Can guppies live alone?
Guppies are novice-friendly freshwater species. Many novice hobbyists might ponder over the idea of keeping a single guppy in their new tabletop bowl or a small tank. After all, fishkeeping can be a luxurious hobby; not everyone could afford or have space for a large tank and maintain it; so you might be wondering can Guppies live alone?
Some species don’t mind being alone or in a group, and there are species best kept alone. However, some species love to stay in a group and display their best colors when kept with other mates.
Do guppies like to live alone or in a group? Though technically guppies are not a schooling species, they cannot live alone; they have a reputation for being social butterflies.
Moreover, just a single specimen in a jar or a bowl looks dispirited. In this article, let’s check out different set-ups in which guppies can thrive and set-ups that are not conducive to their wellbeing.
Keeping a Single Guppy Fish Alone in a Tank
Can guppies live alone? If you are contemplating over the idea of keeping a single guppy alone, perhaps you don’t have enough space or budget constraints, or perhaps you do not have the expertise to care for more than one specimen. Whatever your grounds are, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Usually, polyandry guppies are best kept in a group of one male and two to three females. Keeping them in a group makes them happy and healthy. It is essential to make them feel more safe and comfortable to have healthy specimens. A lone guppy will get stressed and contract diseases consequently will die prematurely.
But do you know there exists a loophole here? Are you wondering what it is? Well, you can consider keeping a single guppy, along with other suitable tank mates, who will stretch their hands of friendship to the solo fish and strive to keep it happy. After all, true friendship has no boundaries.
Keeping Only Female Guppy
Unlike the male guppies, their female counterparts can thrive well alone in a tank. And for this reason, you need not be worried about being overstocked with fries. So, getting some female guppies alone can be an excellent choice to keep their population in your aquarium in check.
But do you know, female guppies are not as colorful as male guppies? So, if you want a vibrant aquarium, then keeping only female guppies will not give you the gratification you are looking for. Also, they are a bit larger than the males. But this is entirely your call.
Since the female guppies can stay happy alone in the tank, you can keep them with some other community fishes that are amicable and well compatible with guppies to add to their happiness.
Keeping Only Male Guppies
Can a male guppy live alone? Well! If you do not want to multiply your guppy population in your aquarium, then housing males with females won’t be a good idea. But keeping only male guppies alone in a tank can be a problem.
To avoid them from getting lonely, you would want to get the other male guppies; Nah, it’s not a good idea at all; though guppies are a peaceful species, two males in a confined space means war! They will indulge in intense territorial fights and get too aggressive at each other. They can even nip each other on their fins, causing injury and infections, consequently premature death of your guppies.
Thus, it is better to stick to their ideal matches as one male and 2 to 3 females. Also, when the female guppies are around, male guppies tend to display a brighter shade.
Do Guppies Feel Lonely?
Like humans, guppies are also social beings and love to stay around in good company. They like to be in a group of their own species and other non-aggressive ones.
They usually do not feel lonely, but they can get stressed if they receive continuous bullies from other fishes. Thus, it is best to consider keeping them in a group of the same species.
Also, guppies have a strong urge to breed, which is quite natural; that is why you would want to keep at least two or more guppies together for their happiness and mental health.
Undoubtedly, they do not die due to loneliness. But if the stress gets ahead over can diminish their immune system and attract parasites and diseases, and consequently, they can die. You can avoid these instances by decorating their habitat with live aquarium plants, pebbles, and other decors that ensure safety and comfort.
The studies conducted at the University of Exeter show that when the guppies are placed in a stressful environment, each guppy reacted differently; they exhibited individuality, some were braver than the others.
Can Guppies Live Alone in a Community Tank?
You might also wonder if guppies can dwell alone in a community tank or not. Well, the answer is yes! Your lonely guppy will feel better if you keep it in a community tank with other fishes similar to its kind. Keeping a lone guppy with other peaceful community species is a compromise; your lone guppy will be happier.
The sweetest part about guppies is that they are very peaceful and social, making them a perfect companion for any friendly species habitat. According to certain studies, guppies develop some self-control attributes rather than yielding to unhelpful impulses; this attribution helps them blend happily with other fish species.
Species such as Mollies, Cardinal Tetra, Ember Tetra, Neon Tetra, Platies, Swordtails, Cory catfish, Honey gouramis, Harlequin Rasbora, and Otocinclus catfishes will be great friends with guppies. Also, the bottom dwellers Kuhli loach, Red Cherry Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp, Bamboo Shrimp, Amano Shrimp, etc.
Guppies are pretty suitable with the other peaceful community fishes that are not so big and peaceful by nature. If you are thinking of keeping guppies in a community tank, you would want to ensure that you are not keeping them with aggressive species such as Cichlids, Rainbow sharks, Killifish, Flowerhorn, Tiger Barbs, etc.
Some aquarists would recommend keeping Bettas with Guppies; however, I wouldn’t recommend it as the Boisterous Betta would be bullying the docile Guppies.
Like some people from our neighborhood or some bully classmates, some fish species also indulge in fighting, bullying, and fin nipping, which can give your guppy a real bad experience; It will stress your Guppies out.
So, keeping them in a community tank calls you to pay attention to some common factors:
The tank size is one of the foremost crucial factors to consider while picking fishes for your community tank. You wouldn’t want to attribute your tank size to the species’ size; small tank for small/tiny fish species, but that’s entirely a wrong notion.
