Fish Compatible with Guppies – The Best and Worst - "Female Guppy" by Mihnea Stanciu is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Fish Compatible with Guppies – The Best and Worst - "Female Guppy" by Mihnea Stanciu is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Creating a vibrant and harmonious aquarium starts with selecting the right mix of fish compatible with guppies. Guppies are renowned for their bright colors, lively personalities, and relatively easy care, making them a favorite among aquarium enthusiasts. However, their well-being depends significantly on the company they keep. This guide aims to provide comprehensive insights into choosing tank mates that share similar environmental needs, exhibit non-aggressive behavior, and complement the dynamic ecosystem guppies thrive in. By focusing on fish compatible with guppies, aquarists can ensure a peaceful and thriving aquatic community.

About Guppies

Guppies, scientifically known as Poecilia reticulata, are one of the most popular and widely recognized species in the freshwater aquarium hobby. Native to the warm waters of northeastern South America, guppies have been introduced to many different habitats around the world, thanks to their adaptability and the ease with which they breed. They belong to the family Poeciliidae, which is known for live-bearing fish species.


In the wild, guppies are found in a variety of freshwater environments, including rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes. They prefer areas with abundant vegetation, which provides shelter from predators and ample feeding opportunities. The adaptability of guppies to various water conditions is one of the reasons they are so popular among aquarists. However, they thrive best in warm water, with temperatures ranging from 22 to 28 degrees Celsius (72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit).


Guppies are known for their peaceful and sociable nature, making them excellent inhabitants of community tanks. They are active swimmers and are often seen darting around in the water, displaying their vibrant colors and elaborate fins. Male guppies are particularly known for their bright colors and long, flowing tails, which they use to attract females. Guppies are also prolific breeders, with females capable of giving birth to a new brood of fry approximately every 30 days. This rapid reproduction rate can quickly lead to overpopulation in a tank if not managed properly.

Criteria for Choosing Compatible Fish for Guppies

Selecting compatible tank mates for guppies involves careful consideration of various factors to ensure a harmonious and healthy aquarium environment. Guppies are peaceful and adaptable fish, but their well-being depends on the compatibility of their tank mates. Here are the critical factors to consider when choosing fish compatible with guppies:

Water Parameters

The most fundamental aspect to consider is the water conditions that each species requires. Guppies thrive in water temperatures between 22 to 28 degrees Celsius (72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit) and a pH range of 6.8 to 7.8. Any potential tank mate should have similar requirements to avoid stress and health issues. Consistent water quality, including ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, is crucial for all species in the tank.

Size and Temperament

The size and behavior of potential tank mates are paramount in preventing aggression and ensuring peace in the tank. Fish significantly larger than guppies might see them as prey, while very small species could be outcompeted for food. Similarly, aggressive or fin-nipping species can stress or harm guppies, affecting their health and lifespan. Ideal tank mates are those of a similar size and peaceful nature, promoting a stress-free environment for all inhabitants.

Dietary Needs

Diet compatibility is essential to ensure all fish receive proper nutrition without competing aggressively for food. Guppies are omnivorous and require a balanced diet of flake food, along with occasional live or frozen treats like brine shrimp or bloodworms. Tank mates with similar dietary requirements can share feedings without issue, but care should be taken to accommodate species with unique needs, ensuring all fish get their share without overfeeding.

Activity Level and Swimming Region

Different fish species prefer different areas of the tank, from the bottom-dwelling catfish to mid-water swimmers like guppies and top-dwelling species. Choosing species that occupy different areas can prevent overcrowding in any one part of the tank and reduce competition for space. Additionally, matching activity levels ensures that more active fish won’t stress the more tranquil ones, maintaining a balanced environment.

Breeding Behavior

Consider the breeding behaviors of potential tank mates. Guppies breed prolifically, and without careful management, the tank can quickly become overpopulated. Tank mates that don’t breed as readily or require specific conditions to do so can help manage population control. Moreover, some species might prey on guppy fry, which could be beneficial for controlling numbers but also requires ethical considerations.

Disease and Parasite Resistance

Lastly, consider the health and resilience of potential tank mates. Some species are more prone to certain diseases or parasites, which could put guppies at risk. Selecting robust species that share a similar resistance to common aquarium ailments can help maintain a healthy tank environment.

Overall, selecting compatible fish for guppies involves a careful assessment of water parameters, size, temperament, dietary needs, activity levels, and health considerations. By adhering to these criteria, aquarists can create a vibrant, diverse, and harmonious aquarium community where guppies and their tank mates thrive together.

Fish Compatible with Guppies – The Best

Creating a community tank with guppies allows for a vibrant and diverse aquatic environment, thanks to their compatibility with several other species. Here’s a closer look at some compatible fish and invertebrates that can live harmoniously with guppies:

Corydoras Catfish

  • Description: Corydoras catfish are small, peaceful bottom dwellers known for their armored plates and barbels around the mouth area. They come in various species, offering a range of colors and patterns.
  • Compatibility Factors: They thrive in similar water conditions as guppies, preferring temperatures between 22 to 28 degrees Celsius (72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit) and a pH range of 6.5 to 7.8. Their peaceful nature and bottom-dwelling habits make them excellent tank mates for guppies, as they occupy different levels of the tank.
  • Benefits: Corydoras help keep the tank clean by scavenging for leftover food on the substrate, reducing waste and the risk of ammonia spikes.

Mollies and Platies

  • Description: Mollies and platies are livebearers, like guppies, and are known for their easy care, peaceful temperament, and vibrant colors. They can adapt to a variety of water conditions and are available in many color forms and fin varieties.
  • Compatibility Factors: Their care needs and water parameter preferences closely match those of guppies, making them ideal companions. They are also livebearers, which means they share similar breeding behaviors.
  • Benefits: These fish add a splash of color and diversity to the tank without competing aggressively with guppies for food or space.

