Can Cherry Barbs Live With Guppies?

Because cherry barbs are small and peaceful fish, they make great tank mates with several fish, including guppies. However, because guppies do not lay eggs and are livebearers, there is a chance that the cherry barbs may eat some of the guppy fry, though it is unlikely they will eat them all.

When looking into the best tank mates for cherry barbs, there are a few things you must first consider. In addition to the size of the fish and their social tendencies, you must also consider the filtration system, the size of the tank, and the feeding process to ensure your cherry barbs and guppies live well together.

Are Cherry Barbs And Guppies Good Tank Mates?

In general, cherry barbs and guppies are peaceful fish that grow to a similar size and are easy to care for in a tank. However, there are some differences you must consider to ensure your fish are happy together.

These differences and details include:

  • The Required tank sizes
  • Water temperatures
  • pH levels
  • The tank lighting
  • The water hardness

There are a lot of considerations you need to account for to help you keep your fish happy. Below we discuss these points in more detail to help you understand whether cherry barbs and guppies can live well together.

One Cherry Barb in Front of Plants

The Minimum Tank Size For Cherry Barbs And Guppies

The minimum tank sizes for cherry barbs and guppies differ wildly, with guppies needing a minimum capacity of 5 gallons compared to the cherry barb’s 25 gallons.

However, this doesn’t mean these fish can’t live in the same tank, it only means that you need to get a tank that fulfills the requirements of the cherry barb, which requires more space.

Though cherry barbs are peaceful fish for the most part, if there is too little space to live with your guppies, they may become a little more aggressive, especially during breeding times.

In addition, if there is too little space for your fish to roam, it may also mean that any guppy fry your guppies may produce will have a smaller area to hide and may get eaten by the cherry barbs.

The Ideal Tank Temperatures For Cherry Barbs And Guppies

Another factor you should consider when deciding whether to house cherry barbs and guppies in the same tank is the temperatures they need to be happy. Guppies can remain satisfied in higher temperatures between 74-82°F, whereas cherry barbs prefer water between 74-79°F.

In this case, the best way to keep both fish species happy in the same tank is to keep to the lower temperatures between 74°F and 79°F. Doing this ensures both of these species are within their preferred temperature range.

The Best pH Levels For Cherry Barbs And Guppies

In addition to the two variables already mentioned and discussed above, you will also need to ensure that the pH levels inside the tank are suitable for both fish species. Usually, cherry barbs prefer pH levels around 6.0 to 7.0, whereas the guppies prefer 6.8 to 7.6.

Looking at the preferred pH levels for these fish shows minimal overlap in their desired pH levels, but if you can keep the pH levels between 6.8 and 7.0, both species should have optimal living conditions when sharing a tank.

The Preferred Tank Lighting For Cherry Barbs And Guppies

As you may know, if you have kept fish for a while, some fish have requirements that include the tank’s lighting. Though you may not have to provide light for some fish, for others, it can be a way to help them keep to a day-night cycle and can help the plants that the fish need to grow.

For guppies, the light you add to your tank is necessary if there is no natural light, as this will allow them to follow their usual sleeping patterns. In addition, you will likely need extra lighting for your guppies since cherry barbs have different requirements.

Instead, cherry barbs require very little light, preferring dim indirect light. For cherry barbs, you may want to include some floating plant life to shield them from any direct light. However, with the edition of tank lights for the guppies, you should have enough light for the fish and for the plants to live.

Water Hardness For Cherry Barbs And Guppies Living Together

Though you may not necessarily be familiar with the water hardness, if you know how to monitor and control it, you can give your fish a longer and happier life. Since guppies already tend to live for only around two years, you may want to consider this.

To ensure the guppies and cherry barbs live happily, eat properly, and thrive in their shared environment, you need to look at the two species’ preferred water hardness and do your best to keep it under control.

Cherry barbs usually thrive in water with a hardness of 2 – 18 dGH, while guppies prefer 8 – 12 dGH. Though these numbers vary quite a lot, there is an overlap, which would be the best water hardness for a tank that your cherry barbs and guppies share, between 8 and 12 dGH.

Keeping the water hardness in this range should help you ensure that your cherry barbs and guppies live together happily.

Can Cherry Barbs And Guppies Live Together During Breeding

Though you may not be too bothered if you are an amateur fish keeper, if you are trying to breed both guppies and cherry barbs, they may not be the best tank mates after all.

Because both the cherry barbs and guppies are omnivores, some undesirable outcomes may occur during the breeding periods. Though most of the time, this will not be an issue if you have a smaller fish tank and want to keep the population numbers down.

Since guppies do not lay eggs but rather are livebearers, there is a chance that the cherry barbs may eat some of the fry once they start swimming freely. As previously stated, this may become a problem if you want a higher survival rate that allows you to breed or sell more guppies.

However, the easiest solution is to prepare a second tank for your fish in which the guppy fry can live until they become too big for cherry barbs to eat.

Other Great Tank Mates For Cherry Barbs

Though guppies can make great tank mates for cherry barbs when the conditions are right, you may be wondering about other potential tank mates. Below is a list of other relatively peaceful fish species that would live comfortably in the same tank as your cherry barbs.

  • Dwarf gourami
  • Pearl gourami
  • Rainbow sharks
  • Black ruby barbs
  • Rosy barbs
  • Neon tetra
  • Buenos Aires tetra
  • Molly fish


Generally speaking, cherry barbs and guppies have similar requirements and can live together peacefully, making them great tank mates. However, if you are breeding or selling guppies, you may want to prepare a second tank during the breeding season to keep your guppy fry. Alternatively, you can avoid the hassle of separating the guppy fry by not pairing these species.