Though tiny, these fishes need more space to swim and stay healthy and live freely. Tiny species such as Tetras are active swimmers, these species need plenty of space, and they are schooling and shoaling species; they need to be kept in groups.
Moreover, a small tank promotes the aggressive nature among fishes and thereby stresses the inhabitants. Besides, a small water body accumulates ammonia over the limits quickly and makes the tank inhabitable. The biomass present in the tank is not large enough to digest all the ammonia produced by the fish wastes, leftovers, debris from the plants, etc.
Also, a small water body has a minimal holding capacity for dissolved oxygen; lack of oxygen will suffocate the fish to death.
Water parameter is one of the most critical areas to consider when planning to keep different fishes together. The tank water needs to be at an optimal range, suitable for all the inhabitants.
Hence, while choosing the species for your community aquarium, you would want to research each species’ needs thoroughly. You wouldn’t want to pick certain species just because you like them and force them to live in an unusual water condition, which can be very harmful to them.
To give your guppies the best tank mates, you would also need to keep some behavioral factors of the species in mind.
Never house them with fin nippers; you do not want to keep your little docile guppies with aggressive or territorial nature species that can hurt them.
Overstocking can be very uncomfortable for them as it can cause oxygen depletion and make the water condition unstable for the tank members.
Some species can breed happily when both male and female present in the habitat, just like rabbits; hence, over breeding will easily lead to over-stocking, which will steer the way unfavorable water parameters and depletion of dissolved oxygen in the aquarium water.
You can avoid over breeding and keep the aquarium population under control by not keeping both genders in the same tank.
Can a Baby Guppy Live Alone?
Just the way you wonder, Can guppies live alone? You might also ask if a baby guppy can live alone? Though Guppies are not typical schooling species, they are social species; they are healthier in a group, they love to hang out together.
However, a juvenile guppy can interact with other smaller or friendly fish species, as long as the bigger ones are not eating them up. As they are interactive by nature, they need to stay social for their better development. But keeping a baby guppy all alone will stress out, which is unhealthy for their growth and development. Also, why be so rude to such an alluring beauty?
Can Endler’s Guppies Live Alone?
Similar to other guppies, Endler’s guppies are also not good to stay alone. Endlers are usually shoaling fishes that feel happy and more comfortable dwelling in a group.
But Endler’s guppies also do fine all by themselves. However, to bring the best out of them, you would want to keep the Endlers in a group.
How to Care for Guppies?
When you ask the question, can Guppies live alone, you are contemplating getting one for yourself; as an aquarist, you would also want to know some basics to care for your Guppies.
Tank Set-Up for Guppies
Originally, Guppies are from heavily planted and well-lit freshwaters of Brazil, Guyana, Barbados, Venezuela, and Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago of South America. Today, they are seen inhabiting all the tropics of the world. Hence, while preparing the Guppies habitat, you would want to replicate their natural habitat as possible for their health and happiness.
Filtration and Water Parameters
Maintaining the desired water parameters is the quintessential part of the basic care of Guppies. They thrive at the water temperature range of 72-84 °F (22-29 °C ), pH 6.5-8, and hardness at 8-12 dGH. Ammonia and nitrite should be 0 ppm (parts per million) at any given time and nitrates less than 20 ppm.
It is a prerequisite to perform a nitrogen cycle before introducing any specimen into the tank. You can perform a nitrogen cycle with or without a filtration system. Most people do ask the question do the Guppies need a filter? Well! I recommend installing a filtration system, a HOB filter, or a sponge filter would serve the purpose.
Guppies dwell mostly on the top half of the tank; hence, any substrate or no substrate will do for the Guppies. You could decide on the substrate according to other species’ needs if it’s a community tank set up or aquarium plant requirement if it’s Guppy only tank. Nevertheless, I would suggest a layer of gravel substrate.
Plants and Decoration
The docile nature Guppies, both young and adult, like to hide among the plants, rocks, and other decors. So, to give them ample hiding spaces, consider adding plants such as java moss, Java fern, Cryptocoryne, Water Sprite to the tank as suitable decor.
You may add rocks, caves, tubes, etc., as part of the decors. You wouldn’t want to overcrowd the tank with the plants and decors; ensure to provide enough room for your beauties to swim around.
Guppies are omnivores, opportunistic feeders; they feed on animal and plant matter, in the wild, planktons, and small zooplanktons. In the tropics, Guppies are used to control mosquitoes as they feed on mosquito larvae.
You can feed them with high-quality commercial flakes at home aquariums, a high protein product, and not just a filler feed. You can also feed them with live or frozen brine shrimps, bloodworms, Daphnia from time to time as a treat; blanched cucumber, carrots, peas, lettuce, etc., will serve their need for plant matter.
Can Guppies Live Alone? Wrap Up
If you are still contemplating keeping a single Guppy due to space or budget constraints or for any other reasons, you could go ahead and keep it.
Guppies are not going to die out of loneliness; however, alone, Guppy could become satiated that will make your Guppy dull and boring. Guppies are playful species; they are active and love to explore. This playful manner makes them alive and captivating.
A dull Guppy can become morose and become susceptible to diseases and parasites, leading to premature death.
Can Guppies live alone? Sure, they can, and also, single Guppy is easy to take care of, less maintenance, etc. however, it’s better to keep them in a group that makes them delightful and, in turn, brings joy to the keeper and the spectators.