Guppies are active fish and swim all around the tank. There is not a fixed particular area for guppies to swim. With such swimming behaviors of guppy fish, it is easy to detect any issue by looking at guppies’ swimming patterns.
We sometimes notice that our guppy fish is swimming or staying only at the top of the tank and such swimming behavior worries us. However, knowing the reason behind this is essential for the guppy keeper. So, Why is my guppy swimming at the top of the tank? Let us find out.
Lack of oxygen in the water is the primary reason for guppy fish swimming at the top of the tank. However, swim bladder disorder and inadequate water parameters can also make guppy fish swim at the top. Ensure good water quality and adequate living conditions to prevent guppy fish from such issues.
We will discuss why guppy fish swim at the top of the tank in this article. Also, we will discuss how to treat guppy fish that swim at the top of the tank. So, let us get into it.
- 1 My guppy is swimming at the top of the tank.
- 2 Guppy fish swimming behavior.
- 3 Why do guppies swim at the top of the tank?
- 4 Why is my guppy swimming at the top after the water change?
- 5 How to prevent such issue in your guppy?
- 6 Conclusion:
My guppy is swimming at the top of the tank.
There can be numerous reasons behind your guppy fish swimming at the top of the tank, of which deficiency of oxygen is the primary reason.
Diseases like swim bladder disorder can also make your guppy float at the bottom of the tank.
Stress due to environmental problems like poor water quality, aggressive tankmates, and inadequate water parameters can also result in guppy fish swimming at the top of the tank.
We will discuss all the possible reasons behind such swimming behavior of your guppy fish and will also find a solution for particular issues. But let us first discuss the swimming behavior of guppies.
Guppy fish swimming behavior.
Guppy fish are peaceful and active fish.
Your guppies will swim all around the tank.
You will not notice your guppy fish swimming in one particular area of your aquarium.
Because of such swimming behavior, it becomes easy to detect if our guppy fish is suffering from any environmental issues when they swim or stay at one particular area of the tank.
However, there is some behavior like guppy fish swimming at the top of the tank when they are hungry and waiting for their owner to serve food to them.
My guppies start swimming at the top of the tank when I go near it as they know it’s time for food.
However, consistently swimming at the top of the tank explains inadequate water and living condition.
Why do guppies swim at the top of the tank?
These are the reasons behind your guppy fish swimming at the top of the tank:
- Your guppies aquarium lacks oxygen.
- Your guppy is suffering from swim bladder disease.
- There is a spike of ammonia in your guppies tank.
- Your guppy is overeating.
- Your guppy is under stress.
Lack of oxygen
The deficiency of oxygen in your guppies aquarium is the primary reason for guppy fish swimming at the top of the tank.
Guppies swim at the top of the tank gasping for oxygen from the air.
The tank’s surface holds the highest amount of oxygen in the aquarium.
There can be various reasons behind the lack of oxygen in your guppies aquarium:
- Poor water quality
- Overcrowded tank
- No aeration in water
Lack of oxygen also results in a spike of ammonia in the water.
The beneficial bacteria in our aquarium system require oxygen to break down the ammonia and nitrite from our guppies tank.
In the absence of oxygen, beneficial bacteria will not be able to eliminate ammonia and nitrite from our guppies tank, resulting in a spike of ammonia.
Also read: Can Guppy Survive In Muddy Water?
Swim bladder disease
Swim bladder disease can also be the reason behind your guppy fish floating at the top of the tank.
The swim bladder helps the guppy to maintain its buoyancy.
Guppy suffering from swim bladder disorder will not be able to maintain buoyancy, resulting in either sinking at the bottom of the tank or floating at the top of the tank.
These are the symptoms of swim bladder disorder:
- Sinking at the bottom of the tank.
- Floating at the top of the tank with its head up.
- Swollen belly
- Bent spine
- Loss of appetite
- Swimming up and down erratically.
These are the causes of swim bladder disorder:
- Gulping air
- Bacterial or parasitic infection
- Chasing or blowing on hard objects present in the tank.
- Genetic defect
Follow these steps to cure your guppy fish of swim bladder disorder:
- Let your guppy fish fast for two to three days if the reason behind swim bladder disorder is an enlarged abdomen or intestine.
- Maintain the water temperature between 75-80 °F during the treatment.
- After two to three days, start feeding your guppies cooked pea as it is rich in fiber and helps cure constipation.