Neon and Cardinal Tetras

  • Description: Both neon and cardinal tetras are renowned for their striking colors. Neons have a bright blue line running along their body, while cardinals display a similar pattern with the addition of a vibrant red underbelly that extends the full length of their bodies.
  • Compatibility Factors: These small, peaceful schooling fish prefer similar water conditions to guppies and are known for their non-aggressive nature. They are best kept in groups, adding dynamic movement and color to the aquarium.
  • Benefits: Their schooling behavior and contrasting colors provide a beautiful backdrop for the guppies, enhancing the visual appeal of the tank.

Harlequin Rasboras

  • Description: Harlequin rasboras are small, peaceful fish with a distinctive black ‘harlequin’ patch on their body. They are schooling fish that thrive in a planted aquarium.
  • Compatibility Factors: They enjoy similar water conditions as guppies and are peaceful, making them suitable tank mates. Their preference for soft, acidic to neutral water aligns well with the needs of guppies.
  • Benefits: Their schooling nature and complementary coloration add diversity and activity to the middle and upper layers of the tank.

Dwarf Gouramis

  • Description: Dwarf gouramis are colorful, relatively peaceful fish that can add variety to a community tank. They come in several color varieties, including blue, red, and flame.
  • Compatibility Factors: Generally peaceful, dwarf gouramis have a similar diet to guppies, but their size (up to 2 inches/5 cm) and temperament require monitoring to ensure compatibility. They prefer a well-planted tank with hiding spots.
  • Benefits: Their vibrant colors and interesting behaviors provide visual interest and diversity to the aquarium.

Cherry Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp

  • Description: Cherry shrimp and ghost shrimp are not fish but invertebrates that add a different level of interest and diversity to a community tank. Cherry shrimp are known for their bright red color, while ghost shrimp are almost transparent.
  • Compatibility Factors: These shrimp can share a tank with guppies without the risk of predation, as they are peaceful and tend to keep to themselves, cleaning the tank by eating algae and detritus.
  • Benefits: They contribute to a clean tank environment and offer a unique viewing experience due to their interesting behaviors and appearances.

When adding these species to a tank with guppies, it’s crucial to ensure that the tank is adequately sized to accommodate all inhabitants comfortably and that the environment is enriched with plants and hiding spots to mimic their natural habitats. Proper planning and care can result in a harmonious and visually stunning aquarium community.

Fish Compatible with Guppies – The Best and Worst - "Female Guppy" by Mihnea Stanciu is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Fish Compatible with Guppies – The Best and Worst – “Female Guppy” by Mihnea Stanciu is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Fish to Avoid – Incompatible Species for Guppies

While guppies are adaptable and peaceful, certain fish species are not suitable companions due to their size, temperament, or specific care requirements. Including incompatible species can lead to stress, injury, or even death for guppies. Here’s an overview of fish types to avoid in a guppy tank:

Large Cichlids

  • Why Avoid: Many large cichlids, such as Oscars, Jack Dempseys, and Green Terrors, are aggressive and territorial. They can grow significantly larger than guppies and may view them as food rather than tank mates.
  • Considerations: Besides their aggressive nature, large cichlids often require different water parameters, with some species preferring warmer and more alkaline conditions than guppies.

Aggressive Barbs

  • Why Avoid: Certain barbs, like tiger barbs, are known for their fin-nipping behavior, which can stress or harm guppies. While barbs are active and colorful fish, their tendency to chase and nip fins makes them unsuitable companions for the more peaceful guppy.
  • Considerations: Barbs do best in groups, as it helps diffuse aggression among their own kind, but even in a school, they might still target slower-moving fish with flowing fins, like guppies.

Predator Fish

  • Why Avoid: Predator fish, such as Arowanas, Piranhas, and certain large catfish, are capable of eating smaller fish like guppies. Their natural predatory instincts make them incompatible with small, peaceful species.
  • Considerations: Besides the obvious risk of predation, these fish often require specialized care and tank setups that do not align with guppies’ needs.

Betta Fish

  • Why Avoid: Male Betta fish, with their long flowing fins and aggressive territorial behavior, are not suitable tank mates for guppies. Bettas can mistake guppy fins for those of another male Betta and may attack them. Additionally, guppies’ active nature can stress bettas.
  • Considerations: While female bettas are generally less aggressive, caution is still advised when considering them as tank mates for guppies due to potential aggression.

African Cichlids

  • Why Avoid: African Cichlids from Lake Malawi, Tanganyika, and Victoria are known for their aggressive and territorial behavior. They also require highly alkaline water conditions, which are not suitable for guppies.
  • Considerations: The significant differences in water parameters and the aggressive nature of African cichlids make them incompatible with guppies.


  • Why Avoid: Goldfish are cold-water fish that require lower temperatures than guppies. Additionally, goldfish produce a lot of waste, which can quickly lead to poor water quality in a tank not adequately sized or filtered for their needs.
  • Considerations: The difference in temperature requirements and the potential for poor water quality make goldfish unsuitable companions for guppies.


In summary, building a thriving community aquarium involves more than just adding a variety of fish to a tank; it requires careful consideration of the compatibility between species. The key to success lies in selecting fish compatible with guppies, ensuring they can live together harmoniously. By understanding the importance of compatible water parameters, size, temperament, and dietary needs, aquarists can create a balanced and vibrant aquarium. Remember, a well-planned tank not only enhances the well-being of its inhabitants but also provides a more enjoyable and engaging experience for the aquarist. With the right companions, guppies can flourish, adding beauty and life to any home aquarium.