Do Guppies Need Oxygen? + Ways To Increase Oxygen Levels

Image of oxygen bubbles in water

You might have noticed sometimes that your guppies are gasping for oxygen. They might have looked restless at times. So, you might get this question, do guppies need oxygen to live? Can they survive for long without adequate oxygen?

Guppies cannot breathe oxygen, but they do need adequate oxygenated water to survive. Like humans, guppies also cannot survive without oxygen. Guppies breathe through their gills. They pump out water through their gills, which in turn derives the oxygen out of the water.

Let’s now talk about the importance of oxygen for your guppies and the various ways to oxygenate your tank.

How Long Can Guppies Live Without Oxygen?

Oxygen is a prerequisite for guppies to live. No aquatic species can survive without oxygen. Guppies are no different.

Your guppy will not survive for too long without adequate oxygen supply in the tank.

In the wildlife, if the water is shallow, the movement of the fish causes the water to circulate.

So, guppies get more oxygen from the water surface.

In shallow water conditions, Guppies can survive for more than 2 days.

They can even survive maybe for a week unless there are too many guppies in the water.

Now that you know guppies cannot live for long without adequate oxygen let’s determine the causes for low oxygen levels.

Related Further Reading: Here’s Why Guppies Swim At The Top Of The Tank

What Causes The Oxygen Level To Deteriorate In The Fish Tank?

Water temperature is one of the reasons for the low oxygen level in the tank. Coldwater holds more dissolved oxygen as compared to warm water.

So if the water in your tank is on the warmer side, the oxygen level will be less.

However, you need to keep in mind that guppies prefer warm water.

Some of the medicine and chemicals used for your guppies can also decrease the oxygen content in the water.

So you need to be very careful about it.

If at all, you are still using such chemicals or medicines, you need to compensate for the oxygen loss.

Lack of oxygen does create problems for your guppies.

However, you can make use of an Air Pump to increase the oxygen level in your tank.

Do Guppies Need Oxygen From An Air Pump?

Air Pump helps in providing an additional supply of oxygen in aquarium tanks.

Many aquarists do keep an Air Pump in their tanks to maintain the oxygen level.

Guppies can’t breathe air. Like most of the fish, guppies also need well-oxygenated water.

They need oxygen from Air Pump if the supply of oxygen is less in the tank.

A proper oxygen level is absolutely vital for the health of your guppies.

Now let’s see in detail how an Air Pump functions in providing oxygen.

How Does An Air Pump Function And Its Benefits?

An Air Pump does not directly supply the oxygen required for your guppies.

The Air Pump stimulates the water surface, which in turn drives the oxygen into the water.  

Here are some of the main benefits of an Air Pump:

  • Agitates Water Surface and Exchanges Gas: Surface Agitation is very important for the health of your guppies as gas exchange takes place at the surface. Surface agitation helps in mixing the oxygen from the water surface to the water inside the tank. To ensure enough surface agitation, you will have to place your power filter slightly above the water level. This will ensure oxygen flows from the surface into the water. If you do not have a power filter, Air Pump is a good option. Air Pump creates a constant flow of bubbles that generates surface agitation and allows gas exchange to take place. Also, if at any time you find that your guppies are gasping for oxygen, Air Pump can resolve this instantly as it stimulates the water and makes way for the oxygen to get mixed into the water.
  • Increases The Oxygen Level: The biggest advantage of an Air Pump is that it agitates the surface water of the tank. This results in an increase in the oxygen level in the water. Also, if you have an Air Pump with an air stone, it creates numerous oxygen bubbles. That again helps in driving high oxygen supply directly into your tank water. The more oxygen your tank contains, the healthier your guppies will be.
  • Makes The Tank Look Attractive: Air Pump creates bubbles. If you decorate your tank with some ornaments that work with an Air Pump, your tank does look very attractive. Guppies are, in general, very fancy and colorful, and they liven up your tank with their looks. Also, there are chances that even your guppies will start enjoying the bubbles.
  • Allows Use Of Sponge Filters: An Air Pump allows you to use the Sponge Filters. Sponge Filters are very effective and a very good source for the development of bacteria that are beneficial to guppies. Also, they are very cheap and affordable. Sponge Filters cannot work on their own as they do not have a motor. They work well only with the help of an Air Pump. If you want to set up a new tank, Sponge Filters are very useful. They instantly make your new tank hospitable with their beneficial bacteria. You do not have to wait for weeks to cycle the water.

This was all about the Air Pump and its benefits. But some aquarists do not prefer an Air Pump in their tank.

So, the next question that arises is…

Interesting Further Reading:

Can Guppies Survive Without An Air Pump?

As mentioned earlier, Air Pump is the most effective way of increasing the oxygen level in the tank water by agitating the surface water.

If you are not going to use an Air Pump, then the other easy way to increase the oxygen level is to add fresh water to the tank.

Fresh water usually contains a lot of dissolved oxygen.

Another way of increasing the oxygen level in the water is by adding plants in the tank.

So, you might now be wondering if Air Pump essential. Can your guppy survive without an Air Pump?

Guppies can survive without an Air Pump if the water in your tank contains oxygen in abundance. Still surface cannot absorb oxygen from the air, so an Air Pump is used to increase the oxygen level in the tank water.

However, guppies can only survive without an Air Pump if the following criteria are met:

  1. Filter To Agitate Water: Air Pump is not needed if you have a filter that agitates the water in the tank. A filter is anyway needed to purify the water, and so it is better if you get a multi-specialty filter.
  2. Replacement Of Water: Fresh water contains a lot of dissolved oxygen. If you are replacing your existing water with fresh water frequently, you do not need an Air Pump. However, this procedure is time-consuming, and at the same time, it is tedious too.
  3. Powerheads / Wavemakers: Both of these are used to create turbulence in the water. They enable the gas exchange to happen on the surface. However, these need to be used with caution as they can sometimes turn out to be dangerous to your guppies.
  4. Large Surface Area: Larger the surface area of your tank, the chances to oxygenate water increases. This is due to more surface area available in the tank for gas exchange to happen. Oxygen issues are mainly faced if you have a narrow tank.

Recommended Further Reading:

Final Thoughts

Lack of oxygen poses a serious threat to the well being of your guppies.

There are warning signs you can look out for to know if the oxygen level is less in the water.

Signs like guppies swimming at the top of the tank, lethargic swimming, or change in swimming pattern of your guppies indicate less oxygen level in the water.

In such scenarios, you need to oxygenate your tank immediately.

Apart from an Air Pump, there are also other ways to oxygenate your fish tank.

You can use any of the above-mentioned techniques. Just ensure that your guppies are happy and well-oxygenated.