Although guppies are traditionally thought of as a schooling fish that are usually kept in groups, more and more people are switching a minimalist lifestyle in smaller apartments that can only fit a small aquarium.
This has resulted in an increase in the number of fish keepers reaching out and asking if guppies can live alone or not.
With so many people switching over to keeping smaller, sub-ten gallon aquariums as well as looking for fish stocking options with many people naturally gravitating towards guppies, we have decided to publish this article.
Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers who are thinking of keeping a single guppy in their tank with a number of questions that we commonly see asked.
Due to seeing a range of different questions asked about keeping single guppies each month, we have decided to cover them all in this article.
Our table of contents below should be able to help you navigate the article quickly and get to the specific questions that you have about your guppy.
Do Guppies Need To Be In Groups?
Although guppies are commonly kept in groups, they can be kept as a single fish without issue.
Male guppies do tend to be better options when looking to keep a single guppy than females who generally prefer to school as a group but you can also keep female guppies alone too.
One trend that we have seen people using when it comes to keeping a single guppie in their tank is to try and get the most unique looking guppy with rare colors and patterns that usually costs more than a normal guppy.
It lets you get a beautiful looking fish for your smaller tank that makes a great talking point due to it having such a unique look.
Keeping your guppies in groups, especially female guppies can help to reduce their stress and anxiety levels due to feeling like they have the protection of the other fish.
If you are trying to keep a single guppy then you really should be making sure the tank has at least two decent hides.
Can Guppies Live Alone?
Guppies can live alone and a single guppy can do well in a very small tank making it the ideal option for anyone who doesn’t not have much available space for their aquarium.
Single guppies also produce very little waste reducing the amount of time required for tank maintenance making them a great option for people with little free time too.
Different people can mean slightly different things when they ask if guppies can live alone too.
Most people mean can they have a single guppy in their tank with no other fish and this is usually the better option as a single guppy is more vulnerable to predators than a group of guppies.
Some people mean can they keep a single guppy in a community tank though and although this can work, you really do have to research the other tank mates that your guppy with have.
Sometimes a single guppy in a community tank will school with other livebearers such as mollies so it still gets some protection though.
What Size Tank For A Single Guppy?
A single guppy can be kept in a 3 gallon aquarium if needed but a 5 gallon aquarium is highly recommended if possible.
You are generally able to fit multiple hides into both aquarium sizes to make sure that your single guppy feels safe though and that it can live a long and happy life.
If you are short on available space in your home or are on a right budget then a 3 gallon aquarium is an excellent option to keep your single guppy in.
The tanks are small, cheap, easy to maintain, and can fit everything that a single guppy will need in its tank.
Ideally though, you should be trying to go for at least a 5 gallon aquarium if possible.
They are not that much larger while only having a slight increase in cost and you can actually keep two or three guppies in most 5 gallon tanks without issue.
Do Guppies Get Sad Alone?
Guppies tend not to get sad in the same way humans do and provided they have food and at least three gallons of water in their tank, they are generally a happy fish, even if they are the only fish in their tank.
Guppies can become stressed and anxious if they are the only small fish in an aquarium with larger fish though.
This is why you should make sure there are plenty of decent hides available in any larger community thanks that you have where you will only be keeping a single guppy.
If you are wanting to keep a single guppy in a tank with no other tank mates though, they generally are happy and will rarely be stressed or anxious.
One problem that may occur for your guppy if it is kept along in the tank is a lack of mental stimulation but there are some steps that you are able to take to prevent this.
Feeding your guppy live brine shrimp three or four times a week is an excellent way to offer some mental stimulation for your guppy as it hunts down the brine shrimp. It can keep boredom away and help to keep your guppy happy and excited in their aquarium.
Do Single Guppies Get Lonely?
Single guppies in a community tank can get lonely with the stress and anxiety of not having a group of guppies to school with quickly setting in.
Guppies in their own tank where they are the only fish tend not to care though, especially male guppies who are generally happy alone.
The loneliness factor of solo fish in an aquarium usually comes down to the owners opinion on their fish rather than the fish itself.
Just because a guppy “looks lonely” in its tank does not mean that it is. If you do feel bad for your guppy get a 5 gallon aquarium and add one or two more guppies to the tank to help keep your original guppy company.
If you are sticking to a 3 gallon aquarium then we wouldn’t recommend that you add any additional guppies to the tank if you feel your fish is lonely.
That said, you can probably add something like a nerite snail as a tank mate without issue and the nerite snail will help to eat the algae that builds up in the tank too.
Should You Keep A Single Male Or Female Guppy?
Male guppies definitely tend to do better as a single guppy in a tank than a female guppy. If you do have to keep a single guppy alone in a tank then we would highly recommend that you try to go with a male guppy if possible but female guppies can still be kept alone.
This is usually due to male guppies being more territorial than female guppies and wanting to fight other male guppies if they are kept in groups. Being alone for a male guppy is a way for it to think of itself as the dominant guppy in the tank and be able to relax.
Female guppies on the other hand tend to be far more social with each other and will usually prefer to be in a school if possible.
That said though, you are able to keep female guppies alone in a tank too but stress and anxiety levels in the fish can be a little more difficult to manage.
That brings our article on if guppies can live alone or not to an end. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to point out a few helpful things to make sure that your guppy is as happy as possible. Guppies are probably the second most popular fish to keep in a tank alone right now second only to male betta fish with plenty of other fish keepers keeping single guppies without issue.