Can Guppies Eat Ants? (Why Not, And What To Feed Instead)

Image of ants walking on a tree

In the wild, tropical fish like guppies feed on live insects, invertebrates, and larvae. Even in an aquarium setting, guppies thrive on live food like brine shrimp and insect eggs. Being rich sources of protein, this type of food helps the fish grow faster and bigger. However, not all insects qualify as good fish food. So, before you throw in an insect for your fish to snack on, you should check if it is safe for them. Ants are one of the most common insects we find in nature. So, can guppies eat ants?

While guppies can eat ants, it is not recommended to feed ants to guppies. Ants are high in formic acid and release various chemicals when threatened. These chemicals can cause side-effects in guppies. While the chemicals may not harm large fish, the same is not true for smaller fish like guppies.

But, what if you still want to feed ants to your guppies?

What Happens If Your Guppy Eats Ants?

Even if you do not voluntarily offer ants as a snack, your guppy may come across these insects.

Unless your aquarium is fully secured, an unlucky ant may fall into the fish tank.

When it does, your guppies will not spare it.

Given their gregarious nature, they will most likely shoot to the surface and gobble it down before you even notice it.

However, ants have a distinct taste that most fish dislike. So, your guppy may even spit the ant out.

Now, even if a guppy occasionally eats an ant, it will not be a serious problem.

Most fish can digest insects without any concern. But do not make it a regular practice.

Many varieties of ants are highly poisonous. Even the commonly seen black ants will release irritating toxins.

Although it may not be fatal to fish, it will cause discomfort. It is probably why ants are not a staple diet for most fish.

Very few types of fish, like the archerfish and cichlids, enjoy eating ants.

So, to be on the safe side, stick with feeding your guppies tried and tested fresh food and store-bought pellets.

Since they have a good appetite, guppies enjoy a variety of food. Just do not feed them ants.

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Best Live Food For Guppies

Guppies are omnivorous fish that thrive on a varied diet.

While plant-based food will help them meet their mineral and vitamin needs, this fish also needs protein.

There are many types of processed fish food that can supply their required protein.

However, fresh or freeze-dried live food is the best source of protein for guppies.

Live food is more nutritious. If you feed young guppy fish live food twice or thrice a week, they tend to become bigger.

Frequent feeding of live food will help them develop rapidly.

Mature fish will survive on flake food alone. However, protein from live food is beneficial for their health.

Feed it in moderation, and your fish will stay healthy.

Here are the different types of fresh food that will help a guppy grow and flourish.

Best Live Food For A Healthy Guppy Diet

Brine shrimp: Brine shrimp are nutritious live food that is suitable for various types of fish.

It is one of the best foods for guppies during their growing stage.

Brine shrimp delivers 60% protein and 25% fat to fish.

Due to the high protein content, brine fish is highly recommended for guppy fry. It will help the fry grow faster and bigger.

Brine shrimp is a favorite for guppies.

However, feed it in moderation, especially to adult fish.

The high protein content can lead to higher ammonia levels in the waste. It can in turn affect the quality of the water.

Freeze-dried brine-shrimp is available in most pet stores.

However, if you prefer to feed your fish fresh brine shrimp, consider setting up a brine shrimp hatchery at home.

Buy the brine shrimp eggs and prepare a brine shrimp hatchery with a readymade kit.

You can then feed your guppies fresh brine shrimp as they hatch.

Micro worms: Micro worms are tiny worms that will easily fit into the mouths of guppies.

They contain 76% water, and the rest is dry matter. This dry matter comprises of 40% protein and 20% fat.

These worms are some of the easiest types of live fish food to grow at home.

All you need is a fresh culture of worms and a piece of bread.

Leave the micro worms with the bread in a moist sealed space, and they will start multiplying in three or four days.

So, you will have thousands of worms within ten days.

Keep the micro worms culture going, even as you harvest adult worms and offer them to your guppies.

As they grow, they will climb the sides of the container.

You can easily pick them up with a Q-tip or stick off the sides and directly feed them to the guppies.

To give guppy fry their share of micro worms, pick the worms from the container with a Q-tip and transfer it into a cup of water.

Use a dropper to suck the worms from the very bottom of the cup and spot feed it to the fry.

Daphnia: Daphnia, also called water fleas, belong to the crustacean family.

They are easily digestible, non-fattening food for guppies.

It provides protein, fat, and vitamins to the fish and is healthy live food.

The benefit of feeding daphnia to fish is multi-fold.

Apart from satisfying their nutritional needs, this live food doesn’t pollute the tank.

If you drop excess daphnia as feed, it will continue to live in the water till the fish find them and eat them.

So, they do not adversely affect water quality.

While you can culture daphnia at home, it is a smelly affair. You can find fresh daphnia in shallow freshwater ponds.

However, take care to clean it well before feeding your fish to avoid infection from unwanted parasites.

Vinegar eels: Vinegar eels are highly recommended for guppy fry. They contain 50% protein and 20% fat.

Vinegar eels exist as tiny white roundworms in vinegar and fermented liquids.

Although they aren’t as nutritious as brine shrimp, vinegar eels are good for fresh guppy fry until they grow to the size where they can eat brine shrimp.

Another advantage of vinegar eel is that it will not sink to the bottom of the tank and spoil the water quality.

These little eels survive and move around till they are noticed and eaten by the fish.

Like daphnia, vinegar eel cultures are also very smelly.

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To Wrap It Up…

If an ant fits into a guppy’s mouth, it will devour it.

While eating ants will most likely not cause any problem for your guppy, it is a less-than-desirable food for this fish.

Ants set off toxins that can trigger unwanted side-effects or cause irritation to guppies.

It is also possible that your guppy will dislike its taste and spit it out.

Instead of feeding your fish random insects that lurk in your home, we suggest that you feed them nutritious live food like brine shrimp, daphnia, micro worms, and vinegar eels.

These protein-rich foods will guarantee faster and better growth, and not cause any adverse health problems.