Guppies, those small, colorful, and captivating freshwater fish, have long been cherished in the world of aquarium keeping. Their vibrant hues and lively behavior make them a popular choice for aquarists of all levels of experience. However, as one delves into the fascinating world of guppies, a question often arises: “Will guppies eat each other?” This query touches upon a unique aspect of guppy behavior, one that adds intrigue to their already appealing characteristics. In this exploration, we will not only delve into this aspect but also take a closer look at the captivating appearance and engaging behaviors of these aquatic gems.

About Guppies

Guppies, scientifically known as Poecilia reticulata, are small, colorful, and lively freshwater fish that are popular in the aquarium hobby. They are known for their vibrant and diverse appearance, as well as their active and engaging behavior. Here’s a closer look at the appearance and behavior of guppies:


  • Colorful Varieties: Guppies come in a wide range of colors and patterns. They are available in various shades of red, blue, green, yellow, orange, and even iridescent metallic hues. The coloration and patterns can vary greatly between individual fish.
  • Distinctive Tails: One of the most striking features of guppies is their tail fins. Guppies have a variety of tail shapes, including round tails, fan tails, delta tails, and the signature “swordtail” guppies, which have a distinctive elongated lower tail fin resembling a sword.
  • Females vs. Males: Male and female guppies have distinct differences in appearance. Males are typically smaller, more colorful, and have longer and more elaborate fins. They often display vibrant colors and may have spots or patterns on their bodies. Female guppies, on the other hand, are generally larger and exhibit a more subdued coloration.
  • Size: Adult guppies are relatively small, usually reaching about 1.5 to 2.5 inches (3.8 to 6.4 cm) in length.


  • Active Swimmers: Guppies are known for their lively and active behavior. They are constantly on the move, darting around the aquarium and exploring their surroundings. This dynamic behavior makes them an interesting addition to any tank.
  • Schooling Tendency: Guppies are social fish and tend to thrive in groups. They are often kept in schools or shoals, where they interact with each other and display fascinating social behaviors.
  • Reproduction: Guppies are prolific breeders, and they exhibit interesting reproductive behaviors. Female guppies give birth to live fry rather than laying eggs. They are capable of storing sperm from a single mating to fertilize multiple broods.
  • Inquisitive Nature: Guppies are curious and will investigate new additions to the tank, including plants, decorations, and other fish. This inquisitive behavior can be quite endearing.
  • Surface-Dwelling: Guppies tend to spend much of their time near the surface of the water, which is why they are often seen swimming near the top of the aquarium.
  • Interactions: Males may display their vibrant colors and fin extensions to attract the attention of females, engaging in courtship behavior. This includes pursuing the females and performing a “dance” to impress them.

Guppies are not only popular among experienced aquarists but also make great fish for beginners due to their hardy nature and captivating appearance. Their vibrant colors and active behavior make them a delightful addition to community aquariums, and their prolific breeding can lead to interesting and rewarding experiences for aquarium enthusiasts.

Will Guppies Eat Each Other?

So, will guppies eat each other? Guppies are generally peaceful fish and typically do not harm or eat other adult guppies. However, they may exhibit predatory behavior, particularly towards their own fry (baby guppies). Adult guppies might consume their own or other fish’s fry, especially when there are limited food resources or overcrowding in the tank. To reduce the chances of adults preying on their fry, it’s a good idea to provide hiding spots and aquatic plants in the aquarium where the fry can take shelter, thus protecting them until they are large enough to avoid being consumed by the adults.

Will Guppies Eat Each Other?
Will Guppies Eat Each Other?

Protecting Guppy Fry

Protecting guppy fry from potential threats, including adult guppies, can be done through various methods. Here are some steps you can take to ensure the safety and well-being of guppy fry:

  • Separate the Fry: One of the most effective ways to protect guppy fry is to separate them from the adult guppies. You can use a breeding net or a separate tank for the fry. This ensures that they are not at risk of being eaten by the adults.
  • Dense Vegetation: Add plenty of live or artificial plants to your main tank. Guppy fry can hide in the dense vegetation, making it more difficult for adult guppies to spot and catch them.
  • Breeding Box or Trap: You can use a breeding box or trap within the main tank. These devices allow the fry to be safely contained while still having access to the same water as the adults. This method protects the fry while also allowing them to benefit from the main tank’s water quality.
  • Provide Proper Nutrition: Ensure that the fry receive appropriate nutrition. They can be given powdered or liquid fry food or crushed flakes. Well-fed fry tend to grow faster and are less likely to be targeted by adult guppies.
  • Tank Maintenance: Regularly maintain the aquarium by performing water changes and keeping water parameters stable. Healthy fry are less stressed and more resilient.
  • Monitor Tank Conditions: Pay attention to the tank conditions, including water quality and temperature, to keep the fry healthy and thriving. Stable conditions contribute to the fry’s overall well-being.
  • Remove Adult Guppies: If you have a large tank and are specifically concerned about adult guppies preying on the fry, you can consider temporarily removing the adult guppies from the tank while the fry are growing. This allows the fry to develop in a safe environment.

Remember that guppy fry grow quickly, and as they get larger, they become less vulnerable to predation by adult guppies. As they mature, you can gradually reintroduce them to the main tank. By implementing these strategies, you can successfully protect your guppy fry and increase their chances of survival.


In conclusion, guppies are fascinating freshwater fish known for their striking appearance and engaging behavior. Their diverse colors, unique tail shapes, and social interactions make them a sought-after choice for both novice and experienced aquarists. Guppies’ active swimming patterns and inquisitive nature add a lively dynamic to any aquarium. While they are generally peaceful and tend to thrive in groups, it’s important to note that, in certain conditions, such as overcrowding or limited food resources, the question of “Will guppies eat each other?” becomes relevant. Specifically, adult guppies may occasionally resort to consuming their own fry as a survival instinct when faced with these challenging circumstances. Thus, providing proper care, ample hiding places, and careful consideration of tank conditions are essential for ensuring the well-being of these vibrant and captivating fish.