If you already own a respectable guppy population and now plan to add more fish to your collection, I have good news for you. Guppies are calm, peaceful, and friendly by nature and will coexist peacefully with a variety of other breeds.
There are, however, some key aspects to consider before introducing new fish to the aquarium.
Today’s article will dive into what it takes to create a stable and diverse tank environment. What fish can you add to a guppy population, and how to make sure they get along?
Let’s dive right into it!
What to Consider Before Adding New Fish to The Tank?
Before adding new fish to an already established guppy population, you should remember that not all breeds are compatible. They often have different water requirements, different diets and appetites, and even different temperaments.
You should always research in advance to see which fish are compatible with your guppies and which aren’t. Here are some of factors affecting the tank dynamics when adding new fish breeds to the tank:
- Water requirements differences – Guppies are tropical fish. They typically thrive in waters with temperatures ranging between 72 and 82 F, with the golden value sitting at around 75 F. Other species might prefer colder or warmer waters, making them unsuitable for living with your guppies. While the guppy may withstand some temperature variation, the water temperature needs to remain stable to ensure the fish’s health. Too cold or too hot water will affect your guppies, causing increased stress, lowering their immune system, and even lowering the oxygen levels, leading to asphyxiation.
- Temperamental differences – This goes pretty much without saying. Guppies are friendly and peaceful and will only coexist with fish showing matching temperaments. Unfortunately, not all breeds fall into that category. Some species show aggressive territorial behavior or are simply more predatory in nature. For starters, avoid adding carnivore breeds to your guppy population for obvious reasons. Secondly, I will provide the most compatible species that will get along great with your guppies later on in this article.
- Size differences – Bigger fish will always bully and even eat the smaller ones. While guppies aren’t the smallest breed out there, they are tiny compared to other aquarium giants. I would advise avoiding including large fish into your guppy population if you care about your guppies’ wellbeing. The larger fish may bully and attack them, causing injury and stress. This is an unfit environment for a thriving guppy population, causing your guppies to develop stress-related issues and shortening their lifespan.
- Diet similarities – All the fish, living in one tank should prefer the same foods. Or, at least, thrive on similar diets. Having fish with drastically different diets can lead to unconsumed food that will accumulate on the substrate, decay, and increase the ammonia levels.
- Consider the tank size – As you probably already know, you can fit around 5 to 10 guppies in a 10-gallon tank. That’s only if you have small-to-medium-sized guppies. The larger the guppies, the fewer will fit. That problem is even more obvious when you have multiple fish of varying sizes and water volume requirements. To prevent a crowded, stressful, and potentially aggressive environment, I suggest having a 40-gallon tank. That’s only if you’re going for a mixed-species habitat with multiple fish from various breeds. A larger tank will keep the waters clean for longer and provide the fish with the space they need to thrive and feel comfortable and safe.
Now that you know how to provide your fish with a secure and comfortable environment let’s see which species are most compatible with guppies. We will detail the 20 most noteworthy examples with the note that there are others that could fit this list as well:
This fish’s name comes from its long and sharp abdominal fin, stretching far beyond its tail. This gives the fish a torpedo look for a unique and sleek style. They come in many color variations, from green to red, and share similar food preferences with guppies.
They are omnivorous, friendly, and easy to care for. Oh, and jumpy. If you’re having swordtails, you should consider placing a lid on top of the tank. In fact, you should do that anyway since guppies are also a jumpy-oriented breed.
Platies are small, cute, omnivorous fish that enjoy the company of similar-built breeds. They will get along with guppies just fine, and they are adaptable and easy to care for. Platies are ideal picks if you’re a beginner in the fish-growing business and would like easy-going fish.
Platies will come in a variety of colors and are prolific breeders. This isn’t something new since guppies fall into the same category. This means that you will need to thoroughly supervise the tank dynamics to prevent unwanted pregnancies and act fast when they happen. Because they will, despite all your preventive efforts.
The Cory Catfish is a bottom-feeder who likes to lurk around the substrate and consume any leftovers that the other fish will miss. This breed will get along with just about any other species, so long as it’s peaceful and friendly. Guppies will quickly fall into that category.
However, since these fish are scavengers, expect a lot of algae, dirt, and muck muddying the waters as they search for food. I suggest limiting the number of Cory Catfish you own to contain the situation.
This is another live-bearing, omnivorous fish that will get along with guppies just fine. They prefer the same water conditions and thrive on similar diets.
The Molly fish is easy to care for, making it a great addition to a guppy tank.
This breed doesn’t come with too much color variation, but their distinct and unique look will make up for it. They have a copper-colored body with a dark triangle highlighting the rear half of their body.
These are sociable fish that can get along with other species just fine. The Harlequin Rasboras is easy-going with no territorial aggression, and that displays schooling behavior. This means that you should keep them in larger groups of up to 12 individuals to prevent stress and timidity.
These small fish also display schooling behavior and require at least 7 other companions to thrive. They are colorful and joyful, displaying an orange or red belly and a neon blue in the upper half of the body.
