Guppy fish do not like to hide for long periods of time. This breed of fish is shy by nature so will occasionally hide occasionally, for brief periods. However, if they are hiding frequently for long stretches of time there is most likely a problem with the fish’s health or environment that needs to be addressed.
You may notice your guppy hiding in the corners of its tank, under the pebbles at the bottom of the tank, behind the water filter or amongst other tank decorations. This article will help you recognize when you should be worried about your guppy hiding and when it is just a side effect of the fish’s shy temperament.
Has your guppy just moved in?
If you have just moved your guppy into its new home it will likely hide until it feels safe in its new environment. This is nothing to worry about and it is a good idea to give your guppy some tank decorations that it can seek refuge in until it is comfortable.
Having lots of hiding places available will reduce the risk of your guppy developing stress.
Is your guppy sick?
Sick guppies will hide in order to rest. Guppies tend to feel more vulnerable when sick so they will seek refuge from potential attacks until they have regained strength.
Guppy fish are susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections. If you notice your guppy is not moving around as much and is staying close to the bottom of its tank it may be sick. Loss of appetite is another indication of this.
If you suspect your guppy may be hiding due to sickness it is important to investigate this straight away so that your guppy does not get any worse and other fish that may also live in the tank do not fall sick too.
Is your guppy pregnant?
Female guppies hide when they are pregnant and in labor.
If your female guppy appears to have an extended or V-shaped belly it is likely pregnant about to birth fry. She would also have a noticeable dark patch on her stomach.
Have you checked your water quality?
Poor water quality is dangerous to guppies. If there is a build up of ammonia in the tank water or the pH level is unbalanced, you will notice your guppy hiding at the bottom of the tank.
A change in tank water color is a sign of poor water quality. To maintain optimal conditions for your guppy to thrive you should be changing the tank water regularly, at least once a week but ideally twice each week.
You should also invest in a filter to help keep tank water as fresh and clean as possible (though the sudden addition of a filter may cause your guppy to seek shelter too!). Water filters not only remove chemicals and waste from the water, they flood oxygen into the tank.
Why is my guppy hiding behind the filter?
If you have already invested in a water filter for your tank and you notice your guppy seems to be staying behind it, this is another sign of poor water quality. Your guppy will try to stay as close to the cleanest water source possible, which naturally is closest to the water filter.
Is your guppy stressed?
Guppies will hide if they are stressed about a particular situation or condition.
There are several factors that stress these fish and you should be aware of each and their warning signs if you plan to keep or currently do keep guppies. Stress can lead your guppy to develop illness and could potentially even result in death.
Let’s have a look at some common stressors for guppy fish.
Aggressive tank mates
Your guppy will hide if it is being harassed and attacked by its tank mates, either because the attacks are making it stressed, or because it is injured and trying to recover.
Guppy fish are placid and do not do well with aggressive fish like betta fish. If you notice your guppy being attacked you should immediately separate the fish in another tank or with a tank divider.
Glassfish, cory catfish and platy fish are good tankmates for guppy fish.
Not enough females in the tank
If you have a male and female guppy in the same tank you may notice that the female has started hiding from the male. This is likely because it is breeding season, when male guppies can become quite aggressive towards females as they are driven by a strong desire to breed constantly.
During this time male guppies will continually chase the females, causing them to become stressed and seek shelter.
Consider introducing more female guppies to the tank to break up the male’s attention. A good ratio is one male for every three females.
New tank mates
Even if you introduce a non-aggressive fish to your guppy’s tank, it may still become nervous and seek refuge as it assesses its new tank mate. Don’t worry, once your guppy becomes accustomed to the new presence its nerves will ease and it will go back to normal.
Low water temperature
Guppy fish are tropical fish and need warm conditions to survive and thrive. If you plan on keeping guppies you should have water heater and keep temperatures at between 75-78o F.
Guppies can become stressed if there are too many other fish sharing the tank with them. They are active fish that like to have lots of room to swim around their tank and don’t like feeling crowded. If there is no space to do so they may become stressed and hide instead of moving around.
Guppy fish are placid and shy and will hide occasionally if they find themselves in an unfamiliar situation. However, if your guppy is spending a lot of time hiding it a sign that something is making your guppy fish unhappy.
If you notice that your guppy is hiding all of the time then you should try to understand why and rectify the issue. With the proper water conditions and temperature and the proper companions your guppy should