Do guppies sleep? How can you tell that a guppy is sleeping?

Guppies are some fancy fish that you would love to keep and will never get bored of! Fish enthusiasts know what I am talking about!

Do guppies sleep? Of course, they do!  Guppies usually freeze in their place while sleeping. They either float or rest motionless at the bottom of the tank with their eyes open. They might seem dead, but they are not!

This article will cover everything that there is to know about guppy sleep.

Guppies sleeping (Video)

How Many Hours do Guppies Sleep?

To start off, guppies are known as diurnal fish. In other words, they stay awake during the day and sleep at night. Darkness stimulates guppies to sleep and too much light wakes them up.

It is not so easy, in general, to know that a fish is sleeping because most fish do not have eyelids. Therefore, their eyes remain open all the time.

Scientists have come to a conclusion that fish need sleep in order to conserve their energy. They exert a lot of effort in case you have not noticed; guppies are constantly swimming up and down and they never rest until it is time for them to sleep.

No one is quite sure about how many hours do guppies sleep because this topic is rather controversial; it varies according to the tank conditions and the light conditions as well.

However, scientists explain that guppies could sleep as soon as the sun sets down and they could continue doing so until the sun starts shining the next morning. Moreover, it is said that guppies usually sleep like human beings for 7 to 8 hours, more or less.

Normally, some fish could sleep up to 12 hours as long as it remains dark. Almost all fish need around 9 or 10 hours of sleep to function properly in the morning.

Doesn’t that remind us of our lazy selves? It sure does!

What Lights to Use for Guppies?

Light is the most important factor that controls the sleeping pattern of guppies. As mentioned previously, guppies sleep when it is dark and wake up when the sun starts shining.

But they will also wake up when light is directed towards them. It is important to mention that lighting is not just an important factor which controls the fish’s sleeping patterns, but it also controls their growth, feeding patterns, and adjusts their behavior.

Lighting in a fish tank filled with guppies is as essential as their nutrition. Some people undermine the importance of suitable lighting for their guppies but that is totally against the nature and interest of this animal.

There must be adequate lighting in the room where the fish tank is. Some fish hobbyists believe that using “2 pieces of 2 feet long fluorescent Philips lamps” in order to keep the room completely lighted.

It is very important to have strong light in order to help the guppies feel comfortable and not distracted by any kind of movements that happen outside their tank.

Guppies are afraid of us roaming outside their tanks. They think we are some sort of invaders that will attack them, so they shy away quickly. Always keep the lamps directed towards the tank in order to help the guppies function well.

What’s more:

lighting helps the guppy fry grow faster.

The stronger the light is, the faster the fry grows into a healthy guppy fish. But be careful, you should not expose them to light for more than 12 hours because this would prevent them from resting and sleeping.


Sleeping is important for guppies.

It is quite shocking to know that guppies could deliberately die if they are exposed to light for too long as this doesn’t allow them the proper amount of sleep. For all of pet fish owners who keep the light on for their fish, especially the guppies; this could actually hurt your fish if you do not allow them to rest.

Guppies are very sensitive and thus, they should be taken good care of.

Do Guppies sleep at the bottom of the Tank?

Sleeping at the bottom of the tank is one option for guppies. But there is also another option which is floating. You can be sure that your guppies are sleeping when they stop moving and swimming around.

Some of the guppies prefer to sleep at the bottom of the tank, others prefer floating, the others prefer resting next to the tank’s decorations; whether they are plants or rocks.

Did you know:

When guppies start sleeping, their respiratory activity is lowered?

They are not stimulated by noise during their sleep. Some guppies which are kept in tanks that contain fresh water fall asleep immediately and stop swimming as soon as the lights are turned off.

Difference Between a Dead and a Sleeping Guppy

What if your guppy is dead and not sleeping? How do you distinguish between the two states?

Here’s how:

If you see that your guppy is floating motionlessly during daylight or is frozen in its place, there is a great possibility that it might be sick.

If you try feeding it and it never responds, then you should start taking action as soon as possible.

Sometimes, when female guppies are pregnant, they freeze in their place but it is easy to know if a guppy is pregnant or not. Watch out for any white spots that might be found on the guppy’s scales because they indicate illness.

Do guppies sleep upside down?

It is not normal at all to detect a guppy sleeping in such an awkward manner. One of the most important things you should do when you come across something like this is check the water parameters.

Check the amount of ammonia in the water because it is lethal and could kill any fish; not just the guppies. You have to keep the water conditions suitable and accurate.

If things don’t get better even after checking the water conditions, then your fish’s swim bladder might be the reason behind its unusual behavior.

What is the swim bladder? Its main purpose is to exchange the air between the environment and the fish. Usually, when there is something wrong with this organ, the fish will start acting strange; like lying upside down at the bottom of the tank or floating upside down.

When this happens, stop feeding the fish for the next 3-4 days until it gets better. It is better to get a professional’s help and advice from the pet shop.

Guppy tank conditions

Guppies’ natural habitat is one of a kind…just like neon tetras, it is always much better to keep them in a tank that looks similar to their natural habitat in order to guarantee their sense of security and comfort. Naturally, they are found in tropical waters found in Caribbean islands in Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Guyana as well as Brazil.

They love swimming in salty water more than fresh water, but not sea water. They feed on worms, insect larvae and shellfish. They are found more in lakes and ponds. When you bring guppies back home, you have to be careful with the water’s temperature. Keep it between 72 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some aquarium salt will help improve the fish’s health. Adding minerals as well would be helpful. Keep the pH around 6.8 and 7.5. Guppies are small fish that can function and swim freely in a 5-gallon tank.

However, the bigger the tank is, the better it is for the guppies. Males grow to 1 and a half inches and the female guppy grows to 2 inches in length.

Moreover, keep the lighting adequate and suitable as guppies love light; but turn them off during the night to help the guppies sleep.

Related questions

How long do guppies live? Guppies can live up to 5 years. However, most of the guppies only survive for about 2 or 3 years in an aquarium. It is surprising to know that reproduction makes the guppies’ lifespan shorter and shorter; this is why it is going to be better if you do not have female and male guppies in the same tank.

How many times should guppies be fed? Feeding guppies around once or twice a day would be enough. But bear in mind not to overfeed them as this can lead to health concerns. As a rule of thumb, fish should not be fed for more than 5 minutes as they often do not know when to stop and would keep eating as long as you feed them.


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