The Cardinal Tetra is also omnivorous and can thrive on a mixed diet. The main problem to note is that this breed can kill and eat guppy fry. This generally happens if the fry doesn’t have too many hiding spots available. Fix this issue, and your guppy fry will have a higher chance of survival.
The Bristlenose Pleco is another bottom dweller that can coexist with your guppies very well. They tend to lurk on the substrate and feed primarily on algae, which will keep your tank water clean and fresh.
This breed comes with a unique look as the fish is large and bulky with prominent meaty tentacles on its head and nose. Hence, the name.
Thanks to its chill temperament and lifestyle, the Bristlenose Pleco makes for an ideal tank mate for your guppies.
This fish is timid by nature and will generally be no bigger than an average guppy. This breed is easy to care for since they’re not that picky about their food. They prefer algae above everything else, but you should consider supplementing their diets with veggie pellets as well.
These fast swimmers will dart around the tank in the blink of an eye and will only thrive in clean waters. Make sure you keep the tank water clean and well-oxygenated to prevent any health problems along the way.
If you’re after a one-of-a-kind addition to the guppy tank, the Kuhli Loach will easily take the spot. This fish is a mix between an eel and a snake, look-wise, adding a unique feel to your aquatic fauna.
The Kuhli Loach enjoys hiding or burying in the substrate. I suggest keeping a sandy substrate and adding caves, rocks, live plants, and driftwood for a more engaging and friendly environment.
This breed will grow up to 4 inches and have similar dietary requirements to guppies.
Red Cherry Shrimp
This is the first entrance that’s not a fish breed. Thanks to the unique dynamics that shrimps bring to the environment, the Red Cherry shrimp can make for a splendid addition to your tank. Don’t worry; your guppies can’t eat the shrimp since this creature is far larger than what guppies can handle.
The good thing is that the Red Cherry shrimp is easy to care for, and guppies won’t eat the offspring. The shrimp is also a prolific breeder if you’re planning on boosting the population and setting off another tank.
It’s important to notice that guppies don’t usually eat the Red Cherry shrimp fry, especially if they have plenty of hiding places available.
African Dwarf Frog
The dwarf frog can live with a lot of tank fish breeds, including guppies. They tend to dwell on the substrate, an area that guppies will generally avoid.
They are also calm and peaceful creatures with no interest in attacking fish or other tank inhabitants. The only issue I would see with adding an African Dwarf frog to the mix would relate to feeding. Guppies tend to be extremely voracious and leave nothing for the bottom-dwellers.
You will need to feed the frogs separately to make sure they get the nutrients they need.
Angelfish are a cute breed, a bit larger than guppies. They can live with guppies, but there’s a catch – Angelfish are a bit more aggressive than other species.
Combine this with the Angelfish’s size, and your guppies will be swimming in murky waters…pun absolutely intended. I would avoid these headaches and stay away from the Angelfish, to begin with.
If you really like the breed, at least be smart about it. Buy the Angelfish in their fry phase or as young as possible, and introduce them to your guppies. They will grow together, which will allow the Angelfish to familiarize themselves with the guppies. This will decrease the risk of aggression significantly.
Other than that, guppies and Angelfish are not so different in terms of water requirements and diet.
Female Betta Fish
Bettas always rank high on each guppy owner’s list. These are beautiful and vibrant fish with amazing color patterns. The problem is that they tend to become aggressive from time to time.
The good news is that certain Betta lineages are calmer, like the Delta Betta or the Halfmoon Betta. These can coexist with your guppies given the right circumstances. Some of these circumstances include having a limited number of Bettas and focusing on females since they are less aggressive.
I suggest trying to introduce one Betta into your guppy tank and see how everything goes. If there are no clear signs of aggression, you can add one or two more. But if Bettas start attacking your guppies, you should remove them immediately to contain the drama, which can turn into tragedy fast.
Zebra Danios Fish
The Danios is a breed that comes with a friendly and calm attitude. They work well with guppies as they share similar water parameters and diets.
The problem is that the Danios fish are faster swimmers than guppies. They will, therefore, reach food faster and eat first, often leaving too little food for the guppies. To prevent your guppies from going hungry, I recommend spreading the food all over the tank.
This way, everybody gets to eat.
The Rainbowfish is another compatible tank mate for the guppy. They tend to grow a lot larger than guppies while remaining friendly and peaceful. Like the name suggests, the Rainbowfish is colorful and vibrant, making for a vivid addition to your tank.
There’s one problem, however. This is a schooling breed that lives in large groups. Combine this with the Rainbow fish’s sheer size, and you will need a larger tank to fit all specimens. I would suggest having a 40-gallon tank at least, depending on how many fish you have and how big they are.
This is another schooling breed with specimens that can grow up to 12 inches in length. Clown Loaches prefer live foods and are very friendly and peaceful in nature. The problem is that, just like the Rainbowfish, this breed requires more space than usual.
If you’re going to mix breeds and have at least one with schooling behavior, I suggest having a 40 or 50-gallon tank. This will minimize fish stress and keep all breeds happy and healthy in the long run.