- If the reason behind swim bladder disorder is an infection, consider running antibiotics. (Consult the pet veterinarian before treating your sick guppy with antibiotics.)
Also read: Why Is My Guppy Moving Up And Down?
Spike of ammonia
High ammonia levels can also be the reason behind your guppy fish swimming at the top of the tank.
Usually, ammonia occurs in the new tank but can also develop in an established tank when the tank’s water quality is poor.
These all can cause a spike of ammonia in your guppies tank:
- Contaminated water from dead plants and fish.
- Leftovers of fish food in the tank.
- Deficiency of oxygen in the tank.
- Poor water filtration system.
Ammonia spike results in elevating the pH level of the water, making the water alkaline, resulting in ammonia burns.
Guppy with affected gills will start swimming at the top of the tank gasping for air.
Also read: Best pH level For Guppies?
Overfeeding can be the cause behind your guppy fish swimming at the top of the tank.
Overfeeding will make your guppy fish constipated.
Your guppy fish will find it hard to swim because of an enlarged abdomen.
Such an issue can also result in swim bladder disorder.
Feeding your guppies frozen food that stretches in your guppy’s stomach will enlarge your guppy’s abdomen.
Also read: Can Guppy Die From Overfeeding?
Stress can also be the factor behind your guppy fish swimming at the top of the tank.
Your guppy fish come under stress because of the following reason:
- Overcrowded tank
- Poor water condition
- Inadequate and unstable water parameters
- Presence of aggressive fish in your guppies tank
- Irregular supply of food
- Physical injury
An overcrowded tank will make your guppy fish uncomfortable to swim because of the lack of space.
Too many fish in the tank can also result in staying at the top of the tank.
The presence of aggressive fish in your guppies tank will also make your guppy fish swim at the top of the tank.
Your guppy fish will stay at the top of the tank, trying to escape because of the bullies present in their tank.
Hungry guppies will also swim at the top of the tank, waiting for food as they know they will get food from the top.
Also read: Can Guppy Fish Live With Angelfish?
Why is my guppy swimming at the top after the water change?
Guppy fish swim at the top after the water change is normal.
Guppy does that as it takes time for them to adapt to the changes made in the water.
They swim at the top of the tank after the water change as the water’s surface contains most of the oxygen required by guppies.
Performing a water change is essential to keep the water clean.
There is no harm to your guppies when performing a water change.
But, make sure not to do the major water change as it can worsen the case.
Instead, consider a weekly water change of 35% in a regular manner.
Also read: My Guppy Died After A Water Change.
How to prevent such issue in your guppy?
Guppy swimming at the top of the tank is not the issue every time.
There is nothing to worry about if your guppy fish is not showing any signs of gulping air, lethargy, loss of appetite, and swollen abdomen.
Guppy fish are active swimmers and swim all around the tank, including at the top of the tank.
However, perform these things if your guppy shows any signs of gulping air or other environmental problems:
- Provide your guppy fish with good water quality.
- Ensure adequate and stable water parameters of your guppies tank.
- Add air pump to your guppies aquarium for aeration.
- Add live aquatic plants to your guppies aquarium.
- Avoid overcrowding your guppies tank.
- Avoid overfeeding your guppies.
- Provide a stress-free environment to your guppies.
Good water quality
Ensuring good water quality will help you cure and prevent your guppy fish from swimming at the top of the tank.
To provide your guppy fish with good water quality, perform a weekly water change of at least 35%.
A regular water change will help you keep the water clean.
Also, you should siphon out the solid debris from the substrate once a month to keep the water clean.
A good filtration system with biofilter media will also help you keep the water clean and safe from harmful chemicals like ammonia and nitrite.
Consider washing the filter once a month. Ensure to clean the sponge and filter media from the aquarium water.
Adequate and stable water parameters
Providing your guppy fish with adequate and stable water parameters will prevent stress and various disease.
Adequate and stable water parameters will also help you treat guppy that swims at the top of the tank.
Guppies are tropical fish and live in warm water temperatures.
|Particulars||Guppy Fish Requirement|
|Water temperature||72-82 °F|
|Water pH level||6.7-7.8|
Provide your guppy fish water temperature between 72-82°F.
Ensure that the water pH level stays between 6.7-7.8.
Keep a regular check on your guppies aquarium water’s chlorine, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate level.
Chlorine, ammonia, and nitrite should be at 0ppm, and the nitrate should remain below 25ppm.
