Why Your Guppy Isn’t Eating and What to Do About It

Guppies are one of the best-known and most popular aquarium fish, both for beginners and experienced aquarium owners. They add a great deal of color to the tanks, are gentle, comparatively inexpensive, and are very easy to care for.

However, sometimes, the guppies may seem to be doing something strange compared to what they usually do. This can leave many tank owners wondering: 

Why isn’t my Guppy eating, and what can I do about it? Guppies will take some time to get used to their new surroundings; this can put them off their food for a while. Your fish may also prefer different kinds of foods to eat, and will even refuse certain ones if all the conditions are not ideal. One of the first things is to check water levels and to vary their diet, so they are not bored.

Read on, and we will look at the reasons why Guppies may not eat their food. By the end, we should see if they are fussy, or there are health concerns you need to think about. We will also offer several tips about how to care for your Guppies and keep them happy and healthy.

Why do Guppies Spit out Their Food?

There are many reasons why a Guppy will spit out their food, and it doesn’t always mean they don’t like the food itself. If your Guppy spits out their food a lot, then check here so you can have an understanding of why this may be the case.

Food Is Too Large: Fish often take a large piece of food and bite off a piece before spitting it out. The Guppies’ teeth are at the back of the throat and crush rather than chew as we do. This means that they often break the bigger pieces several times before they can eat all of it. 

They Don’t Like the Food: Your fish may take nibbles like above, yet they don’t feel like eating the same food again. Rather than ignore it altogether, they are unsure of what it is and take repeated bites.

The Food is Too Hard: We saw that a Guppy’s teeth are toward the back of their mouth. Food pellets are not a good option for feeding fish like these. They are better when you feed them with flakes that will soak and they can get these to their teeth easier. Guppies will also not want other fish to eat their food, so they will repeatedly try to eat it.

If there are health issues with your fish, they will move around differently. If they act as normal, then it is purely a food thing and maybe one of the above causing the problem.

Why Don’t Guppies Eat?

If you do feed your guppies pellets, and decide to change. Then, if there are still problems of them not eating, it may be one of the following:

Pregnancy: Guppies are live-bearing fish and may not eat properly before giving birth. If it is a female fish, and you think she may be pregnant (Guppies breed like crazy), move her to a breeding tank. Here she can have privacy and no worries of protection for her young ones. Signs of pregnancy in live-bearing fish are swollen abdomen and dark markings near the lower fin. Depending on the fish, you may see the dark eyespots of the fry in the mother’s stomach.

Stress: Stress can cause fish not to eat. It can be when transferring fish from one tank to another when cleaning or moving. Tank temperature changes have the same effect.  Stress can also come when you add some new tank mates; this can cause fish to shy away from their food, to begin with. You can lower stress by carrying out partial water changes regularly instead of full-scale tank cleaning.

Over-Feeding: Usually, this is more to do with feeding your fish too much of the same kind of food. If it is flakes, it may appear they are overfed, and they may not be eating, as they ought to be.

What Should my Guppies Diet Consist Of?

Guppies are omnivores, so they will prefer diets that contain both vegetables and meat. We saw that pellets could be too large, yet these are suitable as is the preferable flakes. Rather than sticking to this type, it is advisable to break up their diet at different types of day.

As well as processed foods, you can buy live or frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, and mosquito larvae. In addition to these, you can feed your fish lettuce, tomatoes and spinach. It is worth noting if not all these are eaten, they do need removing before they begin rotting.

Other vegetables can include cucumber and peas; just make sure to remove the seeds from cucumber and mash the peas and add in small pieces.

Many feeding issues stem from feeding times, and how frequent they are fed in the day.

Some tank owners feed once per day, where the recommendation is to feed twice. Once with flakes, and then using these alternative foods in the evening. If you have baby fry, these are very different from adult guppy and need to feed a few times throughout the day. They have smaller stomachs and faster metabolisms.

When you purchase flakes, be sure they don’t contain any fillers. You can check the ingredients as the main ones are listed first. You should see meats, shrimp, or fish as the first ingredients. Ones you don’t want to see are, wheat or soy, these are the fillers to avoid.

When feeding, make sure the amount you give your fish, they consume this within two minutes. When feeding live or frozen foods, you can use fish feeders. These can be manual where there are small holes where the fish can pluck food, or they are automatic and programmable where they can deliver set amounts.

One final thing to note is that if you have small fry, then the mother may try to eat these if she is hungry. This means you need to remove the mother from the breeding tank, or you have to use a breeding trap to keep them separated

How Long Can Guppies go Without Food?

Don’t feel too bad if you’ve missed a few days of feeding your Guppies. They can live for up to two weeks total without it. If you have a few fry swimming around your tank, then they have a much lower survival time without food at just three days.

If you are planning to leave your Guppies alone for a few days and want to make sure that they are comfortable and make sure they have the ideal water conditions:

  • Water temperatures: This should match their natural habitat. Ideal temperatures are between 72 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Water flow: As long as guppies can escape the current, they are happy in a strong flow. This shouldn’t cover the full tank also.
  • Water pH levels: Guppies are quite hardy and can tolerate pH levels between 5.5 and 8.5. They do however, prefer levels in the range of 7.0 to 7.2. It is vital to keep the pH inside these levels to reduce the level of ammonia that will cause the water to become toxic. If the pH rises above 8.5, this is fatal to guppies. One other thing to check is the nitrite levels.

Conclusion

Although guppies may not eat on occasion, there is nothing to worry about unless they are sick. If you keep your water conditions in the ideal ranges and vary your fish’s diet, then they will, at some stage, start to eat again.

It can be worrying to see them repeatedly spit food out, or ignore it altogether, yet these little fish are hardier than many people know. Once they are in the ideal conditions, they are a treat to grace any aquarium.

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Adam Edwards
Hi, my name is Adam and I'm an aquarium enthusiast! I didn't discover the joys of being an 'aquarium fanatic' (as some of my friends call me!) until I was in my 20's. When I first started out I found it difficult to find all the information I needed so I started this website to compile all the useful information I can think of. Enjoy!