Why is My Guppy Hiding?

Having a tank of guppy fish means having a colorful tank with fish who love to be active. But when the guppies start hiding, it’s natural to ask what might be wrong.

If your guppy is hiding, that means either something is wrong with the tank, or your guppy is sick, stressed, or in the case of a female guppy, it might be pregnant.

One thing to note, it is common for guppies to hide at the bottom of the tank at night. Do not be alarmed if this is the behavior you are observing. However, if the guppies are hiding during the day, you’ll want to investigate further.

The first step you should take when determining why a guppy is hiding is doing a health check of your tank. This is especially important if many guppies are hiding.

Green Black Orange Clear Guppy

Poor Water Quality

High toxin levels like ammonia will cause guppies to be lethargic. Check your water quality and if anything is off, you will want to do a water change over the course of several days to get the quality back to where it belongs.

Do not shock the fish by changing more than 15% or 20% at a time, but you’ll want to eventually get to a water change of 50% to 70% to get the toxicity levels down.

For optimal water quality, you’ll want to cycle half the water every two weeks.

Another thing to keep in mind is the water temperature. Guppies need a temperature range between 65- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit, and preferably between 75 to 78 degrees.

Stress Reactions

If your guppies are getting stressed, that may cause them to hide. Guppies will experience stress if there is an improper male to female ratio or if you have a set of bad tank mates. The location of the fish tank may also play a part.

Improper Ratio of Males to Females

Guppies are live-bearing fish, which means they will try to breed at every opportunity. Males will chase females, which can cause the females to get stressed and hide. Too much breeding will cause your guppies to have shorter lifespans and stunt their growth.

Ideally, you need to have 1 male guppy for every 3 females. This will also have the benefit of preventing your tank becoming a guppy breeding zone only.

Bad Tank Mates

In addition to accounting for water and food requirements, you must also watch for temperament. Temperament differs from species to species. You cannot keep peaceful fish with aggressive fish, or fast fish with mellow fish. Both situations will cause stress situations.

Guppies will specifically do well with cory catfish, mollies, platys, plecos, rasboras, swordtails, and tetra. You can have guppies with gourami fish, but know that gouramis are high maintenance compared to guppies.

Fish Tank Location

If the fish tank is located in a place where there is too much traffic, your guppies may get spooked often and then hide. You’ll want to put your aquarium in a quiet spot with less traffic. Preferably somewhere where it also gets some natural light.

Be careful not to put it in direct sunlight, which can increase unwanted algae growth.

New Environment

Guppies can also get stressed right after they have been put in a new environment. You’ll want to acclimate them to the tank and give them some time to adjust. This can take up to a week.

Similarly, drastically changing up the tank decorations may cause guppies to become shy as they explore what they believe to be a new location. Giving them some time to adjust is best. To avoid stressing them out, it is best to slowly reorganize the tank decorations so they do not experience too much change too quickly.


A tank that has too many other fish will also stress out your guppies and they won’t want to interact. Make sure there is enough space in the tank for everyone.

Similar to having too many fish in the tank, having too many decorations may make it hard for guppies to swim around. They like to swim around freely, so ensure they have the space to do that.

Not Enough Food

Make sure you are giving the tank enough food so that guppies do not feel that they have to fight for food. Food scarcity can be a big stressor for any kind of fish.

Not Enough Fish

In direct contrast to overcrowding, not having enough fish in the tank may stress your guppies out because they do not have any playmates. They are mellow but social fish. For each 10 gallons in your tank, you will want 3 guppies.

Too Strong of a Current

Guppies cannot have a filter or bubbler that causes too much of a current. They are small fish evolved for ponds and streams with mild currents. They will get stressed if they are being pushed around too much.

Sick Guppy

If you have many guppies, or many types of fish, and only one or two guppies are hiding, you may want to start by checking for illnesses or stress. Many illnesses and stress issues are caused by poor water quality, hence the steps above.

Many diseases that fish get present themselves with body lesions, distended stomachs, misshapen fins, or protruding eyes.

Most diseases that guppies get can be treated with drops that you can purchase at the pet store or online that you add to the tank.

Pregnant Guppy Fish

Before spawning eggs, a female guppy fish will find a protected area for the eggs and hide there. However, since there are several other things that could be causing your guppy to hide, you will want to check for other signs of pregnancy such as an extended abdomen or a V-shaped belly.

A pregnant female guppy fish hiding is perfectly normal behavior and is no cause for concern.


There are several reasons why your guppy would want to hide. However, the issues generally boil down to an improper tank environment causing illness or stress, a sick fish, or a pregnant fish. All of these have solutions and with the right amount of time and care, can be rectified.