In recent years, aquarists have been very interested in raising guppies because of their beauty and ease of keeping. Guppies have vibrant colors and live very peacefully in the community tank, making them an ideal choice for newbies.
It is nature’s rule that any animal cannot live forever, and neither does the fish. Many kinds of small fish just survive for a few years. What about guppy fish? “How long do guppy fish live?” is a question many people ask.
In this article, I will tell you all about the guppy lifespan. You would also know the factors that will shorten your guppies’ lifespan and how to increase it.
How Long Do Guppy Fish Live?
Generally, guppies that are kept in tank condition can live for one to three years. However, It is reported that some individuals can live for five years. It just happened when they were kept in perfect conditions. But it is very rare.
However, not all tank-kept guppies will have the same lifespan of one to three years. Sometimes, the guppies you buy from the fish store or online might just live for a few months in your tank. You will find it hard to know how old they actually are. They could be already old at the time you bought them, or they could be suffering from some disease that you haven’t noticed.
Guppies living in the wild can generally live for about two years, which is almost the same as captive fish.
But in fact, their lifespan is not as long as that of tank-kept guppies. Tank-kept guppies have good living conditions that are safe and have plenty of high-quality, nutritious food and ideal water conditions. On the other hand, in nature, guppies have to deal with predators, extreme weather, and a lack of nutrition that they need for their growth. Moreover, some man-made problems, such as pollution, habitat destruction, or illegal fishing, can also affect wild guppies’ lifespans. That said, it is difficult for wild guppies to live longer than guppies living in good-condition tanks.
What Can Shorten A Guppies Lifespan?
Genetics is one of the most important factors influencing a guppy’s lifespan. I’m sure you understand what I’m saying because it is similar to how genetics works on people. If the parents of the guppy were long-lived, then it is likely that their offspring would have a long lifespan as well.
However, at pet stores, many sellers don’t care about the gene element, they only care about how to have more fish and sell them. As a result, the breeding may not be focused. Guppy will have a shorter life expectancy due to inappropriate breeding actions.
Pregnancy is another factor that will drastically reduce the life expectancy of your guppy. especially when it has been pregnant a few times. Unfortunately, for female guppies, pregnancy is one of the most stressful aspects of their lives, and they are prone to getting pregnant quite often. Therefore, female guppies are less likely to live for a long time as compared to their male counterparts.
You can alleviate that stress somewhat by making sure that you always have more female guppies in your tank than males if you keep them together. Therefore, the females will not have to deal with quite so much hassle due to this. The ideal ratio for guppies is two females to one male.
Furthermore, make sure the fish have ample hiding spots and dense planting so that the females can escape any unwanted advances from the males.
Poor Tank Conditions
Another factor that definitely shortens your guppy’s lifespan is poor tank conditions. Guppies are known as hardy fish. They can even live in these poor conditions, but that doesn’t mean you ignore them.
If the tank is overstocked, not big enough for your fish, or the water is too dirty, your guppy can be stressed out and not achieve its full potential lifespan.
Guppies are pretty hardy fish, but they won’t thrive or live long when kept in poor conditions.
Stress can come from many reasons. Pregnancy, wrong parameters of water, dirty water, and unsuitable tankmates can make the guppy stressed and go into a state that results in shortening their lifespan.
Moreover, stress can even weaken their immune systems. When a guppie’s immune system is weakened by stress, it is more vulnerable to infection by parasites and diseases, either of which can prove deadly to the fish.
How Can You Increase Your Guppies Lifespan?
Make Sure The Fish Are In A Shoal
You will not want to leave them alone when you know that they are going to be stressed, scared, or even become depressed. So, it is best to keep them in a group that has a minimum of 3 members.
The gender ratio is also extremely important. The ratio of male to female guppies should be 1 to 2. You should not have the opposite ratio. It is absolutely not advisable to get three males at the same time because they will only fight constantly.
The Tank Should Be Big Enough
In order to ensure your fish’s health and happiness, you need to keep them in a tank that is big enough. The minimum size tank you should use if you plan to keep a shoal of guppies is 5 gallons. However, having a slightly bigger tank is still a good idea to make them happier.
Setting The Correct Water Parameters
When it comes to the water temperature for guppy fish, there are many parameters that we need to control to make sure the guppies will have a healthy life and live longer. But I will recap and give you a brief summary below.
- Temperature: 72 to 82°F (22 to 28°C)
- pH: 6.8 to 7.8
- Nitrites: 0 ppm (parts per million)
- Ammonia: 0 ppm
- Nitrates: 10 ppm maximum
- Hardness (dGH): 8 to 12
You should test the water regularly to ensure it always has the right parameters.
