Are Guppies Aggressive? (How To Stop Their Aggression?)

Image of a guppy about to become aggressive

Guppies are sociable fish. They are a fantastic addition to a community tank for their vibrant colors. However, many people fear or are unaware of the temperaments of guppies. So, are guppies aggressive?

Guppies are not aggressive. However, they can become aggressive if there are less or no female guppies, overcrowding, food scarcity, or in a small group. The best way to curb guppy aggression is to maintain male to female ratio, water quality, provide plenty of hiding spots, and avoid overcrowding.

Aggression is something that is not associated with guppies. However, they do become aggressive if we do not meet certain conditions. So, let’s now discuss the various reasons for their aggression and effective ways to stop it.

Why Or When Do Guppies Get Aggressive?

Growing fish in a community tank is an enormous challenge. Therefore, aquarists often keep fish that are compatible with each other. However, not all fish will live in harmony.

Fish like guppies that are peaceful can also become territorial. There are various reasons for their aggressive behavior.

Given below are some of the most common reasons for guppy aggression.

1. Illness.

Illness is one of the primary reasons for guppies to show aggression. They become aggressive to protect themselves and hide their illness.

You may sometimes also notice guppies becoming aggressive if a member of their school is sick. The sick fish is looked upon as a threat by the rest of the guppies. So, they harass the sick guppy to move it away from them.

2. Dominance.

Dominance is another primary reason for guppy aggression. Though guppies are peaceful, there are some dominant guppies too.

These dominant guppies will intimidate the other timid guppies by fighting with them. They will show aggression towards the timid guppies to establish their dominance.

3. Competition for mating.

Mating is natural to every fish species. One of the common reasons for male guppies to become aggressive is competition for mating. Male guppies are constantly competing for the right to mate with female guppies.

These aggressive behaviors mainly exist when the male guppies outnumber their female counterparts. The male guppies fight and become aggressive if there are fewer female guppies in the tank for mating.

4. Food scarcity.

Every fish needs an adequate food supply to remain healthy. If food is scarce, guppies will start competing for limited food.

They then may become aggressive towards each other for food consumption. The timid guppies will suffer the most in these cases as they will be deprived of food.

5. Overcrowding.

An overcrowded tank is another reason for the aggressive behavior of guppies. If you have an overcrowded tank, it will cramp your guppies for space to swim freely.

Guppies are free-flowing fish that need ample space to swim freely. Space constraints can irk guppies, and they can become aggressive.

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6. Small group.

Guppies like to have social interaction with their tankmates. In the wild, guppies love to swim around in a group of hundreds.

In captivity, you should house guppies in a group of at least 6. If you have an aquarium with only 3 or 4 guppies, they may become aggressive. One of the guppies may try to assert dominance over others by being aggressive.

7. Introduction of new fish.

Introducing a new fish in the tank may trigger aggression towards the newly added fish. Since the new fish is not familiar with the other guppies, the existing guppies may try to bully the newly added fish.

This aggressive behavior of guppies will exist until the new fish gets accustomed to its tankmates.

Alright! Now that you are aware of the numerous reasons for guppies to become aggressive, let’s also understand if female guppies are aggressive.

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Are Female Guppies Aggressive?

Female guppies are usually peaceful. However, they exhibit aggression when male guppies continuously harass them.

Female guppies are social. They like to spend time with each other to form a bonding and also to establish a hierarchy. When there are males in the aquarium, the male guppies chase the females for mating. The female guppies sometimes feel harassed by this chasing if they are not interested.

They then get less time to spend with other female guppies as they are trying to escape from the aggressive males. According to a research, female guppies vent their frustration on other female guppies when they feel helpless. This aggressive behavior of the female guppies is not intentional and is a case of misplaced aggression.

Are Male Guppies Aggressive?

Male guppies are aggressive compared to female guppies. Moreover, if you have a male-only guppy tank, they will become aggressive as they will not find female guppies to mate.

This aggression may sometimes turn ugly and lead to fights causing injury to the timid guppies. Also, male guppies can become aggressive when the males outnumber the female guppies.

Besides, they become aggressive to show dominance and to create their own territory.

Now, knowing that guppies can display aggression, we must also learn about ways to curb this aggression. Let’s now have a look at the various ways to stop guppy aggression.

Related Further Reading: How Guppies Mate? (Entire Process + Ideal Mating Conditions)

How To Stop Guppy Aggression?

Although guppies are docile fish, sometimes they display aggression and start bullying. Aquarists with no previous experience of fish keeping may find it difficult to curb this aggression.

Given below are some of the ways to stop guppy aggression.

1. Maintain water quality.

Water quality is of paramount importance for a fish to thrive. Guppies become aggressive if the water quality is bad. Hence, maintaining the water quality is a good way to stop guppy aggression.

You need to ensure that the water parameters of the tank are favorable to the guppies. Also, the ammonia levels should be as close to zero as possible.

2. Avoid male-only guppy tank.

Guppies are prolific breeders. They have a powerful urge to mate. Hence, the best way to avoid guppy aggression is to have female guppies in the tank.

Also, having females around will keep male guppies engaged. They will then stop fighting among themselves.