Consider using an API ammonia test kit to check ammonia levels regularly.
You can buy it on amazon API TEST KIT.
You must know that stable water parameters are equally important to prevent stress and such swimming behavior in your guppy fish with adequate water parameters.
Creating aeration on the tank water surface will help increase the oxygen level of your guppy fish aquarium water.
Consider adding an air pump to your guppies aquarium to create aeration.
The filter also helps to create movement in the water surface.
Also read: Can Guppy Fish Live Without Oxygen?
Add live aquatic plants.
Adding live aquatic plants will help you keep the water clean.
Also, live aquatic plants increase the oxygen level of your guppies aquarium.
Plants inhale carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, increasing the oxygen level of your guppies aquarium.
Adding live aquatic plants will also create a good hiding spot for your guppy fish.
Also read: Do Guppies Need Hiding Places?
Avoid overcrowding your guppies tank.
The overcrowded tank will result in these issues:
- Your guppy fish will not be comfortable to swim and live.
- An overcrowded tank will lack oxygen.
- Your tank will get polluted faster than usual.
- All your fish will not be able to feed themselves.
An overcrowded tank will make your guppy fish suffer, and they can show such swimming behavior.
Follow the one-inch one-gallon rule to ensure that you are not overcrowding your guppies tank, which means one inch of fish per one gallon of water.
Following the one-inch one-gallon rule will help you prevent getting your guppies aquarium overcrowded.
Also read: How Many Guppies In A 20 Gallon Tank?
Avoid overfeeding your guppies.
Overfeeding can make your guppy fish suffer from a life-threatening condition.
Overfeeding will constrict your guppy fish, and your guppy fish will suffer from a bloated belly and can also suffer from swim bladder disorder.
|Guppy Food||Serving Quantity||No of Times|
|Veggie pellets||One small pinch at a time||2-3 times a day|
|Brine shrimp||One small pinch at a time||1-2 times a week|
|Mosquito larvae||10-15 pieces||2-3 times a week|
|Bloodworms||One small pinch at a time||1-2 times a week|
|Tubifex Worms||One small pinch at a time||1 time a week|
|Zucchini (Blanched)||One slice at a time||2-3 times a week|
Overfeeding guppies will also make your aquarium polluted by the fish leftovers and waste.
Guppy fish are ravenous eaters and will eat every time you serve food to them, whether they are hungry or not.
Such eating behavior of guppy fish will confuse you, and you can end up overfeeding them.
Feed your guppy fish food in a quantity that they can finish eating in 1-2 minutes.
Also, if your guppies are finishing the food in just seconds after serving, you are underfeeding them.
Also read: Best Food For Guppy Fish.
Provide stress-free environment
Providing your guppies with a stress-free environment will help you treat and prevent them from such swimming behavior.
To ensure a stress-free environment for your guppies, perform these things:
- The water temperature of your guppy fish aquarium should be between 72-82 °F.
- Water pH should be between 6.7-7.8.
- Chlorine, ammonia, and nitrite should be at 0ppm, whereas nitrate should remain below 25ppm.
- Add lots of live aquatic plants to your guppies aquarium.
- Perform a 35% water change weekly.
- Rather than adding aggressive fish like angelfish, add peaceful and compatible mates like neon tetra, mollies, and platies.
- Feed your guppies food in a quantity that they can finish in 1-2 minutes to avoid underfeeding and overfeeding.
- Feed your guppies one to two times a day, taking a 12 hours gap between feeding.
- Keep male and female guppies in a ratio of 1:2, which means one male guppy for two female guppies.
- Avoid overcrowding your tank and follow the one-inch per one-gallon rule. (One inch of fish per one gallon of water.)
Taking care of all these things will prevent your guppies from stress.
Ways to treat guppy swimming at the top are the same for preventing guppies from showing such swimming behavior.
Also read: Are My Guppies Stressed?
The lack of oxygen in your guppies aquarium is why guppy fish swim at the top of the tank.
Another possible reason is guppy fish floating at the top of the tank to give rest to its gills and absorb more oxygen.
Swim bladder disorder, overcrowded tanks, a spike of ammonia, poor water quality, and inadequate water parameters can also be the reason behind such issues.
Provide your guppy with good quality water adequate water parameters, and ensure a good oxygen level by adding an air pump or adding aquatic plants to treat and prevent such issues.