Why Do Guppies Lay At The Bottom? (Reasons + What To Do)

Why Do Guppies Lay At The Bottom? (Reasons + What To Do)

Image of a guppy laying at the bottom of the tank

Guppies usually lay at the bottom of the tank during the night to rest. However, if they spend most of their day at the bottom of the tank, they may be sick, stressed, or suffering from a disease. Pregnant guppies will also retreat to the bottom of the tank just before they are about to give birth.

Let’s talk about this in detail now.

Is It Normal For Guppies To Lay At The Bottom Of The Tank?

Guppies are usually very active.

They spend most of the day exploring the different areas of their tank. However, they also need rest.

Guppies are diurnal creatures. This means that they are active during the day and rest at night.

Guppies normally rest at the bottom of the tank. So, if your guppy is at the bottom of the tank at night, it is probably sleeping.

However, it is not normal for guppies to spend a long time at the bottom of the tank during the day.

If you notice this behavior, you should investigate it in closer detail to make sure that your guppy is well.

Main Reasons Why Guppies Lay At The Bottom And What To Do About It

Here are the most likely reasons for guppies to stay at the bottom of the tank during the day and what you should do about it.


When guppies are sick, they may not have the energy or inclination to swim.

These tiny creatures will then retreat to the bottom of the tank and take rest.

Parasitic infections, bacterial diseases, or swim bladder disorders are common illnesses that affect guppies.

Physical injuries like torn fins or tails, wounds, or lesions can also cause such behavior.

If there are any differences in their appearance or feeding behavior, it could be caused by a parasitic infection.

Guppies with swim bladder disorders or infections cannot move properly.

They may roll over or swim on their sides if the swim bladder is affected.

In both these cases, timely medical aid is necessary to nurse the guppy back to health.

You should also consider separating the guppy from the rest of its tank mates if it’s suffering from a parasitic infection or is physically injured.

This will prevent the infection from spreading and also allow you to care better for your guppy.


Guppies are hardy fish. They adjust to most tank settings. They also get along with other community fish.

However, guppies are prone to stress when their living conditions are compromised.

If your guppy stays at the bottom but is not sick, it could be because of unfavorable tank conditions.

The following conditions could be causing such behavior.

  • Bad water quality: Guppies are sensitive to water parameters. Changes in water chemistry affect their health. They also struggle to survive in unhygienic environments. An inefficient filter will affect the water quality. Infrequent water changes and the build-up of waste can also cause water quality to deteriorate. Perform regular water changes and clean the filter on time to keep your aquarium in top condition for your pet guppies.
  • Overcrowding: Although guppies are tiny fish, they need space to swim around. They don’t enjoy being in an overcrowded tank. A lack of space and resources will stress them out. It can make them feel uncomfortable. In these circumstances, they go searching for safe spaces at the bottom of the tank. A good rule of thumb is to allow at least two gallons of water per adult guppy to avoid overcrowding.
  • Bullying: Guppies are easygoing, friendly fish. They adjust with non-aggressive aquarium fish. However, they are easily intimidated by aggressive and large fish. If you keep your guppies with angelfish, goldfish, or other aggressive varieties, they will be uncomfortable. The bigger fish will most likely chase them or frighten them. Hence, they will search for safe hiding spots and end up at the bottom of the tank. Check for compatibility issues before introducing any new fish into your fish tank. If your guppies are being bullied, you may have to put them in another tank or use a tank divider to separate them from the other fish.
  • Toxins in the water: Guppies are very sensitive to ammonia spikes. If the tank filter doesn’t work properly or it doesn’t have a well-established nitrogen cycle, sudden ammonia spikes may occur. When this happens, it affects guppies. Ammonia spikes cause breathing difficulties and clamped fins. Your guppy will be unable to swim, and it may lay at the bottom. To avoid ammonia poisoning, monitor the water regularly. Always keep a close watch over your fish if you add any medications to the tank. These ingredients can cause sudden fluctuations in the water chemistry.
  • Temperature or pH changes: Guppies are tropical fish that live in temperatures of 72°F to 82°F and pH between 7 and 8. If these parameters change, the guppies become stressed. If you use a water heater and the water becomes too warm, guppies will swim to the bottom of the tank. This is because warm water rises to the top. The water temperature will be slightly lower at the bottom and hence more suitable for the fish. Similarly, any change in the pH will also cause stress to the guppies and force them to lay at the bottom of the tank. Continuous monitoring of the temperature and pH parameters will prevent your guppies from enduring any distress.


If you have both male and female guppies in your tank, it’s highly likely that they will mate, and the females will become pregnant.

Pregnant guppies will give birth within a month of becoming pregnant.

They are known to move to the bottom when they are about to give birth.

A pregnant guppy will have a swollen abdomen and a dark spot at the bottom of the belly.

Female guppies will often restrict themselves to the bottom of the tank prior to birth.

They may stay there for several hours or even a day.

Once the birthing process is over, these guppies will resume normal activity.

They will start swimming around as usual and explore all areas of the tank.

Why Do Pregnant Guppies Lay At The Bottom?

When a pregnant guppy is in labor, she will be too tired to swim around.

It’s also a natural protective instinct to choose a quiet, secretive place for birth.

Since the bottom of the tank is usually less crowded, guppies choose this space for labor and birth.

If you notice a pregnant guppy lying at the bottom of the tank, guppy fry will most likely appear in a few hours.

The babies have a better chance of survival at the bottom of the tank.

Now, did you know that adult guppies will eat guppy fry?

Leaving the fry in the same tank as their parents and other adult fish is not a good idea.

If you wish to save the guppy fry, move the female into a separate space before she gives birth.

You can return her to the main tank after she delivers.

The guppy fry can continue in the other tank until they grow big and cannot be eaten by the other fish.

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