Do Guppies Sleep? (How, When, And For How Long?)

Image of a guppy sleeping at the bottom of the tank

Guppies are fancy fish. Due to their vibrant colors, they make the tank look attractive and lively. It is the kind of fish that most aquarists are fond of. If you look at your tank, you will find your guppies active and swimming around most of the time. So, do guppies sleep?

Yes, guppies do sleep. While sleeping, they float at the top of the tank, on the gravel at the tank’s bottom, or near the plant decoration in the tank. Since guppies do not have eyelids, they sleep with their eyes open. You will usually find guppies sleeping at night when the lights are off.

Now, you might wonder how and when guppies sleep. Let’s take a look at their sleeping patterns and all the other details related to their sleeping.

How Do Guppies Sleep?

Guppies do not have eyelids, and so they cannot close their eyes when they are sleeping.

But then, how do you know if your guppies are sleeping?

Guppies are very active. They relentlessly swim around in the tank until they get tired.

So, when your guppies are not swimming around and are inactive, it is the time when they are sleeping and taking rest.

Guppies sleep like humans. When you turn off the lights of the aquarium, your guppies will sleep.

They will lie motionless and become inactive.

You will often see your guppies sleeping or taking rest on the gravel at the bottom of the tank.

At other times, they might float at the surface or take rest near the plant decoration in the aquarium.

When guppies are sleeping, they make no eye movements. They have a lower rate of respiratory activity while sleeping.

Guppies do not exhibit REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.

They become less sensitive to sound and are not stimulated by outside noise when they sleep.

Note: If you notice your guppy floating in the tank motionless in broad daylight, it is a sign of danger. It is not sleeping, and something is bothering your little one. Moreover, if it is not eating properly, has a cloudy eye, has white spots or unusual patches on its scales, then these are all signs of your guppy being sick. A pregnant guppy does lie on the gravel during the day to rest. However, if your guppy is not pregnant, and shows any of the signs mentioned above, you need to immediately seek professional help to diagnose and provide medication.

Now that you know about the sleeping patterns of guppies, let’s understand how much sleep your guppies need for healthy growth.

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How Much Sleep Do Guppies Need?

Just like humans, guppies need sleep to rest.

They need a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sleep. They need to sleep to conserve their energy. 

Guppies are diurnal fish. That means they sleep at night and are awake during the day.

Guppies do not need light when they sleep. They sleep in darkness.

Since they follow the same sleeping routine as humans, you don’t have to remind yourself to switch off the lights for them to sleep.

You can follow nature. After sunset, you can dim the aquarium light, and after sunrise, just switch on the aquarium lights.

Now, since guppies sleep for 6 to 8 hours per day, it does not mean that you need to keep the lights on for the rest of the time.

Excessive lighting will result in algae growth in your aquarium. This is harmful to the well-being of your guppies.

Keeping the lights on for 8 to 10 hours a day is sufficient to keep your guppy healthy.

Also, it will ensure that the plants in the aquarium will grow properly. It will also avoid excessive growth of algae.

Okay! Now that you know guppies need to sleep for around 8 hours, what can you do to ensure that your guppy gets the required sleep?

What Can You Do To Help Your Guppies Get Sound Sleep?

Sleep is very vital for the growth of guppies. Sound sleep helps to keep guppies healthy and free from any sickness.

So, providing a stress-free and favorable habitat to your guppies is important.

You can do the following things to help your guppies get sound sleep:

  • Restful Environment: Guppies prefer to sleep at night when the sun sets and wake up in the morning when the sun rises. So, you can switch off the aquarium lights at night so that your guppies get appropriate rest.
  • Hiding Places: Guppies sleep at the bottom of the tank or sometimes even float on the top of the water. You can provide them with hiding places such as plants, rocks, and other aquarium ornaments. Providing such places will make your guppies feel safe and secure in the tank and help them get sound sleep.
  • Favorable Tank Condition: It is of utmost importance that you provide favorable tank conditions to your guppies as they spend their entire life in the tank. It is always advisable to keep them in an aquarium that resembles their natural habitat as it will make them feel secure. The tank should be big enough as guppies love to swim. Apart from that, water hardness and pH levels are also critical water parameters for guppies. The ideal water parameters to keep your guppies healthy are:
    • Water Temperature: 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C)
    • Water pH: 6.8 to 7.8
    • Water Hardness (dGH): 8 to 12
  • Non-Aggressive Tank Mates: If you have multiple fish species in the tank, ensure that the tank mates get along with each other. Guppies are peaceful in nature, and so they do not prefer aggressive tank mates. If you have any aggressive fish along with guppies in the same tank, your guppies will be deprived of sound sleep. The aggressive fish will keep your guppies awake, either by nipping at them or bullying them throughout the night.
  • Lighting: Lighting is the other most crucial factor that affects the sleeping pattern of guppies. Guppies sleep at night when there is darkness and wake up when the sun rises. So, there should be darkness around your guppies when they are sleeping. Your guppies will most likely wake up when there is any light directed towards them. That is why you need to ensure that there is no direct light facing the aquarium. There should be adequate lighting in the room where the aquarium is placed. The lighting of the aquarium is as vital as nutrition for your guppies’ health. Also, ensure that you do not expose your guppies to light for more than 10 to 12 hours a day as excessive lighting is harmful. Also, exposure to light for more than 12 hours will deprive your guppies of sleep and rest.

