Guppies hide when they are stressed, sick, or uncomfortable in the tank conditions. They also hide due to bullying from the aggressive tank mates, overcrowding, lack of space, fear, environmental changes, or unfavorable living conditions. Female guppies hide when they are pregnant or are in labor.
Since guppies are active fish, they usually don’t hide without reason. Hence, if your guppies are constantly hiding, something is wrong in your tank that needs to be rectified. So, let’s discuss all the possible reasons that can make guppies hide.
11 Reasons Why Guppies Hide
In the wild, guppies mainly hide to avoid predation. When a predator comes near, guppies try to get out of sight quickly.
If this doesn’t work, they’ll move into deeper waters where the chances of them being seen are less.
Although there is no fear of predation in the home aquarium, guppies hide due to various reasons.
The most common reasons are listed below.
1. New environment.
Guppies need some time to acclimatize to the new environment.
Any fish, including guppies, become shy when they are exposed to new surroundings.
This is why guppies become skittish when you first add them to a newly set up tank or transfer them from one tank to another.
Initially, they hide to feel safe.
However, once the tank stabilizes and guppies become comfortable in the new habitat, they start exploring the tank.
Also, if you add guppies in a tank holding another fish species, guppies will hide as they are not familiar with their tank mates.
Guppies will look upon the tank mates as a possible threat until they get friendly with all of them.
Stress is one of the primary reasons for guppies to hide.
Guppies can feel stress if their needs are not met. They will then resort to hiding to feel secure.
Stress mainly occurs due to the following reasons:
- Food scarcity,
- Polluted water,
- Unstable water parameters,
- Lack of mates, and
- Constant bullying.
3. Poor water conditions.
Guppies live in clean freshwater in the wild. If the water quality of your tank is poor, guppies may suffer from health problems.
Poor water conditions cause guppies to lose appetite and eventually die.
If you notice any change in the color of the water, this could mean there is something wrong with the water quality.
You should immediately take action to correct the problem before it gets worse.
Regular water changes are the key to maintain water quality.
Besides, the installation of the filter also helps in maintaining water quality.
4. Unfavorable water parameters.
Stable and favorable water parameters are prerequisites for guppies to thrive.
However, sometimes these parameters fluctuate. When the water parameters go out of control, guppies tend to hide.
Any sudden and drastic change in water parameters causes stress to guppies.
Water parameters outside the optimal range cause anxiety among guppies, and they resort to hiding places to feel safe.
Overcrowding can be one of the reasons for guppies to hide.
Overcrowding results in less oxygen supply to each fish. The lack of oxygen causes stress among guppies.
Lack of oxygen may also lead to difficulty in breathing and rapid gill movements as guppies will become desperate to get oxygen from the water.
As a result, you will find guppies gasping at the surface of the tank water for oxygen.
Besides, overcrowding also results in space constraints for guppies to swim freely in the tank.
All these factors will ultimately lead to increased aggression and territoriality inside the tank.
6. Aggressive tank mates.
Guppies are popular for their peaceful temperament. Hence, they prefer tank mates with a similar temperament.
If you keep aggressive fish with guppies, it will lead to bullying.
Guppies can hide to safeguard themselves from constant bullying.
When guppies feel stressed, they tend to stay hidden until the situation changes.
Hiding also gives them time to think about what happened and how to deal with it.
Finally, it allows guppies to calm down before returning to the open area.
7. Lack of space.
Guppies are active swimmers. They need plenty of space to move around freely.
If there isn’t enough room for your guppies, they may choose to hide instead of swimming around.
The lack of space makes them uncomfortable and causes anxiety.
They might even try to escape, but this can cause injury.
Therefore, guppies find someplace where they can relax without being disturbed.
8. Strong current.
The natural habitat of guppies is ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, and small water bodies where the flow of water current is mild.
Guppies being tiny, don’t prefer strong water current. They get easily blown away in the strong current.
Besides, a strong current disturbs the peace of mind of guppies.
As soon as they sense danger, guppies start to move out of the way and hide so that they don’t get caught up in the current.
9. Fear and anxiety.
Fear and anxiety is another reason for guppies to hide. In the wild, fear prevails due to predation.
However, in captivity, guppies face different threats, including aggression from other guppies.
Guppies usually show signs of fear when they encounter something new.
For example, they become nervous when they first meet a new tank mate.
In addition, guppies experience anxiety whenever they come across any change in their surroundings.
These include moving tanks, changing water quality, adding more fish, etc.
Illness is yet another significant reason for guppies to hide. Guppies hide to rest when they are sick.
If you have a sick guppy in the aquarium, you can notice it distancing itself from the group and hiding most of the time.
This is because it feels vulnerable to bullying and potential predators in the aquarium.
Hiding assures that it is secure and can always return to its normal behavior after recovering from illness.
If any of your guppies are suffering from any illness, they must get immediate medical attention.
Any delay from your side can prove fatal and may even result in the sick guppy’s untimely death.
Besides, if you have an untreated infected guppy, chances are there that other healthy guppies in your aquarium may get infected.
11. Natural temperament.
Every fish is different from others, possessing unique personalities.
Although guppies are active and social fish, you may have a guppy that is more reserved.
The shy guppy tends to stay hidden until it feels comfortable enough to interact with others.
If you are sure that the tank is well-maintained and your guppy is still hiding, you just need to give your guppy some time.
It will come out of its shell sooner than later.
Why Do Female Guppies Hide?
Female guppies also hide due to all the reasons mentioned above.
Apart from those reasons, female guppies hide to protect themselves against male harassment.
This happens mainly during the breeding season.
Male guppies try to chase females around the tank or harass them by bumping into them.
Male guppies become aggressive during mating season. This is because they need a mate desperately.
So, if you have fewer female guppies than males, the male guppies will start pestering the ones they see around to mate.
To avoid this unwanted situation, female guppies often hide under rocks or plants.
In the wild, they also use camouflage techniques to blend in with the background color of the environment.
Besides, a female guppy will hide more when it’s pregnant or about to give birth to its fry.
How To Stop Guppies From Hiding?
Hiding is an instinct among many fish species, including guppies.
If your guppies hide occasionally, it is not a matter of concern.
However, if guppies are hiding most of the time, something is inevitably bothering them.
You shouldn’t encourage guppies to hide as it could lead to behavioral problems.
Instead, you must find ways to make them feel safe and happy again.
Here are some tips to help guppies overcome their tendency to hide:
- Make sure that the water parameters are ideal for guppies.
- Keep your aquarium clean so that guppies don’t have anything to worry about. Clean up dead leaves, algae, debris, etc., regularly.
- Avoid overcrowding your aquarium.
- Give guppies plenty of room to swim around freely.
- Reduce stress levels by providing favorable living conditions.
- Avoid non-compatible and aggressive tank mates.
- Maintain the water quality.
- Feed a diverse and nutritious diet to guppies.
- Keep the water temperature stable throughout the day.
- Avoid illness by treating ill guppies immediately.
- Monitor the health condition of your guppies regularly.
- Create a safe environment where guppies can thrive.