Among the most common aquarium snail breeds, we mention the Malaysian trumpet snail, the Ramshorn snail, and the Mystery snail. These are native algae eaters that keep a low profile and perform free tank maintenance.
Don’t worry about your guppies attacking them. Their shell is impenetrable, keeping them safe from small fish like guppies.
The Discus fish is a sight to behold. They are round in shape, colorful, and spotted and are generally friendly, minding their own business. They are mainly carnivores but won’t attack your guppies unless extremely hungry.
The main issue is that the Discus fish prefers warmer waters than guppies. To solve this problem, I recommend either looking for fancy guppies that thrive in warmer waters or seeking Discus fish lineages that can handle colder environments.
Either way, make sure you have plenty of aquarium plants and keep the water fresh and clean for the Discuss fish to thrive.
Cichlids are a more aggressive fish breed by nature, with a notable exception in the Ram Cichlids. These are small, colorful, and iridescent fish that will tolerate a variety of other tank mates, including guppies.
Their diet isn’t much different than that of guppies,’ and they enjoy relatively similar tank conditions. Try to look for healthy and active specimens to make sure that your fish population is as healthy and diverse as possible.
Siamese Algae Eater
This is another fish breed that will complement your fish population quite well. These petite and vivacious fish will prefer algae and consume whatever they can find near the substrate, including live food.
It is an active breed, roaming the entire tank and getting along fine with many other breeds. Additions like the Siamese Algae Eater are essential to enrich your fish population and keep the tank clean for longer.
These are among the most widespread tank mates options to consider. You can also look for other breeds that do well in mixed aquariums. The factors to keep in mind is for all species to thrive in similar water parameters and enjoy similar diets.
But what about the tank mates to avoid? Your guppies will find it difficult to coexist with larger, territorial, or aggressive fish, especially if they view guppies as prey.
The Worst Tank Mates For Guppies
Some fish species are straight-up dangerous for your guppy population. They might look exciting and unique, but looks are not everything, especially when your primary goal is your guppies’ safety.
Let’s look at some of the worst tank mates available:
– Oscar Cichlid / Velvet Cichlid
These are generally massive (compared to guppies) fish, reaching around 13 to 14 inches in length. They are bulky and colorful with big, hungry, gaping mouths. You see where this is going, right? Cichlids have no problem-consuming anything small that moves around them, and guppies are always on the menu.
Not to mention that their tank requirements are, let’s say, different. These Cichlids will typically require massive tanks, approaching 120 gallons, with serious filtration power. It may be too much for an inexperienced fish-keeper and definitely not fitting for a moderate guppy population.
– Any Barb Breed
We include here the Tiger Barbs, the Gold Barbs, and the Denison Barbs as being some of the most problematic. These are aggressive fish with bullying behavior that will attack guppies.
They are faster than guppies, leaving them no chance to escape the bullying. This can cause the guppies to become stressed and go into hiding. It can also cause injury and infections due to the Barb chipping at their fins.
The Oscar Fish
The Oscar fish has guppies on its diet. Adding one to your guppy tank is like forcing a lion to befriend a herd of baby gazelles. It’s not going to happen.
The Oscar fish grows up to 14 inches and can easily kill guppies. In fact, many Oscar keepers will use guppies to feed them. You can only pair the Oscar fish with only a few other breeds like the Bala Sark or the Jack Dempsey; any smaller fish will immediately become part of the menu.
Many fishkeepers think of goldfish like the ideal guppy tank mates. They are cute and appear harmless, but these attributes can be deceiving. Goldfish are actually unfit for living with guppies due to their high appetite for anything smaller than them.
They will hunt down guppies wherever they can find them and won’t limit themselves to fin poking. Not to mention, goldfish prefer colder waters, making them incompatible with guppy populations.
– Flowerhorn Fish
The Flowerhorn fish is not compatible with any other fish species, let alone guppies. The Flowerhorn is massive, bulky, and aggressive and can become very territorial fast. It can only coexist with individuals of its own kind and even that only barely.
Many fish owners keep them solo or in pairs due to their innate aggressive behavior during the mating phase.
These are but 5 examples of many. There are various fish incompatible with guppies, so I suggest researching the subject thoroughly before purchasing a new breed.
You should also consider several aspects when mixing multiple fish species in the same tank, mainly water requirements, temperament, diet, etc.
Guppies are friendly and peaceful fish that will get along with just about any other breed. That’s not true for all fish species. Some tend to be more territorial, aggressive, or straight predatory, taking your guppies for food.
You should be very careful which breed you introduce to your guppy tank, especially since some can be quite deceiving. Many otherwise peaceful breeds can become more aggressive in tighter tanks with low water volumes. Or their diets may differ from that of guppies which can lead to problems along the way.
I suggest looking for a larger tank if you’re planning to get a mixed aquarium. Look 40-gallons and up and make sure you have the perfect equipment setting to ensure proper oxygenation and water quality.