Each adult guppy needs at least one gallon of water. However, the ideal calculation is one gallon per inch of fish. Since adult guppies are approximately two inches long and thrive in groups of three or more, you will need at least 10 gallons of water for five to ten guppies in a single fish tank.
Let’s talk about this thumb-rule in detail.
How Much Space Do Guppies Need?
The general rule is to have one gallon of water per inch of fish.
However, this calculation refers to the final size that the fish will achieve as an adult.
When you bring a guppy fish home, it will most likely be a young fish.
So, you cannot accurately estimate its space needs by its current size.
Consider how big it will be as an adult to plan the ideal tank size or the number of pet fish to buy.
A fully grown adult guppy male will be approximately 1.5 inches long.
Adult guppy females are slightly bigger and grow to 2 inches. Choose the tank size with this factor in mind.
One gallon of water per fish is the minimum recommendation. But guppies can grow to be 2 inches.
So, it will be better if each guppy has two gallons of water.
If you are new to fishkeeping, start with a few guppies only.
Two gallons of water per guppy will make it easy to manage.
Once you get used to the process, you can add more guppies to your aquarium.
Guppies are very active and friendly fish.
Since they enjoy the company of other fish, experts recommend keeping them in groups of three or more.
If you are a beginner, start with five fish and then grow your collection according to space availability.
For five guppies, your tank should hold at least ten gallons of water.
However, there is a catch – you will need a tank with a capacity of more than ten liters, and here is why.
A fully stocked aquarium will have a substrate, décor, water filter, air pump, plants, and other equipment.
All these items occupy space. Hence, the tank will finally hold less than ten gallons of water when fully stocked.
For five fish, your tank should hold at least ten full gallons of water even when it is fully stocked.
If you want your guppies to be happy, invest in a bigger tank.
You should also consider getting a bigger tank if you plan to expand your collection of guppies in the future.
Prepare For Guppy Fry
Guppies are very fertile fish that reproduce in aquarium settings when the conditions are right.
If you have male and female guppies, they will mate and produce offspring with alarming frequency.
In most tanks, the adult guppies will eat the babies if you do not separate them after birth.
Despite this risk, at least a few of the fry will survive and grow into adults.
When this happens, the guppy population in your tank will gradually increase.
So, choose a tank that is large enough to accommodate the new guppies also.
How To Determine The Ideal Number Of Guppies To Keep In An Aquarium?
If you already have a fish tank, all you need are the fish to go in it.
Let us look at how to calculate the number of guppies to keep in your tank.
First, measure the capacity of your tank.
Remember that it is necessary to determine how much water the tank will hold when it is fully stocked.
So, assess its holding capacity with all the equipment in place.
Now, use the rule of 1 gallon per guppy to calculate the maximum number of fish you can add.
Consider the gender of the fish as well. Accordingly, assess the possibility of having more guppies to care for in the future.
A 40-gallon tank is a good size for a community of guppy fish.
It can hold decorations and equipment, as well as hold enough volume of water for at least 20 fish.
Maintain the ratio of 2 females to one male to maintain the harmony of the tank.
Potential Issues In Overcrowded Fish Tanks
Overcrowding will adversely affect the health and well-being of your pet fish.
You will also struggle to keep the water parameters stable in a crowded fish tank.
Some of the common issues associated with overcrowded aquariums are:
- Reduced oxygen levels and increased demand for resources in the tank.
- More fish will lead to higher ammonia levels of water due to greater quantities of waste.
- Demand for food, resources, and space can lead to aggression and conflicts.
- Lack of space can inhibit the growth of young fish.
- Increased burden on the filtration system.
- Frequent water changes will be necessary to maintain the hygiene levels of the tank.
Nonetheless, some aquarium owners prefer to keep a tank slightly crowded since it will be livelier.
If you prefer this arrangement, you can make it work for your guppies with a few extra measures.
Firstly, invest in a good quality filter with the capacity to handle higher waste levels in a crowded fish tank.
Use biological filter media as it aids the beneficial bacteria in the tank. It will enable them to clean the tank more efficiently.
You can also add live plants to the aquarium.
Both floating and fixed aquatic plants can reduce the toxicity of the water and improve oxygen levels.
Be diligent about water changes and tank maintenance activities.
With regular cleaning and constant monitoring, you can create a positive environment for your guppies.
You will also be able to identify the first signs of illness or distress and intervene on time.
How can I control the guppy population in my aquarium? Guppies are prolific livebearers that give birth to new batches of fry every month when the conditions are favorable. If you leave the fry in the same tank as adults, the adults will most likely eat them up. While this will control the population to a certain extent, it is not always effective. To keep the guppy population in your tank under control, separate the pregnant guppy just before she drops the fry. You can use a breeding tank or separate enclosure for this purpose. Once the fry is old enough to survive, you can return them to the original tank or give them away.
Do you have to keep guppies in groups? Guppies are schooling fish. In the wild, they swim together in groups. Although they may not display schooling behavior in captivity, guppies are friendly with the other inmates of their tank. They benefit from the presence of other fish, including their kind. Social interaction keeps them lively and active. Although guppies can survive alone in a fish tank, they will be unhappy. So, keep them in groups of three or more.