How To Treat Guppy Constipation? (Symptoms, Causes, and Prevention)

Guppies will eat anything you will provide to them whether they are hungry or not. Unfortunately, such behavior sometimes results in owners overfeeding their guppy fish, resulting in constipation. We will discuss how we can cure constipation in our guppy fish. So, How to treat guppy constipation? Let us find out.

Feeding high-fiber food like cooked peas will help cure guppy constipation. Other things you can do are provide good quality food, clean water condition, and a big space so they can exercise by moving freely. Overfeeding and feeding low-quality food is the common reason behind constipation.

This article will discuss the causes, signs, and treatment of guppy constipation. Also, we will discuss how we can prevent our guppy fish from constipation. So, let us get into it.

What are the causes of constipation?

There can be various reasons behind guppy suffering from constipation:

  1. You are overfeeding your guppy fish.
  2. You are feeding your guppy low quality food.
  3. Your guppy is not getting enough exercise.
  4. Your guppy is suffering from swim bladder disease.
  5. The food you are providing to your guppy is causing allergies to them.


Overfeeding is the primary cause of constipation.

If you are overfeeding your guppy fish, it will soon be constipated.

Guppies are always hungry, which means that your guppy will eat as much food you will provide.

This guppy fish behavior will confuse you, and you can end up overfeeding them.

However, you should feed your guppy in a quantity that they can finish in 1-2 minutes.

Clean the tank by scooping out the leftover food.

Improper diet

Feeding your guppy fish poor quality food or food you should never provide to your guppies like bread will result in the constipated guppy.

Poor diet is the most common reason behind constipated fish.

Improper diet includes:

  1. Feeding your guppy one type of food and lacking the variety of foods.
  2. Providing your guppy poor quality food.
  3. Feeding your guppy the food that you should never feed them, like bread, expired food, and more.

Feeding your guppy pellets or flake food or freeze-dried food in excess can also make your guppy fish prone to constipation.

Not enough exercise

In general, a small size tank is a reason behind your guppy fish not having enough exercise.

A small tank will not provide your guppy fish enough space to swim, and they will become inactive over time.

A small tank will make them lazy, and they will stay in one place the majority of the time and will not move as much as they should.

Swim bladder disease

Swim bladder disease is not the primary or common reason behind constipation.

However, you must know that swim bladder disease can be the cause of constipation and vice versa.

If your guppy fish is suffering from swim bladder disorder, then it can end up causing constipation to your guppy fish.

Allergic food

It is possible that the food you are feeding your guppy fish is not suitable for them.

In such a case, change the brand of the food you are feeding your guppy.

How to know if a guppy is suffering from constipation?

These are the signs which indicate that your guppy is suffering from constipation:

  1. Your guppy fish will have a swollen abdomen.
  2. Your guppy fish will become lethargic.
  3. Your guppy fish will refuse to eat.
  4. Your guppy fish will find it hard to swim.
  5. Your guppy fish will face problems in balancing. 

Swollen abdomen

Swollen abdomen or bloated belly is the primary symptom of guppy constipation.

However, there can be other reasons behind swollen abdomen:

  1. Your female guppy fish is pregnant.
  2. Your guppy fish is suffering from dropsy.

In both cases, your guppy fish will develop a swollen abdomen.

This is why you should never assume that your guppy fish is suffering from constipation just by looking at its swollen abdomen.

Continue looking for other symptoms to verify if your guppy is constipated.

Also read: Is My Guppy Pregnant?


Your guppy fish will become lethargic and will avoid moving much as they were moving before.

There can be other reasons also behind it, such as, they are taking rest or are not much active at that moment.

Check for the water parameters, as cold water temperature can make them less active.

If your guppy is suffering from any illness, they will become less active because of weakness.

Refusing to eat

If you find that your guppy is avoiding eating anything, then something wrong is going on.

Look if your guppy is spitting out the food you are providing.

If your guppy is showing such behavior, there is some issue, and you should continue looking at other symptoms of constipation to confirm.

Trouble swimming

Guppy fish with bloated bellies will find it hard to swim easily.

Guppies with such issues will prefer to swim at the bottom of the tank.

Guppy with a bloated belly will suffer from moving and prefer to remain in one place most of the time.

Other reasons for a bloated belly can be pregnancy, dropsy, or swim bladder disease.

As we can see, guppy fish can have trouble swimming for several other reasons, So we should always look for a couple of symptoms before declaring its constipation.

Balancing problem

Because of a bloated belly, your guppy will find it hard to balance itself.

You can notice some strange swimming behavior of your guppy fish in such a situation.

How to treat guppy constipation?

Once you find that your guppy fish is suffering from constipation, treatment is the next thing to perform.

These are the things you can do to cure your constipated guppy:

  1. Don’t provide food to your guppy for 2-3 days (Fasting).
  2. Feed your guppy high-fiber food like green peas.
  3. Add Epsom salt to treat your guppy.
  4. .Increase the temperature of the water.
  5. Perform a water change of your guppies aquarium.


Letting your guppy fish not eat anything for at least two days will help your guppy pass outside all the food present in their stomach, mitigating any blockages.

Usually, guppy can live without eating for days. So you can perform this method without any issue.

If your guppy has a swollen belly after two days, then you should provide them with high fiber food in a small quantity.

Feeding high fiber food

Feed your guppy fish peas in a small quantity.

Peas are high in fiber, act as a laxative, and help your guppy fish accumulate waste.

Make sure not to feed raw peas to your guppy fish, as they will find it hard to swallow. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Cook the raw peas in boiling water for 1 minute.
  2. Leave the pea for 1 minute to cool it down.
  3. Remove the outside of the pea as the outside of the pea will make it harder for guppy eating.
  4. Place the pea inside of the tank so that your guppy can eat.

