Are Guppies Bottom Feeders?

If you’re thinking about acquiring an aquarium, the easiest fish to maintain is indeed the guppy. They are docile, friendly fish, and effortless to care for.

Guppies are not bottom feeders and in general spend most of their time near the middle or surface of an aquarium. If they are hiding on the bottom, this would typically be cause for concern and further monitoring.

These little fish are active and friendly and like to swim all over their tank. Sometimes their behavior makes them act strangely, and you will find them floating down by the gravel, but that is generally not while looking for food.

Are Guppies Bottom Feeders?

Guppies are very easy-going fish who will eat almost anything. However, they don’t typically eat from the bottom of the tank. Guppies will ordinarily remain in the middle or near the surface of the aquarium.

If they have been conditioned to react as soon as you lift the tank’s lid, they will know that it is feeding time and rise to hover around the water level waiting for food.

Bottom feeders are fish that will eat the leftover food that has sunk to the tank’s bottom, like Plecos, catfish, and snails. Therefore it’s practical to have both top and bottom feeders in your aquarium.

If guppies move around the bottom of your tank, there is usually another reason for it—either an illness or pregnancy.

Close up shot of orange, black, and silver guppy

What Kind Of Food Do Guppies Eat?

In the wild, guppies eat almost any type of food. They survive on bug larvae, zooplankton, and algae. In South American regions where they are widespread, they are renowned for the management of mosquito populations.

In a freshwater aquarium, they enjoy tropical fish flakes and pellets formulated especially for guppies, but this should only be used as a supplementary meal. They can also eat tubifex worms, bloodworms, algae, and brine shrimp.

Now and again, you can mince some zucchini, cucumber, or even carrot and give that to them to ensure a balanced diet.

You should be careful not to overfeed them as this will cause the water to become murky. Uneaten food can release ammonia and nitrate as it decomposes, which is toxic to your fish. It can cause stress and eventual death if your tank is not regularly vacuumed and cleaned.

Another reason you should also vary your fish’s diet is to avoid constipation in your fish. A lack of dietary fiber will make them lethargic, bloated, and uninterested in food. Add some live plants to your aquarium or alternate what you feed them.

Guppies are generally active fish and require a lot of energy to swim around. Without the correct diet, they can become passive and stressed, causing illnesses.

7 Reasons Why Guppies Would Lie At The Bottom

If your guppy is lying near the gravel, barely moving, you should inspect it. Guppies are speedy little swimmers and like to move around. These might be some of the reasons why they would be inactive.

  1. If it’s nighttime, your guppies might be sleeping or resting. They are not nocturnal animals and choose to rest during the dark hours.
  2. Your guppy might have a disease. This is often accompanied by other symptoms like spots or lesions, loss of appetite, or frayed fins.
  3. The water temperature is too low, and the guppies cannot thrive in cold water. They are tropical fish that require a water temperature between 75-78° F (24-26° C).
  4. There is ammonia poisoning present in the water, which can be fatal to your fish.
  5. The aquarium might be too small, and other fish might be acting aggressively towards your guppy.
  6. The water conditions are not optimal. The pH level of the water needs to be between seven and eight and can be easily measured with an at-home kit.
  7. Your guppy might be pregnant and is close to giving birth.

How To Keep Your Guppies Healthy

If you want to keep your guppies happy and healthy, there are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure that they stay that way.

  1. Feed your guppies a balanced and high-fiber variety of food.
  2. Choose the correct size tank for the number of guppies you seek. Stick to the one guppy per gallon rule. Guppies can also grow fairly quickly.
  3. Guppies are sociable fish and need mates. For every one male you have, you should keep two females.
  4. Ensure that you maintain good water quality. Regularly check the pH balance, the ammonia level, the temperature, and reduce nitrates in your tank.
  5. Install an air pump in your aquarium, so there is constant water agitation. This action helps oxygenate the water and keep the oxygen levels livable.
  6. Decorate your fish tank so there are ample hiding places for your fish.
  7. Emulate their natural environment by maintaining the day-night cycle. Switch off the light during the evening so your fish will also find some rest.
  8. Also, decorate your tank with live aquatic plants. These plants are beneficial for several reasons. They release oxygen in the water, help reduce algae in your tank, and absorb things like ammonia and nitrate, thereby helping to keep the water clean.
  9. Pay attention to changes in your fish’s behavior and appearance for any diseases or stress so that you can treat it as soon as it happens.
  10. Start your tank with high-quality, healthy guppies from a reputable source.
  11. And as you buy new guppies, quarantine them first before introducing them to your fish tank.

How To Tell If Your Guppies Are Stressed

Fish are very fragile beings and can experience stress just like any other creature. If your guppies encounter stress, this could lead to illness or severe health complications. Recognizing that there is something stressful in your fish’s environment is step number one.

  • If your fish is gasping for air near the water’s surface, it might be a sign that there is something wrong with the water conditions or that there is not enough oxygen in the water.
  • A sure sign that something is affecting your fish is the loss of appetite. Fish require a lot of energy to swim around all day. If it refuses to eat, something might be amiss.
  • Many illnesses and diseases have visible markings that appear on the fish. Ich, for example, is recognized by white spots on the fish’s body.
  • Your fish might also have strange swimming behavior. He might be swimming erratically or dashing rapidly without going anywhere. He could be crashing into things or simply lying motionless near the bottom.

After diagnosing the cause of your fish’s stress, please take the necessary steps to rectify it and improve the conditions in the aquarium. If you are unsure, visit your nearest veterinarian for advice and guidance.


Guppies are a very social little fish and like swimming in schools. They tend to spark around the tank at warp speed and enjoy their food from the surface of the water. Guppies aren’t classified as bottom feeders. The only reason they might be near the bottom is if they have a good reason to be there. These fish are probably the easiest in the pet store and pretty to boot!