Do Male Guppies Need Females? (Everything You Need To Know!)

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Guppies are a joy to watch swimming around in their tanks, happily nibbling on food or exploring their surroundings. If you’re bringing home guppies, you may have trouble deciding whether or not you should have female guppies as companions for male guppies or vice versa. 

Male guppies don’t necessarily need females in their tank, but if you want to create an environment as close to their natural habitat as possible, having a mix of males and females will do that. That said, you should expect breeding to occur when you do this. Guppies aren’t used to being alone, meaning you’ll have to set up your tank carefully.

There are pros and cons to having a tank full of male guppies, female guppies, or a mixture, so knowing what you can handle will ensure all your guppies are happy, regardless of sex. 

Do Male Guppies Need Females?


Male guppies don’t need females specifically in their tank, but they do need other guppies.

Guppies would travel together in packs in the water before they became domesticated. The thing to keep in mind is that guppies breed quite quickly. If you don’t mind having multiple guppies at home, then this may not be an issue. 

Even if you brought home multiple guppies thinking they were all males, you may not actually be able to tell the difference.

Depending on their age, there may be no indication of their sex visible to the naked eye. Some indications of sex that you may notice include:

  • Male guppies tend to be more colorful and vibrant than female guppies
  • Females are usually larger than males
  • A female guppies has a rounder midsection
  • Male guppies have bigger tail fins and anal fins than female guppies
  • Females have a gravid spot; this is a dark spot by their tail 

Do Male Guppies Prefer Females Or Males?

A male guppy would be much happier having females in their tank since they are driven by their breeding instincts. This means their focus will be on trying to impress the females in the tank. With other male guppies, there is the potential that some will try to dominate over others. This isn’t guaranteed to happen, but it’s something to be aware of. 

Stress is one of the biggest risks to the health and wellness of your guppies, regardless of their sex or the distribution of the sexes.

Males can stress out the females by chasing them around to breed. Males can end up bullying other males. Stress can lead to the spread of illness, so it’s crucial to avoid creating stressful situations for your guppies

This might seem like an impossible situation to navigate, but there are ways to successfully integrate multiple guppies into a tank. Mixing male and female guppies have their own unique requirements for successful integration, as do males only and females only. 

How To Keep Male And Female Guppies Together?

If you would like to have both male and female guppies in one tank to mimic their natural environment, there are some recommendations to make your tank as happy and peaceful as possible. The distribution of males and females is especially important for this. 

The suggested ratio in a tank is three female guppies for every one male guppy. Having more males than females could cause competition between the males to mate with the females, which will stress out the females immensely. 

Be sure you have an adequately sized tank to host multiple guppies, as well as some extra space in case your guppies end up breeding. If you find that your guppies are having way too many babies, you can set up an additional tank or give them away. 

Can You Stop Males From Breeding With Female Guppies?

It can be difficult to avoid breeding if male and female guppies are sharing a tank. If you want to have both, you can keep them in separate tanks. However, trying to identify males from females can be tricky.

There’s a chance you could miss one male or female when separating fish, and breeding could still occur. 

Female guppies can get pregnant fast and often. In a big tank with a lot of fish, she can also become stressed out which could compromise her health and the health of her babies.

Baby guppies can also, sadly, get eaten by other guppies in the tank. Tanks can easily become crowded with multiple new guppies, which can compromise the conditions of the tank. 


Do Male Guppies Get Along With Each Other?

There is some potential that male guppies together in a tank can battle each other to gain dominance. They are not aggressive fish by nature.

However, you should monitor multiple male guppies in a tank to make sure they are getting along. If not, you may have to separate some of them, as the stress of aggression can make them sick. 

The ideal situation if you want to avoid breeding males and females is to have a large tank with multiple guppies.

It’s recommended to have at least six guppies in one tank. Have plenty of soft plants or decorations around so guppies can hide away and rest if need be. 

Do Female Guppies Get Along With Each Other?

Having only female guppies in a tank is easier to manage than male guppies. They aren’t privy to getting aggressive with each other like males are. 

However, one thing to monitor is whether or not you’ve unintentionally brought home a pregnant guppy, as this could end up filling your tank up quickly once they give birth.

Suggested Reading: How Many Babies Do Guppies Have? (Explained!)

Female guppies can hold onto sperm in their bodies for a long time and will decide when the environment is good enough to give birth in. 

The only deterrent many cite for not having female-only guppies in a tank is that they aren’t as colorful as male guppies.

If you are not bringing home guppies for an aesthetically pleasing tank, then there’s no need to mingle males and females. 

The Ideal Tank Setup For Male And Female Guppies 

How you set up your tank for multiple guppies is important. Plants are highly recommended for guppy tanks, and it’s best to stick with real aquatic plants. Real plants help keep water clean and add much-needed oxygenation to the tank.

Furthermore, plants offer some shade and some concealment opportunities for your guppies, which is needed so they can rest or get away from other guppies that are bothering them. 

Decorations that also offer opportunities for some solitude will add to your guppies’ happiness.

Look for decorations that have some type of hole or shelter, such as little caves, that are big enough for a guppy to fit in safely, but aren’t so big that other guppies can chase them into it. Make sure there aren’t any sharp edges on any decorations you choose. 

Guppies are pretty low maintenance in terms of water temperature, water conditions, and pH. If you have multiple types of fish in one tank, you will have to be very careful about water conditions.

The best temperature range for all guppies is between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and pH should be between 6.8 and 7.8

Can Guppies Get Lonely By Themselves?

Guppies don’t get lonely, but they are happier when they have other fish to socialize with. This could be other guppies, or it could be other small fish with similar temperaments. Guppies in tanks or bowls by themselves tend to be less enthusiastic than guppies that share space with other fish. 

This is why ratio is so important, especially if you want to stick with only guppies. Having too many guppies in one tank can be even worse than a guppy on their own. Guppies are prone to stress, which can cause a ton of illness and even death. 

Final Thoughts 

So do male guppies need female guppies? It’s not necessary, but it can make for a playful and happy guppy tank. You just have to understand that breeding is pretty much inevitable. You can keep their breeding under control to a certain extent by having a large tank with plenty of decor and plants to hide in and not starting out with too many guppies in one tank. 

As long as you don’t leave your male guppy by themselves, they will be happy. Having multiple fish, guppies or not, that have similar temperaments is ideal, along with decor and plants to swim around and rest on. 

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