for every 3 female guppies. And there’s a reason this ratio works quite well. (Not just for the females but the males as well.)

Females are constantly getting harassed by males. In fact, they’re quite choosy when it comes to who they mate with. But because of this, males will constantly harass them.

This also takes a toll on the males, though. Males typically have a shorter lifespan than females, and it’s thought that this is because they spend most of their lives chasing and harassing females.

So keeping 1 male to every 3 females helps to balance out the issues between both. The females don’t get harassed as much, and the males have a choice of females.

What Is The Ideal Tank Setup For Males And Females?

Now you know the ratio of males to females you should keep, the next step is setting up your tank so that it’s ideal for your guppies.

The key to setting up a tank for your guppies to be happy in is to make sure that you’re keeping the tank as close to their natural habitat as possible. Here are the ways you can do this.

Add Plenty Of Plants

Guppies love plants. They oxygenate the tank, make it feel more natural, and give them plenty of places to hide. Most of the plants you choose are going to make your guppy happy; however, you should make sure the plants you choose aren’t going to outgrow your tank.

Here are some plants that are a great choice for guppy tanks:

Anubias Nana

Anubias Nana is a great plant, and it can be kept in tanks as small as 5 gallons. It’s normally used as a background plant because of its large leaves, and the way it grows.

These large leaves also provide great hiding places which your guppy is going to love, as well as giving guppy fry a place to hide from other fish as well.

If you’re a beginner, it’s also extremely easy to look after. Just leave it in the tank with low light, and it will grow.

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Java Moss

Another great beginner plant that guppies love is java moss. In fact, there isn’t a better plant for beginners; it can grow in almost all conditions. The only downside is you’ll have to cut it every once in a while.

When you add java moss to your guppy tank, you can attach it to driftwood and caves to give your guppies areas where they can feel safe when they want to rest.

If you’ve never looked after aquarium plants before, then java moss is a must-have.


Duckweed is a floating plant that will also make your guppies feel safe by helping them feel sheltered from predators above them. As well as this, guppy fry can hide in the roots of duckweed which will help them to survive.

Maintenance of duckweed is extremely easy as well. In fact, if you just leave it in your tank, it will quickly grow out of control. Fortunately, all you need to do is scoop some out and throw it away to keep it growing at acceptable levels.

Places To Hide

As well as this, you also want to make sure that you’re giving your guppies plenty of other places to hide apart from plants as well. One of the best things you can do is add some driftwood to your tank.

It’s going to help keep the tank feeling natural. If you add it straight to the water, it’s also going to release tannins that make the water look brown.

While this may not look as good to you, your guppies are going to love it. However, remember that this is optional; they’ll also be perfectly happy in water without tannins in it.

As well as driftwood, cave ornaments are also a great way to provide shelter and hiding places for your guppies as well. However, you don’t just have to use caves, and ornament can work as long as the edges aren’t too sharp or rough.

Indian Almond Leaves are another great choice for your tank, especially if the pH is too high.

Keep The Temperature and pH Optimal

You also want to make sure that the temperature and pH levels in your tank are as close to perfect as they should be. The temperature should be between 72-78°F, and the pH should be between 6.8-7.8.

To maintain the temperature, you should have a heater in the tank as well as a thermometer so you can keep an eye on it. The pH level is a little bit trickier. If it’s too high, you should add Indian Almond Leaves to bring it down; however, if it’s too low, you can try adding some baking soda to bring it back up. (Find out more about getting the perfect guppy pH level.)

And lastly, on top of this, you should also make sure that the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels in the tank stay as close to 0ppm as possible. If not, then your guppies are going to become sick.

What Are Some Downsides Of Keeping Males And Females Together?

While it’s perfectly normal to keep male and female guppies together, there are definitely some downsides to doing this. In fact, in an ideal world, you’d only keep females in a tank together. However, unfortunately, they’re not nearly as beautiful as the males.

Here are some of the biggest problems of keeping the two together.


Guppies are prolific breeders; even if you keep one male in a tank with three females, you can bet they’re all going to become pregnant multiple times.

As you can imagine, during pregnancy, there’s going to be a lot of stress on a guppies body which could compromise her immune system.

Not only this, but if there are complications at birth, she may not end up surviving.

And that’s before you even consider the amount of fry that is going to end up in your tank. If they don’t all get eaten before they’re big enough, then you may end up with more guppies than you started with, which will increase the bioload of the tank.

(Are you curious whether guppies lay eggs? and more importantly, how long it takes them to grow.)


Bullying can often occur when you’re keeping multiple fish of the same species in a tank together. And it’s always the least aggressive fish that will end up getting bullied, even if they aren’t the weakest.

When bullying occurs, there’s not much you can do apart from adding a lot more hiding places into the tank and if necessary, moving the aggressor to another tank or taking them back to the shop.


Lastly, another extremely common problem when keeping male and female guppies together is harassment. When males are in a tank with females, they’re always going to harass them and to try and mate with them.

While you can limit this by adding more females than males it’s always going to happen. If you want to stop harassment from occurring then you should have a tank that only has females.

You should never keep a tank of male guppies. If you keep males together with no females then they’re only going to end up constantly fighting and bullying each other.

Can Guppies Get Pregnant Without A Male?

You may think that you can avoid pregnancy in your females by never adding a male into the tank with them. However, this isn’t really the case.

Guppies are able to store sperm inside of them for months at a time after they’ve mated, waiting for the optimal conditions to become pregnant. So you may end up buying female guppies that are already fertilized, and there’s no way you’re going to be able to know.

If you want fry in your tank, then this isn’t a problem. However, if you don’t, you’ll either need to remove the fry or hope the fish in your tank eat them.


Now you know that you can keep male and female guppies together in a tank. And for the best success and happiness, adding lots of hiding places, keeping more females than males, and keeping the tank conditions perfect are key.

About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio!

Betta fish keeper for over 6 years now! Since owning a betta I've also housed all kinds of tropical fish, and have seen all manner of problems and how to look after them!

If you need any advice you can always message me or better yet join the Facebook group where a community can answer your questions!