Guppies, like most aquarium fish, can grow back their tails. Whatever causes the injury, the guppies tails can heal and regrow once the source of the damage is addressed. The time it takes for the tail to grow back depends on the severity of the damage.
It’s normal for us to think of a guppy’s tail or fins as limbs when, in fact, they’re not. Unlike mammals, guppies—and most aquarium fish—have exceptional regeneration abilities. They can lose and grow back external organs like tails, fins, and scales easily.
This article delves deeper into how guppies’ tails grow back and how long this process takes. In addition, it offers probable causes for guppies losing their tails. There are also tips on how you can help them speed up the tail regeneration process.
Do Guppies Tails Grow Back?
Yes, guppies tails do grow back. It’s no magic, just fish’s regeneration abilities.
In general, most fish don’t just repair damaged tissue. Their immune system enables them to grow back any injured organs.
The guppies’ immune system starts by healing the wound. Once it’s completely healed, the immune system makes new cells and tissues to grow back the tail or fin.
How Long Does It Take for Guppies Tails to Grow Back?
The duration it takes for a guppy to grow back its tail can range from several days to months. It mainly depends on three factors:
- The extent of damage
- The guppy’s immune system
- The environment
The Extent of Damage
Guppies can lose their tails for a number of reasons. Depending on the cause, the tail can suffer from minor tears to serious injuries.
Minor injuries can take from a couple of days to a few weeks to completely heal. Serious injuries, on the other hand, may take longer.
In ideal conditions, any kind of damage to the tail shouldn’t take too long to heal. Addressing the root cause of the injury speeds up things as well.
The Guppy’s Immune System
Guppies, similar to most living organisms, can heal and grow back their tails quickly if they’re healthy. They rely on their immune system to grow back tails. That’s why a weakened system can prolong the regeneration process.
A fish’s regeneration abilities may be hindered by its surrounding environment. Guppies who live in dirty water may not be able to grow back their tails.
Leaving food leftovers, fish waste, and dying plants makes the aquarium unfit to live in. These can lead to a spike in ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels.
These toxins may not only hinder the guppy’s regeneration abilities, but they may also exacerbate the damage.
What Causes Injuries to Guppies Tails?
In most cases, a guppy fish can lose its tail as a result of physical injury from the aquarium, other guppies fin nipping, or an underlying illness or infection.
Guppies are known for being active swimmers. They’re always moving around and exploring their aquariums. In the process, they may collide with or rube against the decorations and plants.
If the decorations and plants have sharp edges, they may cause the tail to fray or split. Sometimes, entire sections of the tail may fall off.
To avoid any future injuries, you should remove any sharp or rough objects from the aquarium.
While guppies are mostly peaceful creatures, they can be aggressive and territorial. This behavior manifests itself in fin nipping.
It’s not uncommon to see guppies chasing each other and nipping at each other’s fins and tails. As a result, the fins and tail get injured. Small chunks may fall off and, in some cases, they might bite entire fins and tails off.
Guppies can become more hostile in the presence of other species. Therefore, it’s better to give them their own aquarium.
Underlying Illness or Infection
Poorly maintained aquariums can attract all kinds of illnesses and infections. Like most fish, guppies become stressed in unsuitable conditions. Stress weakens their immune system.
One of the most common diseases in aquarium fish is fin and tail rot. This parasitic infection may be caused by bacteria or fungus.
At first, the tail edges may turn a milky color and look frayed. If it escalates, parts of the tail may start to fall off.
Fin and tail rot is a contagious illness. Therefore, you should move the ill guppy to a different aquarium.
Here are the symptoms to look out for:
- Tail discoloration
- White dots on the tail
- Inflamed tail base
- Entire tail appears to be rotting or falling off in large chunks
Fortunately, fin and tail rot is one of the most preventable diseases. Providing a clean environment for guppies significantly reduces the chances of fin and tail rot.
Stressed guppies have low immunity, which makes them susceptible to bacterial infections. These can cause a guppy’s tail to become frayed and fuzzy. You may notice a slimy mucus or red streaking on the tail.
What You Can Do to Help Guppies Grow Back Their Tails
The first step that you can take to help a guppy grow back its tail is to address the cause of the damage. Then, you can work on providing the appropriate conditions to promote quick and easy tail regeneration.
Improve Living Conditions
Guppies heal and grow back their tails in ideal environments.
The aquarium should be clean and hygienic. The water should be in pristine conditions: pH levels between 7 and 8.2, temperature between 78 and 82, and low concentrations of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites.
If the cause of the injury is fin nipping, then it’s advisable to separate the injured fish. This prevents any potential attacks during recovery.
Similarly, if the guppy is suffering from an illness or infection, it should be moved to another aquarium. This protects other guppies from contracting the illness.
Give It Time
Healing is a waiting game. Most injuries will heal with time and any missing organs will grow back.
The fact that guppies, and most fish, can grow back their tails and fins is a pretty cool nature trick. Still, it’s important to figure out what caused the organ to fall off to begin with.
While the injuries may heal in a matter of days, underlying causes may need to be addressed and treated early on.
What’s more, guppies’ ability to regenerate can decline with age. This makes it crucial to maintain their health and prevent any tail injuries.