You may have a 10 gallon aquarium sitting around, set up and ready to go, but you may be confused as to how many fish you can add to it.
You may be interested in keeping Guppies, but how many should you get? What is a comfortable amount of Guppies to house in a 10 gallon?
We aim to answer this below, along with some additional things you should consider when stocking your 10 gallon Guppy tank that may save you some troubles later down the line, and make your life as a fishkeeper easier.
How many Guppies should be kept together?
Guppies are highly social creatures, naturally found living in large colonies within pools, scrapes and rivers. They are most comfortable when high in number, so keeping a couple of them is recommended if you want your fish to stay comfortable and healthy.
We suggest starting off with a group of Guppies, around 4 or more as a minimum, as smaller numbers can cause stress or bullying amongst Guppies and you may eventually see fin nipping, discoloration and lack of appetite as the fish become stressed.
Although there are cases where Guppies can be kept alone, or in pairs, you really need to be keeping Guppies in groups if you want them to truly thrive.
What happens if you add too many Guppies to a 10 gallon tank?
Keeping too many Guppies in a 10 gallon tank will mean that there are more mouths to feed, and more waste being produced, resulting in more ammonia.
Foul water is toxic and invites the spread of diseases/dangerous pathogens.
Cramming 40 adult Guppies into a 10 gallon is never a good idea for your home aquarium, as the waste output is usually too high for the tank to cope with, and an ammonia spike is highly likely to occur, killing the whole lot.
The sheer number of them also means that unless you are feeding the tank in very high amounts, not all of them will be able to get food and eventually some weaker individuals may starve and die.
In short, it is not a good idea to house too many Guppies in a 10 gallon tank, unless you are prepared to do multiple water changes per day and feed the tank high amounts every day.
How many Guppies can I put in a 10 gallon tank?
This answer may vary depending on a few factors, like life stage, species, breed, filtration, level of plant growth and so on.
Guppies come in all different shapes and sizes, but the typical fancy Guppy (Poecilia reticulata) usually gets around 2” or so, with males being a little smaller, at the 1.5” mark.
If we go by 1” of fish per gallon of water, that would allow us to keep around 5 – 6 adult Fancy Guppies in a 10 gallon tank, although as mentioned, this number may vary depending on certain factors.
Some breeds of Guppy are very small, and you may be able to house more of them in your tank, but as a typical point of reference, around 5 adult Guppies is a good number to start with in your 10 gallon aquarium.
How many male Guppies can I put in a 10 gallon tank?
Male Guppies are quite tolerable of one another when compared to other fish; they are peaceful 90% of the time. However, in some cases they can be particularly nasty to one another, and seeing shredded fins, beaten up scales and bullying isn’t an abnormality in the Guppy world.
When in peak breeding condition, male Guppies can often be seen sparring with each other, as a part of their courtship ritual, competing over females.
When it comes to housing males together in a tank alone, the more you have the better. This is because it becomes harder for a male to establish his dominance over one specific individual, and territory becomes blurry and unfocused with so many fish swimming around.
Having more fish in the tank distributes the aggression, and means that one particular fish isn’t targeted all the time.
However, if the tank is mixed sex, and females are also present, then the opposite is true, and less males is generally recommended as they will become more competitive over mating rights. Keeping a ratio that houses more females than males gives them less reason to compete over mates, as they are in abundance.
So, when housing just males, keep around 6 – 7, but when there are males and females in the same tank, keep the male population low.
For a 10 gallon, this would mean keeping 1 – 2 males and 4 females.
How many female Guppies can I put in a 10 gallon tank?
As females range in size depending on the breed, the number you can house in a 10 gallon can vary, but usually, anywhere from 5 – 6 adult females is an ideal number.
Females don’t typically fight with each other, so any amount will work, so long as they are in a group large enough to fulfil their social needs, considering restrictions on tank size, filtration level and amount of maintenance you are willing to perform.
When it comes to housing them with males, as stated, you want to have a ratio that has more females than males, ideally 1:2, so in a mixed sex 10 gallon tank.
We would typically recommend 4 adult females and 1 – 2 adult males.
Can I breed Guppies in a 10 gallon tank?
Yes! You certainly can breed Guppies in a 10 gallon tank, you just need to make sure you have plans for the offspring, whether you will move them onto a different tank, give or sell them to a store/other fishkeeper, or keep them if possible.
Just remember that Guppies tend to have spawns that range anywhere from 10 – 35 fry at a time, and once they grow, they will all produce as much waste and need as much feeding as their parents.
Having 40 adult Guppies in a 10 gallon isn’t a great idea unless you really know what you are doing, so be careful, and make sure you have a backup plan if you end up inundated with Guppies as they will breed fast once they are settled in.
Perhaps having a second tank on standby is a good plan, in case you want to separate the males and females at any point to put a hold on making more Guppies.
What is the best filter for a 10 gallon Guppy tank?
The best types of filters for Guppy tanks are sponge or box filters, as they output high oxygen and biological filtration without producing a strong current or pulling long tails and fry into an impeller.
Guppies don’t tend to like strong currents in the tank, so an air powered filter which doesn’t throw out water at a strong force is a great choice for your Guppy tank.
Sponge filters are great for small fish like Guppies and are highly adaptable, coming in all different sizes to fit different tanks.
Being air powered also means you can link up multiple sponges to the same air pump and upgrade the filtration easily.
10 gallon Guppy tank maintenance
Guppies are fairly low-maintenance fish if the conditions are set correctly. If kept in appropriate living conditions and population sizes, they require very little attention aside from feeding and occasional water changes.
We normally recommend keeping plenty of live plants in your Guppy tank as it gives them lots of hiding spaces, and keeps the water clean.
If you breed your Guppies, then they will require an additional level of maintenance in the management of their population.
This doesn’t mean just taking out a handful of guppies every few months, it means really sitting through and monitoring the ratio of males to females, looking for deformities or disease amongst individuals and either treating them or removing them from the bloodline, and keeping the population stable, within manageable boundaries, that the tank can handle.
Can I keep other fish with Guppies in a 10 gallon tank?
Guppies are considered as great community fish due to their peaceful nature and small size. They can live with the majority of other peaceful community fish, however, they do have limitations due to their preference for hard, alkaline water and long finnage which can be the target for bullying.
Essentially, any similarly sized, peaceful hardy fish will go with Guppies just fine.
Here are some examples of fish we personally recommend:
- Harlequin Rasboras
- Bristlenose Pleco
- Kuhli Loach
Can I keep invertebrates with Guppies in a 10 gallon tank?
Yes you can, although not every invertebrate is safe to add to your Guppy tank.
Invertebrates fill a variety of roles in the ecosystems they inhabit, some of which are eaten by fish. With others the reverse is true, and your Guppies could make an easy meal for some of the larger predatory crustaceans out there.
Smaller invertebrates like shrimps and snails are harmless to fish, and make great additions to your Guppy tank, although we recommend having plenty of cover in the form of live plants and mosses if you do this, as Guppies will occasionally prey on young shrimp.
With plenty of dense plant cover, you can keep a colony of Cherry shrimps breeding alongside your Guppies in an ecosystem, which can be an extremely rewarding tank setup.
Snails also work well with Guppies, as the hard water is good for the calcium based shells that snails possess.
They are a great pairing, and are superb clean up crew for Guppy tanks, breaking down any uneaten food or fish waste.
Crabs and Crayfish
Invertebrates to avoid are things like crabs and crayfish, as they are large, powerful predators which eat fish as a part of their main diet.
While some people may have luck keeping these species together, we recommend against it, as the chances of losing a few Guppies to a hungry crayfish is quite likely to happen.