Yes, guppies definitely do sleep, but not in a conventional way. It can also be incredibly hard to notice when they are actually sleeping because they do not close their eyes or stay particularly still whilst doing so. Typically, guppies sleep when it is dark in their tank and during nighttime, which is another reason why you may not have caught them sleeping.
Unlike humans, guppies do not enter REM sleep, and in fact, they sleep very lightly and usually in small bursts in order to conserve and regenerate their energy.
How Much Sleep Do Guppies Need?
Guppies will typically sleep for around 6-7 hours a day as most humans do, however, they will do so in shorter bursts and their sleep is never considered to be "deep". Guppies will usually go to sleep when the sun goes down and then awake when the sun rises as they are diurnal fish, meaning they are active during the day, rather than at night.
If you have an aquarium light, you can adjust when your guppies sleep by turning off the light and creating a dark aquarium atmosphere, tricking them into believing it is nighttime and therefore bedtime. It is important to make sure your aquarium light isn't on for the rest of the time they are awake as excessive light exposure can lead to unhealthy fish and algae outbreaks. However, aquarium lighting is important to have.
How To Tell Your Guppy Is Sleeping
When guppies sleep they tend to go down to the bottom of your tank, floating half an inch off the substrate or lying motionless on the tank bed. They can also be found in and amongst live plants and decorations asleep too. If their eyes are not moving and their breathing is slower, they are most likely sleeping. They can even be found floating at the top of the tank asleep, but this is less likely to happen.
How To Help Your Guppies Sleep
Just like pretty much all animals, guppies need their sleep as much as they do food and good water conditions. It is your job as a guppy owner to ensure that they get the sleep they require. Let's take a look at all the things you can do to ensure your guppies are getting the sleep they need.
Do Not Leave Your Aquarium Light on For Too Long
One of the most bulletproof methods for ensuring your guppies sleep and rest well is by turning off your aquarium light at the time you want them to sleep. This is because it mimics the nighttime in their natural habitat, making them want to hide away to sleep and rest.
It is important, however, to not leave the light on for too long as it can cause disruption to your fish and also increase the probability of an algae outbreak. We recommend between 8 to 10 hours of aquarium light per day. By matching your aquarium lighting with the natural light of the day you are providing your guppies with the most realistic living conditions. Purchasing an automatic light timer is a good idea if you forget to turn off the light.
Avoid Aggressive Tank Mates
Despite your guppies sleeping at night, many potential guppy tank mates will not be, and if they are aggressive by nature, this could cause a rather large disturbance. You do not want your guppies to be bullied by aggressive tank mates whilst they try and rest as this can cause an abundance of stress and lack of sleep, which will almost certainly lead to health problems.
The solution to this problem is by simply acquiring compatible guppy tank mates that are peaceful by nature, and will not disturb your guppies during their times of rest and sleep.
Do Not Leave Other Lights On
Equally as important as switching the aquarium lights off is switching off the lights in your home that are near or directly affect your aquarium. If the lights are too bright and kept on during your guppy's sleeping time it will have the same effect as leaving the aquarium lights on.
Keeping any source of light will certainly disrupt the sleep of your fish, there are some solutions, however, especially if you tend to stay up late and need the light on in your home. If you go to bed late and wake up late, simply turn your tank light and home lights off when you sleep and back on when you awake, or you can put a dark sheet over your tank to stop any outside light from getting in.
Provide Good Hiding Spots
The final tip for ensuring your guppies have a good sleep is to provide lots of good hiding spots within your aquarium. Guppies enjoy hiding spots, as most fish do! They usually find hiding spots in the wild to protect themselves against predators when they sleep.
Regardless of whether or not you have other tank inhabitants, your guppies will appreciate hiding spots as they don't know that a predatory fish won't come and eat them in their sleep. Providing ornaments and plants to your guppies will make them feel safe and secure, therefore helping them have a more restful and peaceful sleep.
Is My Guppy Sleeping Or Dead?
There is not a particularly big difference in appearance from your guppy sleeping to your guppy being dead. However, the best way of checking is to switch on your aquarium light, and if after a couple of minutes they haven't moved at all, they have likely passed away.
If you notice that they are not moving at all, and their gills and mouth are not moving either, this is likely a sign that they are not breathing and are dead. The final way to figure out if your guppy has unfortunately passed is by scooping them out of the tank via a net, if they don't move at all, they have almost certainly passed away.
The Exception To The Rule
The only exception to your guppy not moving when awake is a pregnant female guppy. Pregnant female guppies tend to lay completely still on the substrate or around the tank, but finding out a pregnant guppy is fortunately very easy to do.
Do Guppies Sleep Upside Down?
No, guppies do not sleep upside down. Well, healthy guppies do not. If your guppy is sleeping or swimming upside down this could be an indication of an underlying health problem. If you notice that your guppy is sleeping upside down, something is certainly wrong.
There are some reasons why your guppy is sleeping upside down, with the first being that there could be a problem with the water. Make sure you test the ammonia and pH levels as well as the temperature. Remember, the water temperature for guppies should be between 74-82°F (23-28°C).
If you have checked the water and everything seems to be fine with it, the next likely situation is that they have picked up a swim bladder disease. If this is the case, consult your vet or fish store immediately to find a solution.
Do Guppies Sleep At The Bottom Of The Tank?
Yes, guppies typically do sleep at the bottom of the tank, most of the time. There are some times, however, when your guppy residing at bottom of your tank is indicating a serious problem.
These problems are usually temperature shock, swim bladder disease, and other fatal illnesses. If your guppy is constantly sleeping at the bottom of your tank or even just hanging around the bottom of the tank whilst awake, check for symptoms and contact your vet.
Do Guppies Fry Sleep?
Guppy fry perhaps need even more sleep than their parents as they need the energy to grow up strong and healthy as quickly as possible as guppy fry have a pretty hard start to their life. However, they do need the perfect amount of light and dark to survive, so make sure you provide them with this.
You now understand that guppies do sleep and that it is abundantly important that they do get the right amount of sleep, it is important you ensure they have the best sleep possible by following the instructions provided in this guide.
If your guppy isn't moving at all, staying in the same place for a prolonged period of time, they could either be dead or heavily pregnant. A guppy floating upside down is never a good sign either, and the vet should be contacted immediately. Guppies are brilliant fish and are incredibly popular for a number of reasons, make sure you treat yours with the care it deserves.