Are My Guppies Stressed? (5 signs that they are in stress)

Stress is a common problem in both humans and fish. But how can we know that in fish? Are our guppies stressed?. What is stress in fish?. Let us find out.

Continuos hiding and sitting at the bottom of the tank is a primary symptom of guppy stress. Other symptoms are loss of appetite, losing color, and injuries. Ensure good quality water, adequate water parameters, and avoid overcrowding tank, adding aggressive tankmate to prevent guppy from stress.

In this article, we will discuss how to destress our guppy and know about the water temperature to provide to our guppy in which they grow beautifully. So let’s do it.

Guppy in stress

There are various signs and reasons for your guppy coming under stress. However, the most common reason for the guppy’s stress is poor water quality and angry tankmates.

Guppy will usually come under stress when they see anything unusual around their environment, affecting their health.

Stress can lead in any direction; stress can make your guppy sick, or your guppy comes under a critical condition if being under stress for a long time.

What is fish stress?

Fish stress is similar to human stress. When we see anything wrong around us, in our environment, which can directly or indirectly affect our health, we become stressed. The same goes for the fish.

Whenever fishes see anything wrong around their environment, which can affect their health in a wrong way, they come under stress.

Being under stress for a long time can make your fish sick, resulting in your fish struggling through a critical condition.

By anything wrong in their environment, we mean poor water conditions or inadequate water temperature.

Also read: What To Do If My Guppy Is Stressed?

Signs that your guppy is in stress

You can detect if your guppy is under stress by looking for these signs:

  1. Lethargy
  2. Loss of appetite
  3. Erratic swimming pattern
  4. Discoloration
  5. Disease
  6. Injury
  7. Gasping at the surface of the water

Lethargy: Your guppy will have no energy, and you will see them moving very slowly or no movement at all. Your guppy will often sleep at the bottom of the tank. 

Loss of appetite: If your guppy is under stress, they will show no interest in any food you serve them. 

Erratic swimming pattern: This is a very easily detectable sign and is also a matter of concern. Your guppy will swim in a very unusual manner, like hitting something inside the tank or swimming in a circular pattern.

Discoloration: Your guppy will lose its beautiful natural color. If your guppy is becoming pale in color, it is a matter of concern as they are stressed.

Disease: Various diseases can make your guppy come under stress. If you see any physical changes in your guppy, like white spots, bloated stomach, bent spine, or any other changes, it is a sign that your guppy fish is sick and under stress.

Injury: There is a possibility that your fish get injured; it can be because of conflict between them and angry tankmates. In such a case, your guppy will come into stress.

Gasping for air at the surface of the water: This sign indicates the water condition of your aquarium is poor as there is no good amount of oxygen, and your guppy is gasping for the air at the surface of the water. 

There are more signs like your guppy will be hiding every time, and your pregnant guppy will get very thin after releasing fry because of the stress of being in labor for a couple of days.

The reason behind your guppy in stress

Your guppy can come under stress because of the various reason:

  1. Poor water condition
  2. Inadequate water temperature
  3. Aggressive tankmates
  4. Overcrowded tank
  5. Lack of oxygen

Poor water condition

Guppy fish comes under a fish species which can survive in a wide range of water parameters. But, there is something you should know while setting an aquarium for your guppy.

Guppy fish is a tropical fish and is fond of living in warm water. Guppy prefers to live in a water temperature between 75°F to 78°F. However, guppies can survive in temperatures lower or above this label, but not for a long time.

Temperature below 74 °F there is a chance of your guppy getting sick and temperature above 86 °F will make your guppy suffer breathing as the oxygen level will start falling.

To maintain good water conditions for your guppy fish, all you have to do is keep the water temperature between 75°Fto 78°F. 

You should use a heater in winter to maintain the water temperature, and in summer, to keep the water cool, increase surface agitation.

You can use a wavemaker or a spray bar to increase the surface agitation. Also, pointing the filter output towards the surface of the water will do the work.

The intention of doing all this is to create movement on the water’s surface, which will increase the oxygen exchange level and help cool the water because of evaporation.

Make sure to maintain the ph level of water between 7 and 8.

Ammonia and nitrites levels should be at 0ppm, and the level of nitrates should be less than 20ppm.

Inadequate water temperature

ParticularGuppy Fish
Water temperature75 °F to 78 °F
Ph level7 to 8
This table shows the water parameters requirement of guppy fish.

Guppies can survive in a wide range of water parameters, but to keep your guppy healthy and free from stress, make sure to maintain the water temperature of your aquarium between 75°F to 78°F.

Lower temperature increases the risk of your guppy getting sick, whereas higher temperature makes it harder for your guppy fish to breathe as the oxygen level starts falling.

Also read: What Is The Ideal Water Temperature For Guppies?

Aggressive tankamtes

Aggressive tankmates are also a common reason for the guppy fish to come under stress. Guppies are non-aggressive fish species and will come under stress if you have any aggressive fish in your tank.

Aggressive fish will try to attack your guppy, and your guppy, a non-aggressive fish, will run and try to hide.

Aggressive tankmates will make your guppy so stressed that they could even come into a critical condition.

Also Read: Can Guppy Live With Angelfish?

Overcrowded tank

An overcrowded tank or small tank can also make your guppy come under stress. The overcrowded tank comes with many limitations like:

  1. Your guppy will not be able to live comfortably
  2. There is a higher chance of conflict.
  3. All guppies will not get the desired amount of food.
  4. Your tank will be dirty very fast.

You should always follow the one inch one gallon rule. For example, if you have a 10 gallon tank, you should add an average of 5 guppy fish to your aquarium.

Poor oxygen source

Your guppy will come under stress if there is a lack of oxygen and they struggle to breathe. Your guppy will move to the surface of the water for gasping oxygen.

Increase the agitation on the surface of the water in such a case. You can increase the agitation on the water’s surface by doing things we have discussed above in this article.

How to destress your guppy?

For getting your guppy back to normal from stress, take care of these things:

  1. Make sure that something is agitating the water for a continuous oxygen supply.
  2. Don’t overcrowd your fish tank.
  3. Maintain the water temperature between 72°F to 82°F
  4. Maintain the ph level between 7 and 8
  5. Don’t add any aggressive tankmates in your guppy fish tank.
  6. Keep the water clean so that your guppy can live comfortably.
  7. Add aquatic plants in your guppies tank. 
  8. Feed your guppy regularly, and don’t overfeed them


Your guppy can come under stress if the condition of the water in which they live is poor and the temperature of the water is not maintained as they desire. Also, never add an aggressive fish in your guppy’s tank as they will easily get into stress when there is an aggressive fish in their tank trying to attack your guppy.

There are signs by which you can detect that your guppy is under stress, like your guppy will be less active, will lose its appetite, or will have an erratic swimming pattern.

Reference: NCBI, ResearchGate

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