Now, let us also understand how you can be sure if your guppy is sleeping and resting.

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How Do You Know If Your Guppy Is Sleeping?

Like humans, guppies sleep at night when it is dark. You can know if your guppy is sleeping by its lack of movement.

If it is not sleeping, it will swim actively all over the aquarium.

You might find your guppy taking rest at the bottom of the tank on the substrate or near the plant decoration.

Sometimes, it can even float on the top of the water. Or you might notice that your guppy’s eyes are still and it is breathing slowly.

All of these are indications that your guppy is sleeping.

Alright! Now you know how to figure out if your guppy is sleeping.

But, what if it is dead and not sleeping? How will you differentiate between the two?

How Do You Know If Your Guppy Is Sleeping Or Is Dead?

When guppies are sleeping, they are motionless. So, you may wonder how you can be sure if your guppy is sleeping or is dead.

There are certain things that you can check to confirm if your guppy is sleeping or is dead.

First and foremost, guppies prefer to sleep at night.

So, if you notice your guppy is floating motionless in the daytime or is frozen without any movement, chances are high that your guppy is sick or dead.

If your guppy is sick, you will find some white spots or patches on its scales.

In such a case, you can try to feed your guppy, and if it does not respond, then it is a cause of concern. You should immediately seek professional help.

Secondly, you can take a closer look at your guppy.

If you find that there is no movement of its mouth or gills, it means that your guppy is not breathing.

In that case, it is probably dead.

Thirdly, you can switch on the lights of the aquarium and check for any movement.

If there is no movement even after a few minutes, then your guppy might be dead.

And lastly, you can try to scoop it out with a net.

Sleeping guppies will usually wake up when you try to scoop them out with a net.

If your guppy does not respond, then it is the biggest sign that it is dead.

Now, keep in mind that a pregnant female guppy does rest in daylight on the gravel at the bottom of the tank.

So, if you have a female guppy, you might find her sleeping during day time also.

Talking about female guppies and pregnancy, what about guppy fry? Do they sleep?

Do Guppy Fry Sleep?

Just like adult guppies, guppy fry also need adequate sleep for their growth.

Their sleeping pattern and time are similar to those of their parents. They often sleep at night and are active during the day.

You need to ensure that your guppy fry get an adequate amount of light and darkness.

If they do not get it, they will become sick and will eventually die.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do guppies sleep at the bottom of the tank? Guppies do have a habit of sleeping at the bottom of the tank. You will often find your pregnant guppies resting on the gravel at the bottom of the tank. However, if you find guppies at the bottom more often, then it’s not a good sign. It is an indication that your guppies are sick. They might be suffering from swim bladder disease, temperature shock, or other illnesses.

Do guppies sleep upside down? Guppies never sleep upside down. If you find your guppy sleeping upside down, it might be seriously ill or has swim bladder illness. In such a case, you should consult a veterinarian doctor immediately and seek medical advice. Apart from that, even the water parameters, like ammonia, pH, and water temperature in the aquarium, need to be checked. If the water parameters are not met, then you might find your guppy upside down in the tank. The water parameters should always suit the guppies. Otherwise, it can prove lethal to your fish.

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To Sum Up

Guppies do sleep. Their sleeping pattern is similar to humans as they sleep when the sun goes down and wake up when the sun rises.

They need a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sleep for their growth.

You can ensure that your guppies get sound sleep by providing them with favorable tank conditions, adequate lighting, suitable tank mates, and hiding places to rest.

If your guppies are lying motionless, remain still for a very long time, and do not respond even after you make several attempts, chances are that they might be dead.

The only exception are the pregnant female guppies.

They can sleep on the gravel at the bottom of the tank frequently for taking rest.

Always remember that your guppies should never sleep upside down or at the bottom of the tank regularly.

It is a sign that your guppies are sick.

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