Wait for one day after feeding the pea to your guppy.

If your guppies recover from constipation, you can feed them regular food.

However, if your guppy is still constipated, feed pea two more times and see if your guppy is recovering.

Epsom salt is the next thing to perform if your guppy doesn’t recover this time.

Espom salt

If you use Epsom salt, you have to place your affected guppy in a hospital tank.

Epsom salt is also helpful to treat dropsy in fish.

Add one tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water.

First, make an Epsom salt mixture by mixing it with some water and then slowly add it to the hospital tank.

Make sure you are not dosing the same water twice with Epsom salt.

Perform a water change (30-50%) before adding Epsom salt again to the hospital tank.

We recommend reading all the instructions and information provided by the manufacturers before adding Epsom salt.

Increasing water temperature

Warmer water increases the metabolism of your guppy fish.

Increasing the water temperature will help them digest the food.

Make sure you are not increasing the water temperature rapidly, as it can make your guppy fish come under stress.

Keeping your water temperature at 80°F will help your guppy fish to digest the food faster.

Changing 25-30% of water

Sometimes, poor water conditions can be the reason behind your guppy constipation.

You should perform a regular water change (25-30%) on a weekly basis.

Performing regular water changes will prevent your guppies from various illnesses and infections.

How can we prevent our guppy from constipation?

Following these things will help you prevent constipation in your guppy fish:

  1. Avoid overfeeding your guppy fish.
  2. Feed your guppy fish high-quality nutritional food.
  3. Never feed old and expired food to your guppy fish.
  4. Keep your guppy in a large enough tank.
  5. Provide adequate water conditions and parameters to your guppy fish. 

Avoid overfeeding

Overfeeding Your guppy fish is the primary reason behind guppy constipation.

Guppies will eat every time you serve them, whether they are hungry or not.

With such feeding behavior, you can get confused and end up overfeeding them.

Serve them food in a quantity that they can complete in 1-2 minutes.

Feed high-quality food

If you are feeding your guppy fish low-quality food, your guppy fish can go through several critical conditions, of which constipation is one.

Avoid feeding your guppy fish low-quality flake food or only one type of food.

Guppies are omnivorous fish species and need both plant and meat matter in their diet. 

Make sure to feed your guppy fish with a variety of foods.

FoodServing QuantityNo of Times
Veggie pelletsOne pinch at a time2-3 times a day
Brine shrimpOne pinch at a time1-2 times a week
Mosquito larvae10-15 pieces2-3 times a week
Tubifex WormsOne pinch at a time1 time a week
BloodwormOne pinch at a time1-2 times a week
This table shows the dietary requirements of guppy fish

We can feed bloodworms to our guppy fish, but this should only be a treat for them instead of making a staple part of their daily diet.

Guppies will love to eat vegetables, and it is also essential to feed them vegetables to fulfill all the vitamin and mineral needs of your guppy fish.

You can feed your guppies cooked peas, cucumber, zucchini, and lettuce.

Providing them with a variety of food that contains all your guppies’ nutritional needs will make your guppies live a healthy and longer lifespan. 

Avoid feeding old food.

Never feed old or expired food to your guppy fish.

Such food can get your guppy fish in critical condition.

Food plays a vital role in keeping your guppy fish healthy and preventing your fish from various diseases and illnesses.

So, good quality fresh food is the food you should provide your guppy fish.

Also, always recheck the food you are feeding your guppy fish.

Ensure that the food you are providing to your guppy fish is genuine and there are no complaints about that food. 

You can check the food online to see if it has any reports or complaints.

Keep in a large tank.

Always make sure to provide your guppy enough space so that they can swim and live freely. 

A small tank will not provide your guppy enough space to swim, and over time, they will become lethargic and will not move enough as they should.

A small tank can make your guppy come under stress as they will not be comfortable and can face various problems because of stress.

The right size of a tank completely depends upon the number of guppies you have in a tank.

Below is the table showing how many guppies you can keep in a 20-gallon tank. 

ParticularsNo of Guppies
Male guppies (0.6-14 inches)10-12
Female Guppies (1.2-2.4 inches)5-7
Both male and female guppies5-8

You now know how many guppies you can keep in your aquarium.

Provide adequate water conditions and parameters

Always make sure to provide your guppy fish with adequate water conditions and parameters.

If the water temperature is cold, guppy fish metabolism will slow down, resulting in the constipated guppy.

Guppies prefer to live in warm water temperatures.

ParticularsGuppy Fish Requirement
Water temperature72-82°F
Water pH level6.8-7.8
This table shows the ideal water parameters of guppy fish.

With adequate water parameters, stable water parameters are also equally essential.

Keep your guppy’s water clean by performing a regular water change.

Perform 25-30% water change weekly.

Poor water quality can also sometimes be a reason behind constipated guppy. 

Poor water quality will also prone your guppy fish to various diseases and illnesses, including constipation. 

Can constipation make our guppy pass away?

Constipation is a life-threatening condition for your guppy fish.

If your guppy fish is constipated and you are not doing anything to cure it, then there is a good chance that your guppy fish may pass away.

However, constipation will weaken your guppy fish immune system, which opens the door to various diseases and infections.

It is essential to take immediate action when you find that your guppy fish is suffering from constipation.


Constipation can cause by overfeeding, low quality food, and lack of exercise.

Signs and symptoms are bloated bellies, trouble swimming, refusal to eat, and lethargy.

Feeding high-fiber food like cooked peas will help cure the constipation problem.

Placing your affected fish in a hospital tank and adding one tablespoon of Epsom salt per one gallon of water will help cure constipation and dropsy.

Providing an adequate water condition and parameters with stable water temperature is essential to prevent constipation.

Also, feeding high-quality food and avoiding low-quality food will help prevent constipation.

Reference: NCBI

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