3. Maintain male-to-female ratio.

It’s important that aquarists pay attention to the male-female ratio in the tank. The more the number of females you have in the tank, the lesser the chance of aggression.

Female guppies should always outnumber their male counterparts. The golden rule is 3:1. That is three female guppies to each male guppy. This will ensure that the male guppies will not compete with each other over the female guppies.

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4. Have large groups.

Another good way to stop aggression is to keep guppies in large groups. In the wild, guppies live in big groups. So, it is advisable to keep guppies in groups of 6 or more.

When you keep guppies in large groups, the aggression will spread evenly. So, no particular timid guppy will get harassed continuously.

5. Avoid overcrowding.

It is true that guppies prefer to live in large groups. However, this does not mean that the tank should be overcrowded.

Overcrowding results in a space shortage for swimming. Guppies need ample space for swimming. Avoiding overcrowding will help in controlling the aggressive behavior of guppies.

Also, you should add guppies of a similar size to the tank. If you keep large fish with smaller guppies, the larger fish can become aggressive towards the smaller guppies. The best way to avoid this behavior is to add guppies of similar sizes that are less likely to attack each other.

6. Provide adequate food supply.

Guppies need adequate food supply to remain content. Some guppies can become aggressive in case of food shortage. Hence, it is advisable to supply adequate food to guppies.

You need to feed the guppies nutritional food at least two-to-three times per day. This will ensure that your guppies get plenty of vitamins and minerals for their growth. Besides, feeding adequate food will help to curb the aggressive behavior of guppies.

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7. Keep a large tank.

Another way to curb guppy aggression is to provide a large tank. Guppies become aggressive and stressed if the tank is too small.

Therefore, you should select a tank depending on the number of guppies you wish to keep. The ideal guppy tank should not be smaller than 10 gallons of water. Keeping guppies in a spacious tank helps in controlling guppy aggression to a larger extent.

8. Create plenty of hiding places.

Guppies enjoy resting in hiding places, especially the sick and timid guppies. Also, hiding spots ensure that the aggressive fish is separated from the temperamental ones. Hiding spots provide security to the fish.

You can provide various hiding spots to guppies by having plants, ornaments, caves, logs, and driftwood in the tank. You need to be careful in providing the hiding spots as the tank should not get crowded with objects.

9. Separate the aggressive guppies.

If you find an aggressive guppy in your tank, the last resort is to separate it from the rest. This will help to reduce the aggression and eliminate the risk of possible injuries to other guppies.

You can separate the aggressive guppy for a couple of days and observe its behavior. If the guppy calms down, you can then reintroduce it to the main tank. However, if it still displays aggressive behavior, it is better to isolate it from others. Some guppies can be naturally aggressive, and you cannot do much.

If you don’t want to invest in a separate tank, you can separate the aggressive guppy by a tank divider. The tank divider allows all the fish to interact but prevents them from touching or hurting each other.

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Related Questions

Are Endler guppies aggressive? Endler guppies are not as vibrant as fancy guppies. Just like other guppies, Endler guppies have a calm personality. However, they may show some mild aggression for the mating ritual.

Are pregnant guppies aggressive? Pregnant guppies can become aggressive when it comes to feeding. If there is food scarcity, pregnant female guppies may fight with the other tankmates to get the food they need. Besides, when female guppies are pregnant, their motherly instincts kick in as they want to protect their young ones. They can become aggressive and chase away other fish in the aquarium that comes near them. Also, pregnant female guppies that are dominant and have strong maternal instincts may become aggressive to establish dominance over other guppies.

Are Elephant Ear guppies aggressive? Elephant Ear guppies are unique compared to other varieties of guppies. They stand out because of their big and long ears that resemble an elephant’s ear. Elephant Ear guppies are very peaceful. They are non-aggressive fish that get along with most of the other small and peaceful fish. They do not show any aggression towards their tankmates.

Are guppies aggressive to each other? Guppies like to create and protect their own territory. They can become aggressive towards each other if they feel their territory is being threatened. Guppies show their aggression either by bullying or by nipping each other fins, tails, or other body parts. Also, as mentioned earlier, guppies become aggressive towards each other if they fight over the same female for mating.

Are guppies aggressive to platys? Guppies and platys are similar to one another with regard to their size and shape. Hence, they are often kept together. Guppies become aggressive towards platys, mainly for mating. If you have a male-dominant guppy tank with fewer female guppies, the male guppies will get attracted to female platys for mating purposes. Also, the male guppies will compete with the male platys if there are fewer females in the tank. Besides, guppies chase the platys away if they enter their territory. Related Further Reading: Can Guppies Live With Platies? (+ How To Keep Them Together)

Are guppies aggressive to mollies? Just like platys, guppies also show aggression towards mollies for mating purposes. This aggressive behavior occurs mainly when male guppies have a fewer number of female guppies to mate. They will then get attracted to female mollies to satisfy their urge to mate. Besides, guppies have a territorial tendency. They become aggressive towards mollies if mollies threaten their territory. Guppies like to safeguard their territory and do not like any other fish to enter it. Related Further Reading: Can Guppies Live With Mollies? (Similarities, Challenges & Adaptability)