Use A Filter And Heater
As I said above, you should keep the temperature of the tank between 72° and 82° Fahrenheit because the guppy’s lifespan is also heavily influenced by water temperature. As a result, you will need to use a heater in your aquarium to ensure the temperature is always under control.
Although it may be possible to survive for a short time without the heater, their lifespan will be significantly reduced if they are not provided with it. It will take just one cool day for the temperature in your tank to drop drastically, resulting in the death of your guppies.
In addition, without a filter, ammonia buildup is likely to occur, which is also extremely fatal. Additionally, if you don’t have a filter, you’d need to change the water frequently, which will stress your fish.
Guppies Need High-Quality Food
Diets directly affects the health and lifespan of any animal, including guppy. So, if you want your guppies to live a long life, make sure that you are feeding them high-quality food. Additionally, you should ensure that they’re getting a varied diet, not just high-quality food.
Keep Your Guppies With Peaceful Tank Mates
Your guppies will become stressed if you keep them with aggressive fish, which will reduce their lifespan over time. Hence, make sure you research any fish that you are thinking of adding to your aquarium thoroughly before you choose it.
If you want to keep guppies in a tank with other fish, it’s suggested that you keep corydoras catfish, shrimp (such as cherry shrimp and ghost shrimp), snails, and neon tetras. Each of these fish is peaceful, and they have no problem getting along with your guppies.
Purchase From A Trusted Or Reputable Dealer
The fishkeeper directly breeds the guppy, so he knows how the parents of the fish guppy are, know the guppy can inherit any qualities from their parents. That is why, although you do not have much control over the genetics of the guppies, the fishkeeper has some control over them.
You should buy the guppy from a reputable dealer instead of from a commercial store, as commercial stores may only care about selling as many fish as possible. The fish from a reputable dealer will be much healthier and longer-living.
Keep Only Females In Your Tank
When keeping female guppies and male guppies together, it is likely that they are easily stressed. Especially, the group consisting of females and males will create a lot of stress for pregnant females. Males will also increase aggression if they are in the tank with females.
Ensure That They Are Entertained
In spite of the fact that most people do not believe it, guppies can actually become depressed and stressed out. It may have an adverse effect on their health, which in the long run could lead to the reduction of their lifespan if their tank isn’t stimulating.
In order to ensure that your guppies are entertained, make sure you have included a lot of ornaments and plants. Lastly, you should make sure you are never leaving a guppy alone in the tank.
Provide Them With Places To Hide
When your guppies do not feel safe, they will stress, resulting in a reduced lifespan. To make them feel safe, provide them with many places to hide. Whenever they feel frightened, they will hide. You can add ornaments or a lot of plants to the tank as hiding places.
Video About How Long Do Guppy Fish Live
Do male guppies live longer than female guppies?
In general, male guppies tend to live longer than female guppies. The reason is that female guppies usually have a stressful time during the process of multiple pregnancies, which invariably occur when both sexes live together in the same aquarium. However, if you keep only females or only males in your tank, their lifespans will be somewhat similar as well.
How long can guppies live without food?
Your guppy can live without food for around 2 weeks before it starts to starve. However, it is not recommended to starve them for more than three to four days. Even though they can live, it will definitely harm their health.
What size tank can guppies live in?
As guppies grow to an average of 2 inches in length, the smallest aquarium size that I recommend for a trio of guppies would be a 5-gallon aquarium. In the long run, however, a 10-gallon or a 20-gallon aquarium would be more appropriate to house that kind of fish, given how quickly they reproduce.
This article has provided you with information about the lifespan of guppies fish. While they can live for about 1-3 years, many factors affect that number. You have to know what will shorten and what will increase their lifespan to make them live to their full potential lifespan.
If you follow the advice and tips that I have given you, I am confident that your guppies will live to a very ripe old age.
Annette M. Chaney is an experienced marine biologist with over 20 years of experience as an aquarist and fishkeeper. She started her first aquarium at a young age, filling it with frogs and goldfish obtained from the ten-cent pet store.
Annette grew up caring for and breeding African Cichlids, which led to a hobby in high school that doubled as a profitable means. Attending Reed College gave her time to solidify herself as an accomplished aquarium caretaker with an eye for sales. After that, from 2009 – 2013, she studied at Roger Williams University – one of the most prestigious universities for Aquaculture and Aquarium in USA. She is the founder of AquariumCircle since 2010