Guppies are known for many things, including strange behaviors. Every now and then feeding at the bottom of the tank is one such behavior that has been noticed. It has made many new aquarists wonder if guppies are bottom feeders?
Guppies are naturally top feeders. They mostly swim right below the water surface. However, guppies are known to be opportunistic feeders and will eat from anywhere in the tank where there is food available. If your guppies are eating from the bottom of the tank, it probably means they have been conditioned to do so.
Although it might seem quite unusual for a surface feeder fish, there is nothing to worry about. If your guppy fish acts as a bottom feeder and you want to know why, this article is for you. Below we have shared the method to stop guppies from eating at the bottom. And some common reasons why guppies may sit at the bottom. So without further ado, let’s get into the heart of the matter.
The Truth About Guppies Being Bottom Feeders
‘Opportunistic eaters’ is probably the best description that fits guppies well. They will eat from anywhere in the aquarium, where they can find food. However, it still does not change the fact that guppies are surface feeders. And them eating from the bottom of the tank is certainly an unusual behavior to adapt.
Now, one thing you must know about guppies is that they can be easily trained into doing certain things. For instance, if your guppy is eating from the bottom, it most likely means they have been conditioned to do so. It is almost impossible to tell how your fish might have picked up that behavior.
If you have newly bought guppies for your tank, and they have been eating like a bottom feeder. It indicates that it’s a learned behavior, probably from the pet store you bought them from. Mass feeding fish is one of the common practices among many breeders.
When you put food in a tank full of guppy fish, only the bigger and stronger ones will be able to munch on it at the top. Mainly, the smaller, weaker, and sick fish will remain at the mid or bottom and will wait for the food to sink so they can eat. Doing this repeatedly somehow affects their natural behavior and turns them into a potential bottom feeder.
Training Guppies to Stop Eating From the Bottom of the Tank
If you find your guppy feeding at the bottom. Rest assured that it is a learned behavior adopted over time and is possible to make your fish unlearn. But before we get into the actual process, let’s talk about how bottom-feeding affects guppies: a surface-eating fish.
As long as your guppies are getting enough food to eat, it doesn’t matter if they are fed at the surface or bottom of the tank.
However, if you have bottom-dwelling fish in your aquarium, and your guppies also prefer to eat at the bottom levels, it can cause conflict. The bottom feeders will usually suffer in this case if they don’t compete for the food. It may lead them to starvation and, in some cases, malnutrition.
This is probably the only reason why you should break this habit and turn your guppy back to a surface-feeder. As soon as you notice your fish forming such a not-so-natural eating behavior, apply the following measure to break it.
A guppy turned into a bottom-feeder is conditioned to ignore the food at the surface and wait for it to sink at the substrate level to eat. If they keep getting this treatment where the food is being served at the bottom of the tank, they will never even try to come to the top.
So, all you have to do is not feed sinking pellets exclusively. This will force your guppy to come to the surface to eat. This method might not work instantly and will probably take some time. But you don’t have to worry about your fish getting starved. They will come to the surface to eat as soon as they get hungry.
Until your guppies learn to eat from the surface, tap the water to get their attention upwards every time you put food into the tank. Guppies are quick learners, and as you guide them to the surface using your fingers it will help them adopt the right behavior.
How Do Guppies Behave With Bottom Feeders?
Guppies are top feeders, and they barely go down into the tank unless they are conditioned to feed at the bottom. As long as your guppies get enough food, they have no reason to compete with the bottom feeders.
There are many bottom-dwelling fish species, so make sure you only stock the compatible fish with guppies.
Common Reasons Why Guppies Lay at the Bottom
Fishes do not usually sit at the bottom or hide in corners unless they are dealing with some issues. Keep in mind, bottom-feeding is completely different than lying near the substrate.
If you see your fish that stay at the bottom and barely move or swim, then they might be affected by one or more reasons listed below.
- Staring with female guppy fish, you will usually find them hanging around at the bottom of the aquarium at the time of pregnancy. To identify a pregnant fish, look at her belly; you will find a slight bulge at the back of the abdomen. Also, there will be a gravid spot (black or bright red) near the rear tail.
- Fish tends to seek secluded areas at times of stress. Some common stressful conditions involve overcrowded tanks, poor water quality, and lack of food.
- Guppies are peace-loving and community-friendly fish. However, they don’t get along with aggressive tankmates. If your fish seem to be staying at the bottom or trying to hide, then this might be the reason. So make sure you don’t have any fish in your tank that isn’t compatible living with guppies.
- Guppies will often go to the bottom and lay motionless when they feel sick. They do this on purpose, as it helps them take deep rest and make it easy to deal with the sickness.
If you can’t identify the exact reason, start by examining your aquarium’s water conditions. Perform a major water change and ensure your filtration system is working fine.
Guppy Fries Dwelling at the Bottom
Many people feel concerned when they see guppy fries staying at the bottom for the most part.
Well, there is nothing to be alarmed of. It’s completely normal for baby guppies to hide among rocks and leaves near the bottom of the tank. It helps them avoid getting eaten by adult fish. As long as you are feeding adequate fry food that sinks, you don’t have to worry about your baby guppies living at the bottom.
To avoid parental cannibalism, transfer all larger fish to another tank. It will increase the survival chances of fry.
Can Guppies Die From Overeating?
Most fish will eat food and leave as soon as their stomach is full. However, there is some catch with guppies.
Guppies are known to be ravenous eaters. They will try to eat as much food as you drop in front of them. Guppies desire to eat constantly and as frequently as there is food in the aquarium. This insatiable hunger often leads to various fatal illnesses, including the fish’s death.
Feed your adult guppies not more than two times a day. And do not give them more food than what they can eat in 1 or 2 minutes.
If you aren’t sure about the right amount of food, you should feed your guppies, visit your local fish store and ask them for guidance on the matter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why do guppies sit at the bottom of the aquarium?
There can be a variety of reasons for a guppy fish to stay at the bottom. It includes resting, pregnancy, sickness, overcrowded tank, poor water quality, and aggressive tankmates.
Q. How often should guppies be fed?
You should feed adult guppies twice a day. At least one meal should consist of live food as it helps fulfill the necessary nutrition requirement. Baby guppies need to be fed between five to eight times each day. Frequent meals promote rapid development and help fry grow fast.
Q. How long can guppies go without food?
Healthy guppy fish can easily survive up to 2 weeks without eating. But we don’t suggest leaving your fish without food for more than ten days.
Q. Is algae good for guppies?
Not only for guppies, but algae is good for most fish species. Guppies eat algae in small portions and they do it occasionally.
Q. What is the best guppy food?
Tropical fish flakes and fish foods formulated specifically for guppies create the best guppy meal. It contains all the necessary nutrients required for the proper growth of fish.
Occasionally, you can treat your guppies with tubifex worms, brine shrimp, or bloodworms. Being omnivorous, they love to munch on vegetables and plant matter such as zucchini, spinach leaves, peas, corn, water sprite, and hornwort.
So that was it. Through this article, we have tried to integrate as much value as possible. We hope you learned something important today. Let us know how our content is helping you master the nitty-gritty of the fishkeeping world.