Why is My Guppy Not Eating?

Few things are as frustrating as your guppy all of a sudden deciding they don’t want to eat anymore.

This is something that every single person that keeps guppies will bump into from time to time, and it’s important to understand how to navigate the situation – as well as why it’s happening in the first place.

There are a couple of different reasons that could be causing your guppy to go without food right now, including (but not limited to): your fish feeling stressed out, getting sick or being injured, or your fish could be pregnant!

Below we dig a little bit deeper into why your guppy might not be eating right now and what you can do about it.

Why is My Guppy Not Eating?

New fish keepers are always a little bit stressed out when their guppies stop eating, not understanding that this can be a normal thing – even if it isn’t exactly ideal.

It’s really important to remember that guppies are (by and large) one of the hardiest fish species you can keep.

These fish are super adaptable, very resilient, and can even go without food for a couple of days (all the way up to a couple of weeks).

Obviously, your fish not eating for two weeks or so isn’t the best scenario in the world – but it isn’t the end of the world, either.

Guppys in freshwater aquarium

Your Guppy is Stressed Out

Guppies that are stressed out are always going to have a tough time finding the will to eat.

While these fish are generally pretty social and happy creatures, there are a couple of things that can stress them out to the point where they just don’t want to eat anything at all.

For starters, having a male to female ratio that is all out of whack can cause all kinds of problems in a school of guppies.

These fish want to be with one another, they want to be in a school, and they want to spend time with one another. If you have a bunch of males and only a handful of females, though, all of the fish – males and females alike – are going to start feeling pretty stressed out.

Guppy males have been known to get a little bit on the aggressive side of things when mating season is starting to kick off, and they don’t just go after the other males in the tank, either. It’s not at all unusual for these fish to start bullying the ladies as well.

And it’s not unusual for the ladies to run for cover and hide while they are stressed!

Try to keep your ratio at about one males for every three females and you’ll eliminate a lot of the trouble.

Other stressors include:

  • Water temperatures that are too hot or too cold (try to stick to 85°F to 82°F or so)
  • Water that hasn’t been changed and is starting to lose its oxygen levels
  • High levels of histamine or ammonia in the water
  • Predatory fish from other species

Your Guppy is Injured or Sick

Guppies are a pretty tough species of fish (that makes them really attractive for beginner fish keepers), but they are still susceptible to all kinds of illnesses, diseases, and conditions that can cause significant trauma and injuries.

Thankfully, though, the overwhelming majority of conditions that afflict guppies can be spotted a long way off before they become medical emergencies.

Even better news is that a lot of these conditions can be effectively treated with water additives or medications dropped right into the tank. You just need to be vigilant and constantly on the lookout for these conditions, conditions that can cause your fish to stop eating.

Medical conditions that can cause your guppy to starve themselves include, but are not limited to:

  • Guppy disease, a parasitic infection
  • Velvet disease, a contagious issue that causes gold spots in the fish to lose their skin
  • Ick, a white spot condition that needs to be treated ASAP or can prove deadly
  • Dropsy, a bacterial infection that can kill your fish if it isn’t treated

Your Guppy is Stuffed

A lot of people simply forget that guppies might not be hungry right now and that’s why they aren’t eating!

As a general rule of thumb you should be feeding your guppies every day, twice a day, and no more food than just enough to feed them for about 60 seconds.

If you have had a bit of a heavy hand the last couple of times you’ve added fish food to your guppy tank you might just be dealing with a fish that has a full belly and is uninterested in expending energy to eat anymore.

This is why it’s so important to stay consistent with the amount of food that you give your guppies as well as the timing of your feeding sessions.

Really try to stick to a specific time in the morning and a specific time at night, and make sure that your fish are getting just the right amount of food and never so much that the leftovers end up sinking into the substrate and potentially poisoning their water over time.

Your Guppy is Pregnant

Pregnant guppies are never going to be all that eager or excited to eat, especially as they get closer and closer to labor.

If your female guppies are the ones that have started to go without food – and you know you are about 30 days from mating season – you probably don’t have anything to worry about.

You’ll still want to make sure that you actively monitor the situation to be sure, but you’ll also want to be on the lookout for obvious signs of guppy labor happening.

A bigger belly, your guppy hiding, and your guppy expelling a whole bunch of fry into the water (and then trying to eat a bunch of them) are obvious signs that she has been pregnant and has just given birth.

Give it a couple of days and she’ll be right back into action, eating just as much as she used to – if not even a little bit more!