Despite what many people believe, guppies do actually fight each other and are more then capable of fighting with other fish species too. However, there are usually reasons behind it, and there are ways you can prevent it, or at least keep it to a minimum.
Unlike betta fish guppies are peaceful fish by nature, but that isn't to say that they won't fight with each other and even other fish and tank inhabitants. The first call for action should be to find out why they are fighting and what has caused it to happen.
Why Do Guppies Fight and Bully Each Other?
Guppies displaying aggressive and bullying behavior towards others will typically be because they are stressed out. Now, your guppy could be stressed out and uptight for a number of good reasons.
New Fish Entering The Tank
Whenever you add a new guppy to your fish tank (or any new fish), on occasion your guppies may try to assert their dominance over the newcomer fish residing in their tank. Additionally, if you introduce a timid new fish, expect them to be bullied.
Funnily enough, this could go in the other direction, where the new fish becomes the tank bully and tries to assert their dominance over your pre-existing fish community.
Fighting among fish typically takes place due to competition, this is because males nearly always want to compete for the right to mate with a female. The fighting will occur between two male guppies usually when they are trying to compete for mating rights.
Lack of Females
It's simple, if the guppies in your tank are not in the correct proportion, where you have a 1:1 ratio of males versus females, then fights will likely break out. The females and male numbers should be equal, or, if they are not, then you need to have one male residing with a group of females.
Do Female Guppies Fight?
Female guppies, although not a common occurrence, will still fight males and other females. Fortunately, it does not happen as much as males and it is never usually as severe as when the males fight, it involves more harassment than actual physical damage.
Why Do Female Guppies Fight
Female versus female fighting is usually derived from different motivations than when the males fight, with males causing the majority of their confrontations. Here are some of the main reasons.
Males In The Tank
Females are far more likely to act hostile towards each other when there are males in the tank. Female guppies are incredibly social and enjoy spending "quality time" with members of the school, which helps create a hierarchy within the group.
But when males are in the tank too, the female guppies will often become subject to harassment and aggression, which leads to them not being able to spend as much time with the group.
Bonding pretty much goes out the window for female guppies when this happens, which can result in a lot of fighting. Either the females will start fighting back, or releasing their anger on other females in the group.
Pregnant Female Guppy
Females can become more aggressive when they are pregnant, especially when it comes to feeding. When pregnant, the females require more food, which is why they will become more protective over what they deem to be theirs.
How Do You Know When Guppies are Fighting?
Sometimes it is difficult to know when your guppies are fighting or if they are just playing a game with each other. However, there are some specific ways of spotting if your guppies are actually fighting, let's take a look.
Damaged Fins and Body
Fins that have become damaged and frayed are usually a sign that some not-so-friendly fighting has occurred. Guppies and other fish tend to nip at the fins in particular when they are fighting or trying to bully others. Fin rot and other diseases can also be the cause of this, so make sure to look out for that too.
More Hiding and Timid Behavior
Typically if a fish is being bullied, it will spend more time away from other fish and on its own in hiding spots around the aquarium. If you notice that your guppies are not staying in a group and individually hiding in spots around the tank, it is a strong indication that they are being bullied.
If you notice a dead guppy in your tank, and all of your water parameters and temperature is completely fine and normal, then this could easily be a result of your guppy being bullied or attacked. You should check out the dead fish to see if there are any scars or markings on their body or fins that would indicate they were attacked.
Male and female guppies certainly do chase each other on occasion, especially when mating or trying to establish a partnership. However, if the chasing is constant and seemingly never-ending, then you probably have a fighting guppy on your hands.
How To Stop and Prevent Guppies From Fighting
Fortunately, there are many ways that you can stop your guppies from fighting each other, and prevent them from doing so in the future. Once you identify the bullying or fighting, it is best to start implementing one of these methods, otherwise you will have a severely stressed out or even dead guppy!
By keeping larger groups of guppies the aggression between the school will become more diluted due to there being more fish. It is important to bear in mind that more fish often means the necessity for a larger fish tank.
Plenty Of Hiding Spots
Hiding spaces are essential for guppies in general, not just to prevent them from being bullied, although, it certainly does help! By incorporating a nice selection of different plants and décor you will be ensuring the safety of some of your guppies that want to escape being bullied or harassed.
More Females Than Males
Having more females than males will certainly reduce some of the aggression caused by males trying to compete with one another. They tend to go after each other more than females as they try to get attention and mating rights. So, more females and fewer males will likely see a decline in aggression within the group.
Feed Them Enough
There is a fine line between overfeeding and not feeding your guppies enough, however, it is important that you do feed them the right amount of food, otherwise, they will become "hangry", and this could result in more aggression being displayed.
Good Water Quality
If the conditions of the water in your aquarium are bad, then your guppies will become stressed out which can easily lead to more aggression and fighting. The pH level, ammonia, and temperature of your fish tank should be constantly monitored to ensure that they are all within the right parameters.
The larger the tank, the more room your guppies have to find hiding spots and avoid any confrontation with others. Additionally, if your fish tank is too small, then your fish will likely become more agitated and aggressive.
Remove The Bullies
If there is one, or maybe a couple of stand-out aggressors, the best thing to do if they do not stop is to separate them in another tank for a few days or a week, or even return them to the pet shop with their bad vibes!
Just like humans, some fish are naturally aggressive, despite their genetic makeup. Sometimes they just need a couple of days to cool off and then you often find they behave fine after having a break on their own.
Guppy fish are incredibly interesting and beautiful fish with a peaceful nature. However, guppies may be peaceful fish by nature, but that isn't to say they won't fight each other or attack each other for a number of different reasons.
The best thing to do if you notice any of the signs your guppies are under attack from each other or another type of fish is to follow the instructions in this guide. Fortunately, there are a plethora of ways you can prevent or stop this from happening.