Will Male Guppies Kill Each Other? And How To Prevent It?

If you have guppies in your aquarium, you will google for some facts constantly. These fish are not predictable, sometimes they may change the way they behave just without a reason. And you will want to know what’s happening in their tank. Today, we’ll be speaking about bullying, fighting, and even killing guppies by other guppies.

Can it happen just when a lot of males are in one tank? Or can it be the consequences of an insufficient amount of food or space in your aquarium? Why do male guppies fight and how you can make them friendlier? We’ll be discussing all of these questions and will try to inform you of other important things you should know about a lot of guppies in your aquarium.

Here’s what we’ll be talking about:

  1. Male guppies in one tank – dangerous?
  2. How many guppies can live in one aquarium?
  3. Why do male guppies always fight each other?
  4. What can you do to stop bullying between guppies?
  5. Can one guppy kill another guppy?

Let’s get started!

Why can male guppies fight?

Guppies are not very aggressive. They don’t attack other fish and they rarely fight each other. Usually, they are friendly and don’t attack any living creatures in their aquariums. But sometimes, things become worse for them. When a living creature feels that it’s being endangered by some circumstances, it starts being more and more aggressive and it can attack other creatures.

Usually, it’s all about the conditions of living. But when we are talking about guppies, they can withstand different conditions and be OK in different types of water. So, in their case, the fighting will have different reasons.

Here are some of the most popular ones:

  1. When these fish mate, males become aggressive to other males. It doesn’t mean that one guppy will definitely kill another guppy, but the stronger fish will try to build up the authority in the tank.
  2. Absence of female guppies. Also, male guppies will become very aggressive during the mating period if they don’t find any female guppies around. If you have a male-only aquarium, you will observe fights quite often.
  3. Lack of food. Your fish rely on you in terms of food. If you stop giving them food for some reason, at first, they will just be lost for a day. Then, they will start fighting each other to control the population. The stronger guppies will survive longer.
  4. Problems with water. Once guppies feel that their lives are in danger, they become aggressive. And they may start fighting each other, they may even try to kill other fish in your aquarium.
  5. Also, male guppies may fight with newly added fish, especially if those are also guppies. They will try to build their dominance in the tank. Usually, these fights are not very dangerous, but you should keep an eye on new fish.
  6. The fights will be common in aquariums with the wrong male-female ratio. Male guppies will fight for the privilege to mate with females. The best ratio is one male guppy for 2-3 female guppies in your tank.

As you see, male guppies can fight in many cases. But most of the time you will just observe so-called show fights. It means that the guppies will just show off but not fight each other. One of the best methods to differentiate a real fight from just a show is to control the injuries.

If you see that some of your guppies are injured after the fight, you should separate them from other fish and organize a quarantine tank or at least a fully separated zone in your main tank. This fish will need some time to recover, otherwise, it may just be killed. Also, you should separate the aggressive fish to let it cool down for some time.

Can a male guppy kill another male guppy?

Yes, guppies can kill each other. But this doesn’t happen very often. Usually, guppies are friendly fish and they only love showing off to build up their dominance over other guppies and over some other fish species. It means that they will show their aggression but they will not actually attack other living creatures.

But things may change during mating. This is a very serious stage of their lives and guppies take it seriously. If you add some new guppies into the tank during the mating period, the new male guppies may be killed by some other male guppies you already have in your aquarium.

The bullied guppies won’t die because of the injuries. So, male guppies don’t directly kill other fish. But in most cases, the severely injured guppy can die because of different infections or because of inability to eat. You have to keep an eye on that and always help injured guppies.

How can you stop bullying between guppies?

Usually, the owners of fish tanks hate when they have to get out some dead fish from their aquariums. It feels just like you lost someone you were responsible for. And to prevent this, you can arrange better conditions for your guppies. We believe it’s not that hard and you can save some lives of your beautiful guppies.

Here are some tips you should remember:

  • keep the male to female ratio 1 to 3 which is the optimal ratio for them to stop fighting between each other;
  • ensure that your guppies have enough space for every fish – the best rule is 1 gallon of water for each guppy in your tank;
  • ensure that your guppies get enough food that they can eat – buy special food or learn what type of food your guppy species can consume;
  • make sure that the water parameters are optimal for guppies – it’s important for not putting their lives at risk and not making them aggressive;
  • always separate the fish that was injured and also separate the aggressive guppies for one or two days;
  • if you see a group of guppies chasing one small guppy, just separate that poor fish for a while to save its life;
  • if you see one strong guppy bullying other fish in your tank, separate the hooligan for one or two days.

These are quite simple and efficient methods of how you can deal with your guppies. If they still fight, something is wrong. Sometimes it happens that one of the guppies is too aggressive just because it has this kind of personality. You may try placing this guppy in the aquarium with bigger and stronger fish for some time. In two or three days, the fish will forget about its aggressive behavior, but it doesn’t work well in all cases.

We recommend doing something if you see that your fish are aggressive or need some help. If you just wait until everything is sorted out by nature, you will find one or two dead guppies in the tank eventually.

Why do guppies fight other fish?

Actually, we don’t know many facts about when guppies fight other fish species. Again, these fish are usually very friendly and they don’t need your help in sorting out some conflict situations. But sometimes guppies feel that they need to build dominance in the tank. This can happen when they don’t feel comfortable and they don’t feel safe.

In this case, they may start doing different bad things:

  • chasing some other fish, especially the weaker and smaller fish species;
  • chasing bigger fish by a group if there are a lot of guppies in the tank;
  • fighting all species of fish in a small tank where guppies don’t feel comfortable;
  • fighting a special type of fish if guppies feel danger from it;
  • trying to kill other fish by gathering into groups of male guppies.

These situations may seem unreal for guppy owners, but they sometimes happen. And nearly always they are the result of problems with the life conditions of the fish. It means that they don’t have enough space, enough food, or they just need more female guppies to mate.

You should keep in mind that if your guppies become aggressive to each other or to other fish species, something is wrong in your aquarium. And you have to always think about what you can change to get your friendly guppies back.

But the risks that your guppies can kill other fish are not that high. They don’t like fighting, they love showing off. So, guppies are not good killers.

Final words

Having guppies in a fish tank is a cool idea. They are beautiful, very bright, and also they don’t need a lot of care. But sometimes they may start behaving like crazy. You should know that it’s not because you bought some cruel guppies in a pet shop or from a breeder. It’s because you failed to maintain good living conditions for your fish.

Please, read the article carefully and think about what you have changed recently and what could affect the behavior of your guppies making them aggressive. In most cases, you can deal with the problem easily.